IDP Dynasty Buys & Sells: AFC North and AFC East
Jon Macri and Jase Abbey look at IDPs you should look to buy and sell in your dynasty leagues.
We’re almost a full week into NFL Free Agency, a time during which teams are bringing new players into their buildings, many of them on massive deals. So, what better time to examine the best buys/sells for AFC dynasty IDPs?
Today, we’re focusing on the AFC North and AFC East. Below, you’ll find selections from the recent episode of The Big Nickel IDP Podcast with Jon Macri and special guest Jase Abbey of IDP Guys and Dynasty League Football. Later this week, we’ll look at buys and sells from the AFC South and AFC West in Part 2 of this series.
Buy: Odafe Oweh, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: I understand that these sophomore IDPs have a fair deal of hype around them so they’re not going to be easy to acquire. I have him as a top-20 EDGE in dynasty right now, but I still think we’re buying Oweh closer to his floor here, especially when you consider that he played just over 600 snaps.
Oweh posted 49 pressures—most among rookie EDGEs and 25th among all EDGEs—but considering that every other EDGE who had more pressures than him also played at least 60 more snaps than him on the year (so essentially a full game’s worth of snaps), there is plenty of room for Oweh to grow as a pass rusher.
Even 17/25 names listed after him in the pressure leaderboard played more snaps than him. So he did more with less as a rookie. While this is partially due to the way the Ravens deploy their pass rushers, they’re also getting a new defensive coordinator this season and Oweh should be a big building piece of that defense going forward.
He’s another one of those super athletes who we can safely bet on his “boom” still being yet to come. I’d be pushing quite a bit for Oweh at his perceived market cost right now if you can.
Sell: Patrick Queen, LB
Jon’s thoughts: If you haven’t done so yet, then there’s no time like the present to get back to the trade table and start shopping Queen based on his age and first-round draft capital. All the red flags are there and it’s time to stop giving him a pass for being a first-round player and being young. He’s not even really a player that is a great tackle producer; he has the same tackle efficiency as Damien Wilson (Jaguars) and Keanu Neal (Cowboys) when lined up as an off-ball LB.
Then when lined up anywhere else on the field he’s one of the most inefficient tacklers in the league (80th of 84), so there’s little to no allure with this player, and anyone that still has any kind of optimism about his outlook is your ideal trade partner. There are plenty of people out there who are still drawn to him in IDP and the return for him should be profitable for you long-term.
Buy: Joseph Ossai, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: This kind of a shot in the dark, because we’d be positioning ourselves to acquire a truly unknown quantity with Ossai missing his entire rookie year with a knee injury that he suffered in the first preseason game of the year. I want to be clear that I am NOT buying just based on his grades in one preseason game, which were high: on 33 snaps, he had 7 pressures, a sack, and earned an 89.6 overall grade.
I am mostly looking to acquire him because I think his competition as a pass rusher, Sam Hubbard, isn’t that great of a pass rusher, so there’s a role that Ossai could carve out for himself if healthy and given the opportunity. The Bengals leaned very heavily on just two edge rushers in 2021, which probably had a lot to do with them not having many other options: Khalid Kareem, Wyatt Ray, Cam Sample, and Noah Spence.
Ossai is an interesting prospect. He started as an off-ball linebacker for Texas in 2019 but was such an effective blitzer that they moved him to the edge and he only got better. His first year as a full-time edge rusher with the Longhorns in 2020, he earned an 80.5 pass-rush grade, posting 33 pressures and 7 sacks.
He’s still so inexperienced at the position but has shown quite a bit of promise, which is important for the Bengals because I don’t think Sam Hubbard should be relied on to play another 500+ pass-rush snaps going forward.
Sell: Sam Hubbard, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: Building on my Ossai hopes/theory: Hubbard has always been this great tackler from the edge but has never really been a great pass rusher.
