FIVE IDP’S TO TARGET NOW
It’s quite unfortunate that the 2015 fantasy football season is coming to an end but for those that play in dynasty leagues that means the fun has just begun. If you’ve won your league (congratulations) and those who didn’t make it and have been looking forward to the off-season well the time is now, trading should still be live and waivers a possibility of remaining open at the moment. If you’re looking ahead to getting an edge of your opponents in 2016, I’ll be dropping some names here that you should either buy or pick-up as your prep your 2016 squad.
DANIELLE HUNTER (DE, MIN):
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I’ve mentioned him many times in the off-season how he should be stashed on your taxi squad (if your league allows) or buried on your bench for depth and upside. Hunter entered the league where many thought he was “raw” and needed time to develop; I thought he was just a freak who needed a little guidance. He has shown superior flashes when opportunity knocked (filling in for Griffen or playing in rotation) and has six sacks on the season (32 tackles, 8TFL and 6 sacks) while also posting 3.5 sacks in the last 3 games (weeks 14-16). Hunter is going to be a force heading into 2016 and should be a staple in the MIN defensive line. If he can get six sacks in rotational play imagine what Hunter could do if he’d get at least 75% of the snaps, should be 10 easily. I’m high on Hunter in dynasty as he’s in my top 25 and will be a strong DL2 option going forward, get him now although his price might’ve jumped a little as he makes his late season run.
OWA ODIGHIZUWA (DE, NYG):
Owa had a rookie season he’d like to put behind him and move forward, he missed the first 3 games of the season then logged a heavy dose of snaps (47) in his debut against the Bills to landing on the IR with multiple injuries that derailed his rookie campaign, a forgettable one at that. Don’t dismiss Owa though as many probably have, the Giants have big plans for him that just been hampered by injuries. If Owa has a healthy off-season there’ll be big plans for Owa and the Giants pass rush attack, he could be in line for a starting job as both JPP and Ayers are pending free agents (don’t expect both back). I can imagine many forgot who Owa is or what he brings to the field, so the time to buy Owa is now as his price will be at his lowest, well worth a stash as he has the upside to become a top 25 DL, nobody else on that NYG front has the ceiling of Owa but his development could take a step back if Spags continues to not use his best players (See: Kennard).
ANTHONY HITCHENS (LB, DAL):
Hitchens is an intriguing LB to watch this off-season as McClain is a FA and Sean Lee’s inability to stay healthy (thankfully he was this season though), but nonetheless I’ll be keeping my eye out on this situation as Hitchens could make a viable jump IF McClain doesn’t resign with the Cowboys. When both (McClain & Lee) healthy, Hitchens was nothing more than a sub-package LB, but when he filled in for McClain or Lee when either were out he filled up the stat sheet (29 tackles, 3TFL, 2 sacks) filling in for McClain first 4 games of the season and when Lee was out in week 15 he put up (10 total tackles, 1TFL) and been pedestrian otherwise. If you have room to stash, Hitchens is worth hanging onto heading into the 2016 off-season because if McClain leaves and Hitchens get his chance to start he’ll return a top 35 value.
NEIRON BALL (LB, OAK):
Talk about battling adversity with Neiron, had a serious medical condition (Brain AVM) back in 2011 and has played inspired ball since. Although he has suffered a knee injury early this season, the Raiders think highly of Neiron and value his development; he was solid against the run and has no problem dropping back into coverage. His versatility, athleticism and high motor helps him play OLB in a 3-4 or move inside in a 4-3 and will compete with Heeney heading into 2016 or battle for his own starting spot at weak-side where he’ll thrive. Like a handful of other players, staying healthy has been his issue not his play on the field, and there’s no doubt he’s earned some playing time in 2016 (if he can’t land a starting gig) and shall return top 45 value as a sneaky LB3/4 the upside to Neiron is he’s capable of playing every down like Malcolm. Keep Neiron on your watch list if you don’t have room to stash or no taxi squad to move him too.
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EJ GAINES (CB, STL):
Rams lost a viable asset to their secondary this off-season as Gaines was lost for the season back in August 2015 after suffering a Lis franc injury. He is a promising & rising corner in this league that was bound to give opposing WR’s trouble as he racked up 70 tackles, 2-int and 15 PD’s as a rookie in 2014. EJ shall be back in no time and ready to roll in 2016, with Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins pending FA’s, Gaines should be relied on heavily even if one or both of Trumaine and Janoris return. I know quite a few IDP players like to stream CB’s/DB’s and there’s an argument for that but at the same time I’m all for targeting CB’s/DB’s that are must have’s in my opinion and EJ is one of them because I’m a believer he’ll be a mainstay as a top 10 CB/top 25 DB with his play and production. He’s probably lying on your waivers right now looking at you, better go grab him and have your CB position filled for 2016, just how much of a believer am I in EJ; well prior to his injury I had him pegged as my CB6/DB18 in my rankings and will still rank him that high in 2016.
Notable IDP’s to keep eye on: Sio Moore (LB, IND), Xavier Cooper (DE, CLE), Frank Clark (DE, SEA), Akiem Hicks (DE, FA), and Howard Jones (DE, TBB).