12 IDP Redraft Values Not on Dynasty Radars
Who are the "unsexy" IDPs who could help you win a title in 2021? We've got 12 picks you should be targeting late in drafts or scooping off your waiver wire.
Look, we all love our dynasty leagues. But there’s no denying that the players we covet in those leagues often differ from the IDPs who help us win our redraft leagues.
In dynasty, we tend to be obsessed with younger players whose sky-high potential often has yet to be realized. So, we stash them on our bench and wait for them to pop so we can rub our fantasy prowess in our league’s collective face.
But if we take off the dynasty glasses for a moment, there are IDPs out there who may not be young, sexy, or tantalizing in their potential—but they’re solid. In a fantasy season that is sure to be wrecked by injuries and players being worse than we all anticipated, it’s good to build optionality into your roster with players who will cost you nothing. In fact, many of these guys can be found on your waiver wire.
Hightower opted out of the 2020 season like many other Patriots starters, resulting in that defense looking like a husk of its former self. In 2019, he was a strong LB3 option, scoring 11.25 ppg on the back of 65 tackles and 6.5 sacks while playing over 700 snaps.
Comparing Hightower’s 2019 overall PFF defensive grade of 71.3 to Ja'Whaun Bentley’s grade of 53.2 in 2020, you can see that Bentley did nothing that would keep Hightower from taking his job back. The defense as a whole also suffered, which is part of the reason you saw Bill Belichick give out a record $159.6 million in guarantees during free agency, much of that money going to address the defense.
We expect Hightower to man the middle of this revamped defense.
Holcomb started as a special teamer last season with Thomas Davis and Jon Bostic serving as Washington’s primary LBs. He also missed the start of the season with a knee injury he sustained in week 1. As Davis tailed off, Holcomb was trusted more and played pretty well in his limited snaps, averaging 11.5 ppg in 11 games. Per Joey the Tooth, he averaged a tackle every 7 snaps over the final 6 games of the season.
Not to overreact to preseason, but in the snaps seen during Week 1, it’s Jamin Davis who’s come off the field. Mike Woellert identified Holcomb as the green dot, and per PFF’s Jon Macri, over 12 snaps in the first 2 drives, the snap share looked like this:
Cole Holcomb: 100%
Jon Bostic: 100%
Jamin Davis: 50%
This could possibly be interchangeable with Alex Singleton, but as The Fantasy Footballers like to say, if you “follow the money” it was Wilson whom the Eagles paid to bring it this year. Granted, it wasn’t a huge deal, but it proves the team wasn’t happy rolling with just the group of Singleton, Davion Taylor, and T.J. Edwards.
Wilson’s 65.5 coverage grade came in higher than any of the 2020 Eagles LBs. He should help provide some security in a division that can target the middle of the field with great proficiency. Per Macri, the first drive of Week 1’s preseason game went:
Eric Wilson - 100%
Alex Singleton - 75%
TJ Edwards - 25%
Wilson is also an established scorer in IDP, averaging over 15 ppg last season in Minnesota while he was filling in for Eric Kendricks. He can pile up points.
Collins suffered a neck injury that saw him miss the final two games of 2020. When he was on the field, he still managed a 64.2 overall grade despite being on one of the worst NFL defenses in recent memory with the 2020 Detroit Lions (thanks, Pencil Boy).
Collins is a guy you can count on for a 100 tackle floor, as he’s done it three out of the last four seasons he’s played at least 14 games in, including in 2020.
Here’s the other piece of good news: there’s next to no competition in Detroit as far as linebackers go. Derrick Barnes is a sleeper we all like but he’s missed time in camp with an injury, and Alex Anzalone is a JAG based on what we saw in New Orleans.
This team is just bad on both sides of the ball. Vegas has their over/under at 5 wins, which could mean their defense sees a decent amount of snaps as their offense struggles to sustain drives. If that happens and Detroit finds themselves in early holes, Collins could see plenty of tackle opportunities as teams run out the clock.
JPP was an IDP darling in his early years with New York, but a run-in with fireworks, followed by a car accident a couple of years later had many of us thinking he’d used up his 9 lives. (Sorry to make this joke again in print, Bobby.) Thankfully, after being paired with Shaq Barrett in Tampa Bay, he’s had a renaissance in his 30s.
Over the past 3 years, he’s averaged 14.68 ppg according to Big 3 Scoring, while averaging just over 10 sacks a season in that time. His lowest output of 8.5 came in 2019 when he only played 10 games. Electric rookie Joe Tryon should see some playing time, but after playing over 900 snaps in 3 of the last 4 seasons, a bit of rest could help improve JPP’s efficiency as he enters his age 33 season. Also, Tampa Bay has all 11 defensive starters returning, as well as one of the best defensive coordinators in the league in Todd Bowles, meaning JPP should remain a force for IDP.
When you’re looking at a future Hall of Famer like Von Miller in a “values” article, it’s fair to wonder how the mighty have fallen. The 3x All-Pro was once arguably the most feared pass rusher in the league, however, he lost his whole 2020 season to a dislocated peroneal tendon 6 days before the Broncos kicked off their season.
Before 2020, Miller had played in 95 of 96 games since 2014 and racked up 71 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, and 8 fumble recoveries. The last time we saw Miller was in 2019 on a Broncos team that lost Bradley Chubb early and was making do with Malik Reed and Jeremiah Attaochu as their other edge rusher. Miller had a reduced conversion rate that season but still racked up 77 pressures and a 71.4 pass rush grade from PFF.
With Kyle Fuller and Patrick Surtain II being added to the secondary, we could see an increase in coverage sacks and a bounce back to double-digit sack numbers for Miller like he was between 2014-18. Like with JPP, if your platform of choice has Miller listed as an EDGE or DE, scoop him up. If either guy is an LB, it diminishes their appeal.
