33-Year-Old Defensive End – Free Agent
2017 Fantasy Football Outlook
Ninkovich missed four games to start the 2016 season after testing positive for a banned substance. Upon his return, the versatile defender re-established a degree of IDP utility in deeper formats, by...
Rob Ninkovich Contract Information:
Signed a two-year contract extension in September of 2011.
Ninkovich announced his retirement Sunday, the Patriots' official site reports.
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|2017 Proj||33||Subscribe now to see our 2017 projections for Rob Ninkovich|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Rob Ninkovich: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Ninkovich saw his snap count drop from 1,021 in 2014 to 891 last year, but he could push for a four-digit play count again in 2016 now that Chandler Jones is in Arizona. If that occurs, DL1 status would almost certainly await him. The versatile 12-year veteran is one of Bill Belichick's most trusted henchmen, starting 16 games in each of the last five years and standing out as one of the top defensive line IDPs all the while. His age is a concern for his per-snap production, but tackles always came easy to Ninkovich, and Jones' departure should ensure a leading role on the line.
Always one of the league's busiest and most durable players, Ninkovich logged more than 1,000 snaps for the second time in three years last season in his fifth consecutive 16-game campaign. It was also his third straight season with eight sacks. Now 31, Ninkovich could see his workload scaled back this year, especially with Jerod Mayo, Chandler Jones and Dominique Easley expected at full strength after missing time last year to injuries. The arrival of DE Jabaal Sheard for depth is another concern. The closer Ninkovich gets to 1,000 snaps, the more of a fantasy steal he will be.
Ninkovich is New England's most experienced and reliable edge defender, providing end looks in the 4-3 while adding linebacker versatility in 3-4 fronts. That means he rarely leaves the field, and when he's on the field he is New England's best threat to find ballcarriers. He finished the 2013 season with 91 tackles and eight sacks – elite numbers by any standard – although the tackle tally was inflated by an improbable 49 assists. That assist total will likely dip in 2014, especially with the addition of first-round DT/DE Dominique Easley, but Ninkovich should still retain DL1 value in some formats. That's especially true if DE Chandler Jones should suffer an injury – the Patriots remain rather thin at the end position. Jones has only stayed healthy in one of the last three years, while Ninkovich hasn't missed a game since 2009.
The addition of second-round pick and pass rusher Jamie Collins is a concern for Ninkovich, but Collins could still be a year away from eating into Ninkovich's snap count, especially on first and second downs. Ninkovich has carved out a nice role as a DE/LB tweener with the Patriots, posting 131 tackles and 14.5 sacks the last two years. Expect more of the same with the more dynamic Collins likely serving as injury insurance for Chandler Jones in Year 1.
The versatile Ninkovich is listed as a linebacker by the Patriots' PR department, but he has a good shot to end up starting at left defensive end for the team. He racked up 74 tackles and 6.5 sacks last season, so there sneaky IDP value to be had here if he ends up with DL eligibility.
Quietly racked up 62 tackles, four sacks and two picks last season. He'll remain in the Pats' strong-side linebacker mix and is worth a look in deeper leagues.
In the Patriots' outside linebacker mix, Ninkovich should easily eclipse his 2009 total of 23 tackles if he can carve out a steady role.