Keep, Trade, Cut 2022 NFL IDP Linebackers
This is the first article of a series where will we examine a list of players that IDP managers should keep, trade or cut. Our focus will be from a Dynasty perspective. During the course of this series, we will discuss players from the following positional groups: Linebacker, Safety, and Defensive Line. We will also analyze the contributing factors impacting our decisions on whether we should keep, trade, or cut the mentioned players. In this segment of keep, trade, or cut, we will be discussing the NFL IDP Linebackers. We will go over any off-season changes that are relevant to the player whether good or bad. We’ll also discuss what we project their roles will be going into the new season and how it impacts their fantasy values. We will analyze factors such as the depth chart, team defensive scheme, snap counts, and tackle percentages. After analyzing the player I will offer my recommendations on whether you should keep, trade, or cut the player.
Denzel Perryman will playing in a new defensive system under new DC Patrick Graham. The Raiders will be changing from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 scheme. Complicating matters for Perryman is that he isn’t particularly good in coverage. Graham prefers to play dime coverages on passing downs. This likely doesn’t bode well for Perryman’s snap counts going into the season. Graham is likely to pull Perryman off the field on passing downs. Veterans Divine Deablo and Jayon Brown are better coverage Linebackers. Perryman played on 83% of the team’s defensive snaps last season. Under the new scheme I’m projecting Perryman’s snap counts to dip somewhere into the 60% range. IDP owners should consider him more of an LB2 this season rather than the top 10 LB he was last season. Perryman owners should sell high on him before the season starts. Recommendation: TRADE!
After his release from the Texans, Zack Cunningham went from a 3 down LB to a 2 down LB with the Titans. The Titans often went into a dime formation on passing downs. Last season David Long and Jayon Brown handled dime LB duties for the Titans. Cunningham’s snap rate dropped to a mere 67.5% in his 4 regular season starts with the Titans. With his declining role, he only averaged 6.5 combined tackles per game. By contrast, Cunningham averaged 9.6 tackles per game in his 5 starts with the Texans in which he played 100% of the snaps. With his move to the Titans, his fantasy value went from a top 5 LB to an LB2 at best. Cunningham’s role isn’t expected to expand this season. IDP owners should sell him now while his value is still high. Recommendation: TRADE!
After leading the team in tackles for the past two seasons, the Eagles allowed Alex Singleton to leave during free agency. The Denver Broncos ended up signing him to a 1-year deal worth the veteran minimum of just over $1 million dollars. His salary indicates that the Broncos view him more of a depth piece rather than as a starter like he was with the Eagles. In order for him to retain his fantasy value, he will need to beat out 2nd-year veteran Jonas Griffith. This may be easier said than done as early reports have advised that Griffith was impressive during mini-camp and he has taken all the reps with the starters. All indications have Griffith projected to enter training camp as a starter over Singleton. With Singleton likely being relegated to backup duties this season, he’s a drop candidate in standard-sized leagues. Recommendation: CUT!
Tremaine Edmunds is in the final year of his rookie contract with the Bills. The Bills aren’t interested in offering him a contract extension. The team also drafted his likely replacement in 3rd round LB Terrell Bernard. The truth be told, Edmunds has mostly been a vanilla fantasy option in his 4-year career. His highest tackle output was 121 combined tackles in which he recorded in his rookie season. He just simply hasn’t shown much of a ceiling as he continues to produce at an LB3/4 level the past three seasons. One of the main issues with Edmunds is that he offers very little in the big-play department. He averages just 1 interception and 1 sack per season. Edmunds also has failed to force a fumble or recover a fumble in the last 3 seasons. Edmunds’s owners should be looking to sell him for a player that offers a higher ceiling. Recommendation: TRADE!
Injuries have prevented 4th-year veteran Drue Tranquil from having a fantasy breakout. He played a mere 5 snaps in week 1 of the 2020 season before blowing out his knee. Last season Tranquil missed 3 games due to injuries and a covid-related illness. Tranquil walks into this season with a full bill of health. He also has less competition on the depth chart this season. This Chargers allowed leading tackler Kyzir White to walk during free agency. From all indications, Tranquil is set to be the #1 LB on the depth chart and he should play an every-down role this season. It also should be noted that Tranquil has averaged an elite 16% tackle rate in his career. With his role set to increase, Tranquil has LB1 upside this season. IDP owners should hold on to Tranquil with his fantasy stock trending upwards. Recommendation: KEEP!
Devin Bush Jr.
After being drafted 10th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Devin Bush hasn’t lived up to his draft stock. Bush’s fantasy stock has been on a downward trajectory for the past two seasons. Bush only recorded 70 combined tackles and posted a mediocre 9.1% tackle rate in 2021. His highest tackle output was a whopping 109 tackles which occurred in his rookie season. To be fair, Bush did miss 11 games after he was lost for the season due to a knee injury in 2020. However, he hasn’t performed very well when he’s been on the field. In fact, Bush graded out as one of the worst LBs last season with a 34.4 PFF grade. His poor play was a contributing factor in the Steelers finishing dead last in run defense last season. Mini camp reports have indicated that Bush hasn’t looked impressive. Bush is nothing more than a bye-week fill-in. He’s an LB4/5 with no upside. Recommendation: CUT!
Mykal Walker is oozing with talent but he hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunity for playing time. He’s had to play a reserve role behind veterans Deion Jones and Foyesade Oluokun. However, there’s optimism that Walker will get his chance to play a major role this season. For one, Oluokun left the Falcons and signed with the Jaguars as a free agent. Also, it’s still up in the air if Jones(shoulder surgery) will be on the Falcons roster by the time the season starts. In the meantime, Walker has impressed the coaching staff during practices. Reports are that he’s been practicing with the 1st team defense all off-season. The path to playing time seems to be clear for Walker this season. Walker has shown a lot of upside when given the playing time. Walker notably had the game-winning pick 6 off of Cam Newton in a game against the Panthers last season. As he prepares for his first season as a full-time starter, Walker appears to be on the verge of a breakout. Recommendation: KEEP!
So far, Patrick Queen hasn’t lived up to the expectations of a 1st round draft choice. He graded out poorly last season with a 43.5 PFF grade. His play on the field and fantasy production have been very mediocre. Last season Queen recorded a pedestrian 98 combined tackles in 17 games. He has shown very little upside as he only had one double-digit tackle game in 2021. He also had 7 games where he recorded less than 5 combined tackles last season. Complicating matters for Queen this season is the arrival of 1st round pick Kyle Hamilton. Hamilton figures to spend a lot of time in the box and he could take away snaps from Queen on passing downs. Queen doesn’t appear to have much upside beyond an LB3 in fantasy. Recommendation: TRADE!
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