• 2023 IDP Fantasy Football: Challenging Consensus Redraft IDP Rankings

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    At the IDPGuys, we have some of the best in the business IDP redraft rankings. However, just because they are totally awesome it does not mean they are perfect! In this article, I point out and discuss some players that are ranked too high (potential busts) and too low (potential sleepers) on our IDPGuys Redraft Kit (which can be purchased here) at each IDP Position.

    It should be noted that these names listed do not mean I hate/adore the players or think certain ones are good/bad. This is just a challenge to the consensus on where they are going. Some of my favorite players in the league I think are overranked for fantasy. Note: General stats are taken from Pro-Football-Reference, snap/alignment stats from PFF, and the ranks from the aforementioned IDPGuys draft kit!

    Let's get into it, starting on the Defensive line!

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    Lower - Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys (EDGE1, 52nd overall)

    Let's start this off with a bang. Micah Parsons is one of the premier defensive threats in the league, but his fantasy value is not as high as he is being ranked. Now a full-time EDGE player, Parsons is losing tackle upside along with a large portion of his alignment-based chaos factor.

    Parsons should still improve as a rusher but loses some upside as a tackler from the LB spot. Through Week 10 in 2022, he played about a third of his snaps off the ball. This dropped to 5% over the final eight weeks and led to a significant decrease in tackling metrics, including 1.5 sacks over the final six games. Parsons – at EDGE/ED3 and IDP6 overall – is still ranked as a player with LB and EDGE versatility and production, which he no longer has.

    Higher - Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers (EDGE5, 80th overall) and Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins (EDGE4, 67th overall)

    Brian Burns and Jaelan Phillips I am lumping together, as I see them in similar situations. Both are young players who have flashed massive - though not fully tapped - potential as rushers and run defenders. Both enter their first seasons in new, upgraded schemes (Ejiro Evero in Carolina and Vic Fangio in Miami). 

    Burns has become one of the best complete EDGEs in the league and hit 13 sacks this past season while having more or similar (within five) pressures as four of the seven EDGEs with more sacks. Phillips has all the tools needed to be an elite EDGE, but the question with him has been health. Both players have the upside to hit the same 13-15 sack range (Burns already has) and are upper-tier run defenders. Phillips especially has room to grow with a new scheme and more reps.

    Both players also have had an uptick in talent around them. This offseason, the Panthers added veteran Justin Houston, and the Dolphins added Bradley Chubb - the former Robin to Von Miller’s Batman under Fangio in Denver - at the deadline last year as well. Both teams also have ascending DLs and improved LB groups. Saying two top-five EDGE players should be ranked higher is bold and definitely calling my shot. Both should be ranked closer and/or over Parsons, as both have a similar pass rush and run-stopping upside.

    Lower - Kwity Paye, Indianapolis Colts (DE8, 202.5th overall)

    Kwity Paye was a darling amongst many scouts coming into the 2021 draft, but I was not one of those, even after he was drafted by my Colts. Paye has flashed some upside in his time, and some would argue he could be in a similar scenario as Phillips and Burns above. He is also strong against the run, but the rush upside is not as high.

    Health has always marred Paye, missing seven games over his first two years (and being on the injury report often). Gus Bradley’s scheme does not typically see high sack DEs, having them more containing the edge and stuffing the run. Paye is a solid player, but the limited upside is not ideal for a top DE.

    Higher - Marcus Davenport, Minnesota Vikings (EDGE23, 460th overall)

    An example of a player with a higher ceiling that I would take a shot at is Marcus Davenport. Davenport signed a one-year prove-it deal in Minnesota, after never living up to his draft stock in NOLA. He struggled last season, tallying one whole sack, but has flashed with some production in the past, including 9 sacks in 2021 in 11 games.

    With Brian Flores in Minnesota, the defense will be more chaotic and blitz-heavy, causing more chances for Davenport to get home. Davenport also is not the top rusher in Minny, which will help him to have more looks. The upside of Davenport was seen in 2021, and his talent and new situation should land him higher up on draft boards.

