IDP Dynasty Buys & Sells: NFC North and NFC South
Jon Macri and Evan Ronda offer up some IDPs to acquire and trade away in dynasty leagues.
Jon Macri and Evan Ronda recently joined forces on Episode 2 of The Big Nickel IDP Podcast to give their thoughts on IDP dynasty buys and sells in the NFC. You can listen to the full episode here. If you’re more of a reader, we’ve got you covered; below, you’ll find Jon and Evan’s takes on the NFC North and NFC South. Keep an eye on your inbox, as part 2 of this series (NFC East and NFC West) will be out Sunday.
Green Bay Packers
Buy: De’Vondre Campbell, LB & Rashan Gary, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: De’Vondre Campbell is a big buy for me. He was one of the best LBs in the NFL last season. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibilities that we could see a Demario Davis-like career trajectory where his best seasons are now, at 29 years old, which would keep him as an effective IDP for a few more seasons. The Packers will be crazy not to re-sign him, and if he does go back to GB, he’ll continue to be a great fantasy asset, one that can probably be had for very little, given his age.
My other buy is Rashan Gary, my #10 EDGE for dynasty leagues, so I’m all in at this point and believe he can still be acquired for a decent price. Gary finished 2021 with an 88.9 pass-rush grade, 81 pressures, and 9.5 sacks. He continued that into the playoffs, as well, with a 6 pressure, 2 sack game against the 49ers.
He was a super athletic, traits-y EDGE coming out of Michigan who hadn’t quite put it all together yet as a pass rusher, but the upside was always there. He’s similar to Kwity Paye, also out of Michigan: these guys do take time to develop, and there’s certainly a level of boom/bust with them, but if they hit, they could be elite, and Gary certainly looks like a hit now after this past season. In true position leagues where he’s not listed as an LB, I’d be willing to pay up for him and I think you can still acquire him at a price less than that of a top-10 edge where I have him ranked.
Sell: Preston Smith, EDGE & Za’Darius Smith, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: There’s a chance that we could see one be released this offseason (maybe both, but probably unlikely) to make cap space for the Packers. The Packers’ edges were perfectly fine this past season without Za’Darius as he dealt with a significant back injury. Feels like Gary has solidified himself a spot in the starting line-up so one of these guys is going to see their role diminished even if they’re both on the team next year. Both Smith Bros. are still decent edge rushers, but I think we’re in for either a smaller role or a team change for either of these guys and I’d be looking to get out now if I have either one on my roster.
Buy: Camryn Bynum, Safety & Danielle Hunter, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: There are really two players I like as buys on the Vikings, but I wanted to go with a cheap option first because I was super impressed with Bynum on what limited snaps we saw from him as a rookie. He only started two games for the Vikings while Harrison Smith was out, but he was awesome. Plus, in one of those two games, we got to see him for 98 snaps (the overtime game against the Ravens in Week 9).
He earned a 90 overall grade for that game, and he did so playing all over the field—in the Harrison Smith role—which is not easy to do, especially against one of the tougher QBs to defend against in Lamar Jackson. With 12 tackles, an INT, 4 defensive stops, Bynum just did everything that was asked of him and handled all that was thrown his way. Even crazier was that this was his first-ever NFL start. I’m trying to get in on Bynum now. Smith is 33 years old. Xavier Woods is a pending free agent after playing every single defensive snap last season. I came away impressed with Bynum, so I’m trying to buy him cheap right now.
I’m still high on Hunter. He’s still only 27 years old and didn’t appear to lose a step after the neck surgery which kept him out in 2020. He posted a 77.4 pass-rush grade, and had 31 pressures, 6 sacks, and 38 tackles in 6.5 games. He’s my EDGE7 for dynasty right now. He’s a sack and tackle machine and I’m looking to buy from anyone frustrated with the injury stuff. It was only a torn pec in 2021 and I have already seen some Vikings blogs calling him injury prone now. The guy bounced back from serious neck surgery and looked great. He then tore his pec, which could happen to anyone, and once it’s fixed, it’s not really a major cause for long-term concern, especially since before 2020 he played 4 straight seasons having never missed a game.
