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We have nearly completed three weeks of preseason football, with games still to go this afternoon between the 49ers taking on the visiting Chargers at 4 PM EDT, and another game set to go at 8 PM EDT between the Bengals who take on the Cardinals in at University of Phoenix Stadium. Taking a look at the stat sheet for IDP, what sort of conclusions can we reach?
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First off, don't get overly excited about preseason stats. Teams are playing second and third line players to see what they have to offer. Correspondingly, the first team is seeing limited action, even in the tune up game that Week 3 of the preseason has become. Look at the top five leaders in sacks:
Jay Elliott GB LB (4)
Damontre Moore DE NYG (4)
Ryan Kerrigan LB WAS (3)
Michael Sam DE StL (3)
Tahir Whitehead LB DET (3)
Not exactly the names that leap out at you when you rank IDP, now, are they? Granted, Sam has name recognition, and Kerrigan is in the top 100 linebackers, but none of these guys has top 25 status.
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We see something similar when we look at the IDPs that have put up the top interception and pass defense stats:
Tyler Patmon DB DAL
Steven Johnson LB DEN
Da'Norris Searcy SS BUF
C.J. Wilson CB CHI
Andre Hal DB HOU
Jim Leonhard S CLE
Cary Williams CB PHI
Granted, Searcy has some cache (I have him ranked as the 29th best DB) and Williams is ranked just out of the top 50 defensive backs, but the rest of these guys? Good luck finding them in any set of rankings.
Just to complete the exercise and drive home my point that preseason results are worthless, here are the top tacklers to date:
Steve Beauharnais ILB NE
Tahir Whitehead LB DET
Ryan Shazier OLB PIT
A.J. Edds LB NYJ
Christian Kirksey OLB CLE
Demontre Hurst CB CHI
I have Shazier ranked as the 26th best LB, and Kirksey is draftable in a super deep IDP league, as he clocks in at #58 in my linebacker rankings. The rest of these tackling machines, alas, are not likely to be available for your use on draft day.
The point is, trust your rankings and don't let a shiny preseason stat line turn your head. The talent that you want to put on your roster is likely just idling during August, and you will not find a true reflection of the IDP studs until the games that count kickoff on September 4th.
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If you need a refresher, here is a link to my updated rankings that I posted last week.
As ever, good luck and Godspeed in your fantasy efforts. Make sure to read all of our great articles to help you win your fantasy match ups every week and ultimately bask in championship glory. If you have any fantasy football questions, especially about IDP leagues, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.