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 on how they played a particular week. Today I will be discussing Jacksonville safety Jonathan Cyprien and the infamous San Diego linebacker Manti Te’o.
S-Jonathan Cyprien, JAX-This second year safety plays all over the Jacksonville defense as he lined up near the line of scrimmage like an outside backer, but also played some deep middle and off coverage on the opposing tight end. Cyprien flies around the field quickly using good tackling technique (either wraps the ankles or controls their hips). He doesn’t give up on plays and is solid in run support. With the improved play of the Jaguars linebackers, his tackle opportunities decreased. This shows against the Titans with only three tackles, an assist, and one pass defended.
The safety breaks quickly on the ball in the air, getting to the intended target without delay. He reminds me a bit of Troy Polomanu with his vision, anticipation, and Tazmanian Devil attitude. Cyprien likes to hit hard making sure the offensive player thinks twice about coming his way. He could improve his ball-hawking skills to become a bigger threat instead of just a thumper. Hopefully the Jacksonville coaching staff can stay in place another year, as this defense improves each week, including the young Cyprien. I would love to have him as a DB2 or a S2 on my dynasty team.
LB-Manti Te’o, SD- The young linebacker’s second year has certainly been much quieter than his first both with production due to injury and fanfare (no more cat-fishing). He started the game as the weak-side (non-tight end) inside backer. Te’o plays much better against the pass because he finds the ball quickly and anticipates well. He is light on his feet and shows a lot of quickness moving laterally. His motor is constantly running, but he does turn his back to the offense when dropping back into coverage. This could cause the area he covers to be targeted more often. Te’o can apply pressure to the quarterback, but this is usually on a delayed rush or when the play breaks down. The backer didn’t find much success when initially blitzing the signal caller off the snap of the ball.
His recovery speed chasing down ball carriers down the field is quite good. Te’o does not give up on the play until the whistle gets blown. He struggles somewhat against the run, this has to do with his difficulty shedding blockers in his way. The backer was effective against the run when he was responsible for a certain gap and Te’o used good technique to bring the ball carrier down. His vision helps him anticipate where the play is going which helps him play clean up like the backer did recovering a 49er fumble inside the red zone that prevented another score that could have lost the Chargers the game. Te’o had a good night finishing with eight tackles, three assists, and one sack. If he can put his injuries behind him, Te’o has a chance to become a top 30 dynasty linebacker.
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