Top 26 Dynasty IDP Targets Under 26 In 2020: #16
Welcome to the fantasy football’s Top 26 dynasty IDP targets under 26 in 2020. This series of articles is intended to help those fantasy football owners looking to revamp or start a dynasty roster. So why 26 under 26? Because our focus is on a group of fantasy football defensive players that are no older than 25. And have shown to be long term potential IDP assets at the highest level. The kind players we want to have on our rosters as they hit their prime years. And hopefully helping us earn a few titles as the seasons roll by.
Dynasty IDP Targets Ranking Ground Rules
Ranking fantasy football players can vary in opinions. So we will lay out the ground rules on how those IDP hairs were split between these players. Starting with the following things taken under consideration. And making this statement now.
No matter how, when. or why it’s an opinion. And the same can be said on who the players are that are chosen to be in the rankings.
So with that being said, my credentials in IDP knowledge runs around fifteen years now. And much of that time is not just spent on fantasy football data. It also includes researching and keeping up on the latest reports and news. And although “numbers” have to be used to rank. I find that those IDP hairs are so thin to split that normally I’d soon have any player within a difference of ten from any given rank.
The point here is we’ll list the considerations taken into these rankings. And my personal opinions are just that. Because all of the 26 and likely a few that didn’t make my list, boils down to my personal preferences.
Now on to our Top 26 Dynasty IDP Targets under 26 years old for 2020.
Consistency Margin Of Error
2020’s Fantasy Football Top Dynasty IDP Targets: #16
Los Angeles Ram Safety John Jonson
Position: SS/FS – Height/Weight: 6-0, 210lb – Age As Of Jan. 1 2020: 24
Salary / Contract
Note* John Johnson hit the injured reserve early in the season, and for that reason, we did not rank his ratings among the safeties across the board. But sure had to on the performance rating as the number one safety. And would like to note that his solo rating was among players such as Tyrann Mathieu and Justin Simmons. Also going to note, those two known safety IDP studs were nowhere near his overall performance rating with a 50 and 61 respectfully.
20 Yd Shuttle
John Johnson was a Boston College product at safety who seemed to be flying a bit under the radar in the 2017 rookie class. He was a converted cornerback to safety for the Eagles who played very little his freshman year. And then missed time in his sophomore year with an arm injury and did not contribute very much in terms of football statistics in the seven games he did play.
It was his junior season in 2015 he was converted from a cornerback to playing as the strong safety. He went for a modest 61 combined tackles but did record three interceptions in twelve games that season. Johnson did have a very successful 2016 season as a senior. Recording 77 tackles, three for a loss, three interceptions with nine passes defended. He spent the season in the Free Safety role directing the secondary into their correct coverages.
As we mentioned in his college credentials, Johnson was flying under the radar in the 2017 draft. Even though at the combine he was a top performer in a few categories among the defensive backs. More than likely because the entire class was filled with great defensive players from bigger colleges. So when the Rams took him in the third round, it was seen as a bit of a reach by some NFL experts. But then defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has the knack of finding value in players, and this one went on to pay off big.
Johnson didn’t start the season as a starter in his rookie year in 2017. But instead, he played sparingly and contributed mostly with the special team squads. By week five, he had replaced Maurice Alexander as the starting strong safety. Which at the time was notable. Because expectations were Alexander would carry the team at the position for the season.
He then went on to finish the season recording 75 combined tackle, which ended up third-best for the team. What is also notable here is that it was behind linebackers Alex Ogletree (95) and Mark Barron (86). Who both played the entire season to Johnson’s eleven games with the starting defense.
In his second season Johnson recording 119 combined tackles. Which was the second-best in 2018, and was only behind starting middle linebacker Cory Littleton. Who recorded 125 combined tackles on the season. But unfortunately, after a strong start to the 2019 season, Johnson suffered a shoulder injury sending him to the injured reserves and ending his season early.
Fantasy Football Dynasty IDP Targets Summary
As a fantasy football writer, I had thoroughly enjoyed his rookie and sophomore years in the NFL. In 2017, I saw his in-season emergence coming before I ever saw his name out there in the fantasy football community on Twitter. Which I took advantage of in my fantasy football leagues before advising the readers to start acquiring him immediately. Especially to those that were needing the potential top-end IDP option at the designated safety position. And also noting that he was likely on the waiver wires in most leagues, which was exactly where I had found him.
Then in late December of that year, I made my predictions for my 2018 IDP breakout players. Which not only had John Johnson listed, but had Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano named as players that were about to peak for fantasy football purposes. And luckily enough, both did and to a notable point for IDP owners that mattered.
