2020 Divisional IDP preview – NFC North tier breakdown

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The NFC North is full of IDP relevant players throughout the different defensive positions. Let’s take a look at where these players fall among the NFC North tiers relative to their value.


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 North tiers for IDP!

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NFC North Tier – 1 (Top 12 Potential)

Danielle Hunter Defensive End – Minnesota Vikings

2019 Stats: 70 tackles (52 solo), 15 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, 22 QB hits, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

Danielle Hunter is one of the best young defensive ends in the league. You will see his name consistently ranked among the top tier of defensive lineman wherever you look at rankings. Hunter has had 14.5 sacks each of the last two seasons and at least 70 combined tackles as well in that time frame. Although the other pieces across the Vikings defensive line are changing I still expect Hunter to produce at a high level. He’s a DE1 you can confidently roll out every week.

Harrison Smith Safety – Minnesota Vikings

2019 Stats: 85 tackles (65 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 interceptions, 11 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries

Even at age 31, Harrison Smith is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s been making plays for the Minnesota defense since entering the league as a rookie in 2012. He’s made the Pro Bowl each of the last five seasons and made First-Team All Pro in 2017. Smith consistently provides solid tackle numbers and has a knack for making plays in coverage. This season should be no different and Smith should be viewed as a DB1 option for 2020.

Tracy Walker Safety – Detroit Lions

2019 Stats: 103 tackles (82 solo), 6 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 8 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble

Tracy Walker had a breakout season in 2019. After only playing 247 defensive snaps as a rookie in 2018, Walker led the Lions’ defense in tackles in 2019 with 103 stops. Walker was a big surprise for his managers and made his presence known in the IDP game. Walker is an athletic, versatile player who should continue to progress and put up another strong IDP effort in 2020.  

Kenny Clark Defensive Tackle – Green Bay Packers

2019 Stats: 62 tackles, (31 solo), 9 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 7 QB hits, 1 forced fumble

In leagues that require you start defensive tackles, Kenny Clark is a tier one option. Clark is a rising star who just keeps getting better. In 2019, he set career highs in tackles, tackles for loss and tied his career high in sacks. Clark makes for a great top target in defensive tackle required/premium leagues. I wrote an article earlier this off-season on Clark and his big potential which you can view here.

Roquan Smith Linebacker – Chicago Bears

2019 Stats : 101 tackles, (66 solo), 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 2 passess defensed

Roquan Smith showed right away he was ready to be an impact player collecting 121 total tackles as a rookie in 2018. Smith was having a solid 2019 season until a pectoral injury ended his year in week 13. He also missed a game in week four for personal reasons. Smith is a tackle machine and if he can show he’s fully healthy he could be in for a big 2020 season. 

Kyle Fuller Cornerback – Chicago Bears

2019 Stats: 82 tackles (72 solo), 1 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 12 passes defensed

In leagues that require you to start corners, Kyle Fuller is as solid as they come. He’s made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons and set a career high in tackles with 82 in 2019. Getting that kind of tackle production to go along with his ball skills is a big plus. Fuller is a CB1 year in and year out and 2020 will be no different.


NFC North Tier – 2 (13-24 Potential)

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Eric Kendricks Linebacker – Minnesota Vikings

2019 Stats: 110 tackles (70 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 12 passess defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries

Eric Kendricks has been a staple of the Minnesota defense since they drafted him in 2015. He’s coming off one of his best seasons as a pro having earned First-team All Pro honors for the first time. Kendricks is the perfect LB2 as he is a consistent tackler and is excellent in coverage. A legit IDP asset, Kendrick is a steady tier two linebacker that you can trot out weekly with confidence.

Trey Flowers Defensive End – Detroit Lions

2019 Stats: 51 tackles (33 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 21 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles

2019 was Flowers’ first season with Detroit and he put up solid numbers in his first year. While he’s not the flashiest IDP name, he is consistent. Flowers has put up at least 50 combined tackles, 20 QB hits and averaged seven sacks over his last three seasons. His talent and consistency make Flowers a DE2 I’m targeting in 2020.

