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  • IDP Fantasy Redraft Top 10 Series: Edge Edition

    Jersey Giveaway

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    This is the second in a series of articles on my top 10 players at each defensive position in IDP fantasy redraft formats. Welcome to the Edge edition.


    Welcome to article two in my series of articles about my Top 10 IDP stars! So far, I have only covered DTs, and if you missed that article, you can find it here.

    I’m a big believer in tiers — I sometimes feel uncomfortable committing to a top 10 list in any format. However, I’m feeling ballsy, so I will go out on a limb and name my top 10 players in fantasy redraft formats at five defensive positions – defensive tackle, edge rusher, linebacker, safety, and cornerback.

    I’ll still split them into tiers for further context, and I’ll try to justify each selection with some thoughts and ramblings. If I remember, or if someone reminds me, I’ll revisit my picks at the end of the season to see how I fared.

    Enough of the preamble. Let’s get into it.

    Top 10 Edge Rushers

    Tier One

    1a. Myles Garrett

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    Garrett ticks all the boxes in terms of what fantasy managers want in an edge rusher. He has elite talent and production and plays plenty of snaps. The former Aggies star has been incredibly productive since being drafted first overall in the 2017 draft.

    A handful of other top 10 edges have earned a better pressure rate each of the last four years, but very few have been as consistent as Garrett. Notably, 2021 was his best year in terms of pressure totals and pressure rate. Garrett is a transcendent player who continues to improve.

    The only real debate involving Garrett is whether he or T.J. Watt should be your #1. That’s the joy — and the reason — for using tiers. They’re 1A and 1B in fantasy leagues where both have edge rusher designations.

    1b. T.J. Watt

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    It saddens me that Watt has a linebacker designation on MFL. However, it does help make a persuasive argument for using true position in IDP, and that’s a good thing. Fantasy commissioners, take note!

    I’m in one IDP league that doesn’t use true position — and also has an unusual scoring format — where Watt is a complete cheat code. (I even took a few moments out of writing this article to submit yet another offer for him.)

    I said I’d make a top 10, and here I am with two number ones! I know, I’m weak. Forgive me. I couldn’t help myself. Some will plant a flag on either Garrett or Watt with the utmost confidence. I don’t completely understand why.

    Both are phenomenal players, despite being quite different in how they play the game. I’m equally happy to walk away with Garrett as I am Watt in redraft leagues.

    Rashan Gary, Trey Hendrickson, Matthew Judon, Maxx Crosby, and Von Miller had better pressure rates than Watt in the 2021 regular season. The difference between Watt and those guys was Watt’s unreal efficiency in turning pressures into sacks. Finishing rates aren’t sticky, but every so often, a player comes along who bucks that trend consistently. Watt is that man.

    With that said, I can confidently say that it’s doubtful that Watt will surpass his sack total from 2021 unless he earns more than the 62 pressures it took last year. It just won’t happen. Hold me to that.

    3. Nick Bosa

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    Bosa has posted tremendous numbers in his two healthy seasons. It speaks volumes for his ability that he’s in the top tier of top 10 edges at only 24 years old. The difference between Garrett, Watt, and Bosa in my rankings is negligible.

    Talent is only part of the equation, opportunity is the other significant factor. Sam Hubbard, Leonard Floyd, and Maxx Crosby are the only edge rushers to rush the passer more often than Bosa in 2021.

    Health is a significant factor in why, and while there’s no guarantee the 49’ers star will remain as healthy in 2022, it’s reassuring to know his talent isn’t wasted in any rotation when he’s available. The same can’t be said for everyone featured in this article.

    You’ll notice I rank pressure rates highly in my evaluation of pass rushers. Bosa’s pressure rate only ranked 10th at the position among all edge rushers, trailing nine others mentioned in this article, including his brother Joey. However, context is king. This visualization from ESPN’s Seth Walder is self-explanatory:

    Three years in, and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that four members of the same family have been drafted in the first round. Talk about superior genetics!

    Tier Two

    4. Rashan Gary

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    Gary is probably the first entry on my top 10 edges list that will raise eyebrows. I’ve seen similar lists that have him much lower or not even mentioned. It confuses the hell out of me. What more do you want to see?

    Gary had a giant leap in production from year two to year three. In 2021, he led all edge rushers in pressure rate. He had double-digit sacks, establishing himself as a star and finally justifying the draft capital the Green Bay Packers invested in him in 2019 when they selected him with the 12th overall pick.

