Eight in the Box: Curry, Maualuga among shaky '09 IDP rookies
Plain and simple, Curry is going to be overdrafted in just about every league. He's arguably the best defensive player in this rookie class and there's little doubt he'll be in the starting lineup Week 1. But Curry isn't in a spot that will translate to fantasy production. He'll do the grunt work playing over the tight end, but that won't lend itself to many tackles, and he's not really a pass rusher. Even 60 solo tackles might be a stretch this year. Let someone else take him.
It's not often that a sixth-rounder is immediately competing for a starting spot, but that's the situation Ellison finds himself in. Incumbent starter
Laurinaitis is a no-brainer as the safest IDP pick among the rookies. He's going to be the starting middle linebacker in St. Louis, and the Rams could be forced to play him in a three-down role because of their paper-thin linebacking corps. The question is whether Laurinaitis is a safe LB2 or a potential LB1, and the answer will depend on how well the Rams new offense performs. If
Matthews' value depends heavily on whether or not he qualifies at DL in your league. He'll play outside linebacker in Green Bay's new 3-4 and was a hybrid at USC, but he spent more time with his hand down. He's been slowed by a hamstring injury throughout training camp, but it's only a matter of time before he's starting. And with
Before the draft, Maualuga was shaping up to be among the best IDP rookies. But it's been all downhill since then. He slipped to the second round and landed in Cincinnati. It's not a terrible place to be, but the Bengals are working Maualuga on the strong side rather than at the MIKE, seriously hampering his fantasy upside. On top of that, he's been slowed by hamstring and groin injuries. Sure, it's only a matter of time before Maualuga overtakes
Mitchell entered the preseason as a super sleeper. The second-round pick from Ohio was one of the biggest reaches in draft history, but he had a chance to step into
Moore is another in-the-box safety who deserves attention in tackle-heavy scoring formats, but like Mitchell, the injury bug is really holding him back. Moore had arthroscopic surgery on his knee and won't be back until the end of the preseason, meaning he's not going to push for a starting job. Moore is a huge liability in coverage, but he has a ridiculous size-speed combination and can play in the box. He's worth watching, but not worth drafting this season.
Orakpo is my absolute favorite among the rookie IDPs, especially because he still qualifies at DL in just about every league. The Redskins plan on using him as a linebacker on first and second downs and a defensive end in passing situations. Basically, he'll be on the field a lot. He has the potential to get more tackles than your average DL, but it's his sack potential that makes him so intriguing. Last year at Texas, Orakpo lived in the backfield despite being targeted on every down. In Washington, teams will be much more worried about