    Lower - Josh Sweat, Philadelphia Eagles (DE6, 145th overall)

    Josh Sweat was incredibly productive last season as a secondary rusher for Philly’s historic defense. His production was also very efficient, recording double-digit sacks on 338 pass rush snaps (per PFF). That was good for 81st in the league on pass rush snaps, which is… not high. The next player on this list recorded similar efficiency, however, Sweat is primed to lose snaps this season, not gain them. First-round pick Nolan Smith has been dominating camp and is another name in an already deep group.

    Sweat is a very good player, but the DE/EDGE rotation is very deep in Philly. It is also almost impossible to repeat efficiency like the whole Eagles rush group did last season. With an almost guaranteed efficiency regression combined with the room getting more playable talent, having Sweat in the top 150 overall feels very risky and unlikely to return on value. 

    Higher - Josh Uche, New England Patriots (EDGE21, 294th overall)

    Unlike Sweat, Josh Uche is a hyper-efficient secondary rusher who will be stepping into a larger role this season. Uche recorded 56 QB pressures (per PFF) and 11.5 sacks in 2022 on a minuscule 285 pass-rush snaps. Only 19 players recorded more QB pressures in 2022, all of whom had 96+ more pass rush snaps. 

    Growing into a more full-time role will probably see Uche’s efficiency lower. We have seen an enormous upside, which could grow more consistent as his snaps do. A strong DLine + DB room also will help him grow into his role without needing to be “the guy”. Uche’s proven upside and promised role increase should have him bordering on an EDGE1 rather than the back half of EDGE2 territory.

    Lower: Zach Allen, Denver Broncos (DT2, 125th overall)

    Higher: Dre'Mont Jones, Seattle Seahawks (DT16, 303rd)

    I will be looping players on both ends of my consensus challenging together on this one, as the two players happen to be connected. Dre'Mont Jones was a great interior rusher for the Broncos in 2022 but moved to Seattle in free agency. Allen replaced Jones in Denver this offseason, though they signed similar contracts. I am surprised to see the difference in rankings between these players, as Jones outpaced Allen last season (albeit in one more game). 

    While Zach Allen is a better run defender, Jones offers a higher upside as a pass rusher. Over the past three seasons, Allen has 11.5 sacks compared to Jones' 18.5. Given Jones’ success over the last few years, it was surprising to see them move on from Allen. As the contracts given this offseason suggest, the players are similar in overall talent (even if in different styles).

    Allen does have a safer floor, due to his prowess in the run game. He is, however, more limited than Jones is in the pass game, and so has a lower ceiling too. With the players being so similar, they should also be ranked closer. Jones's rush ability should see him higher, and Allen's limited ceiling makes a top-two DT ranking risky.

    On to the Linebacker position, starting off with a future Hall of Famer:

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    Lower - Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks (LB4, 59.5th overall)

    It is difficult to call the decline in production of an all-time great. That is what I am doing here with Bobby Wagner. Even last season, Wagner did produce well but was his lowest tackle numbers since 2014 (when he missed five games). He is still a very good and productive player, but I worry his athleticism will continue to slip and he will lose more production.

    Another concern is the youthful LB corps that the team does have. Jordyn Brooks - the player Seattle had that allowed them to feel comfortable allowing Wagner to leave - has returned to practice following an ACL tear. Brooks did struggle last season, but still has shown much talent and could supplant Wagner as the team’s LB1 when he is at full speed. I still do have Wagner as an LB1 for this year, but LB4 overall and going in the fifth round would terrify me as he is a large regression candidate (though, how long have we said this for Derrick Henry?)

    Higher - Ernest Jones, Los Angeles Rams (LB10, 104.5th overall)

    A player I think should be ranked higher was Bobby Wagner’s running mate from last season, Ernest Jones. Jones flashed talent as a rookie and broke out behind Wagner, showing strong run defense and his talent as a pass rusher from the middle of the formation. Now wearing the green dot in Los Angeles, Jones should see almost every snap (played 2/3 the snaps that Wagner did).

    Jones is already ranked highly and projected to break out, however, I am even more bullish on him. Wagner, even a reduced version of himself, did show what the scheme could produce in a full-time role. Aside from stepping into Wagner’s role as LB1, there are no real threats on the roster to take time or space away from him (as he did to Wagner last season). Jones also was a great blitzer at South Carolina, so has some sack upside as well, if blitzed. Jones’ upside plus his clear floor makes him an easy top-100 pick for me.

