IDP Stock Watch - Free Agency Edition
By Joe Goodwin
Every year, free agency hits, and top tier talent switches teams in search of a better deal or better situation. We will take a look into those free agents and exactly how their new teams and new situations impact their IDP value for the upcoming season.
The Minnesota Vikings brought in Marcus Davenport in hopes he can return to his 2021 form. Last year, Davenport recorded a half sack for the Saints as he failed to break double digit fantasy points in all but one game last year. In theory, Davenport should improve those sack numbers in Minnesota. Davenport is a solid tackler and I believe he will slightly improve his numbers from last year to around 50 tackles this year, while improving his sack numbers into the 5 or 6 range. It is for those reasons that Marcus Davenport’s STOCK IS UP. Let’s hope he can return to his 2021 form and be fantasy relevant in deeper IDP leagues.
In 2022, Bobby Okereke notched a career-high 151 tackles for the Colts. Heading into the 2023 season, Okereke signs with the NY Giants in the hopes of, not just replicating that number, but exceeding it. However, the Giants only had 1 player exceed 100 tackles last year (Julian Love) who has departed the Giants for the Seahawks. Alongside one of my favorite 2nd Year IDP Surges in Micah McFadden, I think Bobby Okereke will flourish under Wink Martindale’s defense. For those reasons, I have Bobby Okereke’s STOCK UP.
Cameron Sutton has joined the Lions for the 2023 season. With the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sutton had 15 passes defended with 43 total tackles. Although passes defended is a stat that can regress by no fault of the player, I don’t see a massive regression for Sutton; I envision still being between 10 and 15. The Lions added pieces to the defensive backfield (including CJ Gardner Johnson), so there is no obvious “island” that exists. Sutton should be tested just as much as last year and, with that, the opportunity to make plays. I love Aaron Glenn as a coach and he will find the best way to use Sutton. Cameron Sutton’s STOCK IS UP heading into the 2023 season.
Coming from the Bengals, Bates will join the Falcons defense for the 2023 season. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand, Bates can pair up with Richie Grant to form a solid safety group for years to come in Atlanta. On the other hand, Bates is joining a defense that doesn’t create a lot of pressure on opposing offenses and forces DB’s to work a lot on every play. Bates will likely be forced to fly around the field and be a playmaker in all 3 phases for the Atlanta defense. Last year’s 71 tackles were a career low. I fully expect him to record closer to 100 tackles for the season. For those reasons, I see Bates’ STOCK IS UP for this upcoming year.
The Arizona Cardinals allowing Zach Allen to depart via free agency was a head scratcher considering JJ Watt retired. However, some of the things Allen does best are not as easily seen on stat sheets; not to mention a hand injury that kept him out for the last 4 games of the season. The Denver Broncos made a great football decision in signing Allen. Last year’s sack total of 5.5, 47 tackles, and 10 tackles for loss were solid for a DL. His 8 passes defended were tied for the league lead for DL’s. Heading into 2023, I expect Allen to continue his ascension into the top tier of DL’s in IDP as his playing time should remain in a similar snap share (around 50-60%), but be around a group with more overall talent than the Cardinals defense. It is for those reasons Zack Allen’s STOCK IS UP for 2023 and an eye on Allen joining the fantasy elite on the defensive line.
How many former Eagles can be on this list? TJ Edwards left the Eagles for the “up and coming” Chicago Bears. And with Edwards, the Bears also added Tremaine Edmunds. A very curious move for the Bears to ship off Roquan Smith last year, only to sign two linebackers this year to replace him. Last year, TJ Edwards had a breakout for the Eagles recording 159 total tackles. For the most part, Edwards has proven he can be a tackling machine as he finished last year as a top 5 linebacker in most IDP formats. I also feel like the Eagles defensive line occupied a lot of attention to free up the linebackers to make plays. Will the Bears front line be able to do the same? For now, Edwards’ STOCK IS NEUTRAL until we see exactly how he is used. I would monitor him closely since I feel like he could be a “down” candidate if opposing team’s blockers get to the second level. One of Edwards’ weaknesses are shedding blocks. There is not a lot of room for growth for Edwards long term, let’s just hope he can maintain his production from last year.
Like Edwards, Tremaine Edmunds is joining the Bears for the 2023 season. Unlike Edwards, Edmunds is not “just” breaking out. Edmunds has been a top tier linebacker in IDP for years. He was an instant hit with the Bills when he was drafted as a 1st rounder in 2018. Now, Edmunds will need to prove that the big money contract was not a mistake. I feel that last year was not Edmunds’ best season, so don’t base any predictions off of one year. Edmunds has been an IDP “go-to” for the past few years and should remain that way. I don’t see a huge uptick in overall IDP performance from Edmunds, but rather his STOCK IS NEUTRAL for the upcoming year. Like Edwards, the front 4 of the Bears will need to eat up a lot of blockers for the linebackers to truly be dominant. The Bears have a long history of great linebackers, and Edmunds may etch his name on the list soon enough.
