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: #9
Dallas Cowboy Linebacker Jaylon Smith
Position: WILB/WILB – Height/Weight: 6-2, 245lb – Age As Of Jan.1, 2020: 24
Salary / Contract
20 Yd Shuttle
The state’s Mr. Football award winner Jaylon Smith graduated from Bishop Luers High School of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was also honored with the high school Butkus Award which recognized him as the best high school linebacker in the country as a senior. As a gridiron two-way player and helping Bishop Luers to a 2012 state championship, Smith committed to the University of Notre Dame as his college of choice. And entering the college ranks, Smith was considered the best outside linebacker recruit of his class, according to Rivals.com and Scout.com. Earning him an invitation to play in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Jaylon Smith was a true iron man of the gridiron for The Fighting Irish from the moment he stepped on the field his freshman year. Starting in 2013 through his Junior season in 2015, he never missed a contest. In those three years, he accumulated 292 combined tackles, 25 for a loss, five sacks, and multiple game-changing type statistics in 39 career games.
In the process of his college career, Smith was awarded a First-team All-Independent honor in 2014, and again in 2015. He was also a Consensus All-American and the College Dick Butkus Award winner in 2015. But unfortunately during the 2016 Fiesta Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes Smith suffered a knee injury and was diagnosed with tears to both the ACL and MCL. After undergoing successful knee surgery on both ligaments in January of that year, Smith announced he would forego his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL draft.
Before Smith’s knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl, he was projected as a top-five overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. But tearing both his ACL and MCL brought up a lot of concerns among many NFL teams, and the result, the Dallas Cowboys were able to snag him late in the second round. The team shocked many NFL experts and Cowboy fans with the selection of Smith as it was viewed as a high-risk move. The rumor was the team tried to trade the pick but was unsuccessful and decided to roll the dice on Smith instead. And he did have an additional procedure by the organization’s doctors afterward, shining a light on the question again whether Smith would ever be able to perform at the pro level.
Those concerns lingered into 2018, which happens to be the year that the Cowboys selected another high-profile linebacker, Leighton Vander Esch. Smith had sat out his rookie season rehabbing the knee, and when he entered the lineup in 2017, it was judged as a lackluster result. But then 2018 rolled around, and the critics lost momentum as Smith proved he could play at the pro level and do it with authority.
After returning to form and the knee completely healed, Smith began racking up the statistics while making plays on the field. Through the 2018 and 2019 season, Smith has recorded 263 combined tackles, twelve for a loss, and seven sacks. And added a generous amount of game-changing type plays while earning PFF’s 2018 Breakout Player of the year and a Pro-Bowl appearance for 2019. The end result here is making the owner and general manager of the Cowboys Jerry Jones look like the smartest guy in the war room of the 2016 draft.
Fantasy Football Dynasty IDP Targets Summary
Let’s be frank about it, I’m taking personal enjoyment here, in being able to include Jaylon Smith into the top ten of the dynasty IDP targets rankings. So don’t let my preferences of doing so cloud your judgment of why I did. Because after the 2017 season, when Smith returned to the field, I didn’t see his play on the field as lacking but looking at it like a guy trying to return to form. And bringing himself back up to speed after a serious knee injury that anyone would have problems recovering from. So that “breakout season” he had in 2018, I was already on his bandwagon and advising IDP owners beforehand to look at adding him to their rosters. So we’ll just say that my confidence is high as I suggest Smith now, after a couple of seasons as a playmaker, as a dynasty IDP target going forward.
It is this Writer’s Opinion
It is this writer’s opinion that there is rightfully going to be criticism about Smith in the top ten. Vander Esch is a beast in his own right and can’t be ignored. But my preference is to look at Smith’s total body of work at this time and what he has accomplished. And I don’t just mean his heart and love of the game that helped his cause. I’m talking about his fantasy football IDP value in statistics.
Since getting healthy, Smith has averaged LB1 type fantasy IDP production at a strong pace. And can indeed co-exist with another strong IDP player such as Vander Esch., as demonstrated in the first six weeks of 2019, before Vander Esch’s neck injury.
Weeks One To Six / Dynasty IDP Targets Smith & Vander Esch
It is this Writer's Opinion Continued...
Sure, there were a couple of weeks that the players might have affected each other’s IDP production. But it’s this writer’s experience over the years of playing IDP that’s the case with any tandem of linebackers. Especially if they were in a 3-4 scheme, which isn’t the case with the Cowboys, who run the 4-3 base defensive scheme. And Smith will have his role, and Vander will have his own within that scheme. It likely will be the luck of the fantasy gods and game flow of the opponent that will probably determine who comes out on top production. And adding no more risk than what would normally be there in any given week or with any other tandem of players in the league.
Let’s not forget that Vander Esch recently underwent neck surgery and is coming off a season he wasn’t able to finish because of that injury. And not to mention it to take away from his IDP value, but noting it towards Smith’s future. If the injury lingers or he has a setback, Smith is currently the healthy player and likely would pick up the slack, just like he did for the remainder of the 2019 season.
The Cowboys just recently paid Smith a healthy multi-year contract for a reason as well. And at 24 years old, we as IDP owners must note that fact as they plan on Smith being a cornerstone player on their defense for a long time. And It’s this writer’s opinion that Smith is as talented as Vander Esch, and the same can be said about Vander Esch to Smith. Complementing each other as the tandem will produce for many years to come as future dynasty IDP target.
Dynasty IDP Targets Final Thoughts
As a final thought, I’d like to quote myself from the introduction of this series. For those readers who may think I’m wrong in ranking Smith higher than Vander Esch, who was fourteenth.
“…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.” (Speaking in the top tier(s) here, of course.)
“…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.”
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.
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