Positioning

Top 300 2022 Dynasty IDP Fantasy Football Rankings | Fantasy Football News, Rankings and Projections – Pro Football Focus

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Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) runs off the line during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2022 NFL Draft behind us and NFL rookies settling into their new teams through offseason activities, dynasty startups are now at the forefront of the fantasy football offseason. With that, it’s time to update the IDP dynasty rankings, as the landscape has shifted since February’s rankings following free agency and the draft.
After ranking as the top edge defender and the No. 3 overall player on this list just a season ago, Bosa earned his No. 1 ranking and then some in 2021. He finished top five at his position in pass-rush grade (89.8), pressures (75) and sacks (15.5) in just his third NFL season, and he is now poised to be an elite IDP option for many years to come.
While true position designations add more talent to the pot at the edge position, elite and reliable talents are still few and far between. Bosa leads a select few who fall into this category, separating himself from the pack as an irreplaceable piece for dynasty IDP rosters.
Garrett was the only other edge defender besides Bosa to finish top five at his position in pass-rush grade (92.7), pressures (78) and sacks (16) in 2021. The minor difference between the two simply comes down to age, as Garrett is entering his sixth season while Bosa is about to enter his fourth. There’s not much to argue about regarding Garrett, who has undoubtedly established himself as an elite talent, earning 90.0-plus pass-rush grades in each of the past three seasons.
Whether it’s Bosa, Garrett or Watt, fantasy football drafters really can’t go wrong with their first choice in an IDP dynasty startup draft this offseason.
After tying the NFL sack record in 2021, Watt is coming off his best season yet, but there’s reason to believe it doesn’t get better than 2021. We cannot overlook Watt’s production this past season, but we can provide context for why he is unlikely to repeat it. Watt finished with 62 pressures, the lowest of his past three seasons, and 36.6% of those pressures were classified as cleanup or pursuit, which was among the five highest rates among edge defenders in 2021.
Accompanied by an unstable 5.3% sack rate — 1.8% is the average for his position — Watt may never top his 2021 numbers. He is certainly still an elite option, but these are some of the tie-breakers to consider when ranking players for dynasty leagues.
Arguably the greatest defensive player of all time, Donald is a perfect example of an NFL “unicorn.” Earning 90.0-plus overall grades in each of his NFL seasons with pass-rush grades to match in every year after his rookie season, Donald has shown no signs of slowing down, but it’s probably coming at some point … right?
I’m not one to bet against Donald, especially in defensive tackle-required leagues where the top-tier talent is thinner than at any IDP position, so continue to draft and value him highly until he gives us a reason not to.
Young’s sophomore NFL season did not go as planned. He finished the year with just 1.5 sacks in nine games, with an ACL tear cutting short his campaign. Young’s 77.1 pass-rush grade since entering the NFL is still very good, but we haven’t quite seen him consistently dominate in the same way that led to his 96.4 pass-rush grade during his final season at Ohio State. While it was a frustrating 2021 for Young, his physical tools, youth and opportunity are all positives when projecting his progression. The best is yet to come from the former No. 2 overall pick.
Bosa is coming off his third straight season with a 90.0-plus pass-rushing grade, keeping himself in the conversation as one of the best pass-rushers in football. His 10.5 sacks in 2021 were accompanied by a very solid 51 total tackles, which ranks inside the top 15 among edge rushers. He now has 58 sacks in his six-year career despite missing 15 games. An average of nearly 10 sacks per season provides a floor that should keep him at the top of fantasy drafts and overall point totals for the next few seasons.
There may not be a bigger riser on this list from the 2021 offseason than Crosby, who improved and established himself as one of the most dominant pass-rushers in the NFL. He led the NFL in total pressures (101) — 20 more than the next closest edge defender — and finished second at his position in pass-rush grade (91.8), behind only Myles Garrett. Crosby’s eight sacks on the year do not tell the full story. His advanced metrics are elite, which is why he rocketed up this list heading into 2022 despite the modest sack total.
After a year away from football while dealing with a neck injury, Hunter returned and was looking like his previous self, posting six sacks and 38 total tackles in just seven games. However, he tore his pectoral muscle at the end of October, ending his season and slightly dampening his long-term fantasy value. The positives are that Hunter is still young at just 27 years old and his pass-rush win rate (20.1%) was a top-10 mark at his position in 2021, making him a prime bounce-back candidate in 2022.
