2020 Divisional IDP preview – NFC East tier breakdown

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The NFC East has some serous IDP talent within it’s division. Let’s take a look at which NFC East tier this defensive talent falls in.


For our IDP divisional tier breakdowns I will be trying to cover all of the IDP relevant players for each team. Not all IDP leagues are the same and some go deeper than others. For example, I covered some players that may only be relevant in cornerback and defensive tackle required leagues. Without further ado, let’s dive into the NFC East tiers for IDP!

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NFC East Tier – 1 (Top 12 Potential)

Jaylon Smith Linebacker – Dallas Cowboys

2019 Stats: 142 tackles (83 solo), 6 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 interception, 9 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recoveries

Jaylon Smith had a great 2019 season setting career highs in tackles (142), solos (83) and passes defensed (9). Smith has played and started in all 32 games the past two seasons proving he’s dependable and durable. It sounds like Smith will be moving to the weakside linebacker spot this year. This may cause his tackle numbers to go down a little, but also allow him to blitz a little more. Either way he’s still a tier one option for 2020.

Leighton Vander Esch Linebacker – Dallas Cowboys

2019 Stats: 72 tackles (43 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 3 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble

While Vander Esch produced well when on the field last year, a neck injury limited him to 9 games. The neck injury is definitely a concern, but Vander Esch has said that he feels great and the injury is behind him. Vander Esch expects to be moving to middle linebacker this upcoming season after previously playing on the weakside. As long as he’s healthy, Vander Esch has the talent and past production to warrant tier one potential.

Demarcus Lawrence Defensive End – Dallas Cowboys

2019 Stats: 45 tackles (30 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 16 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries

While Demarcus Lawrence had a bit of a disappointing 2019 season I think injuries had a lot to do with it. He played through a shoulder injury last year that required off-season surgery. I certainly believe this affected his play. Lawrence is a very talented pass rusher as his 25 sacks combined from 2018-2019 show. If he can show he’s fully healthy, Lawrence has legitimate DE1 potential in 2020.

Blake Martinez Linebacker – New York Giants

2019 Stats: 155 tackles (97 solo), 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception, 2 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble

After four productive years in Green Bay, Martinez now finds himself a new home in New York. Martinez is a stout tackler and is very durable. Now the man in the middle for the Giants, I see Martinez continuing to put up hefty tackle numbers in his new home. While he might be wearing a different jersey, Blake will continue to be a tier one option in 2020.

Jabrill Peppers Safety – New York Giants

2019 stats: 76 tackles (51 solo), 5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 5 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles

Peppers was having a stellar 2019 season until an unfortunate back injury ended his year after 11 games. Peppers put up some really nice numbers last season and looked like a top DB option in IDP. If he can show he’s healthy and build off his 2019 campaign, Peppers has DB1 potential.

James Bradberry Cornerback – New York Giants

2019 Stats: 65 tackles (51 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 3 interception, 12 passes defensed

In cornerback required leagues, Bradberry is a tier one option. This off-season Bradberry signed with the Giants after playing in Carolina the past four seasons. Bradberry should see plenty of tackle opportunities in New York as he should get targeted plenty in the NFC East.

Landon Collins Safety – Washington

2019 Stats: 117 tackles (78 solo), 9 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 4 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles

In his first year in Washington, Collins didn’t miss a step putting up another 100+ tackle season. Collins is as reliable as they come in IDP at safety as he continually puts up big tackle numbers. Fire him up as a DB1 for your IDP squads in 2020.

Chase Young Defensive End – Washington

Rookie

While putting a rookie as a potential tier one option may be risky, Young is not your average rookie. Young was completely dominant in college as his 16.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss show from last year. Strong against both the run and pass, Young’s game will transition nicely to the NFL. A double digit sack season is definitely in play as a rookie and that gives him tier one potential right away.

Jonathan Allen Defensive Tackle – Washington

2019 Stats: 68 tackles (46 solo), 7 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 10 QB hits, 1 fumble recovery

In defensive tackle required leagues, Allen is a DT1 option. He’s been a force in the Washington line the past two years and that front is only getting better.

Fletcher Cox Defensive Tackle – Philadelphia Eagles

2019 Stats: 40 tackles (26 solo), 5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 10 QB hits,3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

Fletcher Cox has been a beast for years on the interior of the Eagles defensive line. In defensive tackle required leagues he’s a tier one option, in leagues that use a DL slot he’s more of a tier three option.


