Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2014 - Underrated Individual Defensive Players (IDP)

We've identified a group of individual defensive players who are currently underrated and have a chance to produce strong fantasy value going forward.

Jason Pierre-Paul - DE - NYG - JPP was a beast in 2011, racking up 88 tackles and 17 sacks for the New York Giants. Unfortunately, 2012-2013 have been injury prone years for the former South Florida Bull which has lead to his drop in the rankings.  At 25, we think Pierre-Paul still has plenty in the tank, so we're projecting 65-70 tackles and 10 sacks for the DE in 2014.

Sheldon Richardson - DE - NYJ - Coming off of an excellent rookie campaign, the defensive end fits perfectly in the New York Jets 3-4 defensive scheme. He tallied nearly 80 combined tackles and added 3.5 sacks in 2013. Look for him to get increased PT, which should result in a 10% increase in production in 2014.

Everson Griffen - DE - MIN - The Minnesota Vikings let Jared Allen test free agency and find a new home with the Chicago Bears. This leaves the position wide open for Griffen to take over. Griffen has excellent size and the skill to be a contributor, we just need to see the consistency. We feel the defensive end has what it takes, and are forecasting 50 combined tackles and 11-12 sacks in 2014.

Kiko Alonso - LB - BUF - Alonso burst onto the NFL scene in 2013, leading the Buffalo bills with four interceptions in his first four games. The guy has everything needed to be a top 2-3 fantasy LB this year and for a long time. We expect 160-170 tackles, 5 turnovers, 3 sacks and a few passes defensed for the star linebacker in 2014.

Von Miller - LB - DEN - The good news just keeps coming for the former Aggie.  First, Miller is on track for a week 1 return from his ACL injury. Second, Miller has moved on from the suspension issues he endured in 2013. Finally, Denver has Demarcus Ware to rush the quarterback, allowing for more single teams on Miller in 2014.  All this leads to what we expect to be another monster season for Miller. Expect 75 tackles, 15 sacks and plenty of turnovers created this year.

Johnathan Cyprien - S JAX - Cyprien is rated highly in defensive back conversations, so it's difficult to say this second year starter is underrated, but we feel like his abilities will take him to the top in 2014. With a year under his belt, and playing for a team that relies on him, we see Cyprien involved in 140 total tackles and defending 10 passes, putting him in contention for the top Safety in fantasy 2014.

D.J. Swearinger - S HST - In Houston, Swearinger is a bit of a forgotten commodity at the safety position. The former Gamecock is in a great place to make plays in 2014. With J. Clowney and J.J. Watt around the line of scrimmage, and Brian Cushing coming back from injury, Houston's defense will cause some problems for opposing quarterbacks, which will allow Swearinger opportunities to make big plays. We expect over 100 tackles and 6 turnovers from the Safety.

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