Defensive Player (IDP) Fantasy Football Rankings Week 1

If you have found yourself playing in an IDP (Individual Defensive Player) fantasy football league, you have come to the right spot. While it may come across as overwhelming, it is no different from any other position. They simply accumulate fantasy points, just for different things. We have seen Darius Leonard come into the league and dominate in fantasy points. There are also consistent names like Cory Littleton, Jamal Adams, and Jordan Hicks. Linebackers are your higher scoring position, while the secondary and defensive lineman are a more high variance position to project. Make sure to bookmark our Fantasy Football Rankings, pages as we update them real-time throughout the season.

POS RANK RANK PLAYER ADP AUCTION 2020 FPTS 2021 FPTS TEAM DEPTH BYE
1 301 Darius Leonard 67 $10 222 229 Indianapolis Colts Colts Indianapolis Colts 1 14
2 302 Devin White 61 $9 266 212 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 9
3 303 Zach Cunningham 112 $7 240 226 Houston Texans Texans Houston Texans 1 10
4 304 Blake Martinez 92 $7 237 226 New York Giants Giants New York Giants 1 10
5 305 Bobby Wagner 130 $7 210 205 Seattle Seahawks Seahawks Seattle Seahawks 1 9
6 306 Shaq Thompson 278 $6 169 187 Carolina Panthers Panthers Carolina Panthers 1 13
7 307 Foyesade Oluokun 203 $5 205 183 Atlanta Falcons Falcons Atlanta Falcons 1 6
8 308 Lavonte David 166 $8 220 183 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 9
9 309 Fred Warner 121 $6 202 183 San Francisco 49ers 49ers San Francisco 49ers 1 6
10 310 Eric Kendricks 163 $7 166 202 Minnesota Vikings Vikings Minnesota Vikings 1 7
11 311 Jamin Davis 203 $7 193 Washington Football Team Washington Washington Football Team 1 9
12 312 Jayon Brown 220 $9 133 192 Tennessee Titans Titans Tennessee Titans 1 13
13 313 Roquan Smith 83 $7 264 188 Chicago Bears Bears Chicago Bears 1 10
14 314 Demario Davis 236 $7 193 188 New Orleans Saints Saints New Orleans Saints 1 6
15 315 C.J. Mosley 263 $8 33 188 New York Jets Jets New York Jets 1 6
16 316 Deion Jones 160 $6 208 187 Atlanta Falcons Falcons Atlanta Falcons 1 6
17 317 Jordyn Brooks 350 $5 80 183 Seattle Seahawks Seahawks Seattle Seahawks 1 9
18 318 Alex Singleton 274 $2 181 173 Philadelphia Eagles Eagles Philadelphia Eagles 1 14
19 319 Jabrill Peppers 147 $7 169 172 New York Giants Giants New York Giants 1 10
20 320 Drue Tranquill 0 $5 172 Los Angeles Chargers Chargers Los Angeles Chargers 1 7
21 321 Dre Greenlaw 359 $5 130 171 San Francisco 49ers 49ers San Francisco 49ers 1 6
22 322 Budda Baker 94 $6 205 170 Arizona Cardinals Cardinals Arizona Cardinals 1 12
23 323 Zaven Collins 199 $4 169 Arizona Cardinals Cardinals Arizona Cardinals 1 12
24 324 Isaiah Simmons 118 $9 97 181 Arizona Cardinals Cardinals Arizona Cardinals 1 12
25 325 Myles Jack 206 $8 186 180 Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars 1 7
26 326 Vonn Bell 210 $5 170 178 Cincinnati Bengals Bengals Cincinnati Bengals 1 10
27 327 Jeremy Chinn 110.9 $7 188 177 Carolina Panthers Panthers Carolina Panthers 1 13
28 328 Eric Wilson 359 $3 209 175 Philadelphia Eagles Eagles Philadelphia Eagles 1 14
29 329 Tremaine Edmunds 151 $7 170 175 Buffalo Bills Bills Buffalo Bills 1 7
30 330 Matt Milano 276 $2 94 167 Buffalo Bills Bills Buffalo Bills 1 7
31 331 Cory Littleton 361 $2 110 166 Las Vegas Raiders Raiders Las Vegas Raiders 1 8
32 332 Xavier McKinney 218 $3 157 New York Giants Giants New York Giants 1 10
33 333 Malcolm Jenkins 357 $3 186 156 New Orleans Saints Saints New Orleans Saints 1 6
34 334 Jarrad Davis 243 $2 60 154 New York Jets Jets New York Jets 1 6
35 335 John Johnson III 205 $6 156 153 Cleveland Browns Browns Cleveland Browns 1 13
36 336 Willie Gay Jr. 225 $7 68 175 Kansas City Chiefs Chiefs Kansas City Chiefs 1 12
37 337 Landon Collins 221 $2 75 175 Washington Football Team Washington Washington Football Team 1 9
38 338 Damien Wilson 324 $3 98 174 Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars 1 7
39 339 Derwin James 135 $4 168 Los Angeles Chargers Chargers Los Angeles Chargers 1 7
40 340 Cole Holcomb 261 $3 117 168 Washington Football Team Washington Washington Football Team 1 9
41 341 Kenneth Murray 194 $3 168 Los Angeles Chargers Chargers Los Angeles Chargers 1 7
42 342 Brandon Jones 296 $6 92 151 Miami Dolphins Dolphins Miami Dolphins 1 14
43 343 Marlon Humphrey 192 $5 186 151 Baltimore Ravens Ravens Baltimore Ravens 1 8
44 344 Kamren Curl 269 $5 159 149 Washington Football Team Washington Washington Football Team 1 9
45 345 Patrick Queen 100 $2 192 165 Baltimore Ravens Ravens Baltimore Ravens 1 8
46 346 Joe Schobert 115 $2 229 165 Pittsburgh Steelers Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers 1 7
47 347 Alexander Johnson 224 $1 173 164 Denver Broncos Broncos Denver Broncos 1 11
48 348 Jamal Adams 92 $7 181 163 Seattle Seahawks Seahawks Seattle Seahawks 1 9
49 349 Micah Parsons 141 $1 161 Dallas Cowboys Cowboys Dallas Cowboys 1 7
50 350 Tracy Walker 278 $3 127.1 160.9 Detroit Lions Lions Detroit Lions 1 9

