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In fantasy football, there are some new trends that I enjoy writing about: 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 vaccaroon how they played a particular week.  Today I will be discussing the Jets linebacker Demario Davis and Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro.

LB-Demario Davis, NYJ- In Rex Ryan’s defense, the young linebacker got forced into lining up against various talented Patriots offense players: tight end Tim  Wright, wide receiver Julian Edelman, and running back Shane Vereen in pass defense.  Davis did not fare well against the tight end or wide receiver as he fell down a few times due to their suddenness versus his lack of quickness.  I was quite surprised that Tom Brady did not go after the linebacker more as he was clearly a liability in the Jets weak pass defense.  He did have some good battles with Vereen, but got beaten on the back’s second touchdown catch of the night.

Davis does a good job seeing the field when he drops back into coverage, but plays better when the backer is responsible for a zone versus man to man coverage.  However, what he lacks in athleticism, Davis has in attitude and toughness when he chased down Rob Gronkowski in the open field late in the game to prevent a first down.  In the running game, the young linebacker has issues disengaging from blockers.  It takes him more time to maneuver around them or gets taken out of the play entirely.  This makes Davis a big liability against the run which limits his fantasy upside.  It is hard to rank him higher than a LB3 on a dynasty team, especially with Ryan’s job, perhaps in danger due to the Jets dismal start.

S-Kenny Vaccaro, NO- This second year safety has not been a consistent fantasy producer, but part of that reason is that he plays more of the free safety role.  This means that he does not receiver as many tackle opportunities that a strong safety would as he plays deeper from the line of scrimmage.  Against the Lions, Vaccaro spent at least 40% of the time lined up in the deep middle (at least 15 yards off the line).  Because he was so far back, it is difficult for him to provide solid run support unless the play gets beyond the first ten yards of the line of scrimmage.  Vaccaro sometimes, has the responsibility of covering the slot receiver and other times flowing to the ball to provide deep bracketed coverage.  The young safety plays the pass better than he does the run, but that doesn’t stop him from delivering jarring hits.  He specializes on hitting a ball carrier high while a teammate has almost stopped their forward progress low to attempt to fleece the pigskin from their grasp.

On about 20% of the plays, Vaccaro walks up and plays some outside linebacker on passing downs.  This, of course, doesn’t mean he is always successful.  When the safety tried to tackle Reggie Bush too low, he got knocked to the ground and leapt over in a split second.  There were a few designed blitzes that Vaccaro almost got to Matthew Stafford, with one forcing a bad throw preventing a first down.  His best play of the game was a tipped pass that he snagged and returned down the sidelines 45 yards.  If the Saints front seven provided more pressure, Vaccaro’s opportunities would grow, especially in big play leagues.  Unfortunately for him and his fantasy owners, this will probably not significantly in the near future.  Once Jairus Byrd returns from injury next season, Vaccaro should return to his more ball-hawking role with more tackle opportunities.  He is a solid DB3 in most formats this season, but can become a DB1 playing strong safety.

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