Christian Kirksey Linebacker – Green Bay Packers

2019 Stats: Only Played 2 Games

The injury bug has haunted Kirksey the past two seasons during his time in Cleveland. Now he finds himself in a new uniform having signed a two year deal with the Packers. Kirksey inherits a very productive role for IDP replacing Blake Martinez as the man in the middle of the Green Bay defense. Kirksey has shown his ability in the past (148 tackles in 2016 and 138 in 2017) and now just needs to show he’s healthy. If he can show he’s healthy and play a full season Kirksey could easily finish the year as an LB1. This potential makes him a real nice value in drafts.

Kevin King Cornerback – Green Bay Packers

2019 Stats: 66 tackles (56 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 5 interceptions, 15 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble

Kevin King finally showed some of the talent that made Green Bay draft him 33rd overall in 2017. In cornerback required leagues, King makes for a very solid tier 2 option. He showed the ability to make plays on the ball and put up respectable tackle numbers as well. King should be a notable IDP asset in CB required leagues and it helps that he plays across from a talent like Jaire Alexander in Green Bay.


NFC North Tier – 3 (25-36 Potential)

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Za’Darius Smith Linebacker – Green Bay Packers

2019 Stats: 55 tackles (41 solo), 17 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, 37 QB hits, 1 forced fumble

Za’Darius Smith’s first year in Green Bay was nothing short of fantastic. His 13.5 sacks were good for sixth in the league and he tied the league lead in QB hits with 37. In leagues where Smith is considered an LB he is an upside tier three option. In league’s where he has a DE/Edge designation I would bump him up all the way to a tier one option. No matter the designation, Smith will produce for your IDP squad.

Adrian Amos Safety – Green Bay Packers

2019 Stats: 84 tackles (68 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 8 passes defensed

Amos isn’t a player that gets a ton of attention, both in the NFL and in IDP fantasy football. He’s a steady, reliable player who is a very efficient tackler. Amos set his career high in tackles with 84 last season in his first year in Green Bay. If I wait on safety, Amos is one of the names I look for in drafts as he is a dependable weekly producer and a great tier three option.

Jaire Alexander Cornerback – Green Bay Packers

2019 Stats: 58 tackles (50 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 17 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

In cornerback required leagues, Alexander has been a very usable asset in his first two seasons. He contributes in the tackle department and has notable ball skills, as his two interceptions and 17 passess defensed show from last  year. Fire him up as a tier three corner as he should continue to produce in 2020.

Jamie Collins Linebacker – Detroit Lions

2019 Stats: 81 tackles (58 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 10 QB hits, 3 interception, 7 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

Jamie Collins lined up all over the field for New England last season. Now in Detroit, I expect him to once again be used in different spots within the defense. Collins has a knack for making plays at off ball linebacker and as an edge rusher. His athleticism and versatility make Collins an upside tier three linebacker for 2020.

Jeff Okudah Cornerback – Detroit Lions

Rookie

The Lions selected Okudah with the third overall pick in this year’s draft. Detroit has big plans for their rookie corner and he will be a day one starter. Okudah is super talented and can be viewed as a tier three CB in leagues where you are required to start them.

Khalil Mack Linebacker – Chicago Bears

2019 Stats: 47 tackles (40 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 14 QB hits, 5 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 4 passes defensed

2019 was a bit of a down year for Khalil Mack by his standards. I expect him to bounce back a bit this year and get back to hitting that double digit sack number we are used to seeing. In leagues where Mack is tagged at linebacker he’s a tier three option. In other leagues where he has DE or Edge eligibility he has tier one upside. Either way he should have a better 2020 and produce for his IDP owners.

Danny Trevathan Linebacker – Chicago Bears

2019 Stats: 70 tackles (50 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Trevathan was having himself a nice 2019 season until an unfortunate elbow injury ended his year in week 10. The Bears decided to resign Trevathan this off-season to a three year deal making him a big part of the defense going forward. A great value in drafts, Trevathan always produces when healthy as he excels both against the run and in coverage.