    The IDP community’s reluctance to appreciate Gary’s talent may be because it took him a while to find his groove in the league. Before 2021, the former Michigan Wolverines star had only shown glimpses of what was to come, and we only started to see indications of the player he would be during the second half of the 2020 campaign.

    Gary is the first of five players on this top 10 edges list who have been hit by an unfair position switch on MFL. However, if you use true position or play in Sleeper, where he has dual DL/LB designation, he remains an elite asset.

    5. Joey Bosa

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    Joey Bosa is the second of five guys on this top 10 edges list who has suffered from the MFL position switch to LB, so the same points in Gary’s notes above apply in terms of true position and Sleeper dual designation.

    Many panicked when they heard Bosa would be transitioning from a DE to an OLB and dropping into coverage more often in the 2021 season. It was always a strange and unlikely notion for a team that relies so heavily on one man to generate a pass rush.

    Unsurprisingly, Bosa’s role didn’t change — he dropped into coverage only 27 times all season. He was tasked with doing what he does best — getting after the QB.

    It was yet another dominant performance by the former Buckeye, who has been consistently excellent each year since his rookie season, with the only exception being his injury-plagued 2018 season. Expect him to be just as productive in 2022, health permitting.

    Check out Tom Kislingbury’s observations on the differences between Nick and Joey Bosa’s ADP:

    Tier Three

    6. Maxx Crosby

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    Crosby frustrated IDP managers everywhere last year. He ended the season with double-digit sacks, but failed to record a sack in 13 out of 18 games, and five of his 10 sacks came in one game. Not good.

    However, the Raiders star led the league with 101 pressures, 20 ahead of the next nearest edge rusher, Rashan Gary, who had 81. That’s the largest margin in pressures between the number one and number two edge rusher in over 15 years. This point is significant when considering his relative value to others.

    It was a massive leap in production for Crosby. He had managed only 45 pressures in 2019 and 48 in 2020. As his best season was his most recent, it affords him a slight bump in value on this top 10 edges list. Few players below him on this list have had a season on par with Crosby’s 2021. Even fewer did so recently enough to give me confidence they can repeat in 2022.

    7. Danielle Hunter

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    Hunter divides opinions. Few question his ability, even fewer question his athleticism, but question marks remain over his health. He lost the entire 2020 season after herniating a disc in his neck, and he suffered a pectoral tear against the Cowboys in week eight of 2021. Worst luck!

    The neck injury concerns me less than others. Hunter recovered from the neck injury well enough to start the 2021 season impressively, earning 31 pressures and six sacks in six games. It sounds like he’s also fully recovered from the pec injury, as he talked about how he returned to his normal workout schedule “around February or March.”

    At only 27 years old, Hunter represents a bit of a wildcard on this top 10 edges list. I fondly recall his last entire season when he had a gaudy 97 pressures and 18 sacks, and I’m not willing to give up hope he can recapture that form. If he comes close to those numbers, he will represent a bargain pickup for shrewd fantasy managers in redraft. I’m excited to see him back.

    8. Trey Hendrickson

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    As a pure pass rusher, Hendrickson easily meets the requirements of this tier. He tied Nick Bosa for 75 pressures, ranking fourth at the position, but he did so on 71 fewer pass rush attempts, meaning his 15.6% pressure rate was superior. Only Rashan Gary and Maxx Crosby beat the Bengals edge rusher in that category.

    Hendrickson was the model of consistency, registering a sack in each game for an 11-game stretch between Weeks 5 and 16. There were only three games during the regular season where he failed to take down the QB. It’s incredibly impressive, considering he could barely get on the field for the first two years of his career.

    Why is the Bengals’ star as low as eight on this top 10 edges list? It’s partly because this position group is so talented. I consider each player in this tier to be interchangeable depending on your scoring format and personal preference.

    Also, Hendrickson offers virtually nothing besides a pass rush. Granted, tackles are nowhere near as crucial as sacks in fantasy, but they’re not inconsequential, and he barely averaged a tackle per game.

    I also believe that neither Hendrickson nor Hubbard will play as many snaps as they did in 2021. I expect Joseph Ossai – who was lost to a preseason injury last year – to earn some snaps behind the two starters.

    9. Shaquil Barrett

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    I feel like Barrett is the forgotten man in discussions about the league’s premier edge rushers. It’s bizarre, given he has 256 pressures, including 43 sacks in the last three seasons. Only Aaron Donald has more pressure than the 29-year-old Bucs star over that period.