Juan Thornhill is switching from the Word Champion Chiefs to the Cleveland Browns for the 2023 season. In 2022, Juan Thornhill had an up and down season. In 9 games, Thornhill amassed double digit fantasy points and in 5 games, scored less than 5. In order to be a dependable DB in IDP, a player must have more consistency to be a weekly starter. With 71 tackles, 9 passes defended, and 3 interceptions, Thornhilll was a serviceable DB in most formats that started more than one. However, in order to move into the upper tiers of IDP, Thornhill will need to record 90 to 100 tackles and maintain his other numbers to do so. I do not see Thornhill taking that type of jump in his tackling. For that reason, I believe Juan Thornhill’s STOCK IS NEUTRAL heading into 2023. He should be able to maintain last year’s numbers with the Browns, I just don’t see the growth; especially with Martin Emerson, Grant Delpit, and Denzel Ward all buzzing around in the defensive backfield that could potentially take away opportunities to make big plays.
Erick Kendricks has been a model of consistency for the Minnesota Vikings in his first 8 seasons in the NFL. Now, Kendricks gets to play on Sundays for the Los Angeles Chargers; presumably to take the spot left vacant by Drue Tranquill. Last season, Kendricks recorded over 20 fantasy points in 8 games (including the playoffs). My biggest concern for Kendricks is his age. At 31 years old, can Kendricks maintain a 60 to 70% snap share each week? I personally do not believe he can. However, the Chargers are showing a lot of confidence in his ability to do so by not going out and signing more linebackers to a fairly young group. For now, Eric Kendricks’ STOCK IS NEUTRAL. I do not see an increase in his stats, but it appears the Chargers are willing to give him every opportunity to stay on the field and do what he did last year for the Vikings.
CJ Gardner Johnson
CJ Gardner Johnson is a player that bet on himself and signed a 1 year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022. CJ's hopes of a long term deal with guaranteed money never materialized and Gardner Johnson signed another 1 year deal; although this time, with the Detroit Lions. In 2022, CJGJ had a career season with 67 total tackles, 6 interceptions, 8 passes defended, 1 sack, and 5 tackles for loss; all in 12 games for the Eagles. With 2 outstanding cornerbacks on the outside, the Eagles allowed CJGJ the ability to roam around the field and make plays. Does he have that same ability with the Lions? Based on what we see now, the answer is a soft NO; Okudah and Sutton are both capable cornerbacks, but they are not at the level of James Bradberry and Darius Slay. And to be honest, I’m not 100% sure how the Lions plan on using CJ in their defense. I can see CJGJ being a hybrid DB where he plays some safety, some corner just depending on packages and situations. For that reason, I don’t see the same type of season for CJ with the Lions. The talent is there, but I don’t know what his role is going to be for the Lions. As an IDP player, he is worth having in deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to add him in shallower leagues. CJ Garder Johnson’s STOCK IS DOWN.
Another 2022 Philadelphia Eagle heading off to another team. This time, the San Francisco 49ers are the beneficiaries of the Eagle cast off. Hargrave had a career year with 11 sacks and 60 total tackles. He now joins a 49ers defense that is just as explosive on the edge, which will free up one-on-one’s for the big guys in the middle. It appears the 49ers want their front line to take up blockers, so the linebackers and defensive backs can make plays. This does concern me a bit about Hargrave’s ability to keep his tackle numbers the same as last year. And with 11 sacks from last year being a career high, I am concerned that number will also go down. It is for those reasons, I have Javon Hargrave’s STOCK DOWN. Hargrave is a great NFL player, but his best IDP season may have already happened.
Was there any other free agent signing that fans across the NFL wanted to see more than Bobby Wagner returning to the Seattle Seahawks? Last season for the LA Rams, Wagner continued to rack up tackles with 140 total tackles. Wagner also notched a career high with 6 sacks. Since Jordyn Brooks is currently recovering from an ACL injury, Wagner should not see any drop in snaps. However, once Brooks is healthy, I believe Wagner, Brooks, and Bush will split snaps depending on situations. It is for that reason I believe Bobby Wagner’s STOCK IS DOWN for the upcoming year. It isn’t a knock on Wagner at all. Instead, its acknowledgement of how great he has been for so long, it was only a matter of time before his playing time and production started to decrease.
In 2022, Julian Love saw his overall production skyrocket as he recorded 124 tackles, with 5 passes defended and 2 interceptions. Love is joining a Seahawks defense that is young and talented with the likes of Tariq Woolen, Mike Jackson, and Quandre Diggs. There are even rumors the Seahawks may draft a DB in round one of this year’s draft which creates even more competition for playing time. I think Love saw his best statistical year with the Giants. This defense with Brooks and Wagner up the middle and the CB’s young and talented, Love will not approach the 124 tackles he did a year ago. It is more realistic to expect 85 to 95 tackles with 2 interceptions and 5 passes defended. It is for those reasons, I have Julian Love’s STOCK DOWN for the 2023 season.
Many of these players' situations could change after the 2023 NFL Draft. It is currently too hard to predict what teams will do to speculate in this article.
After the draft, I will be back to update this list and may even include a few more depending on how the draft unfolds.
Did I miss a free agent you wanted to hear about?
Hit me up on twitter @JGoody77 and let’s discuss.
Full time teacher, full time fantasy sports enthusiast. I try to look at fantasy sports through my own lens and share that vision with my readers I love to explore and find new, and exciting fantasy football options including: C2C, dynasty, IDP, and Devy. See me on Twitter @JGoody77
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