NFC East Tier – 2 (13-24 Potential)

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Montez Sweat Defensive End – Washington

2019 Stats: 50 tackles (31 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 13 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles

Montez Sweat had a very solid rookie season for Washington. He made the most of his 724 snaps and was able to compile seven sacks in his first NFL season. Sweat has serious breakout potential at defensive end in year two and our very own Zach Magley wrote about it here.

Matt Ioannidis Defensive Tackle – Washington

2019 stats: 64 tackles (42 solo), 11 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 16 QB hits

Matt Ioannidis had a great 2019 campaign posting career highs in tackles (64) and sacks (8.5). He will now be in a rotational role within the stout Washington defensive front. In defensive tackle required leagues Ioannidis is a tier two option and in leagues that start only a DL position he is more of a tier three option.

Da’Ron Payne Defensive Tackle – Washington

2019 stats: 56 tackles (32 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 QB hits

Da’Ron Payne is another crucial part of Washington’s stacked defensive line. Payne has produced back to back 56 tackle seasons from the interior to start his career. In defensive tackle required leagues Payne is solid tier two option.

Xavier McKinney Safety – New York Giants

Rookie

McKinney is a versatile safety who excels in coverage and in run support. With Antoine Bethea no longer with the team, there is a direct role for McKinney to fill. His role, versatility, and strong football IQ make McKinney a tier two DB option right away as a rookie.

Dalvin Tomlinson Defensive Tackle – New York Giants

2019 stats: 49 tackles (23 solo), 7 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 9 QB hits, 1 forced fumble

A solid producer from New York’s interior, Tomlinson is a potential tier two option only in leagues that are required to start defensive tackles.

Javon Hargrave Defensive Tackle – Philadelphia Eagles

2019 stats: 60 tackles (35 solo), 7 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 6 QB hits, 1 forced fumble

Hargrave had a standout 2019 season for Pittsburgh and got himself paid signing a 3 year/$39 million dollar deal with Philadelphia this offseason. Joining Fletcher Cox on the interior of the Eagles defensive line, these two should create havoc from the inside. Hargrave is easily a tier two option in defensive tackle required leagues.


NFC East Tier – 3 (25-36 Potential)

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Brandon Graham Defensive End – Philadelphia Eagles

2019 stats: 50 tackles (35 solo), 15 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 17 QB hits, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries

Brandon Graham just keeps putting up solid IDP numbers even at age 31 this past season. I don’t expect that to change this upcoming year as he’s coming off one of his best seasons as an Eagle. Graham is a reliable DE3 with plenty left in the tank.

Derek Barnett Defensive End – Philadelphia Eagles

2019 stats: 30 tackles (25 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 22 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles

Barnett hasn’t quite lived up to the hype he had coming out of college. While I think the talent is there, his play has been up and down and he has been hampered by injuries. He is however coming off the best season of his career so far and hopefully he can build off that going into 2020.

Haha Clinton-Dix Safety – Dallas Cowboys

2019 stats: 78 tackles (62 solo), 2 interceptions, 5 passes defensed, 2 fumble recoveries

The Cowboys brought in Clinton-Dix this off-season on a one year deal. While not overly exciting, Clinton-Dix has proven to be a solid IDP safety option over the years. He’s the best safety currently on Dallas’ roster and should be a tier three IDP safety in 2020.

Everson Griffen Defensive End – Dallas Cowboys

2019 stats: 41 tackles (26 solo), 11 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 24 QB hits, 1 interception

Griffen just recently signed a one year deal with the Cowboys. I think this a really nice landing spot for Griffen and could see him returning DE3 value in IDP for 2020. While he’s getting up there a bit in age he showed last year he has plenty left in the tank.

Chidobe Awuzie Cornerback – Dallas Cowboys

2019 stats: 79 tackles (48 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, 14 passes defensed

Awuzie had a solid 2019 season setting career highs in tackles (79) and passes defensed (14). His ability to make plays on the ball and put up solid tackle numbers make Awuzie a very nice CB 2/3 option in cornerback required leagues.

Kendall Fuller Cornerback – Washington

2019 Stats: 49 tackles (34 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 passes defensed

This off-season Fuller signed a four year deal to return to Washington where he started his career. He should be targeted plenty in his new role and is a tier three option in cornerback required leagues.