    Lower - Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos (LB9, 104th overall)

    My belief on Josey Jewell’s consensus ranking being too high relies on three things:

    1. I do not think he is a very good NFL LB.
    2. Alex Singleton produced more and was graded higher (PFF).
    3. Drew Sanders is an awesome prospect, and I think he will take Jewell's job soon. 

    Jewell was a very good fantasy LB last season, putting up similar numbers to Bobby Wagner while playing only 13 games. However, on film, he seems to be picked on and is more of a liability (especially in coverage) than a defensive stud. 

    This take is a lot of projection, largely with my ranking of Sanders as a top-15 player in this class and my general distaste for the player. He has been a liability in coverage and missed time (more games missed than played over the last two seasons). This style of player, who has a less-than-certain role and is not an elite talent, scares me to take near the top 100.

    Higher - Christian Harris, Houston Texans (LB23, 186.5th overall)

    Christian Harris is a risky player to call a shot on, as he did struggle during his rookie season. However, defensive and LB coaching extraordinaire DeMeco Ryans has stepped in at HC. Harris appears to be starting in the Dre Greenlaw role from SF, a role that saw Greenlaw outproduce Fred Warner two years in a row (PPG). Harris is a highly physical run-stopping player, similar to Greenlaw, but does have a little more juice.

    I am comparing Harris’ role and growth to that of Greenlaw, but do not think he is that level of player yet. Still, this defense will see many snaps, which should increase Harris’ chance to rack up tackle statistics. I loved his film under Nick Saban, and unlike many 'Bama players, he did not feel maxed out. He most likely will be available in the late LB2 range, but I would feel comfortable taking a shot on Dre Greenlaw's upside as an earlier LB2, especially if you are able to grab a stable LB1 (like Greenlaw himself!) earlier in drafts. 

    Lower - Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts (LB14, 111.5th overall)

    Ugh, this one hurts. Zaire Franklin, I firmly believe is the best LB on this Colts (my unfortunate rooting interest) team. Last year I thought he was the second-best LB on the team, behind Bobby Okereke. However, this Colts team (and most fans) are obsessed with Shaquille Leonard and will put him in their LB1 slot if he is even moderately healthy. This challenge does not reflect Franklin’s skill as a player, but the role he is projected to play in Indianapolis. Leonard, I have always struggled with, as I have found him incredibly overrated, but he has been the soul of the Colts’ defense.

    Franklin is an incredibly steady and solid player but does not have the WOW factor of Leonard. Will Leonard miss time? Probably. But there is so much risk baked in here, that I would rather avoid Franklin as a borderline LB1. If Leonard misses time, Franklin will be spectacular for fantasy, but if he doesn’t it will be more of a struggle. My preference would be to take a shot on a player whose role is increasing (like Christian Harris) over one who is projected to see fewer snaps than their out-of-nowhere-breakout season.

    Higher - Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers (LB44, 330th overall)

    When looking through the rankings, I thought I had missed Shaq Thompson when I didn’t see him in the top 25. Even with the emergence of big play star Frankie Luvu, Thompson remains the team’s top LB and tackle-getter. Under new DC Ejiro Evero (whose scheme allowed the earlier mentioned Josey Jewell to put up great numbers), Thompson should see an increase in production due to the overall defensive uptick.

    Thompson is a good defender against the run and is solid in coverage. He is the green dot player for this defense and its overall leader. His ceiling may not be top 10, but his floor is very high as he never leaves the field and is a consistent tackler. He is an ideal LB2 with his floor and an elite option as an LB3. The low floor, with 100+ tackles in four consecutive seasons, should see him ranked higher.

    Now we have broken through the second level and will discuss Defensive Backs:

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    Lower - Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, New York Jets (CB2, 255.5th overall)

    Sauce Gardner is on this list for one reason, he is a top-tier boundary corner. I do not love ranking these players highly as they will not see a volume of targets or tackles. Sauce is on a similar level as a player to names like Patrick Surtain II, Denzel Ward, Jaire Alexander, Marshon Lattimore, etc... Gardner is ranked significantly higher than all of them, though he will see a similarly low amount of passes.