Here is a fun fact for readers that might not be known about. Milano was a Boston College product too and was in the same draft class. And both have had the same major impact on their respected NFL teams as well as in about the same way as each other. Another little tib-bit on Milano (25), he just missed making this under 26 dynasty IDP targets top 26 rankings. And off the top of my head, he would likely be slotted in somewhere between the 27th to 30th spots if we had extended the list.
It is this Writer’s Opinion
It is this writer’s opinion after spending some time updating myself on the current events and news, that Johnson will remain a great dynasty IDP target for the next few years. He is just 24 years old and about to enter his prime physical part of life as a football player. So there is nothing to dislike about him or his situation going forward that stands out. And at the moment there are no indications that he isn’t recovering from or had any setbacks with his shoulder injury. Which is great for his current owners as well as owners looking to draft him in leagues this offseason.
Now let’s talk about a fact that we didn’t cover in his NFL Recap that stands out for fantasy football purposes. Johnson is a playmaker on the field as well as being a tackle machine. All we have to do is refer to those playmaking stats he has in his short NFL career to appreciate that he is. And let’s face it, there are those IDP plays that get the core tackle points and then there are those that separate themselves from the pack by offering us more. And Johnson has done that for us in fantasy football at a high-level since being inserted into our lineups.
So far in his career, he has dominated the stat box in terms of IDP production. Accumulating a total of 245 combined tackles (six for a loss) in just 32 contests as a starter at the strong safety position. More importantly, he has also recorded an additional 24 passes defended with seven interceptions. That is an outstanding indication he is by no means productive by default and that he is intelligent as a football player. He simply has to be able to diagnose on the fly to make those many plays on the ball.
We would be hard-pressed to find another strong safety capable of displaying such ball seeking skills and in such a short period of his career. The only other safety this writer can think of to compare Johnson too is Hall Of Fame free safety Ed Reed. And it is a far cry comparably for the opportunity to make plays on the ball like this from the strong to free safety positions. At least from this writer’s perspective.
A Possible Change
The Rams have recently decided to not renew the contract of the defensive mastermind, Wade Phillips, as the defensive coordinator. Instead, opting to bring in a younger and fresh face among the NFL’s coaching community that spent last season as the Bronco’s outside linebacker coach. So, of course, we did our due diligence and looked into the situation. And all indications are the plan is to remain in the same scheme for the most part. A 3-4 base, but with the likelihood of more sub-packages. The indications are also that the scheme would rely on John Johnson as a key figure, not only by position but as a player.
For our enjoyment, I have included this podcast I came across that includes the new defensive coordinator “take” from their perspective. It was the closest I could find in terms of covering all the bases and results I came to in this fantasy football article.
🎙NEW RAMS PODCAST 🎙— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) January 14, 2020
In the latest episode of "11 Personnel," @Reiner_Jake and I cover:
* The new coordinators!
* Insight from @NickiJhabvala on Brandon Staley
* Other staff changes?
* Farewell, Fassel
(photo by Kirby Lee/ USA Today)
Listen here: https://t.co/NC6m7CaIjx pic.twitter.com/VwOqdZEHQ2
So what about Eric Weddle and second-year player Taylor Rapp? As for Rapp, he showed a huge amount of potential as Johnson’s replacement last season while filling in. And as for Weddle, it sounds like the writing was on the wall and may have been clear to him as the season ended. The Rams do have an optional out in Weddle’s contract this offseason. And Weddle has gone as far already to state that if he isn’t a starter in 2020 he will retire. We can read into that however we like, but it sure sounds like as the Rams planned on making changes that Weddle seen he might not be in those plans since Rapp showed he can play. And also knowing that Johnson will be returning soon, and has earned his way respectfully.
It’s this writer’s opinion that Johnson and Rapp will be the starting combination at safety for the Rams in 2020, in one form or the other. And the one thing we do need to keep in mind is which player plays strong safety and which will be the free safety. As well as the decision by the Rams on what they do with unrestricted free agent linebacker Cory Littleton. After all, leadership is key, especially when transitioning a defense squad to a new format or style of play. And one position may offer more upside than the other in core scoring based on tackles
But in the end, and no matter where Johnson plays, there is no reason we shouldn’t want Johnson as a top dynasty option and on our roster. He has shown that he can produce and do it at a high level with additional playmaking abilities. He has also shown traits that fall in line with either safety position as well. We’ll add both Johnson and Rapp do look like they can play either position at the NFL level. And if we remember right, Rapp was a free safety in college.
So as long as that shoulder is healed and Johnson is at 100% to start the season, he’ll be in position for us as an ever week play in fantasy leagues for the foreseeable future. And the odds are very high that he’ll pick right up from where he left off before the injury. And again help us win on the defensive side of the ball in fantasy football
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