July 20, 2023, 11:28 am
If your dynasty league employs IDPs, this should give you a quick crash course on the top defensive players from each team in the AFC.
The BEST safety duo in the NFL! Tell me I’m wrong. 💯
— Fred Kilmartin (@FredKilmartin80) July 3, 2023
Jordan Poyer (POS: Safety, Age 32): One of the captains of the Bills defense, Poyer battled a multitude of injuries last season and only managed to play in twelve games. After averaging over 100 tackles each of the five years prior, his 63 in 2022 put him on pace to finish the season with only 89. While it would be reasonable for his numbers to be down as injuries lingered week in and week out, Poyer should be viewed cautiously. Had he finished with the suggested 89 tackles, that would have marked two straight years of declining numbers after a big drop-off in 2022. He does, however, remain a crucial part of the Bills defense and even at age 32 he will surely have a strong impact this year if he can remain healthy.
Matt Milano (POS: Linebacker, Age 28): The LB hit his stride in 2022, making his first Pro Bowl and the 1st team All-Pro with three interceptions, 99 tackles and a TD to boot. The 29-year-old will look to repeat his accolades and hold down the middle of the field for a Bills team looking to contend. He showed a true playmaking ability with 72 solo tackles and 12 TFLs. If the trend can continue for him, he will be a top defender in his prime and carry dynasty value for several years.
Christian Wilkins (POS: Defensive Line, Age 28): The 13th overall pick of the 2019 draft has become a stalwart defender against the run game for the Dolphins. Two straight years of double-digit TFLs, including 16 in 2023, combined with an average of over 90 tackles shows the 27-year-old has entered his prime. While he has not been able to get after the QB at a standout rate with only three and a half sacks last season, he has managed to average ten QBhits over the last couple of years and could see a breakout sack season if lucky. Wilkins is not a top asset in dynasty IDP but he remains one of the top DTs after shifting over from DE. With Vic Fangio taking over as DC in Miami, it will be important for fantasy managers to keep an eye on his usage and snap counts.
Jevon Holland (POS: Safety, Age 23): In his second NFL season, Holland greatly improved on a solid rookie season and added two more picks to match his 2021 output. While he produced fewer sacks, QBhits and TFLs, his overall tackle numbers skyrocketed as he put up 77 solo tackles which tied for fifth most in the league by DBs last season. The 23-year-old looks to be coming off the board late in drafts, but the youth and potential to break out even further creates an upside play that could be worth investment.
Jaelan Phillips (POS: Linebacker, Age 24): Phillips and Holland are ranked so closely for us that it was hard for me to choose one to talk about and leave the other out. Phillips is a budding 24-year-old LB with high sack numbers and climbing tackle numbers. The upside is tremendous for the third-year player as he forced his way on the field last season and demanded higher snap counts. While he could not quite match the 8.5 sack rookie season, his QBhits climbed up to 25; a double-digit sack season is likely coming.
New England Patriots
Kyle Dugger (POS: Safety, Age 27): The Patriots fan in your life has likely mentioned Kyle Dugger on a weekly basis. Entering his fourth season, Dugger has amassed seven interceptions and three TDs over the past two seasons while maintaining solid tackle numbers for a DB. While the TDs are not anything to chase when looking at IDPs since they can be so flukey and hard to predict, Dugger has proven himself to be a playmaker that creates many turnover-worthy plays resulting in high upside. Entering his prime at age 27 this season, Dugger will anchor the backside of a Patriots defense that looks to be the heart and soul of the team.
Matt Judon (POS: Defensive End, Age 31): The four-time Pro Bowler has erupted since joining the Patriots. With 12.5 and 15.5 sacks in 2021 and 2022 respectively, Judon is one of the top pass rushers in the league. His age-31 season will likely be another campaign to finish top 10 in DPOY voting as Judon tries to take his streak of over 20 QBhits to its sixth season. An average of over 24 QBhits per season since his sophomore season puts him towards the top of the list of impact players when it comes to pressuring the QB. As he gets older, he will likely fall off, but Judon is poised to have another few years of dominance.
