As the flurry of rookie drafts continues and we survey the landscape of the league in its nascent 2017 guise, it is instructive to pause and take stock. Player and coach movement in the NFL constantly creates and destroys opportunities, causing a domino effect of downstream change that can turn IDP studs into afterthoughts.
If you are one of the many fantasy owners who, like most of us, has a life outside of this wonderful hobby, it can be easy sometimes to switch off and let what appear to be insignificant offseason activities slip under the radar. Now, that is not to say that all the so-called puff pieces we consume during the barren summer days of the news cycle are filled with actionable data; rather, they represent the latest point in a series of data points.
If we act on these trends early enough, we can get a leg up on the pile in our leagues and be ahead of the game while your fellow owners are floundering in reams of statistics and news reports.
Like a stock market, we have to be discerning with our choices and act at the right time, but which players are trending up and which are trending down towards obscurity?
Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
The first instinct among the IDP cognoscenti when they hear a 3-4 defensive end being touted as the next big thing is healthy scepticism – and I can completely understand that – but Jones is in a different class. A physical specimen who made a big impression in his rookie season, Jones played a little over 50% of the snaps as veterans like Dontari Poe and Jaye Howard were rotated in. The 2017 iteration of the Chiefs’ defensive depth chart speaks for itself: apart from Allen Bailey, no other player has the talent or opportunity of Jones. Full disclosure: I am higher on his prospects than any other FBG staff member, and I believe doubling his tackle count (27 total tackles in 2016) and contributing a few more big plays is well within his reach. Gathering talented defensive linemen is always a sound strategy; Jones is poised to prove that point in 2017.