Akiem Hicks Defensive End – Chicago Bears

2019 Stats: Only played 5 games

Last year, Hicks suffered an unfortunate elbow injury that shortened his season. Hicks has been a steady disruptor on the Bears’ defensive line amassing at least 50 combined tackles and seven sacks in each of the previous three seasons. If he’s back to full health, Hicks is a tier three defensive line target.


NFC North tier – Depth Players

Anthony Barr Linebacker – Minnesota Vikings

While Barr hasn’t been a big time producer for IDP, his snaps and production are consistent. Barr is a solid depth player who is a reliable option should you need him in your lineup.

Anthony Harris Safety – Minnesota Vikings

Anthony Harris had a really nice 2019 season setting career highs in tackles (60), interceptions (6), and passes defended (11). Harris is an upside depth player with the ball skills to make big plays in coverage.

Jarrad Davis Linebacker – Detroit Lions

Currently, Davis is starting in the middle for the Detroit defense. Davis hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations Detroit had for him when they selected him in the first round in 2017. For IDP, Davis is a usable depth linebacker in leagues where you start 3-4 for as long as he keeps his starting job.

Preston Smith Linebacker – Green Bay Packers

Preston Smith had a strong first season in Green Bay. He set career highs in tackles (56), tackles for loss (11), and sacks (12). In leagues where he is designated a linebacker, Smith is a depth option with weekly big play potential.

Robert Quinn Linebacker – Chicago Bears

Quinn had a really nice season for Dallas last year, at defensive end, registering 11.5 sacks. Now with Chicago, he makes the switch to outside linebacker which hinders his IDP value a bit. In leagues he’s tagged as a linebacker, Quinn is more of a depth option with weekly sack upside.

Eddie Jackson Safety – Chicago Bears

Jackson plays a ton of snaps and has a knack for making a big play every once in a while. For IDP, Jackson is a bit up and down on his weekly scoring. While he’s not a bad weekly option I view him more as a depth player.


NFC North tier – Sleepers

Darnell Savage

Darnell Savage had a productive rookie season last year for Green Bay collecting 55 tackles and two interceptions. Savage has the smarts, athleticism, and versatility to play all over Green Bay’s defensive formations. He is certainly in line to make a jump in year two. Our very own Zach Magley wrote a breakout piece on Savage which you can view here.

Jahlani Tavai

Tavai showed some potential as a rookie last year and played about 50% of Detroit’s defensive snaps. He’s a better fit for the spot in the middle of the Lions’ defense and could be coming for Jarrad Davis’ job sooner rather than later. My buddy Zach Magley also wrote a breakout piece on Tavai which you can view here.

Ifeadi Odenigbo

Odenigbo only played 368 defensive snaps last season, but flashed his potential collecting seven sacks in his limited reps. As of right now, Odenigbo looks to have the starting end spot opposite of Danielle Hunter. With a new starting role in hand, Odenigbo could have a breakout year three.


NFC North tier – Buys

Christian Kirksey

Currently, Kirksey has an IDPGuys ADP of LB26. With his new role and LB1 upside, I’m definitely buying him at this price. If he can stay healthy and deliver on his potential he could be a big time bargain in drafts.

Danny Trevathan

Trevathan is a linebacker who continually gets slept on in drafts. While he is a bit injury prone, he also very talented and productive. With a current IDPGuys ADP of LB40, you can get a weekly LB2/3 at an LB4 price.

Trey Flowers

Flowers is a really good value at his current IDPGuys ADP of DL25. With his talent and consistent play, I’m buying him at that price all day.


NFC North tier – Sells

Khalil Mack

I’m selling Mack in leagues where he is tagged as a linebacker. While I expect him to improve his numbers from 2019, his tackle numbers have significantly dropped the past two seasons lowering his weekly floor. There are other linebackers I would prefer in the range Mack is going.

Jarrad Davis

Detroit decided not to pick up Davis’ fifth year option and his time there seems to be coming to an end. Second year man Jahlani Tavai could be coming for his starting spot as Detroit looks to see what they have for the future.

Be on the lookout for Todd Foster’s two part NFC North tier preview for offensive players, coming soon over at Dynasty Football Digest!


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!!