On the rise or past there prime?

By: Robert Kirlin aka: The IDP Guru



With the 2008 NFL Draft over, and a new group of fresh face rookies arriving on NFL rosters, I’d like to take a long look at veteran players to see how this effects there position on the team.


In many cases an NFL veteran may be trying to hold off a young talent, or may still have a year or two left in him and be around long enough to mold the young lad into an NFL caliber player, but how can you tell who’s on the way up, or on the way out?


Thats why its so important to always stay in the know so when you create your own personalized 2008 fantasy football IDPs and rankings - you have covered every angle.


This can be perhaps the hardest decision you have to make because there are so many vetran fantasy football IDP players who have had solid years in the past and we are reluctant to let our heroes go. Trust me, if you have a doubt, it’s better to let him go and take a sure thing.


The first thing I look at when considering vetran NFL Fantasy football IDPs is where the rookie was drafted at. If it was in the first or even second round, and the team drafting him was in the upper tier of the draft, this means the rookie is really going to have to screw up because the team has already made its’ decision as to who will start.


If the team drafted in the lower tier of the NFL draft, then this could be a difficult decision and you really have to pay attention to training camp, which for most teams is just 2 months away. And watching preseason games, in particular the 3rd (or in the case where a team has 5 pre season games the 4th game) because those players who start the game, are probably going to be the ones starting the season barring injuries.


Then there are the fantasy football IDPs who have gone to other teams, either traded away or signed elsewhere as a Free Agent. If this veteran was a star player elsewhere, and the team he left is going with a youth movement like in Miami, then it’s safe to say that a player like Zach Thomas who was signed by the Cowboys is viewed as a viable commodity and is not going to see much time on the bench, again barring injuries.


With any successes I have had in my NFL Fantasy Drafts, especially in IDP, I have had my share of failures as well, although I pride myself on the tireless research I do to make sure that doesn’t happen. Case in point, 2 years ago I drafted Shelton Quarles (age 34) from Tampa Bay who was coming off a great year, but outside of the Tampa area, many people did not even know who he was because the Bucs were not getting the media spotlight that other teams were, still, I was able to get Quarles as a #3 linebacker and even though he played through knee injuries, he still produced solid enough numbers each week to warrant me starting him at various times.


Last year I made the cardinal sin of drafting another 34 year old NFL Fantasy IDP linebacker by the name of Zach Thomas who was statistically coming off one of his best seasons and had been for the most part, free of serious injuries. This was a bad move for me because I know one guy in the league who has always drafted him early and it always paid off for him, I was determined to beat him to the punch and thought I pulled a coup when I was able to draft him just before he picked. He was obviously upset with me, but managed to grab Demeco Ryans who was the NFL’s leading tackler (and point getter in IDP) the year before.


So just a few weeks into the NFL Fantasy season, Thomas goes down with what would prove a year ending injury as he continued to have migranes throughout the season caused by a concusion (something that plagued Thomas earlier in his career), and I was out my top pick at linebacker.


That just goes to show that you should not let emotion or trying to win the championship at your NFL fantasy draft overshadow your plans going in, you should take the best player available, and not try to outdo a fellow owner. Thankfully though, I did enough solid research to come up with 4 other studs at LB and was able to make the playoffs in spite of my stupidity.


So you say to yourself, Okay, great, now what do I do? You’ve told me I should do research, and the pitfalls to look out for, but who is really out there that could make or break my team this year???


Did you really think I wouldn’t name names?


Here’s a small list of 2008 NFL Fantasy football IDP veterans that can get you started:


Atlanta: John Abraham: Though only 30, injuries have taken a toll, and I’m not sure he’ll ever be as good as his Jets days.


Miami: Jason Taylor: His fame as an All Pro aside, Taylor is 34 and his Dancing with the Stars stint has put him at odds with Parcells. Even if he does stay, he’s on a poor defense that is trying to mix in youth, coupled with a Miami offense that is looking at a lot of 3 and outs, this could be a long season for JT.


New York Giants: Michael Strahan: at age 36 at the start of this season, and a Super Bowl under his belt, Strahan is probably going to tire out midway through the season, and will end up splitting time with the most talented part of there team, which is the defensive line.


Tennessee: Jevon Kearse: Age 32, he’s back where he started his career. The “Freak” has not been the same since before he left, and is not going to do much for the Titans.


Dallas: Zach Thomas: Will be 35 at the start of the season, and is expected to anchor the Cowboys defense, if he’s healthy, he’ll be a much needed presence at Inside Linebacker, I just don’t see him staying healthy, at best a #3 linebacker.


Kansas City: Donnie Edwards: Is like the Energizer bunny, but at age 35 and a youth movement in KC, Edwards like Taylor will face tough odds.


Baltimore: Ray Lewis: Age 33 at the start of the season, he has been injured the past few seasons and does not look to be getting any younger, complicated by a new coaching system, and a bad combination of youth and veterans on offense leads me to believe the Ravens “D” will spend a lot of time on the field, and Lewis breaking down early and often. (Could be his last year).


Pittsburgh: James Farrior: Starting the season at age 33, Farrior is more of a cerebral type of player who knows how to position himself to make the play, maybe no longer a #1 pick at LB, but a solid #2.


New England Patriots: Adailius Thomas Age 31 is the young pup in this group, Mike Vrabel will be 33, and Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau are so old that a guy name Ug from the Cro-Magnon league remembers them when they were rookies. The Patriots went with Jerod Mayo LB Tennessee in the first round this year, the first time “EVER” Belichek took a linebacker in the first round. (This is as close to panic as it gets in New England).


Tampa Bay: Ronde Barber: Will be 33 in a league that doesn’t see many solid corners past the age of 29. Can still get it done, but would be better served if he could move to safety.


Philadelphia: Brian Dawkins: Speaking of age, Dawkins will be 34 going into this season, and once again with no significant draft picks to back him up, Dawkins will have to get the job done on his own, and the secondary is a young mans game.


Minnesota: Antoine Winfield: Personally one of my favorite players in IDP because he’s the best tackling corner in the league, but coming into this season he will be 31 and showed signs last year of slowing down.


Hopefully this helps many of you who are in, or plan on playing in a NFL fantasy football IDP league for the first time. I do plan to be back in June with an article on IDP and sometime by mid to late July have my top 50 list at each postion for IDP players at D-Line, LB & DB.