Welcome to the fantasy football’s Top 26 dynasty IDP targets under 26 in 2020. This series of articles is intended to help those fantasy football owners looking to revamp or start a dynasty roster. So why 26 under 26? Because our focus is on a group of fantasy football defensive players that are no older than 25. And have shown to be long term potential IDP assets at the highest level. The kind players we want to have on our rosters as they hit their prime years. And hopefully helping us earn a few titles as the seasons roll by.
Dynasty IDP Targets Ranking Ground Rules
Ranking fantasy football players can vary in opinions. So we will lay out the ground rules on how those IDP hairs were split between these players. Starting with the following things taken under consideration. And making this statement now.
No matter how, when. or why it’s an opinion. And the same can be said on who the players are that are chosen to be in the rankings.
So with that being said, my credentials in IDP knowledge runs around fifteen years now. And much of that time is not just spent on fantasy football data. It also includes researching and keeping up on the latest reports and news. And although “numbers” have to be used to rank. I find that those IDP hairs are so thin to split that normally I’d soon have any player within a difference of ten from any given rank.
The point here is we’ll list the considerations taken into these rankings. And my personal opinions are just that. Because all of the 26 and likely a few that didn’t make my list, boils down to my personal preferences.
Now on to our Top 26 Dynasty IDP Targets under 26 years old for 2020.
Consistency Margin Of Error
2020’s Fantasy Football Top Dynasty IDP Targets: #8
Arizona Cardinal Safety Budda Baker
Position: FS/SS – Height/Weight: 5-10, 200lb – Age As Of Jan.1, 2020: 23 – Turned 24 Jan. 10
Salary / Contract
20 Yd Shuttle
A four-star recruit out of Bellevue, Washington Budda Baker was named the Seattle Times High School Athlete of the Year, his senior year. And as one of the top high school safety prospects, he kept his talents in-state and attended the University of Washington.
In 2014 he earned USA Today’s Freshman All-American honors, recording 80 combined tackles, six passes defended, and one interception in fourteen contests. Then as a sophomore in 2015, he was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team after recording 49 tackles and two interceptions in eleven games. It was enough national attention to earn considerations as an All-American designation before the 2016 season, his junior year.
As a junior, Baker didn’t disappoint, recording 70 combined tackle, ten for a loss, three sacks, and two interceptions in fourteen games. Earning a consensus All-American honors by multiple media and associated college outlets. He then announced he would enter the 2017 NFL draft and forgo his final year as a Huskies.
Entering the NFL draft Budda Baker had mixed reviews among the experts, even after a solid combine performance. The concern was pointed out as his lack of size and whether he would be able to compete at the pro-level as a safety. Luckily for the Cardinals, these concerns were likely why Baker was available late in the second round. So Arizona made the move up and traded a later second, a fourth, and an earlier seventh-round pick to the Chicago Bears to drafted Baker at the 36th overall pick. Additionally received the Bears later seventh-round selection of the draft in return as they got their man. It’s been one of the best moves the Cardinals have made in recent years and paid dividends starting in Baker’s rookie season.
At the beginning of the 2017 season, the Cardinals were sitting on three veteran starting-caliber safeties. And with veterans Tyrann Mathieu, Tyrann Branch, and Antoine Bethia all sitting in front of Baker on the depth chart, it looked as if the Cardinals second-round selection was nothing more than an old-school developmental move. But that soon changed as injuries and Baker’s practice performances brought him the opportunity to become a fixture on the defense. And after he was inserted as a starter in late November, he finished his rookie season with 74 combined tackles and seven passes defended on the year. While pointing out here that 58 of his 74 combined tackles were solo tackles, a high percentage considering his situation.
2018 – 2019
Beginning with the 2018 season and running through the 2019 season, Baker remained a key player on the starting defense for the Cardinals. In 2018 he was mainly used as the starting strong safety but in 2019 was switched to the free safety position as the Cardinals brought in a new system and coaching staff. In those two seasons, he has recorded an astonishing 249 combined tackles in 29 starts. For any notable safety, his 2019 104 solo tackles as a free safety had to be some kind of record somewhere.
Fantasy Football Dynasty IDP Targets Summary
In the last two seasons, Baker has been one of the top two combined tackle and solo tackle producers for the Cardinals. In 2018 he ended the season second on the team in both categories. And to take note for readers, as you can see here with their top five, he did it in fewer contests played.
