This edition includes IDP projections for Jerry Hughes, Micah Hyde, David Harris, and many others at the positions of defensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker, cornerback, and safety.
In this edition, I’m highlighting some of the scheme, personnel and coaching adjustments I used when projecting the AFC East. I’ll share actionable information such as buy-low players, fades, targets and anything which could create an advantage for our subscribers during their drafts.
My first step was to review some publicly available defensive position depth charts and compare to my own. I like using Ourlads and Rotoworld. Also, it’s important to evaluate coaching and defensive scheme changes. I used a balanced scoring system that awards 1.5 points per solo tackle, 0.75 for each assist, 1 point for passes defended, 3 points per sack, 3 points for forced fumbles, and 4 points for an interception. I’ve included the pressure rate metric from Football Outsiders as it helps track defensive pass rush progress and incorporates hurries in addition to sacks. Also included is QB sacks allowed which was helpful for projecting sacks. There are many other variables that I review and I’ll note those throughout each projection notebook. I hope these projections help readers to determine their valuations of players as they develop their draft strategies.
The most significant change in direction for the IDP world in the AFC East comes in Buffalo, as Leslie Frazier will convert the defense back to the 4-3 and positively affect IDP projection outlooks for the players along the defensive line.
|TM||2016||16 HC||16 DC||2015 QB Sacks Allowed||2015 Pressure Rate||2017||17 HC||17 DC||2016 QB Sacks Allowed||2016 Pressure Rate|
|BUF||3-4||Rex Ryan||Dennis Thurman||42||21.8%||4-3||Sean McDermott||Leslie Frazier||46||29.0%|
|MIA||4-3||Adam Gase||Vance Joseph||45||25.3%||4-3||Adam Gase||Matt Burke||30||31.4%|
|NE||4-3||Bill Belichik||Matt Patricia||38||24.7%||4-3||Bill Belichik||Matt Patricia||24||24.7%|
|NYJ||3-4||Todd Bowles||Kacy Rodgers||22||28.0%||3-4||Todd Bowles||Kacy Rodgers||35||26.3%|
Cameron Wake is an ageless wonder. I backed off from him last season, as I didn’t think he could have another high-level season, and I was wrong. This season he won’t come as cheaply.
Trey Flowers was productive down the stretch last year and is a breakout candidate this season. Rob Ninkovich missed a lot of time last season and is a candidate for a rebound this season, as reflected in my projections.
JERRY HUGHES IS YOUR VALUE PICK AT DEFENSIVE END
Jerry Hughes once shined brightly in the IDP world as a significant performer at the defensive end position, but his move to the 3-4 for the past two seasons under Rex Ryan’s teams have caused him to fall out of memory for many. Now with the Bills returning to the 4-3 and Hughes set to play and be classified as a DE rather than a linebacker, there’s a great opportunity for a bounce back. My projection is closer to his 2013 and 2014 seasons, which places him back in the high-end DE2 discussion at a far cheaper price relative to his contemporaries. Tyler Buechler pointed out this opportunity early this offseason, listing Hughes as a top-five, deep-IDP dynasty stash. Consider Hughes’ statistics over the past four seasons in both schemes.
|Kyle Van Noy||NE||LB||26||35||23||1||3||0||0||76|
This LB situation in Buffalo is a lot like Oakland where it’s totally up in the air right now. The new defensive coordinator is changing the scheme and inherited all the talent at LB aside from acquiring Gerald Hodges via free agency and Matt Milano through the draft.
Former second-round pick Reggie Ragland is viewed as just another LB as he missed all of the last season with a torn ACL on his left knee. In other words, my projections at this position will blow with the wind as we get the camp news and see who sticks at each LB position. For now I’m rolling with Preston Brown at MLB, Hodges at WLB and Reggie Ragland at SLB. I think Ragland could show out in camp enough move to one of the more IDP friendly positions, but for now, I’ll stick with what we know and project Brown and Hodges for the better scoring roles.
In dynasty, if you’re desperate, Reggie Ragland is now cheap enough to acquire. On teams where I own him and am set at LB without needing Ragland, I’d probably entertain mid-to-late round 2018 rookie picks to send him on his way.
In New England, there’s not many buying opportunities except for David Harris. You’d be hoping that he plays every down for his top numbers. I think he’s a fine pick as a later LB selection in your draft, but I wouldn’t want to depend on him until we see what the Patriots will do with him.
Gerald Hodges is enticing here, as he has averaged a 13.3% tackle rate over his past three seasons. The problem for him is, can he hold down enough snaps to provide consistent scoring to be a weekly option at LB? He’s not played every down since the 2014 season.
Reshad Jones is the AFC’s best safety for IDP and there’s not a clear number two right now. With little changing in his role and surroundings this season he has to be as valuable as ever.
Coming out of the draft, I said that Jamal Adams had Landon Collins upside as I was impressed with Adams’ athleticism and his level of production while in the SEC Conference. Now that the Jets traded for Calvin Pryor, his elite upside can be realized in redrafts.
It was only two years ago that Corey Graham had 122 total tackles with 91 solo tackles in Buffalo. Micah Hyde has never approached half of those numbers in a season, but he does land in the spot for production with little competition behind him. Buffalo putting forth one of the weakest secondaries in the league could also be a benefit for IDP tackle opportunity.
We’ve never had the opportunity to know how Hyde would perform long term as a strong safety, but I think it’s worth the gamble late in a draft, as there’s upside if he sticks in the role. Micah Hyde is an interesting safety target with value right now.