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IDP Dynasty Buys & Sells: NFC East and NFC West
Jon Macri and Evan Ronda offer up some IDPs worth acquiring and ones you should look to ship off in dynasty leagues.
Today we continue with part 2 of our series: IDP dynasty buys and sells for the NFC. In this edition, Jon Macri and Evan Ronda turn their attention to the NFC East and the NFC West. Who are they looking to offload and who are they looking to acquire? Read on to get their takes, or you can listen to the full episode here. Part 1 of the series, focusing on the NFC North and NFC South, can be found here.
Buy: Chase Young, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: I don’t think it’s a hot take saying that 2021 will probably be Young’s worst IDP season of the next several years, but there will be people out there that were scared off by it. He had 1.5 sacks in 9 games, which is not great for a player who so many were banking on being the DE1 for dynasty.
While 2021 was far off from what we expected, I don’t think his ranking of a top DE for dynasty really changes all that much. I still have him as EDGE4 right now, just behind Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, and TJ Watt. This was another thing that I talked about in-season last year: “defensive linemen don’t often hit the ground running right away in the NFL.” The transition from college to pros is particularly difficult when you consider just the level of competition on the offensive line alone.
Add in QBs who can get rid of the ball quickly, super athletes who can escape the pocket with relative ease, and there is almost always going to be a learning curve for the majority of DLs coming out. Young was a higher rated prospect than most coming out of OSU but that doesn't mean he would be immune to this transition. All the physical and athletic tools are still there, and once he gets his pass-rush ability to match up with that in the NFL, he’s going to be elite for a long time. If anyone has soured on Young, then I’m buying up as many shares as I can.
The best way to do that? Throw out some feelers right now to Chase Young managers and see where they’re at. I bet you’ll be surprised.
Sell: Landon Collins, Safety/LB
Jon’s thoughts: Collins is essentially a slightly better version of Jabrill Peppers in that he’s this typical box safety who has been a liability in coverage, but he at least has some better size if a team does want to give him some run at LB. A very likely cut candidate this offseason, the Commanders will save over $9 million before June 1st and nearly $13 million after June 1st if they release him.
His transition to a part-time player had already begun last season, with a few games of him playing below 60% of snaps and the team not asking him to do much more than play up closer to the line. That is nice for IDP but not as sustainable a role long-term for today’s NFL. My biggest concern with Collins is that he will be just a part-time LB when he inevitably ends up somewhere else. Sell him based on his name and past IDP success because we may never see those days from him again.
New York Giants
Buy: Blake Martinez, LB
Jon’s thoughts: Martinez seems destined to be a cap casualty this offseason, meaning he probably won’t even be on the Giants roster in 2022. That said, I have no doubt that he’ll be on a roster in 2022, and judging how the NFL values tackle production, he’ll likely be a starter somewhere as well. He’s coming off the ACL tear after just two games and five snaps so really didn’t get the chance to build off of what was the highest-graded season of his career in 2020 with the Giants: 75.9 overall grade, 75.2 run defense grade, 73.9 coverage grade, and just a 6.5% missed tackle rate.
Martinez has shown he can be a tackle machine no matter where he lands, averaging 148.5 per season for the past 4 years prior to last year. He’s 28 years old and I imagine that even if he’s released by the Giants, he’ll continue to be a top-tier IDP asset. The window to buy him will is right now, before the Giants decide to cut him.
Sell: Jabrill Peppers, Safety
Jon’s thoughts: Another Giants defender who could be changing teams this offseason, but unlike Martinez, I don’t have as much confidence moving forward. Peppers is the 14th ranked safety in the PFF free agency safety ranks, which is a decent barometer as to how the rest of the NFL might view him. He’s a very limited safety as far as what he can do on the field. He’s a typical box safety in an NFL that doesn’t really have a need for that specific role anymore. He’s too small to be an LB and not good enough as a coverage defender to be a dependable safety. He’s likely on a path to being more of a rotational player—and maybe he can get another year somewhere and be effective—but as far as dynasty value, he’s past his peak and stock is on the way down, so sell now if you can and blame injury for 2021. Push his 91 tackles from 2020 as much as you can in trade negotiations because it doesn’t feel likely to happen again.
Peppers just isn’t good. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you he is. Love, Jon.
Buy: Javon Hargrave, DT
Jon’s thoughts: Started the year off on fire, with 6 sacks in 5 games. He continued to put up OK tackles, but that pass-rush production just slowed down after the first 5 weeks of the year. And this is what makes Hargrave a buy for me, is that while people might have gotten frustrated with his production later in the year, his actual pass-rush grades and pressure rate continued to be as high as they were early in the year.
