IDP Studs, Values and Sleepers: AFC North

Dwight Peebles

The AFC North has a plethora of great IDP options and a few organizations with a history of featuring elite defenses. The division has been infused with some fresh talent the past few drafts and several players with opportunities to become top IDP assets.

Below, I will point out who I believe are studs you should covet, values you can target, sleepers to keep an eye on, and fades you can try to move before their value drops.


STUD – Patrick Queen, LB

Queen emerged as a key cog in the LSU defense last season, tallying 85 total tackles and showcasing the versatility to be a run-stopper as well as cover backs and tight ends. He is incredibly fluid and has great instincts.

It’s rare to consider a player a stud when he hasn’t even seen the NFL field, but the talent and situation are a perfect mesh. Baltimore has a history of producing linebackers who are top IDP assets. Queen is going to man the middle and never leave the field. He may not have the toolset to be an elite asset like Darius Leonard but 125 tackles are easily attainable in 2020.

VALUE – Calais Campbell, DE

Campbell is 33 years old, ironically where I have him ranked in DLF’s IDP Rankings, but the guy keeps producing year in and year out. He had a top-15 season in 2019 in Jacksonville and should be able to replicate the success. Baltimore’s defensive line isn’t sexy but veterans Derek Wolfe and Brandon Williams command the interior and Campbell should be able to get after opposing quarterbacks.

The numbers have been declining but he is still a player who can produce DE2 weeks at a much cheaper price. In 2019 he had 57 tackles, giving a safe floor, and also chipped in 6.5 sacks on top of the tackle numbers.

SLEEPER – Chuck Clark, S

One of the players I am looking for to take a step forward in 2020 is the Ravens’ starting strong safety. Clark had 72 tackles and ten deflected passes in 2019 while playing 76% of the defensive snaps. Most of his snaps were as a free safety but he is a strong safety, which will play more to his strengths and be better for him as an IDP asset.

At DLF he is our DB32 with a high ranking of 24 and low ranking of 42 – he is in a spot to way outperform the ranking and I see him as a strong DB2 option for 2019 with a ceiling for more. Clark could tally near 100 tackles and his playmaking ability will put him in a spot to get more deflections, interceptions, and sacks.


STUD –Sam Hubbard, DE

Hubbard doubled his tackle production from 2018 to 2019 and should continue to improve in 2020. The Bengals have assembled a strong defensive line and adding DJ Reader will help with several of the linemen getting long in the tooth. Hubbard had 74 tackles and 8.5 sacks and is the DL14 in DLF Rankings.

The line will be tough in the middle with Reader and veteran Geno Atkins. Hubbard will get more opportunities to pin his ears back and rush. He is a smart player who will give you a solid floor due to tackles and if his sack numbers continue to increase, he could tally top-five production at the position.

VALUE – Carlos Dunlap, DE

On the other end of the defensive line, 31-year old Dunlap notched 64 tackles and nine sacks. He is one of the most consistent ends and keeps putting up top-12 seasons. The eight deflections from an end are also valuable. Over the past four seasons, he has been amongst the best in the category at the defensive end position. The days of huge sack outputs are gone but the solid seasons are still coming and he can be attained at a good price. Dunlap will be good for 50+ tackles and near double-digit sack numbers in 2020 and possibly for several seasons beyond.

SLEEPER – Logan Wilson, LB

The former Wyoming Cowboys linebacker was taken in the third round of the 2019 Draft after corralling in 409 tackles over four seasons in college. For years they have been searching for the heir apparent to Vontaze Burfict – a linebacker to lead the defense and rake in tackles by the truckload. Wilson could be the one to finally take the role. He profiles as a two-down backer who can stuff the run and fly all over wreaking havoc. His coverage skills are non-existent and if he can learn to use his athleticism in coverage, he could develop into a top linebacker for IDP.

The Bengals don’t have a history of letting rookies start and the next man on my list stands in Wilson’s way. He is a player I am targeting and hoping will develop into a top IDP asset over the next several seasons.

FADE – Germaine Pratt, LB

Pratt finished the 2019 season strong with 42 of his 71 tackles coming over the final five games. He may have a solid role this season and in the midst of it, he is a candidate to sell for me. The NFL is seeking the linebackers who can do more than tackle and Pratt does not fit the mold. His lack of versatility will relegate him to a lesser role when the rookies Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither develop.