Since he entered the league in 2018, his pass rush win-rate has never cracked the top-50 for his position, AND his pressure rate has been outside of the top-40 for his position in every year he’s been in the league (usually even much lower than that). He thrives as a run defender, but this past year was his lowest graded season in that regard (57.4) and he set a new career-high for missed tackle rate at 15.9%
I think you would absolutely be selling at his ceiling after this past year as he played a ridiculous amount of snaps (6th most among EDGEs) and racked up a ton of volume-based production. If we’re in on Ossai eating into that workload then that definitely means less opportunity for production for Hubbard—this being his biggest asset—and in that case, I’m trying to get out of the Hubbard business right now.
Buy: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB
Jon’s thoughts: This is the one for me that I have been trying, but it ain’t easy out there right now. The JOK hive is beginning to emerge and it won’t be long before this window is closed and we’re overpaying. Keeping with the theme of buying a player closer to their floor than their ceiling, the floor probably doesn’t get much lower for JOK’s immediate future, as he played more than 50 snaps in just 6 games, missed time with injury, and still managed 76 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 TFLs, 2 FFs, and 4 PBUs.
His weakness was his missed tackle rate (17.4%) but that was outweighed by his overall strengths as one of the top-10 highest-graded LBs last season. There aren’t many LBs that I’m overly ambitious about acquiring this offseason but JOK is definitely one of them.
Sell: Anthony Walker, LB
Jon’s thoughts: Walker has been a good IDP for a few years now and that’s what I’m selling him on. He’s had at least 90 total tackles in each of the past 4 years, doing so with 2 different teams. Even with him ending up back in Cleveland, there’s a healthy JOK and Jacob Phillips that he will have to contend with for snaps. Combine that with him more than likely only getting a bunch of one-year deals in his future, so for dynasty purposes, he’s someone I’m going to try and sell for a sturdier option.
Buy: Alex Highsmith, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: The Steelers are very much a two-edge team, so assuming they don’t bring in another star at the position Highsmith could be a good IDP. I think a whole lot depends on that, because if you just wanna find another volume producer from the position then it doesn’t get much better than Highsmith. That defensive line and blitz-heavy scheme created the most cleanup pressures of any team in the NFL the past few years, which in turn creates more sack opportunities for those cleaning them up.
Highsmith is a decent edge, and with another large opportunity, similar to what he saw this past season, he’ll be a strong IDP to plug into lineups when needed.
Sell: Devin Bush, LB
Jon’s thoughts: Bush has been about as disappointing a top-10 pick that you’ll find in recent years. This past year was the worst so far: he finished dead last of 94 qualifiers in run defense grade for his position with a 27.2, which led to an overall grade of just 34.4 for the year, which was 89th of 94 LBs.
He was an inefficient tackler no matter where he lined up and saw his role diminish on the field, making his outlook even worse. He’s young and he has first-round draft capital to his name. Because of that, finding a potential trade suitor shouldn’t be too difficult. Either way, it’s time to get rid of him NOW!
Buy: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE
Jase’s thoughts: Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier loves to rotate players on the defensive line, and at the EDGE spot last year, it included Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, A.J. Epenesa, Boogie Basham, and Efe Obada. Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, and Efe Obada are all free agents, but I fully expect the Bills to head into 2022 with another heavy rotation at the position.
For the long-term view, Rousseau’s outlook is entirely dependent on the assumption that Frazier, who is in-demand, moves on. If the Bills defense performs even close to how they did in 2021, then Frazier probably won't be there this time next year.
Don't overpay, and don't expect immediate returns. Rousseau only played more than 60% of the defensive snaps in just one game last year.
Sell: Tremaine Edmunds, LB
Jase’s thoughts: An excellent example of how I'm more ruthless than ever before. I sold my shares in Edmunds last year, and I considered that to be late at the time!
I faced criticism for suggesting he wasn't a good player before the 2021 season. Granted, I hadn't considered the injury he played through in 2020. He became a better tackler in 2021, but that's not enough.
He was still poor in coverage and has simply failed to meet the lofty expectations we had of him back in 2018 when he was taken 16th overall. He plays lots of snaps but hasn't played well and is in the final year of his contract.
Buy: Jaelen Phillips, EDGE
Jase’s thoughts: This was a tough choice and I don't feel very strongly about this one. In the All-22 format, I'd probably opt for someone like Jevon Holland. If not, I'll go with Jaelen Phillips. His finishing rate was unsustainably high at 25%.