Weekly Defense Player Rankings

No surprise to see the rankings dominated by linebackers, as they are the higher scoring position and the most consistent. Darius Leonard comes in as the number one option again, as he dominated scoring all while missing a few games as well. Leonard is great in racking up tackles, and also has shown the ability to force turnovers in back-to-back years. Turnovers and touchdowns are tough to predict for defensive players, especially because they do not happen on a grand scale. Leonard has been the top linebacker each season since returning and barring a major injury, it is hard to see that changing for 2020.

There continue to be other consistent linebackers, like Bobby Wagner and Cory Littleton. Both are strong weekly plays that bring consistent production, and Littleton also breaks out that weekly upside now and then. Pittsburgh was the top-scoring overall fantasy defense last season, and that brought some strong names to the table. T.J. Watt was one of the top IDP plays last season and a force in terms of bringing down the quarterback. The rookie Devin Bush also produced a strong year. While he isn’t in that top tier of defensive lineman, Cameron Heyward was a reliable option that generated a lot of production out of the nose tackle spot. That isn’t necessarily easy to do.

The yearly scoring for defensive lineman continues to fluctuate. Look at Aaron Donald, for instance. Coming off a strong 2018, he was double-teamed a ton in 2019 and didn’t have the same fantasy impact. J.J. Watt has fallen off as well, leading to new names like Danielle Hunter and Cameron Jordon to be the more reliable edge rushers. Hunter and Jordan both have dominated in the sacks department, and the Bosa Brothers are not far behind either.

Outside of just a few names, the secondary position scoring is a wildly variant one to trust. Jamal Adams, Budda Baker, and Eric Reid have been consistent, but outside of these players, safety is a tough position to trust. Secondary players that also do make tackles is a big advantage, but you generally will have to draft higher to get them. Tracy Walker and Budda Baker are two names that surpassed 80 tackles last season. A lot of the time, you are relying on the big turnover plays or hoping for a few pass deflections. This results in a lot of lower floor weeks compared to the rest of the positions.

IDP Draft Strategy

There are a lot of different roster formats that tie into IDP leagues. You can have rosters that just require to have a few defensive players, where positions do not matter. There also can be truly designated positions with cornerbacks, safeties, defensive ends, etc. Most of the time, you will have just a set of defensive lineman, linebackers, and secondary players. It is important to understand how the roster format is, as well as how scoring works. There is a lot more creativity in IDP leagues, so it can vary draft strategies. Scoring could weight tackling higher, be balanced, or weight turnovers and touchdowns higher. This is also very important to understand. It plays into your offensive players as well, because if defensive players score closer to offensive players, then drafting will be different. If offensive players are weighted much higher, that means you can sit back in the draft and wait till closer to the end.

Looking at each position, we will start with defensive linemen. There is a pretty clear front few guys that will go a few rounds ahead of the rest of the defensive options, but this is a pretty inconsistent position at times. There are also not a ton of options, even though the league has been getting deeper here over the last few games. This is a position to watch and wait for. I don’t necessarily want to bite on any of the top names at their ADP unless I feel comfortable with the rest of my lineup, but missing out on at least the first few tiers, you could be struggling to fill these needs later on.

