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.
A.J. Hawk – Green Bay Packers
Drafted: 2006 1st round (5th overall)
Hawk was a highly sought after LB going into 2006 rookie drafts, especially once it was known he would play WLB (there were some that still thought Hawk would make a very good MLB). Nick Barnett was the incumbent MLB and had played all 47 of his NFL games at MLB for the Packers. However, Barnett was a former college SLB and that helped to give hope to some that Barnett would slide over to make room for Hawk at MLB. However, Barnett kept his starting MLB job and Hawk ended up the starting WLB. There were many fantasy owners happy to see that Hawk was at the very least going to man a productive WLB spot instead of the SLB spot which some thought possible when the Packers drafted Adbul Hodge. Actually, after Hodge was drafted in round 3 you had all sorts of opinions on which player would play which LB spot and every possible scenario was tossed out there by IDPers. Now, over halfway thru his 3rd season Hawk owners find him manning the Packers MLB spot. This move happens to be because Nick Barnett is now out for the season due to an ACL tear. It wasn’t long after the week 10 game that word got out that Hawk would be taking over the MLB spot. All Hawk did was record 7 tackles in a 37-3 win against the rival Chicago Bears. Fantasy owners saw the tackle total and were very happy but Hawk’s coaches saw game tape and Packers LB coach Winston Moss had the following to say about Hawks play at MLB, “I hate to speculate. We’ll take it a game at a time, but he looked awfully good in there. He looked extremely comfortable. He did play to some of his strengths that we liked with him when we evaluated him coming out of college, so if he continues to improve on that, we’ll revisit that question maybe at the end of the year.” Even if it was just one game, hearing a coach say something like this warrants keeping a very close eye on it. Just don’t let that be the sole determining factor about Hawk’s future dynasty value. Hawk has played WLB for his first 41 games in the NFL and he has played it well. As a rookie Hawk recorded 119 total tackles, 3.5 sacks & 2 interceptions which helped him to a 16th overall ranking among all LBs while averaging 14.28 PPG with an IDP TOP of .164. His sophomore season saw a small reduction in his stats (105 total tackles, 1 sack & 1 interception) that in turn dropped him to the 36th overall ranked LB with an average of 12.19 PPG and a .146 IDP TOP. Unfortunately, even after a solid week 11 performance Hawk finds himself ranked as the 61st overall LB. To make matters a bit grimmer is that his IDP TOP thru nine games is down to .097 which shows that Hawk isn’t being as productive with his opportunities. Yet, there is still a glimmer of hope, in week 11 Hawk’s IDP TOP was .189. For comparisons sake, Barnett’s IDP TOP this year thru 8 games was just .116. Both Hawk and Barnett were having disappointing seasons for their owners but either should hardly be written off as top dynasty LBs. I would expect to see both of them bounce back and viewed each as good buy low candidates. Now, Hawk’s value is seeing a spike as many will expect/hope to see him retain the starting MLB job and Barnett’s value has dropped even more with his injury and Hawk’s fine play in week 11. Simply put, Hawk is still a very viable dynasty LB for now and years to come and that is even if he ends up back at WLB. He simply has too much talent to not bounce back and become one of the elite LBs in the game.
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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