In this weekly series, we're exploring every NFL team’s defense to provide in-depth fantasy football analysis for key IDPs. We'll focus on projected depth charts, what each IDP’s role will be heading into the 2020 NFL season and what we can expect from them for fantasy purposes. Plus, we'll cover a bonus name to watch for each team.
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Arizona is home to one of the best edge-rushers in the league in Chandler Jones. Since 2016, no defender in the NFL has had more sacks than Jones' 60. The one thing that is holding Jones back for fantasy purposes is his designation as a linebacker. Depending on how your league scoring is set up, this can greatly hinder his value. In sack-heavy and true position leagues, however, expect Jones to be one of the top IDPs once again in 2020. For balanced scoring, Jones comes in as our consensus LB30.
Chandler Jones isn't underrated.
He's elite. pic.twitter.com/ELbwpZ78MF
— PFF (@PFF) August 6, 2020
Jordan Phillips had a huge 10-sack season in 2019 — something that could probably be seen as an outlier in terms of career production. While Phillips played around his average snap count in 2019, he produced significantly more than he ever has in the NFL, having never topped three sacks in his five-year career. Now heading to a new team, Phillips should only be seen as a very late-round target in standard IDP leagues, as we don’t want to be fooled by one season’s production.
Jordan Hicks is coming off of an absolute beast of a season in terms of tackle production in 2019. His 167 tackles — the second-highest mark since 2006 — made for a truly outstanding IDP season. To repeat such a feat in 2020 is going to be a big ask for Hicks, as Arizona has brought in the highly touted rookie out of Clemson and eighth-overall pick Isaiah Simmons.
Simmons plays all over the field and will make for some tough tackle competition on this Cardinals defense. Arizona also signed De’Vondre Campbell, who totaled over 100 tackles himself last season in Atlanta, making for a three-headed monster at the linebacker spot. With all of this in mind — and accounting for regression — Hicks comes in as my LB17 right now with Simmons ranking after that, followed by Campbell. It’s no doubt a good group. I would just lower expectations a bit if you’re drafting Hicks or Campbell based on last year.
Most total tackles in a regular season since 2006 (per @PFF):
???? Paul Posluszny, #Jaguars – 171 (2013)
???? Jordan Hicks, #Cardinals – 167 (2019)
???? Patrick Willis, #49ers – 166 (2007)
???? Stephen Tulloch, #Titans – 163 (2010)
???? Luke Kuechly, #Panthers – 162 (2012)#IDP
— Jon Macri (@PFF_Macri) August 7, 2020