Sell: D.J. Wonnum, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: Wonnum is NOT a good NFL edge rusher. He became an IDP “asset” as a result of necessity along the Vikings defensive line because there was literally nobody else, so he played a TON down the stretch with Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen out. He never saw below 85% of snaps from Week 10 on, for a total of 565 snaps, more than any EDGE in the league. He did all Wonnum dynasty managers a favor in Week 15 and Week 18, posting a couple of big games. Other than that, he was the most inefficient pass rusher in the league this season, finishing the year with 8 sacks, 42 pressures (T-35th), and a 57.4 pass rush grade (100th among EDGEs).
Jon’s thoughts: Roquan is far and away the best fantasy asset on that defense, but he’s going to cost too much. I have him as my LB1 for dynasty but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to start making offers to Roquan managers to acquire him. If he falls to me in the right spot in a startup draft and no LBs have been taken, then that’s who I’m grabbing, but otherwise, he’s likely way too expensive to buy right now.
Sell: Robert Quinn, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: This feels like a no-brainer, but believe me, there are going to be plenty of people out there that are going to be of the mind that Quinn can repeat at least a fair deal of his production in 2022. He’s under contract with the Bears until 2025, but is already 32 years old and entering his 12th NFL season.
Here are some of his numbers, just in case you forgot how insane they were:
18.5 sacks (a half sack short of his career-high, which came back in 2013)
He had two sacks in 2020 on just 28 fewer pass-rush snaps. This is not that wildly different of a player from one year to the next. Unless we’re assuming he’s just hitting his stride at 32 years old…
47 pressures (T-26th among EDGEs), which is pretty average
4.7% sack rate, 2nd behind only TJ Watt (5.3%), which is an unstable metric. For reference, the average sack rate is about 1.8%.
Buy: Julian Okwara, EDGE
Jon’s thoughts: I was thinking about putting Romeo Okwara here but the Achilles injury is really concerning. There’s even talks that he won’t be able to play a fully healthy 2022 season, so with that, I’m rather worried.
That’s why I’m pivoting to his younger brother, Julian Okwara, who we have yet to see in a full-time role but he’s flashed potential as a situational type pass rusher. He earned a 76.8 pass-rush grade last year, posting 21 pressures and 5 sacks on just 173 pass rush attempts (about a half percent more than the mean sack rate) so don’t expect those 5 sacks to turn into 15 on more snaps with his 14.3% pass-rush win-rate.
I’m assuming big bro is going to miss time, plus Charles Harris, who played a ton last year, is an expected free agent. Trey Flowers is probably the team’s top cut candidate according to Brad Spielberger at PFF, and even though there’s a decent chance they’ll draft one of those top EDGEs (Hutchinson or Thibodeaux), there's still room for Julian Okwara to get on the field and make an IDP impact. I think he could be had easily in dynasty leagues if you throw out some low-ball offers or make him an add-on in trade offers. Then, he just needs a shot to start, which is a decent possibility.
Sell: Derrick Barnes, LB
Jon’s thoughts: Barnes had this amazing preseason, earning top grades in coverage, making plays, and flashing all over the field, but that was just 54 total snaps through 3 games. This serves as a good reminder to not get sucked into preseason hype/storylines. (Remember the Ja’Marr Chase drops?) Once the regular season began, we couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t beating out Alex Anzalone of all people for a starting job. There was literally no reason that Anzalone should have been getting more in-game reps than Barnes when they couldn’t be further apart on the spectrum of who is likely to be a bigger part of this team’s future.
That is unless Barnes just sucked, which he kinda did (outside of one game). Dan Cambell got to see plenty of Barnes in practice every week, which obviously made them feel like he wasn’t ready. When he did get on the field last year, the grades told the story as to exactly what the Lions coaching staff was concerned about. He ranked 92nd out of 94 LBs in overall grade (30.1), and dead last in coverage grade (27.6).
Simply put, Barnes was not good. Even Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who feels like he’s been on the team forever and couldn’t beat out Jarrad Davis for a starting spot in years past, got the nod over Barnes. All the red flags are there for Barnes after one season. Maybe he gets better, but I’m happy to move him to anyone more optimistic than me.
Buy: Mykal Walke, LB
Evan’s thoughts: Foyesade Oluokun is an impending free agent, and if the Falcons can’t bring him back, Walker looks like he’s next in line to start for Atlanta. It’s not an understatement to say that if he’s given the starting role, he could be an every-week IDP starter. Your buy-low window is closing fast, so make sure you get him now!