    For the CB position, I much prefer slot corners which will more easily factor into the run game and be closer to the ball. Sauce is an elite corner and did get more tackles than most elite outside corners last season, however, his fantasy upside is limited as he will not be tested often due to his coverage prowess.

    Higher - Roger McCreary, Tennessee Titans (CB17, 311th overall)

    Roger McCreary is another example of alignment mattering for fantasy. He is not a better CB than Sauce Gardner (though was still very impressive as a rookie) but is moving fully into the slot this season. Being in the slot increases CB value, as they are around the ball more. McCreary was a tough run-stopper at Auburn, which did translate through his rookie season.

    As one of the best players on the D, McCreary should see a majority of snaps. The Titans D should see the field often too, also getting McCreary around the ball more. CBs are hard to gauge for IDP value, but one who will be constantly on the field and in the slot is one to bet on.

    Lower - Chauncey “C.J.” Gardner-Johnson, Detroit Lions (S7, 178.5th overall)

    C.J. Gardner-Johnson had incredible numbers last season with the Eagles, compiling 6 interceptions in 12 games.  Now in Detroit, CJGJ is ranked as if he will produce similarly. He seems like a prime regression candidate, as he recorded more INTs this season than the rest of his career combined while missing five games. He also played behind a historic pass rush, which led to rushed and/or bad throws. 

    Gardner-Johnson is an electrifying player but is not the most reliable for fantasy. He has missed 10 games over the past two seasons while grading poorly as a run defender and tackler. Many of his interceptions came as a result of rushed throws and deflections, which are hard to repeat and predict. The turnover upside is exciting, but there are other upside SS with higher floors that should be ranked over him.

    Higher - Julian Love, Seattle Seahawks (S22, 274.5th overall)

    Julian Love moves to Seattle’s DB room off of a productive year with the Giants. He slides into the role Ryan Neal took over last season and produced in. Even if Jamal Adams is healthy, Love should have a big role on the team as a box safety. 2022 was Love's first as a starting SS, and he excelled in the role.

    In 2022, only two DBs had more tackles than Love (Jalen Pitre and Jonathan Owens, on an atrocious Texans team, both played one more game as well), while still learning the position. Having this tackle upside should see him ranked higher than a low S2.

    Lower - Jeremy Chinn, Carolina Panthers (S4, 152.5th overall)

    I love Jeremy Chinn, but his ranking as a top-five S does feel rich. He was incredible as a rookie, but total production has decreased each year since. There are also reports that Chinn will be more of a slot CB than S, which may lower his upside. Ejiro Evero coming in is great for the defense but also means Chinn may be learning a new scheme and position, which could lead to more struggles.

    Chinn has all the talent and versatility in the world, but the positional and health uncertainty lowers confidence in him. He still has tackle and turnover upside in the slot, but it is lesser than as a box safety. If he is asked to play more in coverage, his value will fall. Losing positional versatility (similar to Parsons) and a rough 2022 should push him down the ranks. A lower ranking makes sense, especially in favor of another versatile piece, but one who is moving into a better fantasy role…

    Higher - Kyle Hamilton, Baltimore Ravens (S5, 155th overall)

    Kyle Hamilton moved around Mike MacDonald’s defense last season but reportedly will be playing SS this season. Being in the box more will give Hamilton room to make more plays against the run. The time he spends deep will let him use his range to make plays in the pass. Hamilton is a top-tier talent but struggled early last season as he gained his footing playing slot corner. Upon moving primarily to S, he exploded, and fantasy production should follow this season.

    Ranking him at five is a big projection already, but Hamilton does have a true S1 upside. His talent, draft capital, defensive talent, and scheme check the list of top IDP scorers. Unlike Chinn, Hamilton is moving into a role that is more natural to him and is better for fantasy scoring, while also being in his second season in a top-tier scheme.

    Well, this concludes my first full, solo article with the IDPGuys! It was a pleasure to give the old Master Kenobi “Hello there!” and challenge the consensus of our awesome rankers! I hope you enjoyed and please feel free to reach out on Twitter or Discord with any questions @JoeLow63 

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