This edition includes IDP projections for Ramik Wilson, Denzel Perryman, Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, Justin Simmons and others.
In this edition, I’m highlighting some of the scheme, personnel and coaching adjustments or other useful information I used when projecting the AFC West. 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.
Both Wade Phillips and John Pagano are out in Denver and Los Angeles respectively, and both of their replacements are flipping defensive schemes. Many AFC West defensive player values are set to change dramatically.
|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|
|DEN||3-4||Gary Kubiak||Wade Phillips||39||32.7%||3-4||Vance Joseph||Joe Woods||40||32.2%|
|KC||3-4||Andy Reid||Bob Sutton||46||28.1%||3-4||Andy Reid||Bob Sutton||32||24.4%|
|LAC||3-4||Mike McCoy||John Pagano||40||25.2%||4-3||Anthony Lynn||Gus Bradley||36||26.8%|
|OAK||4-3||Jack Del Rio||Ken Norton||33||24.1%||3-4||Jack Del Rio||Ken Norton||18||26.9%|
The Chargers are moving to Los Angeles, and in addition to the different city, their defensive scheme is changing. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are the obvious beneficiaries of the scheme change. My projections for Bosa are on the conservative side, but his ceiling could be extraordinary. Many were calling him the next JJ Watt by the end of last season, and with the switch to the 4-3, the optimism should be at a peak.
Melvin Ingram is also one of the best potential DL1 players. I love Ingram this season in redrafts, and my projection is on the liberal side for him as I’m bullish on his fit in a new role. For leagues that award additional points for tackles for loss or QB hits Ingram could already be in elite territory at the DE position. A word of caution to those in dynasty drafts: keep in mind how quickly the fortunes of a defensive player can change. Scheme changes make the defensive line an awkward position to invest in long-term.
Heading into August drafts, I want one of JJ Watt, Danielle Hunter, Melvin Ingram, or Joey Bosa. What I love is it’s entirely possible to get two of these players.
In Oakland, I don’t have a feel yet for that situation. Currently, Corey James and Tyrell Adams may be in the lead, but I continue to view this as a fluid situation, with Jelani Jenkins and even Ben Heeney still in play.
Todd Davis in Denver looks like a real deal as a late round LB. He produced 93 total tackles on only 693 snaps last season. He needs to secure the every down role, and hopefully, he can improve on coverage during the off-season enough to impress the new staff. The upside is worth the gamble so take Davis late in your drafts.
Ramik Wilson was cut by Kansas City but returned and posted respectable season total numbers while flashing an elite tackle rate 1 above 14 percent.
Coming into the league, Wilson was as an athletic player. His NFL combine compared favorably to successful Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley. For extra motivation, Wilson is on the final year of his initial 2-year rookie contract. Remember that Derrick Johnson is now 34 years old and rehabbing a torn Achilles and may be pushing it to be ready by the regular season. Opportunity abounds for Ramik Wilson in 2017 and beyond.
The biggest losers in the AFC West scheme adjustments are the fantasy owners with shares of Khalil Mack. I hope you enjoyed the ride last season; I know I did.
Mack’s projections as a linebacker make him as an option to start for some fantasy teams depending on league size and scoring system, but he won’t be able to produce numbers to make him anywhere near elite at the position. You’ll need to be in leagues with heavy scoring for sacks and QB hits for Mack to be elite. For balanced scoring leagues, Mack won’t have the steady dose of weekly tackles to make him a reliable starter over any of the every down, traditional off the ball linebackers that aren’t edge rushers.
The fact that Denzel Perryman recorded three LB1 weeks and three LB2 weeks on only 483 snaps is incredible. Here’s a list of players ranked around him in numbers of LB1 weeks. Check out some of the big names that played mostly full snaps.
|3||4||2||David, Lavonte TBB LB|
|3||4||2||Robertson, Craig NOS LB|
|3||2||2||Dansby, Karlos CIN LB|
|3||2||1||Bellore, Nick SFO LB|
|3||3||0||Brown, Jatavis SDC LB|
|3||3||0||Perryman, Denzel SDC LB|
|2||7||3||Posluszny, Paul JAC LB|
|2||7||3||Smith, Telvin JAC LB|
|2||4||4||Wright, K.J. SEA LB|
|2||4||4||Kendricks, Eric MIN LB|
Each time I reviewed my projection for Perryman I wanted to bump it. From a numbers standpoint, Perryman is the type of player we should be targeting for 2017 because he has excelled in his limited snaps his first two seasons, his role will be the every down middle linebacker, and he was coming at a discount due to his injury last year. Hopefully, Perryman avoids the nagging injuries that kept him off the field. If he does, he’ll pay significant dividends to those who draft him.
Justin Simmons is backing up both TJ Ward and Darian Stewart. Simmons flashed when called upon at free and strong safety last year, and the Broncos staff believe he could start if needed. TJ Ward is at the end of his contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent next season so those with Simmons in dynasty need to hang on for one more year to see if Denver lets Ward walk.
Jahleel Addae is one I’m optimistic about but not going out of my way to acquire. I’ve yet to see any data suggesting he’ll be an elite safety. Addae produced only one DB1 game last season.
Terrance Mitchell could present a sneaky opportunity in drafts and auctions that require cornerbacks. He’s projected as a starter by Rotoworld but still must compete for the position. Consider he had a better performance than his competition for the right cornerback role in Kansas City according to Pro Football Focus and this could be an indicator that he has the edge to start.
- Total tackles as a percent of all snaps. (back)