STUD – Myles Garrett, DE

Despite the absolute fiasco surrounding Garrett and Mason Rudolph, the Browns secured Garrett with a monstrous contract including $100 million guaranteed – the most ever for a defensive player. He has displayed impeccable character up until the incident and the Browns must be confident he will display good character going forward as well. He served a five-game suspension and was on pace for a 45 tackle and 15 sack season.

Garrett is one of the most dominant young ends and all of our rankers have him inside the top-five defensive linemen. There are not many game-changing ends and especially not many at his age. The former first overall pick will continue to dominate with a strong line around him and will only get better.

VALUE – Sione Takitaki, LB

There is a bit of uncertainty with the Mack Wilson injury, it looks to only be hyperextended when they initially thought much worse. If Wilson is out, Takitaki could see an expanded role and more opportunity. He is slated to be the starting middle linebacker and will stay on the field for all three downs. At BYU, he was asked to play many roles and he has solid coverage skills as well.

Takitaki isn’t as efficient a tackler as you would like to see in a linebacker and something he will need to improve on to be a better IDP asset. Wilson and my next player will likely step forward and be the main source of tackles. If Takitaki improves as a tackler, therein lies his value. He can be attained inexpensively and has the opportunity to prove he can contribute more.

SLEEPER – Jacob Phillips, LB

The SEC leader in tackles for 2019, Phillips could also carve a role out from day one. On the same depth chart referenced above, the Browns have him penciled in to be the starting SAM linebacker. Phillips emerged in 2019 and he is a linebacker with tremendous motor who can fly all over the field. He isn’t a traditional run-stopper, he works best in space and is not a liability in coverage.

Phillips can clean up what Wilson and the defensive line let through and is phenomenal in pursuit. He covers ground quickly and should establish himself as a solid source of tackles from his first snap in 2020.


STUD – Devin Bush, LB

I don’t like the Steelers. I don’t like Michigan players, especially ones who stomped on my beloved Spartans midfield logo. But I can’t deny the immense talent and what Bush brings to the game. He is one of the few linebackers who gets tackles -109 as a rookie – but also wreaks havoc with sacks and forced turnovers. Bush will never leave the field and is great in coverage. With his pursuit of plays and relentless motor, he is never out of any play.

The young linebacker will continue to improve and could be one of the next superstar linebackers. Alongside veteran Vince Williams and with pass rushers TJ Watt and Bud Dupree on the outside, the Steelers linebacker crew is fast and dangerous. Bush will be the leader in the middle for many years and I want him on as many IDP teams as I can get him.

VALUE – Stephon Tuitt, DE

Tuitt’s value has dropped yet he is still a player in a prime position to be a successful IDP asset. He had 22 tackles and 3.5 sacks in the first five games of 2019 and missed the rest of the season. Projected out, it would make him a top-15 defensive end and he can be acquired much cheaper.

Tuitt is in a perfect situation as the pass-rushing outside linebackers and Cameron Heyward command so much attention. He will never see a double-team from an offensive line. At only 27, Tuitt is a huge value and should have several more seasons to produce at a high level.

SLEEPER – Terrell Edmunds, S

The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick allowed Edmunds to play to his strengths better and he responded by raking in 104 tackles in 2019. Both players played strong safety a lot but Fitzpatrick can fit better as a free safety with Edmunds manning the strong safety spot. There will tons of tackle opportunities as Edmunds can drop back in coverage when needed and still be a fifth linebacker as well.

There isn’t much respect for a guy with over 100 tackles and Fitzpatrick is the name most IDP owners target amongst the duo. Another strong season could change IDP minds. Edmunds will continue to garner tackles and Fitzpatrick will get the splashy big plays.

FADE – TJ Watt, LB

This won’t be a popular opinion and I can see people already writing me hate mail and threatening my firstborn. I love Watt, don’t get me wrong. I simply fade him a little because I can’t see him replicating what he did in 2019. He will also get double-digit sacks and is good for 50+ tackles. Eight forced fumbles and seven deflections inflated his 2019 top-five finish and will not be easy to replicate. Watt is going to produce and be a great player but I can’t see him having another IDP season like 2019.

dwight peebles
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