Is this the year that London Fletcher starts to slow down? It seems like every September, the football pundits seem to ask that same question. By every December, Fletcher once again answers the question with an empathic no. Where should he be targeted in your upcoming draft?
To start with, Fletcher has never missed a game in his 15-year career. Ever. Fantasy owners love consistency, and Fletcher provides that in spades. While detractors will point out the drop in tackles in 2012 (78), it is only the second time since the century started that he failed to hit the 90 solo tackle mark.
Fletcher made up for it by grabbing five interceptions, good enough for seventh in the NFL. He also finished with 11 passes defended, which is the second highest he’s totaled in his career in a single season (14 in 2006). He has averaged 140 tackles in his last six seasons. Overall, Fletcher finished 2012 as the sixth-highest scoring linebacker.
I’m not as high on Fletcher as Adam Pfeifer was in July (maybe because I’m a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and we are trained to hate the Washington Redskins), but the value is certainly there. I am a big believer that a player’s game can drop when they are in a bad situation, and their game can increase when in a prime position.
With Robert Griffin III now leading the charge for the Redskins, they are now a legit threat to win the NFC East. While Washington has not been considered among the contenders for a while, Fletcher has continued to consistently put up solid numbers. Imagine what he can do with the motivation to finish his career on a high note and some playoff victories.
Currently ranked in the top 15 on the linebacker board, Fletcher is a draft-day bargain. I still see him as a solid LB2 with LB1 upside. Fletcher is capable of grabbing 75-80 solo tackles, assisting on 55-65 more, adding 8-10 passes defended, grabbing 2-3 sacks, and nabbing two interceptions in 2013.
I would ideally target him after you’ve drafted your first linebacker, but if you play in a league that requires two or three LB starters, you could do worse than Fletcher as your no. 2.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.