Many breaths are being held, hoping that the NFL 2020 season will actually take place in anything like a normal fashion. In the meantime, though, we can still prepare for the best, and part of that process is to review the results of early drafts. Many Best Ball drafts are currently underway, adding to those that have already been completed, and while IDP leagues are more difficult to locate, they do exist and thus, it is important to be familiar with just how defensive players are being regarded by fantasy owners.

As noted in this space last week, fantasy owners succumb to name recognition and recency bias in assembling their rosters when drafting those players on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. Falling prey to those potential mistakes leads to players being overvalued in the current season to come, as well as the opposite situation with rising players not being accorded their proper status as future IDP stars. This series of articles continues that process of scrutinizing certain defensive players that might be worth waiting on in your drafts, or other IDP that could dramatically swing the scales in your favor when the final results are tallied this (hopeful, fingers crossed) upcoming season.

Last week we examined linebackers, and feel free to peruse that piece if you missed it. This week, we focus our attention toward the defensive line, and the ends and tackles that man that position. These profiles are based upon my projections, compared against the various rankings that can be found before most redraft leagues get into the draft mode. Be advised, ADP data is scarce for IDP generally, but before most leagues have held their drafts, it is even more scarce and unreliable at this point in time.

Projections stats set forth below are as follows: Total Tackles/Solo Tackles/Sacks/Forced Fumbles/Fumble Recoveries/Interceptions/Pass Deflections

Overpriced DLs

Jurrell Casey DE DEN

Casey is being valued as a DL2, and while he does have value in sack-heavy scoring systems, he projects more as a DL3, or a bench addition to use in matchup situations or to cover bye weeks for your main DLs. He joins the Broncos for this coming year, after spending his career as a Titan, which should not have any major impact on his production, positively or negatively, so there is that in his favor, kinda, sorta. He will be a starting DE for the Denver defense, and while not a liability for IDP purposes, he is just not as valuable as early drafters are making him.

2020 Projections: 50/32/6.5/2/1/0/1

Ndamukong Suh DT TB

This is a great example of a player whose is still being valued based upon what drafters remember about him during his salad days. He is no longer the pass rushing terror of his first set of years in the league, but as indicated below, he still has potential to provide IDP value. Just not as a top line tackle and big play producer, more as a fringe DL. In DT-mandatory leagues, perhaps he steps up the stairs to a higher ranking but as a DT2 at best. The Bucs saw enough in his rather pedestrian first season in Tampa Bay to resign him, although his cohort at DT, Vita Vea , will likely produce similar point production for fantasy purposes and will be available at a much more reasonable draft position.

2020 Projections: 38/21/3.5/1/.5/0/3

Fletcher Cox DT PHI

Cox is a defensive player that is much better as a real-life player than he is as a fantasy asset. That being said, in a DT-mandatory scheme, he takes on a significantly higher status in IDP appraisals, as the sack numbers are not insignificant, nor are the solo tackles. Due to his on-field prowess, though, he is being overvalued merely due to his name being mentioned on broadcasts and highlight shows during the season.

2020 Projections: 45/30/5.5/2/1/0/2

Dee Ford DE SF

The 49ers made a big move in trading for Ford last season, although he was limited after a fast start by a knee issue. He underwent surgery to clean up his knee this off-season, and projects to be back at full strength for the 2020 season. Even so, the defensive line in San Fran has competition for defensive snaps with both Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead atop the DE starting rotation. Ford settles in as a situational player for the reigning NFC champs, and should not be on target as a DE2 in 12 team leagues, more as a late round bench option or perhaps left on the wire for later addition if injuries strike your starters, or you need to replace an underperforming DE.

2020 Projections: 35/20/8/2/1/0/1

Undervalued DLs

Maxx Crosby DE LV

The second-year Raider is this writer’s selection as the sleeper pick at DE in IDP drafts this season. While a sophomore slump could take place, he did lead the team in sacks in his rookie campaign. Las Vegas will be featuring a pair of rookies at the end position going into 2020 as their starting edge rushers, and Clelin Ferrell as the first round pick has a certain cache among fantasy owners, but it is Crosby you should be targeting in your drafts, and early on, if you want this writer’s opinion, offered most humbly but also most adamantly.

2020 Projections: 55/40/11/3/1/0/3

Jason Pierre-Paul DE/LB TB

Pierre-Paul is slotted in as a DE and Edge Rusher in ESPN leagues, but only as a LB over on Yahoo, so be advised when drafting him in your IDP leagues as to where he qualifies. If he is limited to LB status, his value falls drastically off the chart, but as a DE, he is worth a late DL1 designation. The Buccaneers obviously like him, having inked him to a two-year deal, even with him missing several games at the beginning of last season with a neck injury. He had what is deemed successful arthroscopic surgery on his knee this month, and total health seems a pipe dream for the 31-year old pass rusher, but when on the field, he is a border line DL1 (LB4), but certainly a player you can snag as your DE2 in most drafts where he has DL stature.

2020 Projections: 44/36/13/2/1/0/3

In the next two weeks, the focus of this series of articles will be on those players that patrol the defensive backfield (safeties and then cornerbacks). After those reports are in the books, we shall see where the focus turns. Stay tuned as the NFL figures out how to proceed during these unprecedent times.

As ever, godspeed and best of luck in your fantasy endeavors. If you have any questions regarding IDP, or fantasy football in general, you can send an inquiry to for a personalized suggestion (or two, if the spirit moves).