Keep, Trade, Cut 2022 IDP Defensive Ends

In this keep, trade, or cut segment, we will discuss the NFL IDP Defensive Ends. We will go over any off-season changes that are relevant to the player whether good or bad. We’ll also discuss what we project their roles will be going into the new season and how it impacts their fantasy values. We will analyze factors such as the depth chart, team defensive scheme, snap counts, and QB pressures. After analyzing the player I will offer my recommendations on whether you should keep, trade, or cut the player. 

 

Cameron Jordan

Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan has been an uber-productive fantasy play throughout his career. The 33-year-old Jordan has recorded double-digit sacks in 4 of his last 5 seasons. This includes last season where he recorded 12.5 sacks. However, there’s reason to believe that his fantasy value is about to decline. For starters, Jordan’s snap counts have declined over the past four seasons.  After averaging over a 90% snap share in his first 7 seasons, his snap percentages have dipped below this number each of the past 4 seasons. Also notable is that Jordan’s QB pressures have declined over the past two seasons. After averaging 46 QB pressures in 2018 and 2019, that number dropped to an average of 30 QB pressures in 2020 and 2021. The Saints are expected to increase the snaps of younger DEs Marcus Davenport and Payton Turner, which could come at the expense of the older Jordan. Dynasty owners should be looking to cash out before the start of the season. Recommendation: TRADE!

DeMarcus Lawrence 

Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence has mostly been a polarizing fantasy option. He’s only had one DL1 fantasy finish which occurred in the 2017 season. In fact, the 2017 and 2018 seasons were the only seasons in which Lawrence recorded double-digit sacks. The truth be told, Lawrence has proven to be a DL2 in his career. His fantasy value isn’t very high coming off a disappointing season where he only played 7 games due to a foot injury. However, Lawrence is fully healthy and motivated to lead the Cowboys in sacks this season. Lawrence will continue to be in a rotation, but he likely will be leaned on more this season if veteran retread Dante Fowler and rookie Sam Williams struggle. I’m anticipating a rebound for Lawrence this season. If he stays healthy there’s a chance he could provide owners with low-end DL1 numbers. Recommendation: KEEP!

Montez Sweat

Commander Defensive End Montez Sweat impressed in his first two NFL seasons. He posted 7 sacks and 9 sacks while playing every game for the Commanders. However, he disappointed his fantasy owners after only recording 5 sacks last season. The decline in production was due to him missing 7 games due to injury and a personal matter last season. The silver lining for his fantasy owners is that Sweat is fully healthy going into the season. It’s also notable that Sweat showed progression last season. Sweat was on track to exceed his career high in QB pressures last season before his injuries occurred. Sweat accumulated 24 QB pressures in 10 games last season. He produced 27 and 31 QB pressures in his two previous seasons. The truth be told, Sweat has actually outperformed his higher-profile teammate Chase Young the past two seasons. Sweat is likely to begin the season as the Commander’s primary pass rusher with Young’s status to begin the season being unclear. His fantasy value would skyrocket with a rebound season. Recommendation: KEEP!  

Robert Quinn

Bears Defensive End Robert Quinn was a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners after he finished 2nd in the league in sacks last season. He finished as a top 5 DL after recording 18.5 sacks. Many fantasy owners likely got him off waivers after the season started. Quinn only registered 2 sacks during the 2020 season in 13 starts. However, the Bears will be switching from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defensive scheme. It’s notable that Quinn flourished in the previous scheme as a 3-4 Outside Linebacker. The 32 year old doesn’t appear to be excited about the prospects of rushing the passer from a 3 point stance at this point in his career. Rumors are that Quinn has requested a trade after he failed to show up for any of the team’s off-season activities. With so many red flags floating around Quinn, he’s a trademark fade in redraft and a sell high in Dynasty leagues. Recommendation: TRADE!

Chase Young

Commander Defensive End Chase Young showed a lot of promise in his rookie season. He entered the 2021 season with a lot hype. However, Young fell way short of expectations. After finishing his rookie season with 7.5 sacks, Young only produced 1.5 sacks in 9 starts last season. One of the main reasons why Young busted last season was of his failure to generate consistent pressure off the Edge. He only generated 13 QB pressures in 9 starts. Young generated 24 QB pressures in 15 starts as a rookie. His disappointing 2021 season ended after he sustained a torn ACL in week 9. The latest news is that Young may not be healthy enough to play in week 1. Fantasy owners aren’t likely to get proper value for Young if they trade him now. Young still has the upside to develop into one of the best pass rushers in the league. Recommendation: KEEP!

Derek Barnett

It’s no secret that Eagles Defensive End Derek Barnett hasn’t lived up to his 1st round billing. Through 5 seasons, Barnett has failed to record more than 6.5 sacks in a season. In fact, he recorded a career-low 2 sacks despite leading the Eagles’ defensive linemen in snaps last season. To make matters worse for Barnett, he faces more competition for snaps this season. The Eagles get back a healthy Brandon Graham and they signed Haasan Reddick in free agency. Barnett will also have to compete with recently re-signed Josh Sweat who tied for the team lead in sacks last season. Rumors have speculated that Barnett’s snaps could be reduced this season. With Barnett being inefficient and now being projected to lose playing time, it’s time for fantasy owners to give him the boot! Recommendation: CUT!  

Vonn Miller

Miller has had a very decorated career. The 2-time Super Bowl champ and 8-time Pro Bowler signed with the Buffalo Bills this off-season. Miller registered 9.5 sacks with the Broncos and Rams last season showing that he still had something left in the tank. However, age is not on his side as he will be turning 34 years old this season. Complicating matters for Miller’s fantasy owners is the defensive scheme change and rotation in Buffalo. Miller now plays in a 4-3 defense after he flourished most of his career as a standup OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Miller will likely see his snaps decrease from playing 80% of defensive snaps to about 60% of the defensive snaps. He’ll have to be very efficient on fewer snaps. Owner’s should sell him before the season starts. Recommendation: TRADE!

Jason Pierre-Paul

Free-agent Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul’s days as an elite fantasy option appear to be over. After registering 9.5 sacks in 2020, his production dropped to just 2.5 sacks last season. He alleges that his drop in production was due to a shoulder injury that hampered him all season. However, analytics suggest that he’s been inefficient for several years now. Despite having one of the highest snap shares among DLs over the past few seasons, he’s failed to eclipse 30 QB pressures since the 2018 season. It’s also telling that the 33 year old hasn’t received much interest on the free agent market this off-season. Even if he’s signed, fantasy owners shouldn’t project more than a rotation role for a player that was already producing on volume. Recommendation: CUT!

J.J. Watt

Cardinals Defensive End J.J. Watt used to be one of the NFL’s premiere Defensive Linemen. The 3-time Defensive Player of the Year provided fantasy owners with elite fantasy production while he was in his prime. However, Watt is now 33 years old and he appears to be heading towards the twilight of his career. For starters, he’s played less than 9 games in 4 of the past 6 seasons. This includes last season when he only managed to play in 7 games. Watt has also experience a steep decline in his production. He hasn’t recorded any more than 5 sacks in any of the last 3 seasons. Also, his QB pressures have taken a huge dive over that same period. After recorded 16 sacks on 60 pressures in 2018, Watt hasn’t had more than 29 QB pressures in a season. Watt appears to be on his last legs and the Cardinals just drafted his replacement in rookie Cameron Thomas. Watt’s trade value is minimal and he’s a fringe fantasy option at this point. Recommendation: CUT!

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