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IDP Dynasty Watch - Week 11
Steve Gallo
November 13, 2008
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IDP Dynasty Watch is a weekly article that looks at players values for the future (2-4 years).  Also, a player doesn’t have to be a rookie or second year guy to be included but as often as possible I will be focusing on younger players.  However, with that said there are plenty of 30+ year old players that are productive into their mid thirties and would be viable dynasty watch candidates under the correct circumstances.

The theme of this week’s article is BUY LOW!

Derrick Brooks is in his 14 NFL season.  He was drafted 28th in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft.  Coming into 2008 Brooks has accumulated 1,625 total tackles for a yearly average of 125.  Brooks is currently under contract with the Buccaneers thru 2009 and scheduled to be a free agent in 2010.  He did restructure his deal so his cap charge in 2009 is only 3.5 million.  As the top of this article points out you don’t have to be a rookie to have dynasty value but the sun is starting to set on Brooks’s career.  That’s why you need to be buying low on Cato June.  Wait, you didn’t think I was going to suggest Brooks as a dynasty buy low candidate, did you?  Brooks surely is undervalued and could be had on the cheap if you needed to add a 4th or 5th LB but that really is all his value is at this point in time in his career.  This season he has only scored in double digits 33% of the time.  Ok so enough with the misdirection and let’s take a look at Cato June.

Cato June– Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Position: SLB                                                                                                  
Drafted: 6th round (198th overall)
June was once a very highly rated fantasy linebacker.   His value topped out in 2006, where he ranked 9th among all LBs with 254 fantasy points scored for an average of 15.875 points/game (PPG).  From 2004 thru 2006 all June did while a member of the Indianapolis Colts was record 354 tackles (2004: 110, 2005: 102 (13 games) & 2006: 142).  It is no small feat for a LB to record 100 tackles in a season and yet June averaged 118/year for 3 consecutive years.  His average IDP TOP for that 3 year period was .163 but it also increased yearly.  In 2004, June’s IDP TOP was .137 and in 2005 he increased his IDP TOP by almost 30% to .175 and followed that up with his best season in 2006 at .181.  To put that in a bit of perspective, Patrick Willis has been the gold standard at LB for the past year and a half and in 2007 Willis recorded an insane 174 tackles with an IDP TOP of .205.  This year, Willis is still the number one LB with 82 tackles in 9 games and an IDP TOP of .182.  So you can see how productive Cato June can be when given the chance.  Unfortunately, for IDP GM’s June left the Colts for the Buccaneers.  The part that was the dagger in fantasy GM’s hearts was that June was no longer going to be playing the productive WLB position in a Tampa 2 system.  He was now going to take over the SLB starting position for the Buccaneers.  All that did to his fantasy value and stats was made them drop off a ledge into oblivion.  In 2007, June only recorded 69 tackles for 125 fantasy points scored or a lowly 7.812 PPG.  2008, is another year where June’s stats are suffering due his SLB position.  Thru 9 games he has recorded just 39 tackles for 71.50 fantasy points scored and a 7.944 PPG.  So it is easy to see why June would be a buy low candidate.  There might be a few owners that still hold out hope that he will return to form but for the most part he should be one of the easiest LB’s to acquire at this point in time.  When it comes to risk/reward I don’t think you will find a player with a lower risk and high reward ceiling as you will with June.  Yes, the Buccaneers drafted two LB’s in the past two drafts that many IDP GM’s expect to be the heir to Derrick Brooks WLB spot but this year when Brooks came close to missing the first start of his career it was June that was taking snaps at WLB.  Make no mistake, either 2007, 3rd round pick Quincy Black or 2008, 6th round pick Geno Hayes could be the eventual replacement for Brooks but they will more than likely come at a steeper price.  On top of that, they truly are unknown commodities at the NFL level.  If, and that is a big if but one I would be willing to gamble on, June is able to take over for Brooks you very easily could be looking at a top 10-12 LB.  The best case scenario would be the gamble could pay off as early as next year or you may have to wait one extra year.  Just don’t be surprised if you see Cato June rise back up from the SLB ashes to assume a prominent position as a top 12 LB.

The basic definition of IDP TOP (Tackle Opportunity Production) is that it measures the performance of a player based on the number of tackle opportunities that they have.  The higher the IDP TOP the better.  Tackle opportunity is currently being defined as the number of rushing attempts plus the number of completions that a defense faces in a game.  Below is an example to help better understand IDP TOP.

NY Giants Offense has: 26 rushes and 19 completions for a total of 45 tackle opportunities (TOs).
New England Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi recorded 5 solo tackles and 3 assists. 
TOP for Bruschi on solo tackles is .111 (5 divided by 45)
TOP for Bruschi on assists is .067 (3 divided by 45)
TOP for Bruschi on combined tackles is .178 (8 divided by 45)

Green Bay Packers Offense has: 14 rushes and 19 completions for a total of 33 TOs.
New York Giants DB Gibril Wilson recorded 5 solo tackles and 3 assists.
TOP for Wilson on solo tackles is .152 (5 divided by 33)
TOP for Wilson on assists is .091 (3 divided by 33)
TOP for Wilson on combined tackles is .242 (8 divided by 33)

In the above example what TOP helps to illustrate is that just looking at the recorded tackles doesn’t tell the entire story.  Both players recorded 5 solo tackles and 3 assists yet Gibril Wilson was 36% to 37% more productive then Bruschi was.  If Bruschi had achieved the same TOP as Wilson he would have recorded 7 solo tackles and 4 assists.  It might not seem like much but it surely can make a difference.

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