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Defensive Position Rankings

“Amateur Ward” Over-valued or Under-Valued IDP Rookies

Unlike offensive players, it’s hard to get an accurate reading on a defensive player’s ADP, much less rookie IDP player’s ADP. I’m not going to put myself, or yourself, through all that. Instead, what I’m going to do is simply tell you each of these three players are either over or undervalued come draft day, and what their ultimate contribution could be this season.

Landon Collins (S/NYG)- The simple fact is rookie safeties hardly ever live up to the billing, and Collins should be no exception. He is is a bruising hitter, can track the ball, and get downhill to deliver help in the run game. The problem is he does not help address the Giants gaping hole in the secondary: lack of press coverage and the ability to recover quickly. If you look at the stats from the Giants from 2014, take out Price Amukamara’s high ranking against the pass when he allowed 33 receptions on 63 targets for two allowed scores and one pick, and the Giants pass coverage was even more porous than the 12.8 yards per reception and 260.9 yards per game against opposing receivers they allowed. Where Collins should be an immediate help is limiting players for yards after the reception and being the physical threat the Giants need. While Amukamara will be the man to hold the unit together in coverage, Collins will play the last line of defense, and be relied upon to sit back and diagnose plays from the free safety position. The advantage of his position from a fantasy perspective, is he will come unblocked on run plays which will pad his tackle total. He is a worthy investment as your third safety, but is overvalued in most leagues as he is expected to be an immediate impact player for the Giants secondary, but will have a sizable learning curve in 2015. (Photo courtesy of usatoday.com)

Jake Ryan (ILB/GB)- Those fantasy owners looking for a true sleeper at linebacker, look no further than Packers rookie Jake Ryan. The Packers fourth round pick from Michigan was an underrated quantity in the NFL draft, but figures to pay immediate dividends for McCarthy and Co. After registering 112 tackles last season at Michigan, the Packers are wise to give this kid a shot at a starting gig inside with Sam Barrington, who I myself like very much this season. If Ryan can handle the inside gig, it would allow the Packers run defense to be instantly better than it was at any point last season, as it was horrible before the packers moved Matthews inside. The reason the Packers moved Matthews inside last season was because they were 32nd in run defense coming out of their bye-week versus the Bears. The first game they tried Matthews inside, they completely shutdown the Bears run game with him inside. In the interim, Matthews will see some time inside, but Green Bay would like to see more of Matthews outside, but only if Ryan can handle the inside duties of stopping the run, penetrating the offensive line, and making plays. Scouts are split on whether Ryan profiles as an every down backer, but these fears should be assuaged as Ryan has been impressing in camp with great versatility and adaptability to play any linebacker position the Packers ask him to. He tends to get caught up in blocks and be stiff-hipped, but has a knack for the football and will be a steal come draft day for any prospective fantasy owner looking for a quality linebacker in the latter rounds. (Photo courtesy of ksl.com)

Randy Gregory (DE/DAL)- I will never be a staunch advocate of Gregory, but do think fantasy owners need to pay attention to his name on draft day. We are all aware of the off-field issues that he had coming into the the NFL Draft and questions about whether or not he could be a full-time defensive end, but he could be the Cowboys best answer at the position starting this season. He was one of the best pure pass rushers in the draft, along with Vic Beasley (ATL) and Dante Fowler (JAX), but had the most questions about what type of long-term role he would have. Looking at the Cowboys current talent at DE, Demarcus Lawrence has one spot locked down and Gregory is the favorite to open the season at the other end position with Greg Hardy suspended to open the season. Already in the preseason, Gregory has shown the ability to spin off blockers and get off the ball quickly to get great looks at the quarterback. Like most rookies, he is going to be a project and must work on his technique, and not getting re-routed as much as he did in college. He has some of the same pedigree as Demarcus Ware did when he came into the league. (Photo courtesy of si.com)

Make no mistake about it! Last season, the Dallas pass rush was one of the worst in the league, led by Mincey with 6 sacks. But this year’s core of Gregory, Lawrence, and Hardy could become one of the leagues most disruptive pass rush trios, quickly. Fantasy owners would be wise to take a flier on Gregory as a bye-week filler to start the season, but expect him to be one of your top DEs by season’s end. Yes, even staunch non-believers can be turned around on players.

Not surprisingly, this one was slightly easier for me to write because I am more attuned to defense, having specialized in it the past three years for Major League Fantasy Sports. If you need any defensive advice or insight on players, feel free to hit me up.

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Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday September 13th from 11-12:45pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Sports radio show sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. We will be taking live call in questions at 646-915-8596. We will be breaking down everything fantasy related for the coming days games.

Our guests include Davin Joseph, Coach Jeff Nelson, and Coach Steve Swinson. Davin is a 2-time Pro Bowl guard, and former first round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006. Jeff Nelson is a defensive coach from White Hall H.S. in PA, a 7 year Major League Fantasy Football veteran, and a 2-time champion. Steve Swinson is the defensive coordinator for Lewis Cass H.S. in North Central Indiana, and a MLFF league participant. Come join a lively discussion.
If you can’t make it to the live airing you can always download the podcast at I-Tunes or Google Play stores. Search for “Sports Palooza Radio Show”. Android owners download “Podcast Republic” and then search on podcast republic for “Sports Palooza Radio Show.”
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(Click the BLUE link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Football Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Zak Sauer for Major League Fantasy Football Weekly on Tuesday September 15th from 8-10pm EST. This show is your one-stop shop for a weekly recap and what to focus on for the coming week in fantasy football. We will be discussing key games, and performances from players from the prior week’s games. We will also prepare you for the coming week in regards to waiver wire claims, and a break down of the Thursday night game. This is a live call in show so feel free to do so at 323-870-4395.

Our guest this week is Matt Barkman. Matt is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, and his articles publish every Saturday morning through out the season.

You can also listen to the recorded version of the show afterward if you can not listen live. You can find the podcast on I-Tunes, or Podcast Republic. Search for Major League Fantasy Football Weekly.

I am a recent college graduate from a small liberal arts school in Atlanta, GA. I'm a sports junkie and a diehard Atlanta sports fan.

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