Smith is the first linebacker off the board in a defensive line-heavy top 10 here. Because the linebacker position is deep and replaceable, only a select few can be trusted to anchor our rosters for years to come, and Smith stands out the most right now. He just posted a career-high 163 total tackles in 2021, meaning that he has surpassed the 100-tackle mark in every season of his career thus far. Smith has been a dependable IDP linebacker at just 25 years old and should continue to be for years to come.
Leonard may never top his rookie production, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t since performed at a high level. He’s never posted fewer than 121 total tackles, so he should continue to be drafted among the first linebackers in IDP. Leonard has also never earned a sub-66.8 season grade in any defensive category during his four-year NFL career. 
Coming off one of the most impressive rookie linebacker seasons in recent memory, Parsons is going to be highly sought after this offseason. Still, it’s important to not overreact to an unstable metric such as sacks. While Parsons posted 13 sacks, boosting his fantasy production, his 82 total tackles and inconsistent usage are the only things holding him back from ranking higher on this list.
Parsons has ensured himself a long NFL career by playing at a high level so early on, although his split role between edge defender and off-ball linebacker needs to be solidified one way or another for him to move up this list. He’s always going to be a pass-rushing threat, as he earned a league-high 93.0 pass-rush grade, but even with that in mind, his 13 sacks will be difficult to repeat.
The Penn State product deserves to be drafted among the top five linebackers in dynasty because of his youth and elite play, but temper expectations for his weekly production in comparison to his peers just slightly if his role isn’t more consistent this coming season.
White is the perfect example of sacks not being a reliable metric when looking at IDP production — even for linebackers who excel as pass-rushers. After posting nine sacks in 2020, White managed just 3.5 in 2021 despite rushing more and recording more pressures than in 2020. His sack upside should be seen more as a bonus instead of something to lean on every season. White has shown he can be a dependable and productive IDP even without a high sack total, keeping him in the mix to be one of the first linebackers targeted in dynasty drafts.
There’s only one safety worth drafting highly at this point in IDP drafts. James has separated himself from the pack due to his ability to fill the box score in a number of different ways. Multiple interceptions, sacks or forced fumbles are never out of the realm of possibilities for him in a given week for the ultra-athletic safety. When healthy, James provides unrivaled talent at the safety position — and that translates to his IDP production, making him worth a high pick in fantasy drafts.
Continuing to make sure our rosters are sturdy at an unstable position, Gary can be a high-end EDGE2 with the potential to produce EDGE1 numbers. He is coming off a top-10 pass-rush grade (88.9) for his position and 81 total pressures, the second-most among edge defenders in 2021.
Both Buckner and Jones continue to be in rare company at the defensive tackle position. They can rush the passer, are young enough to be trusted long-term and can be consistently productive IDP assets. Outside of Cameron Heyward — who is almost five years older than both players — there haven’t been more consistent producers at a very thin position for IDP purposes. Because of the gap in talent, we’ll want to attack this position early in defensive tackle-required leagues.
Burns is on a path to consistency after two straight seasons of nine sacks, 50-plus total tackles and 50-plus pressures, but there’s certainly room for improvement. His 51 pressures in 2021 were tied for just 21st, and his 73.1 pass-rush grade ranked 32nd among edge rushers. He’ll need to take a big leap in Year 4 to return to the top 12, but he remains a strong candidate to build around at the edge position given his production and youth.
The first rookie IDP off the board in dynasty startups, this year’s No. 2 overall pick looks about as pro-ready as any first-year defender in the past few years. Hutchinson should step into an every-down role in Detroit, serving as an asset against both the run and the pass after dominating the FBS in both categories this past season.
Davenport finally hit his NFL stride in Year 4, posting career-highs in pass-rush grade (82.1) and win rate (20.9%) — both marks ranked top 12 at his position — which led to a career-high in sacks (nine) despite him missing six games. He looked like a completely different player in 2021 than in previous years. If Davenport continues to take his game to the next level, his production can soar to new heights in 2022 and beyond.
While Allen’s 7.5 sacks in 2021 marked a decent bounceback from his 2020 campaign, there is still quite a bit left to be desired from the former top-10 pick. Nonetheless, he has shown enough potential to stay in the top-24 IDP conversation for another season. 
Perhaps the most explosive edge defender in this year’s draft class, the former No. 1 overall recruit in the country lived up to the hype during his time at Oregon. Thibodeaux’s 90.9 pass-rush grade and 87.4 overall grade for his college career make for an impressive resume to bet on in IDP leagues.
