Prince Shembo has one of the coolest names in all of football and soon it will be a name that all IDP owners will have at the forefront of their minds. The Atlanta Falcons’ fourth round pick, Shembo played his college football at Notre Dame and has found his way into the starting lineup just five weeks into his NFL career. Shembo currently sits third in rookie rankings when it comes to tackles, producing 32 in total (16 solos and 16 assists) this comes after only playing as a part-time player in the first three weeks of the season. Shembo is in the kind of situation that IDP owners salivate over, playing 58 and 59 snaps in the past two weeks, for a defence that can’t get off the field. The Falcons fielded an awful defence in 2013 and have started 2014 in very similar fashion, teams know they can run the ball against the Falcons and that gives Shembo plenty of opportunities to put up big tackle numbers. The porous Falcons defence provided fantasy owners with a rookie IDP superstar in 2013 in the form of Paul Worrilow and it looks like the team may be giving us another in the form of his running mate, Shembo. The Rookie IDP Rundown highlighted CJ Mosley as the rookie to start last week and that seemed to work out pretty well (15 tackles and 1 interception), this week I’m advocating Shembo as a guy to pick up and start as a solid LB2 in a nice matchup vs Chicago.
Speaking of CJ Mosley, it would be remiss for this column to not mention the standout performance of the season by a rookie linebacker. I mentioned his stat line earlier but it was much more than that in the Ravens loss to the Colts that had NFL observers waxing lyrical about the Alabama native. Mosley showed tremendous football intelligence throughout the game, helping the Ravens shut down a Colts running game that had been doing well early in the season. He diagnosed plays quickly and was able to put himself into position to make plays on the ball carrier. When the game slows down for rookies, like it appears to have done for Mosley, it makes things much easier for players, particularly linebackers like Mosley who have to play naturally or they run the risk of being too slow to make any kind of positive impact. Mosley is a slam dunk LB1 the rest of the way as he leads the Ravens defence into the meat of their schedule.
Our final feature player this week will be a rookie DB and someone who all dynasty owners simply must own, Deone Bucannon of the Arizona Cardinals. Bucannon posted a solid stat line in week 5, with six solo tackles in his box score, what really caught my eye was that he played 63/82 snaps. This kind of increased usage for Bucannon is something that owners in both dynasty and redraft leagues must take note of, it increases Bucanon’s value in a dynasty format, potentially as a future DB1 and he may be on his way to being an every week starter in redraft leagues. Bucannon is the kind of versatile safety that I love to have in my lineups, they offer a relatively safe floor whilst also providing the kind of big play upside that other more linear defensive backs don’t offer.