Linebackers are the easy plug and play options each week. If your league does not have designated slots, and instead just use defensive players, linebackers are the most consistent options and also the deepest of any of the defensive positions. They are dependable, and there are a few things to look for when drafting IDP players, and that is mostly how many snaps they are playing. Linebackers sometimes will play the first two downs and then leave the field, while some come in solely for third-down purposes. You also have workhorse backs who play all three downs.

The secondary is a position with a lot of depth. This is also an easy position to stream weekly. Scoring is volatile, but that is going to affect everyone, not just you. Because there will be waiver wire options and this will not be a high fantasy scoring position, look to wrap up the rest of your positions before drafting players in the secondary. There are going to be names that didn’t finish in the top 30 last year be in that range for 2020, and vice versa.

IDP fantasy football Rankings Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Top Defensive Players In Fantasy Football?

Darius Leonard was one of the best again, despite playing just 13 games. He was the top-scoring defensive player in 2018, with Aaron Donald and JJ Watt just behind him. In 2019 he finished as the 7th best player while missing a few games. It was JJ’s brother, TJ Watt, who had the best overall IDP season, finishing with over 190 points. His eight forced fumbles and 14.5 sacks were a big reason why he dominated. Shaquil Barrett is coming off of a 19.5 sack season, finishing second, and Chandler Jones was right there again. Now the only issue with these guys and drafting them for next season is that they will have to duplicate similar numbers in sacks to produce this many fantasy points. If they don’t, they won’t be up top.

When Should I Draft Defensive Players In Fantasy Football?

This is one of the most popular questions for those now in an IDP league. It throws a wrench into the draft process. Like above, knowing your scoring system and roster format is going to be a big help, because it will dictate how you draft. One of the main rules I want you to keep in mind is to not reach on defensive players. There are going to be more than enough to go around, and don’t draft solely on name value either. We would love to get Aaron Donald because he is a monster defensive lineman, but if you are passing up on some good wide receivers or running backs to do so, then that is a problem.

If there are just a few defensive positions to worry about on your roster, look at names later in the draft. The best way to go is to make sure your offensive roster is set on guys you like, but also still having depth before you dive into the defensive positions. You will be able to adjust on the fly with these defensive names.

What Defensive Player Has The Most Fantasy Points?

It was a monster year for TJ Watt and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense as a whole. Watt had 14.5 sacks, but he crushed in the turnover department. He had eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. Watt played all 16 games, and averaged 12.1 fantasy points per game.

What Defensive Player Has The Most Sacks?

It was Shaquil Barrett who led the league in sacks in 2019, sitting at 19.5. Chandler Jones finished just a half sack behind him. Barrett’s production came out of nowhere, as it was his first year with Tampa Bay after playing in Denver his entire career. He never had more than six sacks in a season while playing there. A change of scenery and in a new system as certainly changed his career outlook, and Tampa will look to retain him.

How Many Defensive Players Should I Have On My Bench?

Going in line with the rest of the strategies, I wouldn't suggest overpowering your bench with defensive players if it takes away from having more flexibility with your offensive players. The answer is also going to be based on how many bench spots you have. Now if you have plenty of room to back up each of the three positions with a player, go ahead and do so. If not, there are going to be names to grab off the waiver wire instead.

How Do I Determine What The Best IDP Matchups Are?

Just like any other position, defensive players have strong and weak matchups. We can look at last year and find that the Titans, Panthers, and Jets were some of the weaker teams against opposing defensive lineman. For one they had weak offensive lines and allowed a lot of penetration early. Opposing offenses and offensive lines also can allow more production to linebackers, as once again Carolina was up there, but we really started to see the weaker teams in the league allow a hefty amount of fantasy points to opposing linebackers. Teams that threw the ball a lot, had bad quarterback play, or were always trailing tended to give up a lot of points to defensive backs. Now early on in the season these numbers won’t even out until later, but we will know who the poorer offensive lines to target are, and the same goes for pass happy offenses.

How Do Stream Defensive Players?

Streaming defensive players is just like streaming any other position. Identifying strong matchups off the waiver wire is a priority, and it creates the ability to adjust on the fly. Now if you drafted solely to stream defensive players, you also took advantage of loading up on offensive players while others were taking defensive guys. The one thing that is different is that injuries do not necessarily create instant production for other defensive players. Looking at who is performing in new roles or has a new system in place for this year is also going to give you an advantage over the field. This helps you view guys off the waiver wire. Matchups as mentioned above will be something to note as you can look into the weekly matchups and pluck the best names out there in the best spots. On occasion stronger defensive players will be dropped by opposing teams just due to bye weeks or an owner wanting to grab a strong offensive player over them. Don’t panic if your draft didn’t go as planned or you have found yourself with some injuries, streaming is an easy way to go.