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Who is the IDP MVP for 2021?
We assembled a star-studded lineup of experts to answer the question: who is the IDP MVP for 2021?
Take a deep breath… and, exhale.
The 2021 fantasy football regular season is over. We did it! Seems like just yesterday we were mourning the loss of Cam Akers for the season and planting flags about how Jamin Davis was going to ball this season (sad nodding). What we’re trying to say is: the season is long. Now that we’ve reached this point—and before the fantasy playoffs begin—it’s important to look back and reflect on the players who brought us here.
So in this blog post, we’re highlighting the IDP MVPs for 2021, those defensive players whose performances helped you weather a long and difficult season. But we’re not just highlighting our top picks. We’ve assembled an Avengers-level team of IDP experts to give their picks for the most valuable IDPs in 2021.
Without further ado, let’s get into the picks!
Jon Macri: Derwin James
In a season where the IDP safeties that we've relied on in years past—guys like Jamal Adams, Budda Baker, and even Jeremy Chinn—have given us multiple weeks of angst, frustration, stress, and disappointment. Amidst all that mess, there was one man consistent and reliable enough to answer the call week in and week out:
Los Angeles safety, Derwin James.
Derwin has put up dominant fantasy performances throughout the 2021 fantasy regular season up until Week 14 when he sat out with a hamstring injury. Even with missing that game, I’m still crowning him my MVP because, let’s be honest, most of our IDPs have missed some time with injury this season. James will be back.
Think of it this way: Derwin is the IDP equivalent of Batman from The Dark Knight Rises: left to rot in a pit of death (injuries) while pretenders to the S1 throne thought they were safe to dance on his grave. But Bane made one crucial error: he left Batman alive. He even talked all kinds of shit, saying “Once Gotham is in ashes, then you have my permission to die.” Big mistake, Bane. The injury gods made the same mistake with Derwin, as anyone who’s ever read a comic book in their life is well aware of the rules that no one is ever truly dead (unless it's Spider-Man’s uncle Ben, may he rest in peace). That’s why you never, ever count out the Batman/Derwin James.
Let’s keep this analogy going. We’ve had 12 games this season to watch Derwin utilize his brute strength (like Batman): 100 total tackles. He has the savvy of the world's greatest detective with 2 interceptions and 3 force fumbles. Derwin has Batman’s ability to move through the shadows, like a creature of the night—2 sacks, 5 QB hits—combined with his elite anticipation and planning (78.8 overall PFF grade).
It all comes together with perfect execution to escape that pit of death and emerge as the perfectly crafted weapon to conquer Bane and Talia al Ghul… no, wait, sorry… to conquer the pretenders to the throne and emerge as the S1 I knew he could be.
At the risk of jinxing Derwin even more as the Chargers head into a short week playing on Thursday night, I'll leave it at this: I’m very happy with the season we got from Derwin James, especially after hyping him all season long, not knowing if he was going to live through at all. And now, when I'm celebrating my championship wins at a quaint coffee shop in Paris, I hope to look over at the table across from me and see Derwin looking back at me, raising a glass and living as well deserved best life after a job well. Because if not for him, my rosters might not even be in a place where they are right now, which is in the playoffs and ready to contend. Let's just hope he gets back soon because he is both the hero we deserve and need.
Aron Evers: Micah Parsons
Let’s talk about the incredible resume for my IDP MVP: Rookie Defensive Player of the Year, Micah Parsons. Now, I know he hasn't actually received the award yet, but it's just a formality at this point. Over his 13 games played, he's scored 281.2 fantasy points, good for an average of 21.63 points per game. That's leading both categories amongst all NFL defenders—rookies, veterans, doesn’t matter.
If we just compare Parsons to just his fellow rookies, he leads them all in pretty much all of the major PFF categories for defenders. He's got 55 pressures, 12 sacks, and 57 solo tackles. He’s tied for first in forced fumbles with Odafe Oweh. He blows the other rookies away when it comes to pass rush win rate and overall pass rush grade.
He’s got a 25.2% pass rush win rate, with the next closest rookie at 15.5%. He's got an incredible 92.7 overall pass rush PFF grade. The next closest rookie is 74.1!
Parsons has been amazing for managers recently, which is important since, as we know, this is a “what have you done for me lately?” league. He’s had six 20-point games in the past seven weeks. In fact, coming off the bye, he’s averaging 27.89 points per game. His season-long points are better than Devin White’s 2020 season and he's even ahead of the pace of Darius Leonard’s historic rookie year in 2018.
