IDP Players to Avoid in 2019
Every offseason there are a handful of teams go through changes to rebuild, better themselves, or gain the upper hand on their competition. These changes include firing and hiring a new coach or coaching staff, coaching turnover due to coaches being promoted by a different team, signing free agents, etc. Each of these events has effects on the individual players on either side of the ball. This is especially the case on the defensive side of the ball, where player personnel and scheme can greatly affect a given player’s position and productivity. Several coaching changes to place this offseason. You can check out a breakdown of those changes here. Without further ado, here are some of the top players you should be avoiding in your IDP leagues this season.
This should not be taken as a trying to disparage Arizona Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones’ talent. Jones is one of the premier pass rushers in the league. This speaks toward change in the situation in Arizona from 2018 to 2019. It is also a condemnation on there being no uniform scoring in IDP. Also the position designations for edge rushers, but that is a whole other topic of conversation. In 2018, Jones played under head coach Steve Wilks, a defensive coach, who employs a 4-3 base scheme, that is four down lineman and three linebackers. In a 4-3 scheme, Jones lines up as a defensive end, where he excelled. Jones was the eighth-highest fantasy point producing defensive end in 2017.
Unfortunately, Jones will no longer be a defensive end. After a dismal 2018 season, the Cardinals decided to go a different direction with the franchise, fair or unfair to Wilks. The Cardinals hired former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury. He brought in former Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph as his defensive coordinator. Joseph runs a 3-4 base scheme, which is three down lineman and four linebackers. Generally, edge rushers play at the outside linebacker position, which is where Jones is slotted to play. On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal, especially considering Jones produced 17 sacks in 2017 as an outside linebacker. However, IDP scoring generally lumps all linebackers together. IDP scoring also emphasizes tackles. So, even though Jones put up tremendous sack numbers, he only finished as the LB28 in tackle-heavy scoring due to only amounting 52 tackles and 7 assists.
So, while Jones will likely be extremely effective in the real world, he is an avoid in fantasy simply because he will be designated as a linebacker in 2019.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul finds himself in the same situation as Jones. JPP has played as a defensive end his entire career with the New York Giants and Buccaneers. Over the last three seasons, Pierre-Paul has combined for 28 sacks, finishing as the DL9, just behind Jones, DL5, and DL4 in the last three seasons respectively.
Like the Cardinals, the Buccaneers decided to clean house and brought in a whole new coaching staff. New head coach Bruce Arians brought in his old defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Bowles runs a 3-4 base scheme, unlike his predecessor Mike Smith who ran a 4-3. This will line JPP up as an outside linebacker instead of defensive end. Arians admitted that the Cardinals when Arians was the head coach, went after Pierre-Paul in 2015. They felt he could convert to an outside linebacker easily. Regardless, as was discussed above, outside linebackers in a 3-4 are at a disadvantage. And thus, JPP is an avoid in 2019.
CJ Mosley/Avery Williamson
The New York Jets made a lot of changes in the offseason. Todd Bowles and his staff were let go. Adam Gase was brought in to be the head coach and Gregg Williams as the defensive coordinator. Williams employs a 3-4 base defense, which uses two inside linebackers. Along with that change, the Jets brought in CJ Mosley to start alongside Avery Williamson. This is a fantastic signing for the Jets as they have two premiere starting inside linebackers.
However, for fantasy purposes, this was a bad move for both Williamson and Mosley. As a starting inside linebacker last season, Williamson had the best season of his career, finishing as the LB16. However, Williamson was only the LB23 in fantasy points per game. Mosley dealt with injuries last season but was the highest scoring linebacker in 2017. What both had in common is they played next to rotational players at the other inside linebacker position. Williamson played 99.5% of the Jets defensive snaps in 2018, while the next highest inside linebacker Darron Lee only played in 72%. In 2017, Mosley played in 98.5% of the Baltimore Ravens defensive snaps while Patrick Onwuasor only played in 59%.
What does all of this mean? Both Williamson and Mosley are fantastic linebackers who will be playing nearly all of the snaps. They will also be making plays all over the field. However, because they will be playing next to each other, they will be stealing production from each other.
The Jets also made some offensive changes that will likely shift the time of possession and take away chances for defensive plays. The combination of two top-end starting linebackers and a better offense will likely take away from production for Williamson and Mosley. With the name cache and previous production they both carry, they will likely be too expensive in 2019 and thus I am avoiding them.
Coaching changes and free agency have changed the outlook for many players in the NFL. The four players listed above are avoids for me in 2019 because of these changes. However, these are not the only players who were hurt by shifts in the league. Pay close attention to players moving teams as well as players changing schemes. While they may have shown production in the past or have familiar names, they may be in for a down season.