Same Faces, New Places: IDP Edition
Every year, free agency changes the NFL landscape as teams try to improve their deficiencies. This past off-season, many top-tier defensive players left their previous teams for new ones. Players like: Bobby Wagner, Tremaine Edmunds, Javon Hargrave, and Jessie Bates all changed teams hoping for a better playing situation or a more lucrative contract. With those moves, the "same faces" have found "new places" to call home. Will their new teams provide them the same opportunities to produce like key IDP players as their previous teams? We will look into some familiar faces in new places as we analyze their current situations and outlooks heading into the 2023 NFL season.
Zach Allen, DL, Denver
Last Season, Zach Allen played the opposite of JJ Watt to form the pash rush for the Arizona Cardinals. Last year, Allen recorded 5.5 sacks (career high), 47 total tackles, and 8 passes defended. Now, Allen joins a historically strong defense in Denver. When Bradley Chubb was dealt away last year to the Miami Dolphins, the Broncos pass rush was not as effective. With the hiring of Sean Payton as Head Coach, and Vance Joseph returning as the Defensive Coordinator, the Broncos are hopeful this once-feared defense returns to its former glory. The hope is Allen with the edge rushers Randy Gregory, Brian Browning, and Drew Sanders, can bring back a pass rush to the Broncos the AFC West will fear. Zach Allen is a talented player that can notch double-digit sacks. If his total tackle numbers stay around 50, he will be a valuable addition to the Denver Broncos and your IDP lineups as a 2nd or 3rd DL in your IDP lineups.
Marcus Davenport, DL, Minnesota
Coming off his worst season yet, Marcus Davenport is heading to Minnesota to resurrect his career. Last year, Davenport notched 29 total tackles and only a half sack. Davenport is capable of double-digit sacks for the Vikings in the proper situation. Danielle Hunter hopes to pair with Davenport to create a similar sack attack that he had with recently departed Za’Darius Smith; last year, Smith and Hunter tallied 20.5 total sacks. Davenport may only project to reach 40 total tackles, but if he can return to his 2021 form and approach 9 sacks, Davenport can prove to be a valuable depth player in your IDP lineups and a solid compliment to Danielle Hunter.
Javon Hargrave, DL, San Francisco
Last year, Javon Hargrave and the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive unit, combined to terrorize opposing offenses after they notched 70 total sacks; falling 2 sacks short of the 1984 Chicago Bears. Hargrave has now joined an equally talented defense in San Francisco. The 49ers hope Javon can approach last year’s sack total of 11 sacks and provide Nick Bosa with a viable “Robin” to his own “Batman.” Hargrave has been a solid tackles contributor, reaching at least 60 total tackles in each of the last two years. Hargrave is capable of matching those numbers for his new team and can even exceed those numbers as Bosa forces opposing quarterbacks from the edge. I foresee Hargrave notching an elite season for the 49ers and an upper-tier season for fantasy owners. Hargrave will at least approach his numbers in Philadelphia with 65 total tackles and 8 to 10 sacks.
Za’Darius Smith, DL, Cleveland
Za’Darius Smith is now with his third team in the last three years. He was a Green Bay Packer in 2021, then a Minnesota Viking in 2022, and now a Cleveland Brown for the 2023 season. For his career, Smith has recorded 54.5 sacks; reaching double-digit sacks 3 times. Although Smith has faced some injuries the last few years, he looks to be in top shape during OTA’s this off-season. The Cleveland Browns hope Smith and Myles Garrett can form a duo that dominates the AFC North. Last year, Garrett posted 16 sacks, but the next closest player in sacks for Cleveland was Taven Bryan with 3. If Smith can record between 40 and 50 total tackles and elevate his sack numbers back to previous levels, Smith can be a valuable asset in most IDP formats. I believe 42 tackles and 8 sacks are in Smith’s future for this year.
— Goody Win (@JGoody77) June 20, 2023
The Twitter World has spoken and believes Tremaine Edmunds is in the best situation to continue as an elite IDP performer in 2023.
Keep reading to see who I believe has the most advantageous situation to return home dividends for your fantasy football team.
Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards, LB, Chicago
Edmunds leaving Buffalo was a surprise. However, with younger players in the position, it was time for Edmunds to move on from Buffalo. In my heart, I believe the Bears allowed Roquan Smith to move on, only to realize how essential the position (and Smith) was to the team.
Thus, the Bears signed Edmunds and TJ Edwards to fill the void. Similar to Buffalo, the Eagles felt a younger player (Nakobe Dean) was ready to ascend into a starter's position. This forced Edwards to find employment elsewhere. Tremaine Edmunds, in only 13 games last year, recorded 102 tackles and 1 interception. TJ Edwards tallied 159 tackles in 2022. Neither player has contributed in sacks for fantasy managers, which should remain the same in 2023. The Bears do not “get after the qb” as well as many other teams and this should produce high tackle numbers for Edmunds and Edwards. If your league uses tackle-dominant scoring, then Edmunds and Edwards are both worthy of being starters in your IDP lineups.
Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle
It is said, “When no one else cares to listen, return home to a place of understanding.” I believe that applies to Bobby Wagner perfectly. Yes, he won a Super Bowl with the Rams. However, I never felt he was appreciated for his play in Los Angeles as he was in Seattle. Bobby Wagner was a favorite of Seattle’s “12th Man.” Consequently, Wagner departs the Rams and returns home to Seattle; a place that understands him well. In 2022, Wagner grabbed 140 total tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 interceptions; which placed Wagner inside the top 10 in most IDP scoring formats. With Cody Barton leaving for the Commanders and Jordyn Brooks recovering from an ACL injury, Wagner will resume as the center of the Seahawks' defense. In redraft formats, Wanger is an absolute smash this year. At 32 years old, Wagner should be on the decline of his career. However, Wagner has NEVER recorded less than 100 total tackles in his career. For those playing in dynasty leagues, I project at least 2 more highly successful seasons before you will see a decline in production from Wagner. I just love the fit for Wagner back in Seattle. And, I think Wagner returns to the DPOY discussion this season and my choice to be an elite IDP performer.
Want to add Wagner to your IDP lineup? According to the Dynasty Pros Trade Calculator, a trade of Greg Dulcich or Romeo Doubs for Bobby Wagner is a “fair trade.” Check out our exclusive Trade Calculator to input your own proposed trade to see if your acquisition of Bobby Wagner is fair.
Kyzir White, LB, Arizona
The third Eagle to appear on this list, Kyzir White, heads to Arizona for the upcoming 2023 season. After recording 144 total tackles in his breakout season in 2021 for the Los Angeles Chargers, White had a solid 2022 for the Eagles. White tallied 110 total tackles last year; as White and Edwards patrolled the middle of the field and racked up tackles. I’m not 100% sold that White can duplicate that production. The Arizona defensive line is not capable of occupying blockers in the same way they did in Philadelphia. I am not excited about White’s prospects as an IDP contributor. If you start 2 to 3 linebackers, Kyzir White is a fringe starter. White is great in coverage, but his smaller stature will not benefit him in his tackle totals if blockers get to his level. Proceed with caution when drafting Kyzir White!
Drue Tranquill, LB, Kansas City
In 2022, Tranquill burst onto the IDP scene with 146 total tackles and 5 sacks; both career highs. It appeared that Tranquill was everywhere for the Los Angeles Chargers last year. This year, the Chiefs will not ask Tranquill to do as much. as his previous team. So, any expectations of a repeat of last year's numbers will disappoint fantasy managers for the 2023 season. Playing alongside fellow IDP stars Nick Bolton, Chris Jones, and L’Jarius Sneed, Tranquill will have a decrease in tackles and sacks. I still believe Tranquill is a viable IDP starter, just don’t expect another top 10 IDP season from Tranquill in 2023. My projections have Tranquill at 105 total tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Kaden Elliss, LB, Atlanta
As a Saint in 2022, Elliss tallied 78 total tackles and 7 sacks. For the Atlanta Falcons in 2023, they will pair Elliss with Troy Anderson to form a dynamic linebacking tandem. Anderson should log more tackles, but Elliss is a great blitzing player that could match (or even exceed) his 7 sacks from last year. It all depends on the usage by the Falcons. I can see Elliss playing both inside and outside linebacker. With his versatility, Kaden could elevate his play enough to warrant starting him in most IDP formats. For now, I would not count on Elliss as an IDP starter. I believe a starting linebacker in IDP either needs to be an elite pass rusher and notch 12+ sacks or record over 100 total tackles in combination with the other stats. However, he is a great “shot” play that warrants a roster spot. In dynasty formats, Kaden has a tremendous amount of upside and should be rostered based on that potential.