NFC East Tier – Depth Players

Thomas Davis Linebacker – Washington

2019 stats: 112 tackles (65 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 passes defensed

Ron Rivera brought back a familiar face in old trusty veteran Thomas Davis. Davis brings stability and experience to the Washington locker room and should be a usable depth option when needed in 2020.

Reuben Foster / Jon Bostic Linebacker – Washington

Keep an eye on on these two to see if they end up winning a starting job in Washington. Foster is by far the more talented player and has more upside, he just needs to stay healthy and was recently activated off the PUP list.

Ryan Kerrigan Defensive End – Washington

2019 stats: 25 tackles (16 solo), 6 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 14 QB hits, 1 forced fumble

Kerrigan has had a really nice career for Washington and now will make the move to defensive end. While he will be in a rotational role, Kerrigan does have some value as a depth piece in deeper leagues.

Markus Golden Linebacker – New York Giants

2019 stats: 72 tackles (37 solo), 13 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 27 QB hits, 1 fumble recovery

Markus Golden is coming off a career year in 2019 and just signed his tender with the Giants. In leagues where he is designated a linebacker, he’s a depth option. In leagues where he has DE/Edge designation, he gets a bump to a tier three option.

David Mayo / Ryan Connelly Linebacker – New York Giants

Both Mayo and Connelly flashed IDP relevance at points last year. Whoever wins the job next to Martinez could be a usable depth option in deep roster leagues. I think Connelly is the more talented of the two as he showed some nice potential before getting hurt last season. Mayo may have the upper hand to start the year though as the Giants recently re-signed him to a three year deal.

TJ Edwards Linebacker – Philadelphia Eagles

2019 stats: 30 tackles (15 solo)

As of right now, Edwards is the front runner to man the middle linebacker spot for the Eagles’ defense. This makes Edwards an intriguing linebacker option entering the season.

Nathan Gerry Linebacker – Philadelphia Eagles

2019 stats: 78 tackles (52 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 5 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery

Gerry was called upon to play a bigger role for Philadelphia’s defense last season and ended up playing 61% of the defensive snaps. If Gerry can keep his starting spot (which I think he will), he is a very solid depth option at linebacker.

Jalen Mills Safety – Philadelphia Eagles

2019 stats: 41 tackles (29 solo), 1 interception, 7 passes defensed

Mills is making the transition from corner to safety. Right now he appears to have a hold on the strong safety spot for the Eagles’ defense. If he can hold onto this role Mills could be a nice depth option at safety.


NFC East Tier – Sleepers

Cole Holcomb

Cole Holcomb was a pleasant surprise for Washington at linebacker last season as he collected 105 tackles (74 solo) while playing 63% of the defensive snaps. After his solid rookie campaign, Holcomb looks to have one of the starting linebacker jobs locked down at the moment. If he can win a three-down role, Holcomb could be looking at an even bigger year two.

Davion Taylor

The Philadelphia Eagles selected linebacker Davion Taylor in the third round (103rd overall) in this years draft. Taylor is an explosive athlete with excellent range. The one big knock on Taylor is he is a bit raw and inexperienced. If he can get comfortable with the Eagle’s defensive scheme, there is certainly opportunity within the Philly linebacker unit. Should Taylor end up winning a starting spot at some point he could easily be the most productive Eagle linebacker for IDP even as a rookie.

Neville Gallimore

Keep an eye on the Cowboys third round defensive tackle in your defensive tackle required leagues. With the recent release of Gerald McCoy due to injury, Gallimore could find himself meaningful snaps early on. Gallimore is a talented player with a powerful set of hands who can create havoc from the interior.


NFC East Tier – Buys

Leighton Vander Esch, Demarcus Lawrence, Xavier McKinney, Montez Sweat


NFC East Tier – Sells

Matt Ioannidis, Derek Barnett, Rueben Foster/Jon Bostic

***Be sure to check out Todd Foster’s NFC East offensive tiered preview over at Dynasty Football Digest which you can view here!


Thanks for taking the time to read my article, I hope you enjoyed and found it helpful. You can find my work here at idpguys.org and follow me on Twitter @KBellf54. I’m always available for any questions or feedback you may have and my DMs are always open.

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Long time football and Packer fan. I've been playing redraft since 2001 and Dynasty/IDP since 2010. You can find my writing here at IDP Guys and find me hanging out on the IDP Lounge from time to time. Remember, defense wins championships!!