As the 2020 NFL season continues to wind down, many fantasy football dynasty players are already planning ahead for the 2021 campaign, deciding which roster moves will put them in the best position to field a championship-caliber team. One major way we can improve our fantasy rosters is through trades, so I’ve been compiling a list of the best buy, sell and hold IDP candidates 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, starting with the NFC North.
[Editor's note: Download the DraftKings Sportsbook app and use promo code PFF when you sign up to turn $1 into $100 if any QB scores a rushing or receiving touchdown this weekend! Click here to play at DraftKings Sportsbook.]
BUY: EDGE KHALIL MACK
It is interesting to see the disappointment in the IDP community surrounding Khalil Mack’s past two seasons — campaigns in which he has failed to post double-digit sack totals. And I get it. For fantasy purposes, those sacks are huge for validating his worth throughout the season, but they are not necessarily indicators he has fallen off as a talent or that he is “getting old.” In fact, there are much better indicators within the PFF database that tell a very different story.
Khalil Mack EDGE ranks in 2020 (per @PFF):
PFF grade: 92.5 (1st)
Pass-rush grade: 90.8 (1)
Run defense grade: 91.7 (1)
Blocks defeated: 41 (2)
Pass-rush win rate: 20.1% (T-3)
QB hurries: 43 (T-3)
Sacks: 9 (T-9)
QB hits: 4 (T-77)
Box score #'s may be down but indicators = ???? pic.twitter.com/GCa8rgILIU
— Jon Macri (@PFF_Macri) January 20, 2021
A key indicator that Mack is still elite, and the most obvious to look at, is his PFF grades. He finished the regular season ranked as the top edge defender in terms of pass-rush grade (90.8) and overall defensive grade (92.3). Either one of those marks by themselves should tell you he is still playing at an elite level, but why didn’t that translate to more sacks or more hits on the quarterback?
Sacks do tend to be “noisy” or luck-based statistics and, along with quarterback hits, are often representative of a split-second difference in a player getting their hands on the quarterback. So, in determining Mack’s ability to remain an elite pass-rusher, we have to look at how often he is winning, even if it’s not showing up in the box score.
Mack beat 41 blocks on the season — a number that shows how many times a pass rusher wins versus a block that doesn’t result in pressure, usually due to the quarterback getting rid of the ball quickly. He ranks second among NFL edge defenders in that category, behind only T.J. Watt (42). Mack is also tied for third among edge defenders with a 20.1% pass-rush win rate, meaning he’s beating his blocker once out of every five pass-rush snaps.
So, go tell your leaguemates that you’ll take Khalil Mack off their hands because he isn’t putting up those sack numbers that make him an elite IDP option, or tell them he’s getting old. There are a number of ways to sell it, but now you know Mack is still at the top of his game and can reap the rewards in 2021.