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IDP Defensive Line Injuries: Dynasty Fantasy Football Implications

We round up some of the top defensive lineman returning from injuries for the 2023 season.

Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the top defensive ends suffered significant injuries in 2022 that saw them be excluded from their frequent postseason accolades. Several injuries led to further issues while others outright stopped them dead in their tracks.

Fortunately, each of the defensive ends listed below have multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods to their credit with most returning to that level in 2023. Several of the players will be ready by week one while others need extra time to be great.

Below are the top defensive ends coming off season-ending injuries in 2022 and their outlook for the 2023 season.


Injury: Left Pectoral strain/left knee surgery

Placed on IR: Week two, 2022, returned Week nine, 2022

DLF IDP Consensus Ranking: 5

After winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, Watt battled injuries all season preventing him from going back-to-back. The injuries started late in the preseason with a low block to his left knee from then-Lions tight end TJ Hockenson.

While Watt was ready to play in week one, he didn’t last long as he suffered a left pectoral strain late in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, this was not the season-ending variety normally seen in football. He missed seven games while on injured reserve, but during that time, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to his knee to clean it out.

Reports differed on whether this surgery was related to the preseason injury, but Watt also had a history of knee injuries that required surgery during his time at Wisconsin. The multitude of injuries led to the fewest sacks of his career.

Heading into this season, the pectoral injury is not a concern. The prior knee injuries have not had much of an effect on his availability, missing only one to two games a season. Ranked fifth overall in the Dynasty League Fantasy IDP Consensus rankings, Watt appears fully healthy heading into 2023 and there should be no hesitation selecting him.

Joey Bosa, DE LAC

Injury: Core muscle repair

Placed on IR: Week four, 2022 returned Week 17, 2022

DLF IDP Consensus Ranking: 18

Bosa suffered a groin injury in week three that forced him to undergo a core muscle repair, ultimately missing 14 weeks. In interviews prior to his return, he revealed that he had been working through groin and core muscle issues the past few years, specifically on the left side. The procedure addressed both sides of his groin and he was able to return in week 17.

Fortunately, outcomes are fantastic for core muscle repairs with over 90 percent of players returning to play without any drop off in performance. Looking at Bosa’s career, he has garnered either defensive rookie of the year or Pro Bowl selections when he has appeared in double digit games.

During those seasons, he averaged 10.5 sacks, 53.6 tackles, 13.2 TFL, and 24 QB hits. If you liked what Bosa has done defensively, especially now knowing he wasn’t 100 percent last year, he could be an steal if he begins to fall in your draft. Ranked 18 in the Dynasty League Fantasy IDP Consensus Rankings, go grab him because he won’t be there later.

Von Miller, DE BUF

Injury: Right ACL/Meniscus Tear

Placed on IR: Week 14

RTP Target Date: Week six

DLF IDP Consensus Ranking: 170

Miller initially tore his lateral meniscus in week 12 before surgeons found additional damage to the ACL, requiring season-ending surgery. He has promoted a positive mindset, repeatedly stating how he would avoid PUP and be ready for week one. However, he spent all of training camp on PUP as he rehabs and will miss the first four games while on reserve PUP.

Despite the optimism, Miller is entering his age-34 season and likely won’t replicate his 2014 season by securing double-digit sacks following his 2013 ACL tear. On average, defensive players take 11.3 months to return to play without a statistical drop off in performance. A return in week six would put Miller roughly 10.5 months out from surgery. If he waits until his RTP date, I expect him to return close to his prior form once he returns and improve in the second half of the season.

Ranked 170 in the Dynasty League Fantasy IDP Consensus Rankings, Miller will be highly motivated coming off his injury and is an absolute steal. Pick Miller up late in your draft or free agency, stash him, and reap the rewards later in the season.

Rashan Gary, DE GB

Injury: Right ACL Tear

Placed on IR: Week ten

RTP: Week one

DLF IDP Consensus Rankings: 13

Gary suffered a right ACL tear while trying to chase down Lions QB Jared Goff, tearing his ACL when quickly trying to change direction. This injury regrettably happened on the Lions’ home turf, Ford Field, the site also where Von Miller tore his ACL a month later.

The turf they used during the 2023 season was slit-film which had a higher propensity for players to get their cleats stuck in the turf due to the mesh-like weave that held the turf together. Fortunately, Ford Field was switching to a monofilament turf heading into 2023. With Gary having to play one game a year there and his return slated for week 12.

Gary has since been activated from PUP back on August 7, slowly ramping up individual drills before playing in a game. As he comes off his ACL tear, his game will improve, but he will likely limit his rushes from the right side and may be a step slower through the first half of the season. Compensation injuries such as hamstring, groin, or quad strains may hamper his availability this season.

Dynasty League Fantasy IDP Consensus rankings has him 12 overall best defensive player for IDP, but he may not produce at that level in 2023. He’s worth selecting, but go address other needs before taking Gary with a high selection.

Follow me on Twitter @Kyletrimble88 for more Dynasty League Fantasy Football injury content.

IDP Defensive Line Injuries: Dynasty Fantasy Football Implications
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