Each week throughout the 2016 season, we will be looking at some of the Individual Defensive Players (IDPs) that stood out for better or worse. With any luck, we will be able to some potential players who can help lead your team to victory while also identify players to avoid.
Max Bullough (ILB – HOU)
A relative unknown entering the season, the inside linebacker was slated to serve in a backup role for much of 2016. That changed in a hurry, however, when starter Brian Cushing went down with a torn MCL Week 1 against the Chicago Bears. Bullough stepped up in his absence, and over the course of roughly three quarters went on to rack up five tackles. With Cushing expected to be sidelined about six weeks, Bullough will be forced into a prominent role and should see ample tackle opportunities. He is a quality waiver wire add who could prove to be a useful IDP asset over the first half of the season.
Isa Abdul-Quddus (S – MIA)
Signed away from the Detroit Lions this offseason, there was some concern about whether or not Abdul-Quddus would be a Week 1 starter. Well, not only did he win the starting job, but he flourished in his new role. Against the Seattle Seahawks, he posted a solid stat line of eight tackles to go along with an interception and two passes defended. While he won’t be posting interceptions each week, the high tackle count is encouraging. He should be good for 6-to-9 tackles a game and is a quality DB2 option.
Danielle Hunter (DE – MIN)
Hunter may have only played 54% of the team’s total defensive snaps in Week 1, but he sure made them count. With those limited snaps, he was able to notch four tackles and a sack, not to mention a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. With performances like that, this second-year pro could be in line for more playing time at the expense of perhaps Brian Robison, the starter in front of him. He won’t be scoring touchdowns each week, but he is a real threat for double-digit sacks and 40-50 tackles, especially if he sees more playing time.
Vic Beasley (OLB – ATL)
We’ve seen what an elite talent can do on limited snaps (see Hunter, Danielle), now let us take a look at the polar opposite of that. On 39 snaps in Week 1 – over 60% of the total defensive snaps for the Falcons – Beasley failed to generate anything meaningful. Couple that with the fact that most sites now have him listed at the less desirable outside linebacker position, and it is clear that this sophomore isn’t trending in the right direction. He can’t be used in all but the deepest of IDP leagues, and even then only as a reserve.
Calvin Pryor (S – NYJ)
Here is another player that did less with more. Pryor played a whopping 51 snaps on defense – 89% of the team’s total – and yet failed to notch even one tackle. Granted, he did leave the field briefly due to injury in the first quarter, but he came back shortly thereafter and did next to nothing. Pryor has failed to live up to his draft billing since being a first-round pick in 2014, and his 2016 season opener did not show any signs of promise. There are better, more stable options at DB than Pryor going forward.
Cameron Wake (DE – MIA)
Once one of the league’s most fearsome pass-rushers, Wake has been relegated to obvious passing-down plays only, which severely limits his production upside. He played on just 35% of the defensive snaps Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, and that is unlikely to increase as the season wears on. Having compiled 70.5 sacks in his seven-year career, Wake will be lucky to even see five this year. His name is far bigger than his game at this point.