In base tackles between the top two…
Bethia averaged 7.5 combined and 6.25 solo tackles in sixteen contests with 741 snaps.
Baker averaged 7.25 combined and 5.5 solo tackles in fourteen contests with 513 snaps.
Notably, Baker outplayed the veterans Boston, Reddick, and Bynes and hung with long time veteran Bethia as a key member on the defense. The only stats lacking here we should mention are the game-changing type plays, like interceptions and passes defended. But as a strong safety and playing what was the money backer role at the time in that scheme, it’s not a huge red flag. The role he played within the scheme is traditionally focusing on stopping the opponent’s run game and covering the field in support. And can be seen in the tackles for a loss stat, again comparing here his eight versus linebackers Reddick’s eight and Bynes five. The other designated positions in the box intended to make the stops and rush the line of scrimmage.
In base tackles between the top two…
Hicks averaged 9.25 combined and 6 solo tackles in sixteen contests with 1133 snaps.
Baker averaged 9 combined and 6.5 solo tackles in fourteen contests with 1120 snaps.
Notably, Baker as a free safety versus Hicks as the main linebacker on the team, those numbers are outstanding for Baker at such a high level. There wasn’t a large jump in game-changing type plays from 2018, but we still are not going to throw red flags over it. He’ll eventually start adding those as he grows as a player and free safety in due time. And now with the new regime and a new defensive coordinator with Vance Joseph, who loves using safeties to his defensive scheme’s strength, there’s no reason to doubt Baker will continue to develop at a faster rate now.
In full disclosure, when I heard that Baker was moving to free safety in 2019, I wasn’t all on board with it as an IDP owner. And as a writer, I pumped the breaks knowing what his role as the money backer in the old scheme versus a traditional free safety could mean. Those traits and skills needed just don’t normally translate from one position to the other among the safeties.
So this time last year if we would have done this list, Baker would have likely been in the eighteen to twenty-six range in these rankings. I’m satisfied to have pumped the breaks to be safe, but in the end, it was not necessary to do so. And I can live with that with a smile now.
Baker’s Dynasty IDP Targets Profile Compared
As a writer, I normally wouldn’t go as far as making a comparison of any two players. But in this case, I feel I’d like to make the exception this time around. It’s my opinion we will see Baker as a Jordan Poyer from this point on. For those that don’t know of him for the last three seasons in Buffalo, he has been an IDP monster as far as free safeties go in fantasy football. And from here it looks like a mirror image situation in more than just one way.
It may take some time for the interceptions and such to start happening, but when they do, it’ll balance out and look something like Poyer’s numbers soon enough. And until then the base tackle production that Baker has been producing is just fine for a dynasty IDP target and maybe even preferred by some IDP owners in a lot of league formats.
It is this Writer’s Opinion
It’s this writer’s opinion that Budda Baker will remain a heat-seeking tackling missile for the Cardinals. This particular writer has been tracking his progress in the league from the time the Cardinals traded up to get him, catching my attention. And I can humbly say I was advising IDP owners to make the in-season pick up early. At least to owners looking for a potential breakout defensive back or safety option, and as luck would have it, I saw it coming a few weeks before it happened. Those on Twitter who have followed me may recall that happening. Because it is where I directly inform IDP owners on situations like this as fast as I possibly can in posts or article notifications.
His draft stock, situation, and skill set were all set up for this to happen his rookie season, despite how it may have looked in the offseason. But enough about that, we’ll move on and finish this take on Baker. Because we already know even an old dog can find a bone every once in a while.
From where this writer sits, as a team, the Cardinals have a lot of work to do over the next few years. And dealing with aging players, depth problems, and other long term variables that need to be addressed will help to keep Baker and the defense on the field above the average amount of snap counts. Even if the process would work sooner, rather than later, Baker has the experience now and proven chops to remain a dynasty IDP targets option in the meantime. And as I’ve mentioned, he looks like the next generation Jordan Poyer in the making. And as he enters his prime physical years, more game-changing type plays will come with experience.
Top 26 Dynasty IDP Targets To "Click On" And...
Thank you for joining me as we rank the top 26 under 26 fantasy football dynasty IDP targets for 2020.
“The IDP Tipster”
Would you like directly have access to Gary VanDyke and his fantasy Football IDP “takes” or interact? You can find him here @TheIDPTipster via Twitter. His most active account. Or chat with us using our member’s chat on site. We look forward to hearing from you.