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In fantasy football, there are several new trends: daily leagues, dynasty leagues, and individual defensive player leagues.  This weekly column will combine two of those by discussing two young IDPs.  I will give my scouting thoughts on how they paulwplayed a particular week.  Today I will be discussing the young Atlanta Falcons linebacker core of second year Paul Worrilow, second year Joplo Bartu, and rookie Prince Shembo.

Paul Worrilow

During the preseason, I got drawn to the big play ability of Worrilow.  He sees the play as it is developing and flows well to attack the ball carrier.  In coverage, Worrilow is athletic enough to keep up with most tight ends, but is not an elite pass defender.  The young backer sheds blockers quickly, stepping up into the play instead of around, and is very useful applying inside pressure with a strong pass rush up the middle when called upon.  Worrilow is the leader of this defense.

In the first game of the season against the Saints, Worrilow impressed.  The backer steps up, takes on blockers, and gets rid of them in a hurry to take down ball carriers. He dropped back into pass coverage and tackled the catch (stopping the offensive player right after they caught the ball).  Worrilow played closer to a strong safety at times than a typical linebacker keeping the play in front of him including the likes of Marques Colson and Jimmy Graham. The young linebacker has the quickness and vision to flow directly to the ball.  I think he got caught out-of-place only once the entire game. Worrilow was far and away the best defender on the Falcons Sunday.  There is no reason to believe that he will not finish at least as a top ten linebacker in fantasy, heck he might finish top five.

Joplo Bartu

Due to injuries last season, Bartu got his opportunity to start beside Worrilow.  The second year line backer is more of a thumper than Worrilow.  Bartu is better against the run than versus the pass, but can be caught flat-footed out of position.  Unlike Worrilow, Bartu uses his brute strength to get his point across.  There were several times this backer would come in and attempt to strip the pigskin from the running back once another defender had stood them up.  He doesn’t always see the play developing quickly enough and gets caught out of position.  Bartu got taken off the field a quite few times in third and longs.  He made the most of his opportunities though.   The backer made a touchdown saving tackle against Colston to keep the Saints from scoring in the fourth quarter, and then he recovered a Colston fumble in overtime that set up the Falcons gaming winning field goal.  I would roster Bartu as a fourth or fifth linebacker to play on bye weeks, but he should not be considered a trusted source of fantasy points.

Prince Shembo

The rookie flashed his athleticism at times in the preseason, getting a limited amount of time with the ones.  He is a better three down backer than Bartu, but isn’t the physical force that Bartu is.  The young backer came in a few times to spell Bartu during the Saints game.  He provided good pressure on the quarterback and moves laterally quickly.  Shembo is a better nickel backer than Bartu, but he does not have the big hitting thumper nastiness that is needed on running downs.  I look forward to seeing how his career progressing in the NFL.

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