Punch Drunk Wonderland

Undervalued IDP Targets for 2015

As we’ve covered many times, the trick to real success in your fantasy football draft is finding the values. New PDW writer, Dustin Thomas, is doing just that as he takes a look at some hidden IDP gems for your 2015 fantasy drafts. 

Telvin Smith (LB, Jacksonville Jaguars)

(17th ranked linebacker according to PFF)

Now you may see the ranking and ask yourself “How is a guy in the top 20 undervalued?” The first reason is the fact that he isn’t even being taken as the first linebacker from his team. Paul Posluszny is ranked as the 7th linebacker according to PFF. Now don’t get me wrong Paul was one of the top fantasy linebackers for many years in IDP leagues and still is a solid start each week. But this is the year Telvin Smith takes over the jags defense. Over the course of all 16 games last year Telvin Smith accumulated a ppo (points per opportunity) of .32, which was tied for 1st in the NFL with Lavonte David, and ahead of Deandre Levy and Luke Kuechly. Now I probably have your attention and for good reason.

Until week 12 Telvin Smith was playing right at 42% of his team’s snaps. So I took a more in depth look at weeks 12-17. In the last six games of the regular season Smith accumulated 106 fantasy points in balanced scoring leagues, 13 points higher than second place. For an average of almost 18pts a week! His tackles per opportunity ranked him 6th. Points per opportunity ranked him 8th well above teammate Paul Posluszny. Because of these stats and the fact the second year man out of Florida State is only going to get better with time this makes him a prime candidate to not only solidify his top 20 ranking but look for him to make a leap into the top 7-10 linebackers this year.

Geno Atkins (DT, Cincinnati Bengals)

(29th ranked defensive lineman according to PFF)

For those of you in IDP leagues that require you to start a defensive tackle each week this segment is for you. As you already know in these leagues the run on defensive tackles is pretty intense. If you have a late pick in the draft or bad position this could leave you at the tail end of a DT run looking at a pretty bare cupboard. But this is where a revitalized Geno comes into play. Lets take a look at His past numbers before the injury. In 2012 Geno put together an unreal year and scored an astonishing +78.6 grade for the season! In 2013 he was putting together another solid season at +17 through 8 games and partial game in week 9 before injury. And last year was a ho hum year coming back from the injury. Which is what Lands him on this list.

But lets look at his numbers through the first 2 games of preseason. In the first two pre-season games he has scored a 6.2 PFF grade on limited snaps. He put on a show against the Tampa Bay line putting together 3 hurries and a sack. The fact the Bengals are getting back old friend M. Johnson at right end to pair with Carlos Dunlap on the left side. With a year under his belt of not having to worry about rehab but just being Geno. And if the first two preseason games are an indication of what is to come this year look for him to once again establish himself as one of the best defensive tackles this year.

J.T Thomas (LB, New York Giants)

(71st ranked linebacker according to PFF)

When looking this far down the rankings list I try to find some value incase you need a plug and play for a bye week, or need a few week starter to fill an injury void. But when I look at J.T Thomas I see someone who came into his own last year and put up very solid numbers. Now he has changed teams and sits as a starter on the Giants depth chart. The first 7 weeks of last year he played just under 25% of the defensive snaps. But then things changed from week 8 on he missed only 3 snaps.

When I see those numbers its easy to see he is a three down linebacker who stays or stayed in the game last year in nickel packages. This is a huge boost in an idp league. Weeks 8-17 he finished with 119.8 fantasy points in balanced scoring leagues. This ranked him as the 12th highest linebacker during that stretch, One point ahead of Alec Ogletree, and one point behind Lavonte David. That’s some good company. If J.T Thomas can stay on the field and continue to be a 3 down linebacker for the Giants look for him late in drafts and play him with confidence.

Jacquies Smith (DE, Tampa Bay Bucs)

(32nd ranked defensive lineman according to PFF)

Tampa Bay defensive end Jacquies Smith isn’t a very well known name around the league so far. But I expect that to change this year if he can get his injured shoulder healthy and return to practice. As of right now he has W. Gholston in front of him on the depth chart but I don’t expect that to last for very long the upside of Smith is too much to keep off the field. Looking back at last year stats I once again found a common theme I have found from my sleepers on this list.

In weeks 11-17 Smith had two games with two sacks and finished those weeks with 6 sacks. He has continually gotten better in Lovie’s cover 2 scheme. With Gerald McCoy, Henry Melton and George Johnson on the other end look to see him to continue on this upward climb from scout team player to starting defensive end for Tampa. I’m not saying the guy will post 10+ sacks this year. But all signs point in the right direction for another good year especially with the increased snaps.

Stephen Tulloch (LB, Detroit Lions)

(27th Ranked Linebacker according to PFF)

Tulloch lands on this list solely because of an injury and the superstar emergence of DeAndre Levy in the same linebacker corps. This has scared off a lot of could be owners so far this year in IDP drafts. But there are several reasons I believe he will return to his old self and put together a much better campaigned than an lb27.

In 2013 Tulloch was injury free as well as levy. During that year Tulloch put together a 112 tackles, 20 assists, and 4 sacks. He put up these numbers with Suh, Fairley and others clogging up the middle and forcing runs outside. Now without those guys returning, uncertain guys stepping in beside Ngata, look for teams to run up the middle and away from Ansah. Tulloch is one of the best run stopping LB’s in the game. This should propel him to another solid year statistically; I look for him to post around 90-100 solos. I know it’s a bold prediction but I like the odds.

Dustin Thomas About Dustin Thomas
Dustin has been a long time participant in our offseason Getting Defensive IDP Mock Drafts and has come on board to offer his fantasy football strategy insights.