Another week down, and with twice the information as we had last week, we can start to see which IDPs are for real and which were one-week fool’s gold. Two weeks in, and unfortunately injuries are already starting to take a toll on IDP rosters. You never like to see injuries, but there’s no doubt that they provide opportunities for new players to step in, which can make a big difference for your IDP leagues. You know what they say, “next man up!” Let’s dig into my top waiver wire target at each position heading into Week 3.

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Week 1 is in the books, and it sure felt good to have meaningful football games again. On the defensive side, we finally broke away from the vanilla packages we saw throughout the pre-season, and with some teams, we got our first look at the starters on the field together. With meaningful football comes meaningful fantasy games as well. Did Chandler Jones’ monster day propel your fantasy team its first win of the season? Did you suffer a crushing defeat because your IDPs didn’t get the snaps you expected? Whether you experienced the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, there is always room for improvement, so I’ve put together a list of waiver wire darlings that will make an instant impact on your rosters.

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Well folks, preseason games have come and gone, and we are inching ever closer to Week 1 of the NFL regular season. Even though these exhibition games don’t count toward teams’ win-loss records, they are far from meaningless for fantasy football managers. New coaches, new players, and a new year present a great deal of uncertainty for IDP rosters, but preseason games can give us a glimpse of what to expect for the next 18 weeks. Keeping a close eye on which players are playing, and perhaps more importantly who isn’t playing in preseason games allows us the opportunity to piece together how defensive coordinators plan to use our IDPs and helps us deduce just how large of a role they’ll have.

“But wait, I haven’t been watching these glorified practices! What am I supposed to do now?!” Don’t worry, my friend, I knew you’d be busy enjoying the last few weeks of summer, so I went ahead and paid all the attention for you! Take a look at my Top 100 Overall IDP Rankings below, and read further to see my biggest winner and biggest loser from Preseason 2021.

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If there’s one buzzword that coaches absolutely love to use this time of year, it’s “competition.” Hey coach, how’s your first round rookie looking? “He’s competing every day, and that’s all we can ask of him.” Wow, thanks… Or how about this one? “We love the additions we made through free agency and the draft, it’s added some great competition to our locker room, and it’s pushing everyone to be better.” Blah, blah, blah. These guys really know how to say something without saying a thing don’t they? In all honesty, most of the competition happens on the back end of the roster, as teams have to decide who to keep and who to cut as they trim the roster to 53 players. Most of these decisions don’t have a major impact on fantasy football, as we already have a good idea who the impact players are. There are always a few legitimate competitions, however, that WILL make a difference for your IDP rosters. Since coaches rarely tell us exactly what their plans are, I’m here to help you read the tea leaves for one of the top defensive battles in the league, the Dallas Cowboys linebackers.

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Hello again to all the IDP degenerates out there! Like it or not, you have stumbled onto the third and final set of position rankings for the 2021 season: Defensive Backs. If you missed the first two articles, make sure to check out the rankings for Linebackers and Defensive Line/EDGE. 

These DB rankings will include both safeties and cornerbacks, but you’ll notice the list is overwhelmingly safety-heavy. Corners provide a rare instance in which being a great real-life player does not translate to fantasy production. If the defense boasts a shut-down corner, offenses are less likely to throw his way, meaning fewer opportunities for tackles, pass break-ups, or interceptions, aka fantasy points. Even those corners who are targeted are often inconsistent fantasy producers on a week to week basis, since much of their production depends on where the opposing quarterback chooses to throw the ball. Safeties, however, generally provide much more consistency on the stat sheet, and are therefore more reliable assets for your IDP lineups. Like linebackers, look for safeties who are 3-down players, and preferably those who spend a lot of time in the box assisting in run support. More time in the box means the player is closer to the action, and therefore more likely to achieve tackle numbers that a deep safety will not. 

As always, it is important to know your league’s lineup requirements and scoring settings before you draft. Some leagues split defensive backs into cornerbacks and safeties, requiring the you start one or more of each. Other leagues may lump them together, but give cornerback stats an added boost to bring their value closer to safeties. These leagues are far from the most common, but still worth mentioning before getting into the rankings. Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s dig in!

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Welcome back for IDP Rankings Round 2! This week we take at the players that keep your favorite quarterbacks up at night: defensive linemen/edge rushers. A strong pass rush is critical for a defense in today’s pass-happy NFL, and a well-timed sack on an important 3rd down can swing the momentum like few plays can.

For the sake of these rankings, defensive tackles, defensive ends, and 3-4 outside linebackers are included together. It is important to know your league’s scoring, however, understand these rankings properly. Many leagues include DT/DE/OLB players as one position (like I’ve done), while some lump outside linebackers with inside linebackers. If you play in one of the latter, a player like TJ Watt may lose some value when competing with top tacklers like Darius Leonard and Roquan Smith for a spot in your lineup. Meanwhile, you may encounter a league which requires you to start defensive tackles as an entirely different position than defensive end, which will make players such as Aaron Donald or DeForest Buckner that much more valuable.

Bottom line is this: knowing the scoring and positional requirements for your leagues is absolutely critical to understanding player values and leaving your IDP drafts with a championship caliber roster. Anyway, enough lallygagging, let’s take closer look at the DL/EDGE players for the 2021 season.

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With training camps starting up this week, it’s time to get defensive!

“Wait, defense??? You mean those nameless guys that try to stop my running backs and wide receivers from scoring fantasy points?”

Yes! Well, sort of… Believe it or not, there are those of us so depraved that we actually play in fantasy football leagues that include Individual Defensive Players (IDPs); With this first set of rankings, we’ll focus on the heart of those IDP rosters, the linebackers. With linebackers, much like running backs (perhaps even more so), you should focus on full-time players who rarely leave the field. Generally, more snaps = more opportunities to produce statistics, a.k.a. fantasy points. These rankings will reflect just that.

“Yeah, yeah, I get it. I should roster LBs who play a lot… not exactly rocket science, pal. Just tell me who they are! Name names!”

Wow, impatient much? Ok, ok, fine! Without further ado, here are the top 40 linebackers for 2021 redraft leagues. Enjoy!

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