Sell: Foyesade Oluokun, LB
Evan’s thoughts: This really shouldn't surprise anyone at all. Foye is coming off a great year with a high market value. On top of that, he’s a free agent. His situation could not get any better than it was with the Falcons. It won't necessarily get worse, but he had a healthy year and saw more snaps on defense than anyone else on the whole team (3rd most at LB in the league). If you can find a manager who is willing to send you an asset with more room to appreciate or more yearly stability, go for it.
Buy: Shaq Thompson, LB
Evan’s thoughts: Shaq only had 104 tackles this year, which was 30th in the league at LB. So why buy him? Because he's under contract until 2024, and the Panthers clearly view him as their LB1 when healthy. He likely disappointed managers in 2021 because of his lower tackle numbers and injuries, but I really don’t care about any of that going into 2022. Thompson is a 100% snap LB when healthy and has just as good a chance to be the LB1 overall any given week as any other 3-down LB. If his manager is looking for something a bit shinier in their LB spot, you should be able to buy him low and plop him right in your starting lineup without a second thought.
Sell: Haason Reddick, EDGE
Evan’s thoughts: Reddick is an impending free agent coming off a year in which his counting stats reflect a more favorable season than he truly had. He stayed healthy and played a ton of snaps, converted those snaps to pressures at a rate slightly below league average, and then converted those pressures to sacks at a rate MUCH higher than league average. That’s a prime formula to spot likely regression at the EDGE position. Expecting Reddick to perform any higher than this level again is unwise, and you'd be lucky to even see him repeat this performance elsewhere. Find a manager who believes that this level of production is normal and see what you can get.
New Orleans Saints
Buy: Pete Werner, LB
Evan’s thoughts: Pete Werner played about 400 snaps in 2021 and played fairly well. Kwon Alexander played over him but didn’t impress and is now a free agent, so I highly doubt the Saints bring him back to start over Werner. In his article, Macri mentioned that fellow LB Demario Davis is a potential cut candidate, but even if he restructures his contract to remain with the team, Werner will almost certainly have an increased workload. The Saints ran two or more LBs on 97% of defensive snaps this past season, and with their former DC becoming their new head coach, I fully expect this to continue to be a defense that’s friendly for the top two LBs.
Sell: Old dudes, all positions
Evan’s thoughts: It’s tough to find an edge on the market when it comes to Saints defenders. Cam Jordan, Demario Davis, and Malcolm Jenkins all had decent seasons, but since they’re all well over 30, it's hard to imagine they continue to stay IDP relevant. Even if you must sell at 75 cents on the dollar, it’s better to sell early than sell late because once they’re gone, they're gone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buy: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, EDGE & Mike Edwards, Safety
Evan’s thoughts: I don’t think there’s anyone that the market is super low on, but these two players could still be valuable trade targets under the right circumstances.
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka certainly had his rookie struggles, but the Bucs’ coaching staff has shown us that they are willing to give him snaps in spite of that. The main reason you might look to buy is that Jason Pierre-Paul is an impending free agent. If he departs, Tryon will have less competition for snaps on the edge in Tampa. Shaquil Barrett is still under contract until 2025 with a potential out in 2024, so he will still be around for a few more seasons, but I don’t personally view that as a bad thing. Tryon is still far from a sure thing at EDGE, but if his manager is less than thrilled with his rookie year production, you might be able to snag him slightly below market value.
Mike Edwards saw the third-most snaps at safety for the Bucs. Winfield has solidified himself as their deep safety and is arguably one of the best in the league. Jordan Whitehead played a predominantly strong safety role for the Bucs but is an impending free agent. If he doesn’t return, I'm inclined to believe Edwards takes over that role. I wouldn’t pay much to acquire him, but I also doubt his manager needs much convincing to ship him off either.
Sell: Antoine Winfield, Safety & Devin White, LB
Evan’s thoughts: Antoine Winfield is very good at football. This sell is not based on him playing poorly, but rather how he’s used: 66% of Winfield’s snaps were at free safety in 2021. Producing high tackle numbers while playing a high percentage of snaps at free safety is rather rare and not something I really expect to continue. Winfield’s market value is high right now, and if you find a manager in need of safety help, they’d likely be willing to give you a haul for him. This is purely a bet on regression, and I’d hedge my bets by selling him high. Even if he continues his dominance, you got a hefty return for him.
As for Devin White, you can probably already guess why I’d sell him. Expensive LBs with a high market value are ideal trade-away targets in my eyes because few things differentiate them from other 3-down LBs from a predictability standpoint. On top of that, White is not the elite talent that I bet most people think he is.
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