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IDP Dynasty Watch - Week 14
Steve Gallo
December 4, 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.

Akeem Jordan – Philadelphia Eagles
Position: WLB
Drafted: 2007 Undrafted College Free Agent
A couple of weeks ago just prior to the Ravens game it was announced the Jordan would be starting at WLB for the Eagles over Omar Gaither.  Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson initially stated it was for matchup reasons with regards to Ray Rice.  Later, Johnson was also quoted as saying they (Eagles) needed more production from the WLB position.  After taking a look at the numbers it sure was pretty easy to see what Johnson was talking about.  Through week 10 Omar Gaither had recorded 54 tackles which put him on pace to finish the year with 84 tackles.  That would have been the lowest tackle total for Eagle’s starting WLB’s over the past 3 years.  In 2006, Eagle’s starting WLB’s {Matt McCoy (10 games), Omar Gaither (5 games) & Shawn Barber (1 game)} recorded 102 tackles and in 2007 WLB starters {Takeo Spikes (14 games), Stewart Bradley (1 game) & Akeem Jordan (1 game)} recorded 98 tackles.  So two things are apparent, one being that the Eagle’s WLB position can be productive and two that Gaither was not being as productive in his role as WLB starter.  The reason I am pointing out these numbers is that there are times when opportunity will lead to IDP success and other times when pure talent will trump a poor scheme to produce good numbers too.  Considering that Jordan was an undrafted free agent we will file him under the opportunity side.  It should be noted that just because someone goes undrafted doesn’t mean they don’t have talent but it is safe to say they won’t have a superior pedigree like a Patrick Willis.  Jordan & Gaither surely made an impression on the coaching staff because Takeo Spikes was not brought back this year and it was Jim Johnson saying that he was happy with their young LBs.  Now Jordan finds himself thrust into a starting job and his two week tackle total is slightly higher than the past two years.  For IDP owners the jury may still be out on Jordan but the Eagles seem to be committed to him as their WLB going forward.  In order to get a better handle on what his future fantasy value could possibly be we should take a look at the production that the starting WLB has had for the Eagles.

2006
Games Started Name Tackles Tackle Opportunities IDP TOP
10 Matt McCoy 57 510 .112
1 Shawn Barber 6 241 .128
5 Omar Gaither 39 47 .162
16 TOTALS 102 798 .128

McCoy was looked at very favorably by the Eagles as he was a 2nd round selection (63rd overall) in the 2005 draft.  He started the 1st ten games of the year before his poor performance caused the Eagles to pull the plug on him as a starter.  What is eerily similar to 2008 is that both starters lost their jobs after 10 games started and their IDP TOP production was almost exactly the same  .112 (McCoy)  vs .117 (Gaither).   The 102 tackles compiled by the three starters broke down to 6.375 tackles/game.  Over the course of the final 5 games of 2006 Gaither looked to be the future for the Eagles at WLB.

2007
Games Started Name Tackles Tackle Opportunities IDP TOP
14 Takeo Spikes 86 621 .138
1 Stewart Bradley 6 48 .125
1 Akeem Jordan 6 46 .130
16 TOTALS 98 715 .137

Takeo Spikes was acquired prior to the 2007 season and instead of Gaither remaining at WLB he was inserted as the starting MLB for the entire season.  Gaither was inconsistent and never came close to posting stud numbers from the MLB position like Jerimiah Trotter had in past seasons.   While the total tackles for Eagles starting WLBs declined some from the previous year they also saw their tackle opportunities decrease by 83 but still were able to average 6.125 tackles/game.   Jordan got the first start of his career in week 17 and as you can see he posted respectable numbers.  Jordan also got substantial playing time in week 16 where he recorded 8 tackles.

2008

Games Started

Name

Tackles

Tackle Opportunities

IDP TOP

10

Omar Gaither

54

462

.117

2

Akeem Jordan

13

83

.157

12

TOTALS

67

545

.123

Two games really isn’t enough time to evaluate how Jordan will respond over the long run but at the very least his performance is encouraging.  His production is very similar to what Gaither’s production was back in 2006 when he started the final 5 games of the year.  At this point in time let’s just hope that Jordan can sustain it and not end up as inconsistent and taking a nose dive like Gaither did.  Hopefully, now that Stewart Bradley is entrenched as the starting MLB it will allow Jordan to stay focused on his WLB position and not have to worry about learning a new position and then switching back again like happened to Gaither.  What is easy to see is that just like in 2006 there was room for much improvement from the WLB position and just like in 2006 so far Jordan is delivering.  If Jordan is able to hit the previous 2 year average of 6.25 tackles/game then that makes him rosterable in dynasty leagues as he would be a 100 tackle LB and if he can attain an IDP TOP of .160 and the Eagles average 47 tackle opportunities/game then you would be looking at a 120 tackle LB.

*IDP TOP
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.

Example:
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.

If you have players that you would like to see featured in this weekly article feel free to email your requests to idpsteve@gmail.com.

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