This group of young linebackers appears to be locked into three-down roles for their respective teams for the foreseeable future, making them ideal early-round linebackers in dynasty drafts. All three have shown an ability to put up ideal fantasy production each week when playing a full-time role. Owusu-Koramoah and Lloyd are the only ones who have yet to play a full season as an every-down player, but they’ll likely take on full-time roles in 2022 and beyond.
Whether dynasty drafters want a stable veteran or one of the younger talents at the edge defender position, there should still be some quality options available at this point. Lawrence, Sweat and Landry average around a half-sack per game across their careers and will continue to be high-volume starters for the foreseeable future. 
Paye, Phillips and Oweh all flashed big-time talent in their 2021 rookie seasons, but dynasty managers need to be patient, as it may take some time for them to return the investment.
It’s risky to bump a rookie into the top five at his position, but Hamilton checks all the right boxes and seems poised to be an every-down difference-maker right away in the NFL. He should play snaps all over the defense, including the highly coveted box snaps, which fantasy managers love for IDP safeties. Hamilton has the size and ability to hold up closer to the line of scrimmage, earning an 87.8 overall grade and a 91.7 coverage grade just last season when lined up in the box.
The Ravens figure to run a healthy mix of single-high and two-high coverages, while also utilizing their safeties in blitz situations (second-highest rate in the league in 2021), which will open up plenty of opportunities for Hamilton as an IDP producer.
Werner wasn’t a full-time player in his rookie 2021 season, but it was promising nonetheless. He earned the second-highest rookie linebacker grade on the year (79.2) despite playing fewer than 400 snaps.
Werner’s time for a larger role is nearing due to Kwon Alexander‘s status as an impending free agent, in addition to Demario Davis not getting any younger. Werner’s 90.7 run-defense grade topped all linebackers in 2021, and his 9.75 tackles per game in games where he played over 60% of snaps are encouraging for his IDP stock.
Lawson’s Achilles injury three snaps into the 2021 preseason put a massive damper on his IDP value. However, a full year to recover while being fairly young (27 years old) when the season begins provides a little hope for his fantasy football value. After his best season in 2020, where he recorded an 84.9 pass-rush grade and 64 pressures, Lawson figures to be the Jets’ top edge rusher once he recovers. Moreover, he has the potential to return better long-term value.
Thompson burst onto the IDP scene seemingly out of nowhere this past season, posting 120 total tackles while adding seven pass breakups and three interceptions in his first full year as a starter. He even out-tackled his safety teammate Budda Baker, who led all safeties in each of the two prior seasons. Thompson is going to be just 24 years old entering 2022, plays the majority of the team’s safety box snaps and has a shot at being the top Cardinals IDP safety moving forward.
If Bolton was guaranteed a full-time role in the Chiefs’ defense, he’d vault up these rankings faster than just about any other player. He was a tackling machine as a rookie, posting 112 total tackles despite playing just 60% of Kansas City’s defensive snaps on the year.
In addition, Bolton led all linebackers in tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage (21). It’s not his fault that he comes in outside the top 24 linebackers; rather, it’s the Chiefs’ fault due to how they deploy their players at that position. Draft Bolton with caution, because his weekly production will vary.
There could certainly come a time when Walker shoots up this list, not unlike Rashan Gary did this past year, but as of now, expectations need to be tempered for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Walker has all the athletic ability in the world, but his pass-rush prowess is sorely lacking. Even with an expected heavy workload in Year 1, Walker figures to be a project that could work out in the long run, and he shouldn’t be seen as someone to invest too heavily in as a rookie.
The linebacker situation in Atlanta grows more interesting by the minute: Deion Jones’ future is up in the air and he is now expected to miss the offseason after getting shoulder surgery. Betting on Walker and/or Andersen could pay off down the road, especially should the Falcons move on from Jones all together.
The Dolphins’ head coach may have changed, but the team’s defensive coordinator has not, which keeps Jones in the conversation as one of the more exciting young safeties in the league. His usage when on the field has been ideal for IDP, as 61% of his snaps came in the box or along the defensive line. He also added five sacks on 93 pass-rush attempts. Because Eric Rowe is a potential cut candidate this offseason, Jones could step into a more stable role in the Dolphins’ defense compared to the 64% of Miami’s defensive snaps he played in 2021.
The first cornerback off the board has been the one true “set and forget” player at the position of the past few seasons. Moore has amassed more tackles (339) and more stuffs (tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, 34) than any cornerback in the league since 2018. He should have the same role in the Colts’ defense for another season. If dynasty drafters want to be the first to take a cornerback in any IDP draft, then there’s no better option than Moore.
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