Jessie Bates, DB, Atlanta
In many ways, Bates was the heart and soul of Cincinnati’s defense. After signing a contract with the Falcons, he looks ready to assume that role again. Teaming up with Richie Grant to form an IDP super group in the defensive backfield, Bates hopes to post similar numbers he had in 2022 where he tallied 71 total tackles, 4 interceptions, and 8 passes defended. If your league scoring rewards points for passes defended, Bates is a viable starter. However, if your scoring system leans more on tackles, Bates is a fringe flex player at best.
CJ Gardner-Johnson, DB, Detroit
The last Eagle to appear on this list is CJ Gardner-Johnson. After tying for the league lead in interceptions with 6, CJGJ was forced to find a new team. After struggling to find a long-term contract, CJGJ signed another 1-year deal with the Lions. CJGJ showed solid tackle numbers last year as he recorded 67 total tackles in only 12 games. Will CJGJ be able to replicate that type of production through an entire 17-game season? The Lions are banking on it! There have even been rumors that CJGJ has been working as a slot corner for the Lions in off-season workouts. This looks to be a situation where the Lions are going to find every way possible to keep CJ on the field. The Lions have a well-stacked secondary (that includes Kerby Joseph and Cameron Sutton) and it may be hard for so many players to excel in IDP formats. If your league only starts 1 to 2 defensive backs, other DBs may have more potential than CJGJ and you may want to pass on rostering CJGJ. However, in deeper leagues, or in a situation where you “punted” DBs, CJGJ offers enough upside to take the risk.
Stephen Gilmore, DB, Dallas
Many people applauded the trade that acquired Stephen Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys. From a fantasy perspective, Gilmore is not the ideal IDP candidate. You may ask, “Why is that? Isn’t Gilmore an elite cornerback?” And the answer is: Yes, Stephen Gilmore is an elite cover corner. And because of those elite skills, many teams throw the opposite way. Last year, Gilmore posted his highest total tackles in his career with 66 but only had 2 interceptions. Going to Dallas means Gilmore gets to play opposite Trevon Diggs; also an elite cornerback. This should force opposing teams to at least play Gilmore and Diggs straight up; no longer avoiding one side of the field. This will provide more opportunities for interceptions and passes defended. If your league uses passes defended, then Gilmore now becomes a more viable option in IDP with the increased opportunities. If your league focuses on tackles and interceptions, Gilmore is a great depth pick and can be used for spot starts.
Julian Love, DB, Seattle
Julian Love had a breakout season with the NY Giants last year; recording 116 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 2 interceptions. Love scored double-digit fantasy points in 6 games last year. With those types of stats, how can a player’s value go down the following year? Well, Love chose to go to the STACKED defensive backfield in Seattle. Last year’s rookie breakout star was Tariq Woolen; who notched 63 tackles and 6 interceptions. In addition, the Seahawks should get All-Decade Performer, Jamal Adams, back from injury. I believe the Seahawks are concerned that Adams may not be ready to return to action at the start of the season, or if he does, may not be the same player. So, the Seahawks signed the ascending Love to ease that situation. Not to mention, Quandre Diggs (who had 71 tackles last year) and the 1st-round draft pick, Devon Witherspoon are also slated to play. Currently, there are not enough reps for me to feel great about Julian Love being an IDP contributor on your fantasy team. However, if anything in this situation changes and Love is in line for at least a 50%-60%, snap share, he has shown the ability to produce. Proceed with caution when it comes to Julian Love in fantasy for the 2023 season.
Full time teacher, full time fantasy sports enthusiast. I try to look at fantasy sports through my own lens and share that vision with my readers I love to explore and find new, and exciting fantasy football options including: C2C, dynasty, IDP, and Devy. See me on Twitter @JGoody77
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