If we're going to talk about rookie records, I should probably mention Parsons is only 3 sacks away from breaking Jevon Kearse’s rookie sack record of 14.5, which was set back… 1999! I’ll personally go so far as to say that he is the #1 IDP asset in dynasty right now when you factor in age production, draft pedigree, and positional flexibility. He is an iron man who does not come off the field. He can play edge and off-ball linebacker. The dude is a freak and it pains me to my absolute core that I have zero shares of him. The only thing he's missing? A bad-ass nickname.
Josh, Adam, and Bobby: work your magic! (Side note: nickname coming soon!)
ZMags & Joey The Tooth: Eric Kendricks
My IDP MVP for the 2021 season is Eric Kendricks. He’s a linebacker who could’ve been drafted at a bargain and bounced back from ending last season injured in a big way. Overlooked by some, cherished by many.
He’s Probably the highest-scoring linebacker in most formats at the moment. He’s carrying IDP managers to a fantasy championship for the 2021 season!
Joey The Tooth
For MVP, give me Eric Kendricks. Any week, he can win you a week. Through 12 games, he has 120 tackles, 5 sacks (a career-high), 2 interceptions, and 4 passes defended. He's on an absolute tear that he started to show last season before he got hurt. He’s missed a bit this year, but when he’s in there, he’s been a beast. Kendricks is a top 3 linebacker in pretty much all formats right now. Say it with me: MVP!
Johny the Greek: Roquan Smith
Note: Johny submitted his MVP and favorite deal at every position, so here, we’re highlighting his choice for the most valuable inside LB: Roquan Smith of the Chicago Bears.
Let’s talk about Roquan Smith for a minute. He has 130 total tackles through Week 14 and no bad weeks that I can recall. Sure, he has the occasional bad week—if you want to call 5 or 6 combined tackles a “down week.” Simply put, Roquan has been excellent. He's been consistent, he plays every single snap, and as long as he's healthy, he's going to deliver you an LB1 game. That's why we drafted him, right?
Bonus: Foyesade Oluokun is my best deal at inside LB this season. You could have taken many, many, many rounds later than guys like Roquan, Devin White, and Darius Leonard. He has 142 total tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 INT.
More than anything, Oluokun is a great example that you can wait on LB in your drafts. Guys like him and Bobby Okereke and C.J. Mosley could be had late in drafts and they’ve been worth their weight in gold in 2021. So, don’t go crazy drafting LBs in the 3rd because you can always get them late or grab them off waivers.
Dr. Leezus: Robert Quinn
Let’s preface this here a bit, shall we? My IDP MVP is a dude who is currently 31 years old and in his 10th season in the NFL. He wasn’t even on anybody’s radar this year. On FantasyPros IDP rankings to start the year, out of 271 players, he was ranked 271st. We’re talking about a dude who, after 14 weeks, is ranked the #7 linebacker in scoring this year on RSO and the #4 linebacker on Sleeper. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, your IDP MVP for this year is none other than… Robert Quinn.
You likely didn’t even have to draft Quinn if you were in a redraft league this year. If you’re like me, you spent the minimal amount of FAAB needed to acquire him after a couple of big games to see where it leads. He’s scored over 14 points in 9 of the 12 games he’s played this season, which doing some quick math, is 75% of the games he’s played. During the last 4 weeks alone, he hasn’t had a game under 16 points scored, and this is during crunch time of trying to make the playoffs, which includes a 40-bomb, 3 sack performance in Week 11 against the Ravens that very well could have won people their weeks. Quinn has accumulated a total of 14 sacks on the year, which currently sits him at 3rd in the NFL, behind only Aaron Donald at #2 and TJ Watt at #1. For a guy who you likely got for next to nothing to have a career year, there’s no doubt that Robert Quinn deserves a vote as the 2021 IDP MVP.
Evan Ronda: Azeez Al-Shaair
If you know anything about me or my podcast, then you know that I take philosophical questions like these VERY seriously. If I’m going to solve the IDP MVP mystery, I first need to define what “MVP” means, because as Socrates said:
“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”
The most valuable player is a player that possesses a very specific attribute: value, and at a rate higher than any other. So what is value? Value is a ratio of cost and benefit; How much you paid for an asset vs how much that asset benefitted you. So when looking for the IDP MVP, I needed to find a player that had a low cost and a high benefit to those that acquired him; at a rate higher than any other.