    Barrett can be a little streaky compared to some of the options above him on this top 10 edges list. Per PFF, his pass rush grades can be excellent one week and poor the next, but over the course of a season, Barrett remains an excellent fantasy option.

    I enjoy Barrett’s backstory. It’s a tale of how a player can become a massive success despite having the odds stacked against them. He was initially criticized for lack of athleticism before going undrafted and then toiled in a part-time role for the Broncos for years. It makes it easy to pull for him when you appreciate how far he had to come.

    At 29 years old, Barrett still has plenty left in the tank. Take advantage of league mates who overlook him.

    Tier Four

    10. Josh Allen

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    Allen started 2021 on a tear, managing 39 pressures and six sacks in his first nine games. He had some stellar games during that run, including an AFC Defensive Player of the Week worthy performance in week nine vs. the Bills and his QB namesake when the Jags star had five pressures, a sack, an interception, a fumble recovery, and six tackles.

    Sadly, the second half of the season wasn’t nearly as productive for Allen. He had just 11 pressures and two sacks in his last seven games, which meant he ended with similar pass rush numbers to his rookie campaign. However, he did perform better in run defense and amassed an impressive 63 combined tackles.

    The Jaguars selected edge rusher, Travon Walker, with the first overall pick in the 2022 draft. Walker is more of a project than some of the other edge rushers in the draft, so I don’t believe he’ll affect Allen’s snap volume immediately, if at all. If anyone suffers, it will more likely be Dawuane Smoot.

    IDP Guys’ Mason Rinsey recently listed Allen as a 2022 buy candidate.

    Best of the Rest (in no specific order)

    Brian Burns

    Burns had a good season in 2021, and at only 24 years old, he has the potential to continue developing as a player, but most of us hoped for a little more last season after he put together such a promising campaign in 2020.

    Burns’ 10.8% pressure rate ranked a lowly 37th among all edge rushers with at least 250 pass-rush attempts. However, a few things work in Burns’ favor. Volume, primarily. Only 11 other edge rushers had more pass rush attempts. Haason Reddick is no longer with the team, and the Panthers did little to replace him, so I believe a similar workload is in store for Burns again.

    Age is also a factor. This is a redraft article, so we only care about his projections for the 2022 season, but he’s a player on an upwards trajectory compared with others who are at the tail end of their careers.

    Khalil Mack
    Matthew Judon
    Montez Sweat
    Preston Smith

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. No edge rusher had more pressure in the second half of the 2021 season than Preston Smith. The departure of Za’Darius Smith means Smith should remain in a prominent role for the 2022 season.

    Za’Darius Smith
    Sam Hubbard
    Marcus Davenport

    Health has been a major issue for Davenport at times in his young career. We saw the best of him when he found his way onto the field in 2021. I don’t really do sleepers, but Davenport would be top of my list at the edge spot if I did.

    Robert Quinn
    Chase Young
    Von Miller

    Last season, Miller showed us that he still has what it takes to be a dangerous edge rusher. I don’t particularly like Buffalo as a landing spot; this is a team that rotates their edge rushers as much as any. Despite losing Jerry Hughes, they still have many bodies ready to steal snaps from Miller.

    Leonard Floyd
    Haason Reddick
    Harold Landry

    Landry has the pressure and sack numbers to rival many of his edge rusher counterparts. My problem with including him in my top 10 is the amount of volume he has needed to remain productive. He’s had more snaps than any other edge rusher in the last three years combined.

    In the interest of balance, check out Mason Rinsey’s breakdown of Landry’s value compared with his ADP.


    Thanks for reading my ‘IDP Fantasy Redraft Top 10 series – Edge edition’. I hope you find it helpful or interesting. Check back here soon for the other articles in the series covering my top 10 DT, edge, linebacker, safety, and cornerbacks, and follow me on Twitter @JaseAbbey.

    Subscribers can catch the IDP Guys redraft rankings here, IDP season projections here, and more fantasy articles from other writers here.

    Jase Abbey

    I'm an IDP-obsessive and have been playing fantasy football for 20 years. I write the weekly IDP start/sit for IDP Guys in-season, redraft IDP content during the offseason, and appear on the odd podcast from time to time. I am a big, big believer in data-driven and evidence-based content. I'm UK-based, love most sports, and study sports journalism at university. My favorite two things in life are family and sarcasm.

    Discussion

    1. […] Welcome to article three in my series of articles about my Top 10 IDP stars, linebacker edition! So far, I have covered DTs and Edges. If you missed those articles, you can find the DT edition here and the Edge edition here. […]

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