IDP rosters and scoring vary from league to league, but there are a few straight forward guidelines to building your IDP teams. Linebackers are your most consistent week-to-week scorers, defensive line comes next, and then defensive backs. Of course there are a few exceptions in the secondary, which is why those names crack the list. The defensive lineman depth is pretty strong in 2020, as we have seen a ton of young pass rushers enter the league over the last few seasons. There is a pretty clear front four to five defensive lineman, but there are about 15 guys now that you can feel comfortable with. Throughout the season we have all IDP player rankings that are consistently updated so check it out.
Linebackers are where there is plenty of depth, and outside of a few names, you don’t need to reach here. They are the reliable scoring options, and this is where you want to look for those FLEX spots in IDP leagues as well. Defensive backs is where I will tend to stream and pick up as the year goes on. Yes there are some safe options, but it isn’t a bust if you don’t reach early. I prefer taking other positions and filling this need later on. There will be plenty of names to pick up later in the year. We are very early in the offseason, but these rankings will likely stay put barring any sort of injuries. Last year we saw a few go down, which is usually a safe bet to happen each year.
2020 Defensive Player (IDP) Rankings
|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Dylan Cease||SP||Chicago White Sox||37.3|
|Cole Irvin||SP||Oakland Athletics||16.3|
|Shane McClanahan||SP||Tampa Bay Rays||19.4|
|Luis Garcia||SP||Houston Astros||3.9|
|Framber Valdez||SP||Houston Astros||29.2|
|Nate Pearson||SP||Toronto Blue Jays||21.3|
Back in 2018, Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt were one-two in IDP scoring. That changed quite a bit last season, and I don’t expect them to return to these spots either. Donald would have the best chance, but Watt’s injury concerns and age are a concern. Donald failed to have much of an IDP impact being double-teamed on most snaps, and yet he still finished 11th in IDP scoring with 12 sacks and 28 tackles. Heading into 2020, Donald’s ADP is still going to be high, and that is a concern. Danielle Hunter asserted himself as the top defensive lineman last season, recording 14.5 sack. He has finished inside the top three two seasons in a row, and is going to be one of the top IDP options at the position this season. Cameron Jordan had 15.5 sacks last season for the Saints, and both him and Hunter were in their own tier. I love Jordan again this upcoming season, especially facing three rather weak offensive lines within the division for a total of six times.
Myles Garrett only played ten games due to his helmet shot heard around the world. He was headed for a strong season, and had double-digit sacks. Garrett will be back in full this upcoming season, and should be drafted as a top five defensive lineman next season. The Bosa Brothers both crack the list of course, and they generally make their fantasy production in chunks. They are not the most consistent options, but at the end of the year the numbers are there. Joey Bosa is the one I want out of the two. Nick Bosa had a strong rookie year, and is an exciting name in the mix with a a strong 49ers defense. Cameron Heyward was somewhat underrated heading into drafts last season. I doubt that will be the case again, but there is still value at his ADP. He finished as DL2 last season, and racks up tackles to go with a strong pass rush.
You can generally count on Carlos Dunlap, who has 17 sacks over the last two seasons. While the Cincinnati defense isn’t great, Dunlap has averaged 6.9 fantasy points per game over the last two seasons. DeForest Buckner is a strong part of the San Francisco defensive line, to go alongside Arik Armstead and Bosa. Buckner finished as DL9 in each of the last two seasons. He has 19.5 sacks in those two seasons. Maxx Crosby had a very strong year in Oakland, and I think there is even another level he can get to. He is just 22 years old, and showed he can get to the quarterback at this level. The Raiders look like they got a steal in the fourth round, and Crosby will be looked at more in IDP leagues this season.
Darius Leonard checks in as the top overall IDP player. He broke onto the scene last year with 112 tackles in 15 games, and finished nearly 40 points higher than the next best linebacker. Despite playing just 13 games last season, he still finished as the top linebacker. Five interceptions certainly helped, but Leonard is just a fantasy stud. Expect him to be the first defensive player off the board yet again in 2020. Given the consistency of linebackers over the other positions, this is why you see more of them within the top 50. It is also while you see them take the first eight spots. Bobby Wagner remains one of the top IDP players in football, and that showed once again with another top ten finish in scoring. I expect the same heading into 2020. Cory Littleton is never crazy high on anyone’s list, and I am not sure why? He has been a top five linebacker in each of the last two seasons. Littleton has a nose for the ball, and is consistent in his tackling numbers.
Blake Martinez continues to be a staple in IDP leagues, and 2020 is no different. He has 90+ tackles in each of the last three seasons. You are consistently getting yourself a top five linebacker here, and that week to week consistency can be tough to find. Tremaine Edmunds had a down year from what I had expected last season, but he is still a strong linebacker who will likely be back into the top 15 or so at the position. The Watt Family Power Rankings have changed a bit. T.J. Watt was one of the best fantasy players last season, but overall is one heck of a football player. Watt is going to be one of the top IDP targets over the next few seasons, alongside his teammate Devin Bush. The rookie had a top 20 season among other linebackers.