My MVP is a player that went undrafted virtually everywhere. And I’m not talking, “Elijah Mitchell” levels of late-round ADP. I mean UNDRAFTED undrafted. This undrafted IDP player enters Week 15 with 96 tackles, which was good for top-20 in the league. With 9 tackles for loss, he's top-24 in the league at that stat.
My IDP MVP is a linebacker by the name of Azeez Al-Shaair. With Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw banged up this season, Al-Shaair stepped into a 3-down linebacker role and has performed exceptionally. The best part is that he was free to acquire and has performed like an LB1 all season up to this point. Naturally, it’s too late to get in on him now, but let this MVP call stand as a lesson to you, oh listener:
It pays to be in the loop. If you want to win your IDP leagues and get in on the next Al-Shaair, keep listening to these good folks at the top of the IDP community!
Kyle Bellefeuil: Myles Garrett
I felt there were a couple of the options for this award but ultimately settled on my guy: defensive end from the Cleveland Browns, Myles Garrett. Let’s do a quick run through his stats through 13 games. He has 45 tackles (28 solo), and with a previous career-high of 48 tackles, he’s on pace to set a new benchmark. He has 15 tackles for loss, which is a career-high. He’s second in the league with 15 sacks (career-high). He’s 3rd in the league in pressures with 62 pressures, per PFF.
He's played all 13 games this year and has a sack in 11 of those games. And then this week, he had the huge play with the strip-sack fumble for a touchdown. Yep, he did all this himself in a big division game against Baltimore. So he's given you production week in and week out at defensive end, which is a position where production can be sporadic week to week. Yet, he's been there for you all year long.
If Myles Garrett is on your team, bring him in close, hold him tight, and tell him just how much you appreciate him. Because he's been so dang awesome this year.
Boobam: Denzel Perryman
When the boys asked for my IDP MVP, I didn’t have to think too hard about it. It’s easy to put guys like Bobby Wagner, Eric Kendricks, Devin White, and Roquan Smith in this slot, but those are guys you draft to be your #1 IDP. When I think of an MVP, I look for someone who comes out of nowhere to help put your team over the hump.
For me, that guy was Denzel Perryman. He was literally on waivers in Week 1 and Week 2. Maybe you were lucky enough to sneak him in Week 3. Whenever you acquired him, he's played lights out all season long and has been very consistent week in and week out, aside from Week 14 when he was out with an ankle injury.
Even with the injury, he still ranks up there with the top guys in tackles per week. He’s put up LB1 type numbers each week, scoring double-digit points every game except for Week 12, when he scored 8.25 points by Big 3 scoring. I know other guys like Jonathan Greenard are in the mix, but for me, the MVP is Perryman.
Mike Woellert & DFF Tripp: Nick Bosa
Boy, picking an IDP MVP is tough. There are just so many guys you could choose from. Myles Garrett is definitely in consideration, along with Bobby Wagner. But for 2021, my choice is Nick Bosa, who’s returning from a knee injury in 2020.
Depending on your scoring settings, he might actually have a few more points than Garrett, who he trails in sacks by just one. Bosa is on a 5-game streak of recording a sack. He has 42 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. If you drafted either him or Garrett as your DE1, that’s one less position you’ve had to worry about this season.
I've thought about this a good deal. I started with Derwin James, but you all know me: I can't put the words “valuable” and “safety” in the same sentence (Macri = dead). I thought, too, about TJ Watt and Myles Garrett, who’ve certainly been worth the draft capital that's been invested in them. Then there are guys like De’Vondre Campbell, a late pick who’s returned great value. However, where I'm turning is defensive end, where scarcity continues to be an issue in conventional position IDP leagues.
So, I’ve chosen Nick Bosa as my IDP MVP. Bosa popped an ACL last year and was considered a bit of a risk coming in, which might've depressed his draft position just a bit in redraft leagues. Well, he's done nothing but dominate in 2021. He's right on the heels of Myles Garrett for sacks and leads the league in double teams according to NFL Next Gen Stats. In spite of that extra attention, he continues to produce.
He’s so valuable that in my conventional position IDP leagues (where it’s either LB or DE), I can't even trade for him without giving another elite defensive end in return. It’s almost like a superflex league. I’m glad to see IDP platforms moving to true position designations, just like I was happy to see Bosa dominate this year.
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