The difference? We just didn’t see as much conversion. We know these things tend to even themselves out over time, and for Hargrave, it was mostly a top-heavy season production-wise, but his level of play didn’t actually diminish. DT is about as shallow a position in IDP that you’ll find, so buying a player like Hargrave who can put up tackles and bring the pass-rush upside means you’re getting a rare talent at a thin position, which always feels like a buy opportunity if anyone is down on him.
Sell: Alex Singleton, LB
Jon’s thoughts: Singleton finished 12th in total tackles last season (137) and was one of the most efficient LBs in the league, which was great for IDP at the time, but it’s also not something that is sustainable long-term. He had a 17.5% tackle rate, including the playoffs. The average rate for LBs hovers around 12%.
Then you add in the fact that he’s not a player I would consider a “wartime consigliere” (this is a Godfather reference for those who don’t know). He’s graded in the 50s these past two seasons and been a complete liability in coverage, finishing 2021 with a 39.3 coverage grade, which ranked 86th out of 95 qualifying LBs.
For the second season in a row, he found his way into the starting lineup, not because the team necessarily wanted him there, but because they didn’t have much choice. Injuries and lack of depth put him in a position to be a great IDP, but he doesn’t really have the pedigree to earn that job each season based on his own merits.
He’ll hit free agency again this offseason so just be wary of him in startups because his point totals from last year will likely bump him up a lot of those default draft lists, and if you’re still an Alex Singleton manager, then you should definitely be looking to ship him and his long greasy hair elsewhere.
Buy: Randy Gregory, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: Gregory was a top-tier prospect when he came out of Nebraska in 2015; however, he tested positive for weed at the combine and ended up falling to the end of the 2nd round. He then dealt with multiple suspensions from the NFL for failing their substance abuse protocols and the Cowboys have been the only team to give him chances. He’s 29 years old and has shown that he can be a very good pass rusher now that he’s on the straight and narrow, posting pass-rush grades above 80 in each of the past two seasons, along with 47 pressures and 6 sacks last year in 12 games as a designated pass rusher. There’s clearly still some juice left in the tank here and whether it’s the Cowboys that give him another shot or someone else, he could be an effective EDGE for your IDP squad, which is not always easy to find.
Sell: Trevon Diggs, CB
Jon’s thoughts: This one could not be more obvious. Diggs was a sell last season during his 11-interception season, but I can understand if you weren’t ready to move him during the season if you felt you needed him to contend and didn’t want to stream the position. Now that the season is over, though, there isn’t a better time to try and capitalize on his amazing IDP year because I can guarantee there is someone in your league who will be enticed by Diggs if you send out an offer to them.
Maybe he’s a piece to sweeten a bigger deal that you’re trying to get done, or maybe someone is willing to pay you in draft picks for a very deep and streamable position, in which case it’s almost a must that you cash out now. There will be plenty of more corners, and there will almost certainly be new corners who come up with more INTs next season because there is so much variance in why interceptions happen. (QB play, defensive scheme, receivers falling down, luck!) So, sell now!
Sell Honourable Mention: Micah Parsons, LB/EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: Not every Micah Parsons manager is going to be comfortable with this one, but if someone is willing to offer you a 1st + for him, then you absolutely should be moving him. We have to remember, he’s an LB!
The sacks are awesome, sure. But they’re also not something to rely on heavily and it doesn’t seem like that split role that he plays is going to change dramatically anytime soon. He was also a below-average tackler from an efficiency standpoint when lining up as a true LB. Not to mention, LBs are replaceable and we shouldn’t be too precious with them, especially if you can get a nice return on them.
Buy: Zaven Collins, LB
Evan’s thoughts: Jordan Hicks is under contract for 2022 but is a cut candidate. Collins had an extremely unimpressive 2021 due to the fact that he was rarely on the field. He showed flashes here and there, but also displayed a propensity to make rookie mistakes. If Hicks is cut, I fully expect Collins to be a full-time LB.
Sell: Isaiah Simmons, LB
Evan’s thoughts: It’s Simmons’ usage that worries me. According to Tom Kislingbury, he sees about 40% of his snaps on the edge or tracking players in the slot—but he isn’t very good at it. He might be a shiny enough name that you can get a solid return for him. This sell recommendation is spearheaded by my general IDP dynasty philosophy, which is to sell expensive LBs and buy into cheap ones.
Because we have no reliable way to project which of the 3-down LBs will have the best season, it makes sense from a game theory standpoint to prefer the inexpensive ones and avoid the expensive ones since you’re basically getting the same thing.