There are some linebackers in the bottom end of the top 50 that will end up being solid values come draft day. Dante Fowler Jr. had a strong season with Los Angeles, finishing inside the top 25 at the position. Fowler had 11.5 sacks last season. Eric Kendricks has a limited upside, but is someone you can count on in leagues where the linebacker position is relied upon given deeper rosters. Za’Darius Smith and Jerome Baker both are names to watch out for in 2020. Smith had 13.5 sacks in 15 games with Green Bay, and any league that heavily rewards sacks is going to need to have Smith on their radar. Baker was a reliable option week to week and had 78 tackles.
This is always a volatile position, and not as reliable as the other two. There are a few names that generally find themselves in the top ten for scoring, which puts them in the top 50 overall. The rest will always be week to week streaming options. Jamal Adams is the first defensive back off the board, and then things get a little tighter. Adams should remain in New York, and finished as DB1 in 2018 and DB4 in 2019 where he also missed two games. Adams is electric in the pass rush, and racks up tackles as well. There are a few other options that are reliable because they rack up plenty of tackles. Eric Reid is one of them, who came in at DB2 last season. Budda Baker is another one, who had 80 tackles in 2018 and 104 last season. He is one of the few who actually bring week to week stability.
Derwin James missed most of 2019 with an injury, and came back with a few games left. James had a very impressive rookie season, and is a name to not forget about. He had 76 tackles in his rookie season, three interceptions and double digit pass deflections. Jordan Poyer has offered up stability over the last few seasons, and is a part of an extremely talented Buffalo secondary. He was DB6 in 2018, and DB5 in 2019. You might be wondering why Logan Ryan is lower, who had just a ridiculous scoring run last year, but that production is often not repeatable. Go with the more reliable options first, who have shown consistency over the last few years. Ryan’s fantasy numbers will fall back down to earth a bit.
Tracy Walker played 13 games for the Lions, and when healthy he was a tremendous IDP option. The same goes for Shawn Williams, who was healthy for all 16 games. Walker had 82 tackles last season, and Williams was at 79. Walker really broke onto the scene in 2019. Where Williams was DB2 last season, and had five interceptions to come with it. Both remain top 50 options heading into this season. Minkah Fitzpatrick got a bump playing for Pittsburgh last season, and posted DB8 on the year. Fitzpatrick is just tremendously talented, and flies around in the secondary making plays. A new safety coming into the draft from the same school reminds me of him, but we will get to that in a minute. The one issue with guys like Fitzpatrick and Ryan who posted bigger years, the ADP tends to rise given the thought that they can duplicate exact numbers.
Ohio State is bringing quite a few names to the IDP world this year, and have over the last few. Chase Young is projected to be drafted by the Redskins, and Young is a terrific pass-rusher. He had 30.5 sacks in 34 games at Ohio State. His pass rushing ability is tremendous, and his overall strength and speed make him an elite edge rusher. There is certainly a chance for him to be fantasy viable within his rookie year. His teammate Jeffrey Okudah is a strong cornerback who is going to likely go within the top ten. He won’t be a prominent IDP player, so I wouldn’t look his way, but he is going to give an upgrade to overall team defense wherever he lands. Another edge rusher to keep an eye on is A.J. Epenesa, who had 26.5 sacks in 37 games at Iowa, and also had 101 tackles.
Isaiah Simmons was a monster at Clemson, and is all over the field. He can play in various positions, and his overall IQ is tremendous. I would expect him to make an impact right away, and there a great chance that he makes a big impact in IDP leagues right away. Simmons is an excellent tackler, chips in on the pass rush, and is overall a playmaker. Grant Delpit is likely the first safety off the board, and he has a chance to be a strong IDP defensive back. He generated plenty of tackles while at LSU, and had eight interceptions as well.
Xavier McKinney is one of the names I will be looking at for this season. He is coming out of Alabama like Fitzpatrick, and resembles a lot of what he does well. McKinney has terrific length and tackles well. Nick Saban had him lined up all over the place during his time, but especially in 2019. McKinney showed the ability to pass rush as well, and overall he has the skillset to be an everyday IDP type player. His landing spot will dictate that a bit more than what we project right now though.
Overall we are looking at a fairly strong defensive group here in the draft, although not as high as last season. Teams will be focusing on a lot of the offensive talent, especially with a heavy quarterback class this year. This is going to create some very good landing spots for defensive players, such as Kenneth Murray. He is a strong linebacker, and flew all over the place during his time at Oklahoma. He is projected to go in the latter half of the first round, which bodes well for his production. Murray is likely a linebacker to headline IDP teams for years to come.
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