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Fantasy Football: 2021 IDP Defensive Line Rankings & Tiers

The defensive line position for IDP fantasy football relies more on player talent and skill sets than other positional groups. It is the only defensive position on the field where the defender goes head-to-head with an opposing player for the large majority of his snaps. As such, these tiered rankings for defensive line are crucial for IDP leagues.

Be sure to check out PFF’s overall rankings for both redraft IDP leagues and dynasty IDP leagues. Linebacker tiers can be found here, with defensive backs coming next week. This week we're focused on edge players and defensive interior (true position).

2021 IDP Defensive Line Rankings
Rank Player Team
1 Myles Garrett CLV
2 T.J. Watt PIT
3 Joey Bosa LAC
4 Nick Bosa SF
5 Aaron Donald LAR
6 Danielle Hunter MIN
7 Chase Young WAS
8 Brian Burns CAR
9 Montez Sweat WAS
10 Khalil Mack CHI
11 Za’Darius Smith GB
12 Shaquil Barrett TB
13 Josh Allen JAX
14 DeForest Buckner IND
15 Chris Jones KC
16 Demarcus Lawrence DAL
17 Carl Lawson NYJ
18 Leonard Williams NYG
19 Jason Pierre-Paul TB
20 Von Miller DEN
21 J.J. Watt ARZ
22 Cameron Jordan NO
23 Bradley Chubb DEN
24 Chandler Jones ARZ
25 Romeo Okwara DET
26 Jaelan Phillips MIA
27 Kwity Paye IND
28 Trey Hendrickson CIN
29 Trey Flowers DET
30 Brandon Graham PHI
31 Grady Jarrett ATL
32 Harold Landry III TEN
33 Cameron Heyward PIT
34 Stephon Tuitt PIT
35 Derek Barnett PHI
36 Marcus Davenport NO
37 Emmanuel Ogbah MIA
38 Sam Hubbard CIN
39 Leonard Floyd LAR
40 Bud Dupree TEN
41 Jadeveon Clowney CLV
42 Maxx Crosby LV
43 Odafe Oweh BLT
44 Azeez Ojulari NYG
45 Quinnen Williams NYJ
46 Alex Highsmith PIT
47 Matthew Judon NE
48 Yannick Ngakoue LV
49 Frank Clark KC
50 Mario Addison BUF
51 Arik Armstead SF
52 K’Lavon Chaisson JAX
53 Yetur Gross-Matos CAR
54 Josh Sweat PHI
55 Jeffrey Simmons TEN
56 Kerry Hyder SEA
57 Payton Turner NO
58 Shaq Lawson HST
59 Fletcher Cox PHI
60 Sheldon Richardson MIN
61 Haason Reddick CAR
62 Daron Payne WAS
63 Vita Vea TB
64 John Franklin-Myers NYJ
65 Carlos Dunlap SEA
66 Kenny Clark GB
67 Dalvin Tomlinson MIN
68 Rashan Gary GB
69 Preston Smith GB
70 Gregory Rousseau BUF
71 Derrick Brown CAR
72 Ed Oliver BUF
73 Jonathan Allen WAS
74 Christian Wilkins MIA
75 Robert Quinn CHI
76 Chase Winovich NE
77 Clelin Ferrell LV
78 Randy Gregory DAL
79 Larry Ogunjobi CIN
80 Ndamukong Suh TB
81 Calais Campbell BLT
82 Folorunso Fatukasi NYJ
83 D.J. Wonnum MIN
84 Malik Reed DEN
85 Patrick Jones MIN
86 Joe Tryon TB
87 Akiem Hicks CHI
88 Javon Kinlaw SF
89 Stephen Weatherly MIN
90 Carlos Basham Jr. BUF
91 Maurice Hurst SF
92 Jarran Reed KC
93 Jerry Tillery LAC
94 Poona Ford SEA
95 Marlon Davidson ATL
96 Cassius Marsh PIT
97 Kemoko Turay IND
98 Joseph Ossai CIN
99 Alton Robinson SEA
100 Christian Barmore NE



These are the most dominant defenders at the line of scrimmage in the game. Donald is in a tier of his own from a non-fantasy perspective, as he tops pretty much every list that measures defensive line pass-rushing ability.

For fantasy purposes, he has some company in this top tier from others who can fill the stat sheet in a number of ways. If there is any question about Donald being in this tier heading into the 2021 season because of either age or the fact that he's an interior player, just look at these numbers:

Aaron Donald since 2017
Figure DL Ranking
PFF pass-rush grade 96.0 1st
Pressures 375 1st
Sacks 57.5 1st
Pass-rush win rate (min. 1,000 snaps) 23.9% 1st
Pressure rate (min. 1,000 snaps) 17.7% 1st

Watt, Garrett and Joey Bosa have earned pass-rush grades above 90.0 since 2017, which puts them inside the top five at their positions. This is a sign of dominance, as the grades not only credit production but also factor in predictive/non-box-score numbers like win rate and pressure rate.

If healthy, each of these three players will be on the field a ton. They'll be accumulating tackles, quarterback hits and generating turnovers and less reliant on sacks to make their fantasy week. 

Nick Bosa had one of the more dominant rookie seasons PFF has seen from a rookie edge defender since 2006. He had impressive numbers across the board and topped it all off by breaking the record for most total pressures (80) in a season by a rookie. Bosa should prove his dominance once again in 2021.

Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Levi's Stadium. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Before missing all of 2020, Hunter had the second-most sacks (29) and the most total tackles (136) among edge defenders over the previous two season. There is nothing better for fantasy numbers than being at the top of the charts in those two categories. Hunter does have significant questions about his health coming into this year, as his neck injury was severe enough that he missed all of last season. But all signs point to Hunter being ready for the start of 2021.

Young, much like Nick Bosa, only has one real NFL season under his belt but earned the highest defensive grade among rookies (87.2) that year. Young has all the talent, opportunity and athleticism to be among the best edge defenders in the league. He finished his rookie season as the DL5 in FantasyPros scoring with 7.5 sacks and is line for a big Year 2.



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