Los Angeles Rams
Buy: Ernest Jones, LB
Evan’s thoughts: With his only main competition being a restricted free agent this offseason, I expect Jones to see an uptick in weekly snap stability. Even if Troy Reeder returns, Jones clearly had the starter nod over him as we neared the end of the season. (Nate Tice named him the Super Bowl MVP). You should be able to get him under-priced from managers that just look at game logs. While he might not be cheap, his price tag should be less than other LBs we expect to have a full workload.
Sell: Von Miller, EDGE
Evan’s thoughts: This sale is based primarily on the fact that Von Miller is a big name who played well. With Miller being an aging free agent, I’m going to assume that we won’t see his impressive performance continue in 2022. You might have difficulty finding a manager willing to invest in him, but your target trade partner is a team in need of DL/EDGE help with a roster that looks like they want to win now.
San Francisco 49ers
Buy: Dre Greenlaw, LB
Evan’s thoughts: Injured most of 2021, so his market price will likely be lower depending on who his manager is. The 49ers clearly view him as the starter over Azeez Al-Shaair when healthy. Once again, I recommend targeting cheaper full-time LBs whenever possible, and Greenlaw fits that mold perfectly.
Sell: Azeez Al-Shaair, LB
Evan’s thoughts: Yes, it’s a big shift in tone from my IDP MVP snipped when I crowned him as the most valuable IDP asset in 2021, but that was 2021. Simply put he's a backup. Like I mentioned before, he saw increased playing time because Greenlaw was injured. With Greenlaw and Warner both healthy, he is the clear LB3 and not worth starting in almost any capacity.
When selling Al-Shaair, I would quite comfortably take ANYTHING for him. He is an LB handcuff. If your league is deep enough that other backup LBs are coveted assets, then naturally as one of the best handcuff options he has value. His market value in any shallower format is likely already dropping but there may be some managers that look at his box score and believe he still has value. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those managers in your league, sell him as soon as possible.
Buy: Jamal Adams, Safety
Evan’s thoughts: It’s hard to say anyone on this Seahawks team is a buy. For two years in a row, they have faced the most offensive plays per game by a LOT. That’s not a statistic that generally continues year to year. What that means is that IDPs in Seattle have had more snaps to score points than any other team over the last two years.
That should regress. On top of that, their DL has been a heavy rotation with no clear market advantages as far as I can discern. However, there’s a chance the manager with Jamal Adams believes he is nearing the end of his reign as a top IDP safety. While it’s true that Adams was injured in 2021 and was somewhat mediocre when he was on the field, I believe that a return to elite form is at least within his range of outcomes. I would recommend doing a temperature check on Adams’ perceived value and if you can buy him at an affordable price, his upside is worth investing in.
Sell: Jordyn Brooks, LB & Bobby Wagner, LB
Evan’s thoughts: Like I previously mentioned, the Seattle defense has seen an unprecedented amount of volume that I don’t expect to continue. That has naturally led to massive seasons from both LBs in the counting stats department. They had the 2nd and 3rd most tackles among all LBs in 2021. Nothing stands out to me about their tackle efficiency or usage aside from the fact that they were simply healthy for the entire season and played a ton of snaps. Sticking with the theme of my sales, I would imagine that most of your leaguemates view Brooks as an elite young LB option despite him not being all that special of a player.
While Wagner is certainly getting older, I’m sure his market value is still high enough to garner some attention. While I certainly didn't expect him to get cut, Wagner carries a $20 million cap hit with only $3.7 million in dead cap, so it's within his range of outcomes. It might be difficult to convince a league mate to give you a haul for Brooks, but if you sell him on the basis that you have greater needs at another position, you might be able to fragment him into an LB “downgrade” and another valuable asset. Note here that when I say LB “downgrade,” I mean exchanging him for another 3-down LB with a much lower market value.
You might even consider a 1-for-1 trade in which you acquire a different position where yearly success is a bit stickier. Wagner is an aging asset so his market value is likely lower than Brooks’ value, but if you do a temperature check on him, you may find a few managers in need of LB help who are willing to pay for his services.
Remember that in trade discussions, framing is everything. Keep your cards close to your chest and control the narrative. You are in a position of power because you have the valued asset. If you throw Brooks or Wagner on the trade block and say, “I’m trying to get rid of this guy, someone take him,” managers are not going to give you a good offer. However, if you privately reach out to managers and casually bring up one of those players to see how they feel, you’ll get much more satisfying results.
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