New York Jets
C.J. Mosley (POS: Linebacker, Age 31): Making a return to the Pro Bowl last year, Mosley has put together two straight solid seasons for the Jets after injuries held him out of most of 2019 and deciding to opt out of the 2020 COVID-19 season. Totaling 326 tackles over the two-year span, Mosley averaged over 100 solo tackles as well and cemented himself as a stalwart piece of a rising defense. While he has not hit the QB nearly as much as he did in the first four years of his career, his fantasy output has not suffered. The 30-year-old has shown the time off was beneficial and described it as “A breath of fresh air” that rejuvenated his career. While an older asset for dynasty purposes, the LB expelled doubts and looks to retain top-30 IDP value.
Quinnen Williams (POS: Defensive Lineman, Age 26): The third overall pick of the 2019 draft has had a strong impact for New York since being drafted and realized his potential in 2022. Doubling his sack output from 2021, Williams got after the QB like a madman and posted 12 sacks to go with 28 QBhits. As he enters his age 26 season, the Alabama product will look to go even further and aim for a top-five DPOY finish after placing seventh in voting and making First Team All-Pro. Williams is at the perfect age to enter his prime and should be capable of producing solid fantasy stats for at least five more seasons. While LBs typically output more fantasy value, the big man is one of the top DT assets in the league.
ROQUAN SMITH INTERCEPTION!!!!
Tune in on CBS!! pic.twitter.com/7x8dkvb4ER
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 11, 2022
Roquan Smith (POS: Linebacker, Age 26): Smith is one of the premier names in IDP. A certified top-five asset, the move from Chicago to Baltimore saw him produce at the same consistent level he has hit for his entire career. The eighth overall pick in 2018 enters his age 26 season with multiple 160+ tackle seasons and three straight First-Team All-Pro bids. While the dynasty community should not get too hung up on year-to-year situations, the shifting in offensive philosophy in Baltimore to what will likely be a much faster pace of play would put the defense on the field more often, whether the offense is successful or not, and allow for Smith to reach new heights and battle with Oluokun and Bolton for the most tackles in the league. Roquan Smith represents one of the best IDP assets and will be coveted for the rest of his career.
Kyle Hamilton (POS: Safety, Age 22): Only starting in four games during his rookie season, Hamilton still logged 62 tackles and will become the full-time starter this year. The departure of Chuck Clark in a trade to the Jets will see Hamilton and Marcus Williams starting at safety for the Ravens. Youth and talent combine to make Hamilton a top-ten safety for fantasy value and with the opportunity to be the starting SS of the future, Hamilton can be a top-30 player for nearly a decade.
What a play by Logan Wilson to force the fumble 👏 @ljw21
— NFL (@NFL) January 16, 2023
Logan Wilson (POS: Linebacker, Age 27): Wilson’s first half of 2022 was not as promising as the second half, but something clicked for the 27 year old LB. Finishing with 123 tackles and 2.5 sacks, Wilson is poised to leap into a top 20 IDP finish in 2023 and that may only be the beginning. While he has yet to make the Pro Bowl, the leap to household name is logical and he could easily become the star of a Bengals defense that looks to compete for Lombardi trophies for the next few years.
Germaine Pratt (POS: Linebacker, Age 27): The other big LB for the Bengals saw a huge increase in PDs where he tallied double digits last year to go with 99 tackles and six TFLs. Freshly 27 years of age, Pratt has been hovering just shy of 100 tackles for three years and looks to make a jump alongside Logan Wilson. The upside of Pratt is not nearly that of his teammate and ADP will reflect that. Pratt represents a top 100 IDP asset which may not sound like much, but he is a safe play and will be available very late in startup drafts.
Want to get access to the rest of our dynasty AFC IDPs? You’ll need to have a FANTASYPASS membership. Click here to learn more and sign up!
Premium Access Required