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  • Giving Thanks: IDP Standouts in 2023

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    Let's be grateful to our IDP superstars! Here's who fantasy football managers should be thankful for among defensive players.


    Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, and that's just as true in fantasy football and IDP.

    Let's give thanks to those defensive superstars by highlighting the players who have earned their due among defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs.

    Defensive Linemen

    Justin Madubuike, Baltimore Ravens

    The key to Baltimore's defensive success this season is Madubuike. Few defensive tackles have been as disruptive as the 26-year-old DT.

    His 9.5 sacks, 18 QB hits, and 10 TFLs are impressive enough, but Madubuike also has at least one sack in every game since Week 6. In a world with inconsistent fantasy DL, Madubuike has been an exceptional breakout.

    Carl Granderson, New Orleans Saints

    This newsletter was a big fan of Granderson all summer, and the Saints DE has seized his opportunity with both hands.

    With Marcus Davenport out of town, Granderson jumped into a big role. He's delivered 10 TFLs and 14 QB hits, and while he only has 5.5 sacks to show for it, expect positive regression to eventually catch up. His 44 combined tackles help make up for it.

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    Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders

    On paper, duh. But Crosby continues to be miles ahead of his fellow DL competitors because of his ridiculous tackle numbers along with his sacks and TFLs.

    Crosby is on pace for a career-high 16 sacks while tying his career-high 22 TFLs. With 65 combined tackles through 11 games, Crosby remains a cheat code in tackle-friendly formats.

    Linebackers

    Bobby Okereke, New York Giants

    As one of the promoted tweets above mentioned, Okereke is one of two linebackers (Logan Wilson) to play every snap this season. But it's Okereke who also sits tied for fifth in combined tackles (105) with Bobby Wagner, so he gets the deserved nod here.

    Hopes were high for the former Colt upon signing a mega $40 million contract with New York. Okereke has delivered in IDP, however, in his first year as a true LB1 as he has a career-high nine TFLs and has tied his career-best six PDs. He also has forced four fumbles this year.

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    Quincy Williams, New York Jets

    A lot has been asked of the Jets defense in 2023, and while many have delivered -- C.J. Mosley, Sauce Gardner, Jermaine Johnson, and Quinnen Williams come to mind -- nobody has stood out more than Williams.

    The Jets linebacker has long been a strong, but quiet counterpart as the LB2 in New York, but 2023 has shown a ceiling previously assumed to be capped. Williams is on pace for 155 combined tackles and 19 TFLs, both of which would smash previous career bests. He also has a career-high six PDs.

    Robert Spillane, Las Vegas Raiders

    I'll admit, this is the player I'm most thankful for. Spillane was highlighted back in May, and boy, has he outperformed even the highest of expectations.

    Spillane went late or undrafted in many leagues and now sits with 94 tackles, four PDs and three interceptions through 11 games. He's been as consistent as it comes, with seven tackles in all but one game all year.

    Defensive Backs

    Camryn Bynum, Minnesota Vikings

    This is just as much a shout-out to the under-appreciated Josh Metellus in IDP. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores has worked magic in Minneapolis.

    Bynum had a bit of a slump over the last few games, but he has been a league-winning pickup since his early-season breakout. Bynum leads the team in tackles (91) and also has eight PDs and two interceptions.

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    Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks

    Mainly due to injury, it took some time for Seattle's first-round cornerback to get on the field. But once he did, he never looked back.

    Witherspoon has 52 tackles (38 solo) in just nine games, with a ridiculous 13 PDs to go along with it. He hasn't had an interception since Week 4, but given that it was a remarkable 97-yard pick-six, we can forgive him.

    Reed Blankenship, Philadelphia Eagles

    No C.J. Gardner-Johnson, no problem!

    Blankenship has been a true difference-maker this season off the waiver wire. The Eagles safety averages 7.8 tackles a game and is on pace for a remarkable 21 PDs. Few defensive backs have been as reliable as Blankenship with a high ceiling as well.

    And of course... YOU

    That's right. Thank you for tuning into this newsletter week after week. This obviously takes some time to write and complete, so knowing people are reading this is always appreciated.

    Thank you, and here's to the next newsletter!


    This article first appeared in this week's newsletter. It comes out every Wednesday morning straight to your inbox. Click here to sign up!

    Thank you for checking out this article! You can read Michael Sicoli’s content on his author page. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at @Michael__Sicoli, and @IDPGuys (we have offense too). Please check out our website at idpguys.org!

    Michael Sicoli

    A dynasty enthusiast and fantasy football addict, there's not much more I'd prefer to write about. I'm a New Yorker at a Connecticut university -- Quinnipiac -- who's a firm believer that the NFL doesn't have an offseason.
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