Key & Diagnose: Top 5 IDP Edge Rushers
Welcome IDP fantasy football fans! It’s August and the fantasy football season is quickly approaching. Redraft season is here and it’s time to start preparing for our IDP Drafts. In this article, we will be discussing the top 5 IDP Edge Rushers. These defenders are highly coveted in your IDP leagues because of their high upside and the scarcity of the position. There’s a significant drop-off in talent after these tier 1 Edge Rushers are off the board. If you’re fortunate enough to draft one of these IDP gems, you’re likely going to be very pleased with their production. These top 5 Edge Rushers all have similar ceilings. Each one of them has the talent to lead the league in sacks. They also are very consistent and they offer league-winning upside. We’ll analyze advanced metrics and explain why they are so unique.
Watt has emerged as one of the NFL’s most dominant Edge Rushers. His quick first step and relentless motor make him virtually unblockable. Last season was a historic one for Watt. Not only did he lead the league in sacks, but his 22.5 sacks tied the NFL record for the most sacks in a season. Watt was providing IDP managers with huge week-winning performances in 2021. He had 3 games where he recorded 3 or more sacks in a single game. Watt’s best game happened in week 16 against the Browns. He registered 5 combined tackles, 4 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, and 2 passes defended.
Advanced metrics also show how dominant Watt was in 2021. He led the league in QB pressures(52), QB hits(39), and tackles for loss(21) last season. Depending on your league site, Watt is likely to be listed as an LB. Ideally, we don’t recommend starting Outside Linebackers in your LB slot. These types of Linebackers are more boom/bust as they have a low tackle floor. However, Watt is one of the exceptions. Watt averages around 60 combined tackles and 14 sacks per season. The high sack numbers that he produces give him top 5 upside in balanced and sack-heavy leagues. So he’s safe to play at either your DL or LB slots. Although it’s optimal to play him in your DL slot if your site allows for it. In your IDP fantasy drafts, Watt is likely to be one of the first IDPs taken off of the board.
If you missed out on drafting T.J. Watt, don’t be discouraged. Garrett is just as much of a force when it comes to rushing the passer. He possesses one of the quickest first steps for a Defensive Lineman. He uses his exceptional speed and power to go right around Offensive Lineman in the blink of an eye. Garrett has registered double-digit sacks in 4 of his first 5 seasons. He’s averaged 40 combined tackles and nearly 12 sacks per season in his career. And this is despite missing 13 games due to injuries and a suspension.
Garrett had the best season of his career in 2021. He finished as a top 5 fantasy DL after recording career highs in combined tackles(51) and sacks(16) last season. His advanced metrics indicate that he’s every bit as talented as Watt is. Garrett finished second in QB hits(33) and his 52 QB pressures were tied for first with Watt. In mock drafts, Garrett typically is drafted as the 2nd Edge Rusher off the board.
49ers DE Nick Bosa asserted himself as one of the league’s top Edge Rushers last season. After tearing his ACL two games into his 2nd season, Bosa made up for the lost time by delivering top 5 DL numbers last season. He posted career highs in combined tackles(52), sacks(15.5), and tackles for loss(21) last season. Bosa is more of a power rusher than a speed rusher. He uses his strength to disengage from blocks and he has good short area speed to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Bosa’s advanced metrics prove that he belongs in the same conversation with Watt and Garrett as the top Edge Rusher in IDP leagues. Bosa finished 3rd in QB pressures with 49 and he had 21 tackles for loss which tied Watt for the most in the league. Bosa typically gets drafted as the 3rd DL off the board in IDP mock drafts.
Donald is a certified beast on the football field. He’s a man among boys. He tosses Offensive Lineman aside like rag dolls. Simply put, he’s one of the most dominant defensive players of all time. He’s a no-brainer top 5 DL draft pick in IDP leagues. Donald possesses uncanny speed and power for a Defensive Tackle. His stats are an attribute to his greatness.
Donald has finished with double-digit sacks in 6 of his 8 NFL seasons. In fact, he averages about 12 sacks per season for his career. This includes last season when he recorded 84 combined tackles, 12.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 19 tackles for loss. That’s pretty insane production for an Interior Defensive Lineman. Advanced metrics indicate that Donald is far and away the best Interior Lineman in the league. His 41 QB pressures ranked top 10 in the league and led all DTs. Cameron Heyward ranked 2nd among DTs with 32 QB pressures which was way behind Donald. In mock drafts, Donald usually gets drafted among the top 5 Defensive Lineman off the board.
Some may be surprised to see Hunter ranked up here among the elite tier 1 Edge Rushers. However, he’s shown that his ceiling is just as high as the aforementioned players above him. Hunter had 14.5 sacks in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019. He also had over 70 combined tackles in both those seasons. Hunter has been plagued by injuries over the last two years. He missed the entire 2020 season due to a neck injury. Last season Hunter returned with a vengeance, racking up 6 sacks in the first 7 games. However, Hunter sustained a shoulder injury that ended his season in week 9.
Hunter’s recent string of injuries is concerning, but it’s not enough for me to drop him out of my top 5 Edge Rushers. I’m a big believer in his talent. He’s an extremely talented defender who can rack up sacks in bunches when he’s on the top of his game. A case in point is his massive game against the Cardinals in week 2 last season. Hunter recorded 7 combined tackles, 3 sacks, 3 TFLs, and 3 QB hits in that game. His speed and strength off the edge make him a major mismatch for opposing Offensive Lineman.
His advanced metrics indicate that he belongs in this group as well. Hunter had 21 QB pressures in 7 starts last season. At that pace, he would have accumulated 51 QB pressures over an entire season. That would have placed him 1 shy of T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett for the most QB pressures last season. Hunter might fall outside the top 10 Edge Rushers in IDP drafts due to injury pessimism. However, savvy managers should be drafting him in the top 5.
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