He'll not be able to sustain that number going into 2022, but I have faith that he can compensate by generating more pressure in his second season. I think he has talent and can develop. If you pick him up without overpaying, do so.
Sell: Jerome Baker, LB
Jase’s thoughts: His tackle efficiency is extremely low compared to other linebackers because he spends so much time rushing the passer. Baker rushed the passer 156 times in 2021 and 135 times in 2020. The only linebackers who had more pass rush opportunities in 2021 were Micah Parsons, Kyle Van Noy, and Devin White.
21% of Baker's pass rush attempts came in that game against the Ravens when the entire Dolphins defense blitzed the hell out of Lamar Jackson and Co. You can't discount games like those entirely, but it's worth bearing them in mind for context.
Baker has had success as a pass rusher. He had 8 sacks in 2020 and 6 in 2021.
But, we're on dangerous ground if we assume this can continue. Devin White is a cautionary tale. He had 9 sacks in 2020, only 4 last season. The question with Baker is, will he continue to earn as many sacks with the Dolphins going forward? And will he do so with a new team in 2023? I'm not convinced.
As a result, it's not a situation I want to invest in. Sell high.
New York Jets
Buy: John Franklin-Myers, EDGE
Jase’s thoughts: Franklin-Myers STILL deserves more recognition.
He was 18th among all edge rushers with 53 pressures in 2021. He also had 51 pressures in 2020 despite spending a fair amount of time on the defensive interior.
Whether you're in a deep league and are looking for an EDGE2/3, or in a shallow league and just need some depth, Franklin-Myers is your man.
He's just 25 years old and was rewarded with a significant contract extension last year, so he's going nowhere. He's almost always available for good value. The one knock is that he doesn't generate a ton of tackles. So, if your league scoring format relies on tackle volume to score well, his value does take a bit of a hit.
Sell: C.J. Mosley, LB
Jase’s thoughts: Mosley is remembered for being the excellent fantasy linebacker he was in years past. The truth is that his level of play last year was nowhere near what it once was back when we saw him last in 2019. He did show signs of improvement in the second half of the season, but it's not enough to convince me to hold him.
He'll be 30 before the start of the 2022 season. His contract is structured such that the Jets are probably stuck with him for 2022, but he's got an $18.5M cap number in 2023, with only $3M in dead money. They'll almost certainly either restructure or release him before the 2023 season.
The one positive is that he produced a lot of tackles at the heart of the Jets' defense last year. I think fantasy managers should take advantage of that point and sell him for peak value. The only exception—and it's the same with Denzel Perryman of the Raiders—is for those managers in contention who would be left short-handed at linebacker were they to sell Mosley now.
New England Patriots
Buy: Christian Barmore, DT
Jase’s thoughts: I'm pretty damn high on this rookie. There's a lot to like. He only produced two sacks this year, but that hides the fact that he was pretty damn effective as a pass rusher. He was 10th among all players on the defensive interior with 48 pressures, just one behind DeForest Buckner.
His 12.1% pressure rate ranked eighth among all players at his position, and that pressure rate was second only to Micah Parsons among all rookies. Per Seth Walder of ESPN, Barmore did this while being double-teamed as much as any defensive tackle not named Aaron Donald. The fact he achieved this as a rookie and showed notable improvement as a pass rusher in the second half of the season only gives me more confidence in him going forward.
Fantasy managers should be trying to acquire him. If you have to trade for him, then you might have to hope his existing manager only looks at his two sacks and doesn't consider the broader picture.
Sell: Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB
Jase’s thoughts: Bentley had a career year, recording more than 100 tackles. Well done to him for that, but he'll probably never do this again. He is a FA and would have to be very fortunate to land with a team and a defensive coordinator who will play him near the career-best 712 snaps he managed for the Patriots in 2021.
He's a player with a very defined (in other words, “limited”) skillset and one theme that has probably come through in my evaluations is that I believe strongly in the value of modern linebackers. If you look through the limited list of full-time players at the position, they can, almost without exception, cover better than Bentley can.
It's just now who he is. Again, sell high.
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