The Washington Redskins had no shortage of problems in 2014, including a defense that checked in 20th in the National Football League. That defense remains largely unchanged this year, although there are a few players of interest to IDP owners.
Unfortunately, those players aren’t along the defensive front, where there’s only one middling option of note for fantasy owners in IDP leagues. After posting 11 sacks two seasons ago for the Dallas Cowboys, defensive end Jason Hatcher saw that number drop by half in 2014. Hatcher told Fox Sports that he thinks a rebound is in store with Washington going to more one-gap concepts in 2015. “It’s attack. We’re not sitting back, we’re attacking,” said Hatcher.
With a shallow IDP talent pool up front any sort of bounce-back would be music to the ears of IDP owners, but we wouldn’t go shelling out significant fantasy draft capital expecting that to be the case.
If there was a pleasant surprise for IDP owners in the nation’s capital last year it was likely linebacker Keenan Robinson, who finally stayed relatively healthy in his second NFL season. The result was 109 total tackles and a top-20 fantasy ranking at his position over the first 13 weeks of the season.
Robinson told Stephen Czarda of the team’s website he hopes to build on last year’s numbers this season. “I’m going to get to that point where I know what’s coming beforehand so I can not only put myself in a better position to make plays, but put my team in a better position to make plays,” Robinson said. “That will come with experience.”
Robinson wasn’t an especially effective from an NFL perspective (he ranked 44th among inside linebackers at Pro Football Focus), but IDP owners don’t care about that. They care about the ample tackle opportunities that should keep Robinson in IDP LB2 territory.
Batterymate Perry Riley fared even worse, barely cracking the top 50. Riley’s numbers have now slid in three straight seasons, and while there could be some fantasy appeal to be had, Riley will have to hold off William Compton to keep his starting job first.
The Achilles tear that ended DeAngelo Hall’s season put a great deal of pressure on young cornerback Bashaud Breeland, and Breeland responded for both his NFL team and IDP owners, ranking as a top-10 cornerback in fantasy scoring over the season’s second half. There’s going to be weekly variance, but Breeland is a decent IDP DB3 and quality weekly starter in IDP leagues that require his position.
Some unwise IDP owners may be tempted to chase ghosts by rolling Hall out there one last time in 2015, but he’s 31, coming off a significant injury and there’s talk of scaling back his snaps this year. Don’t pay for the past, or you’ll mess up the present.
No, if there’s real value to be had in the D.C. defensive backfield it’s likely with the winner of the camp battle at strong safety. Whether that’s third-year pro Phillip Thomas or free-agent acquisition Jeron Johnson remains to be seen, but whoever winds up the starter could be a sneaky value play late in IDP drafts this summer.