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
|32||Harold Landry III||TEN|
|90||Carlos Basham Jr.||BUF|
TIER 1: DOMINATORS
MYLES GARRETT, CLEVELAND BROWNS
T.J. WATT, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
JOEY BOSA, LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
NICK BOSA, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
AARON DONALD, LOS ANGELES RAMS
DANIELLE HUNTER, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
CHASE YOUNG, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
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
|PFF pass-rush grade||96.0||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.
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.
TIER 2: DISRUPTORS