You’re problem sensing a theme here: older, previously elite veterans coming off injury-shortened 2020 seasons with Miller and now Chandler Jones. Now, we want to asterisk this one a bit, as Jones is asking for a trade or a new contract. So, if he gets dealt to a less desirable situation than the one he’s in now, you can throw this out the window. But if he stays in Arizona for 2021 (we suspect he will), now we’re talking.
Jones had his 2020 cut short with injury and wasn’t playing particularly well in the 5 games before he got hurt. However, in the seasons before that, the Cardinals pass rusher was a wrecking ball. Not counting 2020, since arriving in Arizona in 2016, he’s averaged 15 sacks per year and forced 17 fumbles in that time period. From 2016-2019, he recorded 3 out of 4 seasons with an elite pass rush grade of over 84.0 per PFF, with 2018 being the outlier where he dropped to a still impressive 68.2
Outside of an also aging J.J. Watt, the Cardinals are bereft of talent in the pass-rushing department, so we expect Jones to slot into the 900+ snap role he’s played in each of his last 4 full seasons in Arizona. Buy the dip, my friends.
Question: who outside of Aaron Donald is the primary pass rusher in Los Angeles? That’s right, it’s Leonard Floyd who gets to clean up the sacks leftover from Donald getting triple-teamed. It’s no coincidence that for the first time in his 5-year career, Floyd had his first season of over 7 sacks and 40 pressures playing with Donald.
The reigning DPOY has a solid history of propping up the stats of lesser pass rushers getting them big paydays (see Robert Quinn and Dante Fowler). Yes, those guys sucked after leaving Los Angeles and Donald’s side, but Floyd is (somehow) still on the Rams.
For redraft purposes, we’re not concerned with long-term prospects. We care: “Will this player score points for me this year?” And the answer, in this case, is yes.
Floyd put up 55 pressures and 13 sacks with a PFF pass rush grade of 66.0 in 2020. While those sack numbers might come down slightly, it should still be enough to leave you happy. The long and short of our argument is this: football god Aaron Donald is so good at what he does that he scores fantasy points for his teammates.
Jenkins is the quintessential redraft value. Almost dead in dynasty circles, he is a set-it-and-forget-it guy in your DB slot that you can trust not to kill you.
However, this old dog can still boom, with 4 games over 18 ppg last season, including a 27.4 point performance in Week 8. Volume is king in fantasy football and IDP is no different; Jenkins has played no fewer than 1,000 snaps since 2013, and less than 800 since his rookie year in 2009. That’s the kind of opportunity you can bank on.
His coverage did drop off according to PFF, registering a 53.9 coverage grade, Jenkins’ lowest since 2012. However, he made up for it with his in-the-box play, as he came through with run defense and tackle grades of 83.4 and 87.0, respectively. Turning 34 in December, the cliff is for sure coming. But we think Jenkins staves it off for this year and still produces well in 2021. Grab him late and prosper.
Many players harbor an undying love for the Honey Badger, and if you wonder why, it could be because he fits in Tom Kislingbury’s criteria for a memorable player: a great name/nickname, dreads, and the occasional eye-popping play.
Mathieu might never have fully realized the potential he showed at LSU as an absolutely unstoppable force, but he’s produced well enough for IDP that he often gets taken higher than he should (again, blame the drip).
So, this value pick comes with an asterisk. If you find yourself in a draft where Honey Badger is slipping into that DB3/4 range, that’s great value for a guy you can guarantee will see 1,000+ snaps in a defense that’s playmaker deficient. Like with the aforementioned Jenkins, 2020 saw a dip in his coverage ability per PFF grading, clocking in at 63.1, but he more than made up for it by improving on his run defense and tackle grades from 2019 by over 10 points each to 75.9 and 73.0.
Mathieu is the perfect single-season, plug-and-play DB if you can get him late in drafts because he allows you to focus on getting those elites at LB or DL early.
If you were building a DB core from 2015-16, you’d have the league crying foul as to how you’d managed to deploy 3 legitimate candidates for the overall DB1 slot. But it’s not 2015; it’s 2021 and these guys are all old as dust. (Trust us, they’re our age.)
Smith fits the exact same mold as the two previous picks: an over 30s box safety who looks set to play over 1,000 snaps again in 2021. While his coverage grade regressed in 2020, it only dropped to a respectable 76.7. The reason that feels disappointing?
In 2019, he was up at 91.4 (eyeball emoji).
So, if you want to know what to expect from Smith in 2021, we’d say 200-220 points (remember 17 games), or about 12-13 ppg. Not bad for your DB3/4.
Clark is a weird one compared to our other values. He’s not at the top of the hill, nor over it. In fact, he only came into the league in 2017 and was a bit-player until 2019. Last year was his coming-out party as he logged over 1,100 snaps on his way to solid gradings per PFF—except for at tackling, which was ELITE at 90.1.
Clark was a top 20 scoring safety in Big 3 scoring and notched just under 11 ppg in 2020, yet per IDP Guys August ADP, he’s coming off the board at DB33. (That’s the definition of value right there). Clark showed pass-rushing acumen in a limited role early last season but it was nowhere to be seen in the latter half, per Macri.
Before Week 7 bye:
47 pass-rush attempts
After Week 7 bye:
3 pass-rush attempts
It’s worth pointing out that Yannick Ngakoue joined the team during the Ravens’ bye week. We could easily see a world where Wink Martindale dials up some safety blitzes again early in this season while rookie Odafe Oweh finds his feet. Clark is a low-risk, high-reward player that you should be targeting in your drafts at his value.
To hear our discussion of these players, check out the podcast episode here.
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CommanderOzEvolved, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons