Fantasy football dynasty players know that the key to creating a championship-caliber team is to be active and to find value in the trade market to boost their team’s potential. Trading can often be a headache for some, but it's worth it if you can unearth value in your deals. To help figure out what the right moves are, I’ve been compiling a list of the best buy, sell and hold IDPs for every team in the NFL.
While there are always going to be extenuating circumstances when it comes to trades (contract leagues, multi-player deals, offers too good to pass up, etc.), these are some names to consider for IDP on every NFL team, continuing with the NFC South.
BUY: LB Mykal Walker
The 2020 NFL season was not kind to linebackers from a coverage perspective. Even more so for rookies, as only two rookie linebackers who played at least 100 snaps finished the season with a coverage grade above 70.0 for the year. Not only was Walker one of these two LBs, but he actually was the highest-graded rookie linebacker in coverage by far. His 90.7 grade was a full 20 points higher than the next-closest rookie. Even on just 16 targets, he showed good versatility in Year 1 considering his role coming out of Fresno State was more of a pass-rushing outside linebacker. He's interesting as a buy-low dynasty stash heading into 2021.
While his coverage ability shouldn’t be the only reason to buy Walker, it is a promising sign that he can build a bigger role in the Falcons defense down the road. With Foyesade Oluokun entering the last year of his rookie deal, Walker could be the heir apparent to start next to Deion Jones once Oluokun’s contract is up. He'll need to continue to improve and show off some of the skills that made him a fourth-round pick in 2020.
Walker is certainly more of a speculative buy, but that means it shouldn’t cost much. If you’re willing to wait, it could pay off nicely in about a year. Oluokun — like De’Vondre Campbell before him — has shown that there can be significant fantasy value next to Jones in Atlanta. Walker looks to be in line for that role in the near future.
SELL: LB Foyesade Oluokun
I’m always more than happy to sell a player off the best fantasy season of his career, especially at the linebacker position. That is very much how I’m feeling about Oluokun heading into 2021.
Oluokun not only led the Falcons in total tackles (117) in 2020, but he also added four forced fumbles, three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Add it up and Oluokun finished as a top-12 fantasy linebacker in most IDP leagues this past season. While everyone is happy with this performance, we need to be realistic about the chances of him repeating it in 2021.
It is incredibly difficult to repeat as a top-12 player at any position in fantasy football, as there are so many factors — health, opportunity, scheme, matchups, how others at that position perform — that have to go right. Among some of the top names from this past year’s top 12 at linebacker, I have the least confidence in Oluokun repeating, so I'm looking to sell at what very well could be his peak value.
HOLD: DT Grady Jarrett
I’ve covered this a few times already, but finding a great pass-rushing defensive tackle for fantasy is not an easy task. Despite just four sacks last season — his lowest since 2017 — Jarrett is still among the best available right now.
The sack numbers suggest Jarrett is at least above average, but we know that sacks aren’t everything when it comes to determining a pass-rusher's worth. Since 2018, only three other names at the defensive interior position have a higher regular season pass-rush grade than Jarrett (90.6) . They're the names you would expect: Aaron Donald, Chris Jones and Fletcher Cox. Jarrett also added 57 total pressures in 2020 (a career-high), which was sixth-most among defensive tackles, to go along with his 51 total tackles, including 12 for a loss (seventh among interior defenders).
While Jarrett didn’t have the biggest season from a fantasy perspective, he’s still very good and a rare player that you'd be selling low on in any defensive tackle-required leagues.
BUY: DE Yetur Gross-Matos
One of my favorite targets this offseason at the defensive line position is going to be Gross-Matos, who I believe is in a great spot to take a step forward as far as his fantasy production goes in 2021 and beyond.
I've covered Gross-Matos a bit before, highlighting him as my No. 2 defensive linemen from the 2020 rookie class in large part due to the opportunity ahead of him. It became clear near the end of the 2020 regular season that Carolina understood he was the best option to start opposite Brian Burns. He was the second-most productive edge rusher on the team after Week 9 with 1.5 sacks, 12 pressures and 15 total tackles — all second behind Burns.
Gross-Matos didn't do much to suggest he'll be an elite edge rusher in the NFL. But considering how 2020 affected most rookies and the fact that he dealt with some injuries, 2021 should give us a much better version of the second-rounder out of Penn State.
SELL: LB Shaq Thompson
As a first-round pick out of Washington back in 2015, the thought was that Thompson would take over for the aging Thomas Davis sooner rather than later. That made him a name that IDP managers were excited about because of how well Davis typically performed as a fantasy option. But Davis continued to start over him during the entirety of his rookie contract. The excitement returned in 2019 when Davis finally departed, leaving Thompson to work next to the great Luke Kuechly as a starting linebacker.
While Thompson has been fine as an IDP asset over the past two seasons, he doesn't do anything particularly well. This was evident when he was the lone starting linebacker in 2020, finishing with some of the worst PFF grades of his career, including a 49.8 overall grade. There may still be some leftover excitement and intrigue among league-mates for Thompson as a starting linebacker in IDP, so shop him around a bit looking for a rookie pick or two to get yourself a better long-term option.
HOLD: S Jeremy Chinn
This may not take much convincing on my part, but if you’re a Chinn manager in dynasty, it’s going to be very difficult to sell him. One of the more versatile safeties in 2020, Chinn hasn't reached his full potential yet, as he struggled with missed tackles (leading all safeties with 18) and only converted one sack on the year despite 76 pass-rush attempts (fifth-most among safeties). There is certainly room for improvement as he continues to be utilized as a defensive weapon in Carolina’s defense.
Already widely considered as a top-three IDP safety in dynasty leagues, the price for Chinn is going to make it difficult to buy or sell. So if you have him, you’re likely better off just holding one of the elite options at his position.
1. Daniel Sorensen – 90 (UFA)
2. Keanu Neal – 88 (UFA)
3. Budda Baker – 86
4. Jeremy Chinn – 84
T-5. Tre Boston – 81 (UFA)
T-5. Jordan Poyer – 81#FFIDP
— Jon Macri (@PFF_Macri) March 2, 2021
BUY: DE Marcus Davenport
I haven't been high on Davenport in the past, so this one took some convincing. But ultimately I believe in a good bargain, and Davenport can be just that. Coming off a 1.5-sack season that saw him significantly outperformed by Trey Hendrickson, Davenport’s value hasn’t been lower.
Davenport was injured to start the season and couldn't seem to regain his starting gig. He was performing well as a pass-rusher, however, even if it wasn't evident in his box scores. He was still able to generate pressure at a high rate, with 34 from Week 5 on (tied for 24th).
Davenport still flashed on his limited opportunity, earning a strong pass-rush grade (73.3) for the second straight year. There's still hope as he enters a contract year in 2021, so send out some low offers. With Trey Hendrickson set to become a free agent, the starting spot opposite Cameron Jordan should once again belong to Davenport. He has a chance to bounce back this coming season.
SELL: DE Trey Hendrickson
It's always difficult to buy into a guy coming off by far his best season after three years of middling production. Then consider that it was a contract year and he is likely headed to a new team — with a lower chance to repeat that level of production — and I just can’t get behind Hendrickson the way some people seem to be.
I’ve seen Hendrickson go as a top-15 defensive linemen in dynasty startup drafts over the likes of Khalil Mack, Demarcus Lawrence and Cameron Jordan. Even if you’re heavily weighing the age of these other players, that still shouldn’t be enough to take one season of production over the track records of bonafide stars at the position. Hendrickson at 26 isn't even that much younger than them.
If someone in your league believes Hendrickson has top-15 upside at his position, for this year or for any future years, then you have a great opening to profit off of a player who before 2020 never graded above 63.3 as a pass-rusher in his NFL career. He'll be almost entirely dependent on his sack numbers after finishing the year with just 12 solo tackles (109th among edge defenders).
HOLD: LB Demario Davis
Davis is a hold for me, but only if you see your team as a contender heading into 2021. At 32 years sold, the window for Davis’ value is shrinking quickly. While Davis is an older player, he is still very much in a great spot to help your IDP roster bring home a championship this coming season.
As one of the best blitzing off-ball linebackers over the past few seasons, Davis provides upside on top of being an every-down linebacker. He continues to put up 100-plus tackle seasons late in his career and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere in 2021 given his cap hit and lack of savings on his contract. Davis is the kind of player you just ride into the sunset with if you’re not looking to rebuild that IDP roster any time soon.
— Jon Macri (@PFF_Macri) February 25, 2021
BUY: DT Vita Vea
If your league requites defensive interior players and you're looking for a nice buy-low option at the position, Vea is a prime candidate. He was only able to play in the first five regular season games and two playoff games, so many fantasy managers were likely not paying much attention to the improvement in Vea’s game.
Like most defensive tackles, Vea can be susceptible to the volatility of the position for fantasy purposes, but he really showed off new upside potential in his seven games in 2020. That could potentially raise his season-long floor.
Vea has shown slight improvement as a pass-rusher over his first two seasons in the NFL but took a really nice step forward this past year, improving in each major pass-rush category. Even on a career-low for snaps played, Vea was able to improve his block defeated number (won pass-rush reps without registering a pressure), which is a great sign. He earned a top-tier 88.9 pass-rush grade and was top-three in pass-rush win rate (20.8%) at his position in 2020.
The 12th overall pick in 2018 is ready to break out in 2021, so go out and buy him low.
|Season (pass-rush snaps)||Pass-rush grade||Blocks defeated||Pressure rate %||Pass-rush win rate %|
SELL: S Antoine Winfield Jr.
Winfield is coming off an incredible rookie season — he was in the conversation for defensive rookie of the year, won a Super Bowl and was the only rookie to play over 1,000 regular-season snaps. He had three sacks and was a playmaker all over the field.
This is everything you could want from an IDP safety, which has created some serious hype around Winfield going forward as a potential top-five safety in dynasty. That's why I’m trying to cash in on the hype now. He's a very good NFL player, for sure, but perhaps not as great an IDP option as some might think.
While Winfield may very well be a good IDP safety, I have concerns that he might not live up to the hype. His role in Tampa Bay’s defense is very much that of a typical free safety who lines up further from the line of scrimmage than any other player on the defense — that will limit his tackle ceiling and cause more dependency on unstable big plays like interceptions, sacks and fumbles.
That's not to say Winfield isn’t capable of making those plays — because he is — but they are not something to rely on and could lead to disappointing weekly fantasy performances. Last season, he had several games as a single-digit scorer — something we don’t see all that often out of the elite safety options (Jamal Adams, Budda Baker, Jeremy Chinn).
Winfield should demand a pretty decent haul in the trade market right now because he's so young and has developed such a high profile. This makes him a prime sell candidate this offseason.
HOLD: LB Devin White
As much as I like trying to capitalize on hype and profiting off of it, moving White at the peak of his powers is going to be an incredibly difficult ask. Trades involving White are likely to be a rarity this offseason, which makes sense considering what it would take to move him.
At just 23 and with a draft capital of the No. 5 overall pick from just two seasons ago, White has everything going for him to be considered the top linebacker in fantasy at the moment. After leading all linebackers in sacks this season (7) and racking up 138 total tackles, his floor is still just so much higher than the majority of others.
Enjoy White if you have him — hopefully he helps bring you a championship.