In Search of the Next JJ Watt
What an amazingly and yet so inconsistent year from the DL position in the IDP (Individual Defensive Players) world, unless you were one of the lucky ones who drafted JJ Watt, who without a doubt is on a tier all by himself. Let’s take a look at some of Watt’s staggering numbers he has put up in only his second season in the NFL, he racked up 21.5 QB Sacks (5.5 as a rookie) 16 pass deflections and posted 44 Tackles For Loss, the next closet to that is 19 by the Bengals Geno Atkins. I wouldn’t be surprised if majority of JJ Watt owners won their league’s championship as many of my followers & supporters on Twitter has mentioned to me he/she is a Watt owner and dominated the entire league.
Entering 2013-2014 Season, JJ Watt stands alone at #1 (maybe not overall but at the DL spot for sure) and could easily be the 1st IDP taken in drafts (4th round is the earliest I can see someone taking him). Would you pay the price of a 4th round pick for a dominant IDP? Some would pay that price and I’m considering it too especially knowing the inconsistency at the DL spot in 2012. Watt has scored at least 100 more fantasy points then the 2nd ranked DL in all my IDP leagues I’m in (dominant) but it is uncertain if Watt can repeat but I’m not doubting he could come close once again, I believe he’s better than Jason Pierre-Paul and don’t think he’ll slump hard like JPP did in 2012. Jason Pierre-Paul went quite high in drafts this year (I don’t blame you) but he’s come nowhere close to his 2011 production that sky rocketed his value; he had 17 QB Sacks in 2011 to only follow that up with 6.5 QB Sacks in 2012. Fast forward to JJ Watt and his 2013 production, don’t think he’ll dip hard but he won’t get 20 QB Sacks but still a solid bet for at least 14, he’s just that good.
As we say adios to the regular season on the 2012-2013 NFL Season, and sadly fantasy football season has ended, I got a few questions on Twitter in regards who will the next JJ Watt be? Let me tell you that there is none, but there is hope for a few to be dominant next season, or at least break out to where you can say “where’d he come from” because all you can ask for from the DL spot is consistency. I’ve come up with 3 names that could outplay their draft position in 13’ and be a bright spot in the IDP world, neither includes the likes of Cameron Wake (he’s already considered a DL1 tier) and Calais Campbell (has a JPP ceiling) so we’re going to dig a little deeper on 3 guys you may or may not know or considered but questioned whether they’ll be worth a look.
- CARLOS DUNLAP, BENGALS – he’ll be entering his 4th season and posted a 16.7 rating over at PFF. Dunlap totaled 7 QB Sacks, 32 QB hurries, 34 total tackles during a season where he’s listed 1st on the depth chart but doesn’t start? Dunlap is talented enough to put up some great numbers, and is surrounded by ridiculous talent on the Bengals front, he should get a full-run in 2014 and actually start this time around but he also has to stay healthy as injuries plagued his short career so far. One thing Dunlap must improve on though is work on racking up tackles, especially if we’re talking Watt/JPP Level, he will take the next step as he’ll fly under the radar in 2013 as he’ll flirt with a top 10 finish. Ceiling (2008 Mario Williams)
- GREG HARDY, PANTHERS – Another young rising star entering his 4th season and is part of a solid duo in Carolina opposite of Charles Johnson. Hardy posted a career best 12 QB Sacks in 2013 and that number should increase in 2013, he’s a solid bet for at least 50 total tackles and is slowly rising above teammate Charles Johnson, or is he having an easier time getting to the QB because the opposing team is putting focus on Johnson? You can say Hardy can improve on forcing turnovers or deflecting passes but eventually he’ll add a bit to those categories, his tackle totals are more than enough and better than majority of his DL buddies. Hardy will stay afloat in 2013, somewhere in the top 20-25 range and he does have a top 10 upside as he’ll look to improve on a solid 2012 season. Ceiling (2011 JPP, flirts with 15 Sacks and tackle opportunities)
- BRANDON GRAHAM, EAGLES – another player entering his 4th season whose early career has been plagued by injuries. Graham has the talent and skills to be a dominant DE in the league, absolutely loved him at Michigan. In the 4 games he’s taken over when Babin got released, he posted 22 total tackles, 4 QB Sacks, 4 TFL, 1 FF and 1 PD which isn’t too bad, over a season that amounts to 16 QB Sacks. In spot duty he’s received a rating of 28.7 at PFF, he gets to the QB. Expected to start in 2013 Graham should be on everyone’s radar as we all got a sample size of what he can do, and thankfully he’s finally healthy (another reason why Babin got released) and with Cole on the decline and another young buck in Vinny Curry ready to take over, this can be a very young yet strong front 4 in Philadelphia who should go back to what they’ve been good at for years, getting to the QB and applying pressure. Graham can easily finish in the top 15 next season and definitely can have that “JJ Watt” type effect on your squad. Ceiling – (2012 Greg Hardy)