2023 IDP Football NFC East Breakdown

by Steve Hungarter (IDPHunter)
2023 IDP Football NFC East Breakdown

We are back doing another 2023 IDP Football Breakdown; this time, it's the NFC East. You should know this is a quality division loaded with many elite players.

But seriously, that is not why you read this. You want to get your fix. Whatever that is.  You want to be entertained, but nothing is on the channels. Looking for something fitting? The NFC East is a TV Guide with something for everybody. Action, Romance, suspense, and a little mystery. It’s seriously better than whatever is in your Netflix queue. Don't believe me take a look. Below are some of the headlines you will see in 2023.

The Philadelphia Eagles are your classic Sports sequel. Could they return to Superbowl while rebuilding what they lost in free agency, particularly at Safety, Linebacker, and defensive tackle?  It’s Championship or Bust…again, as nothing else matters anymore.

The Dallas Cowboys: the Romance novel “Will They or Won't They” has been playing for over a decade. Like a Danielle Steel novel, this team flirts with greatness but ultimately never falls in love with a trophy, making Jerry Jones a ton of money. Will this year be any different? Will true love finally be in the air? Can Cupid strike for them?

The New York Giants played that action suspense thriller for audiences in 2022, and was great. This franchised super smashed expectations, and we want more. Then they agreed to a contract with Daniel Jones at the last minute and franchise-tagged Saquon Barkley. On Defense, we got Bobby Okereke and drafted Banks. Not to mention a collection of slot receivers, Now it's time for the sequel, and like most part two, it’s pretty good. This team left us on a “Cliffhanger." Will this team become “The Best of the Best” or “Die Hard’ on us?

The Commanders read more like a detective novel. Can the offense figure it out, or will It remain a mystery? The suspects are all there, but none have an alibi- Eric Bienimy, can he be a competent coach away from Andy Reid? The shrouded mystery at Quarterback still puzzles us on Big Foot or Loch Ness. The Defense is as solid as ever and still gets it done, but will that be enough in 2023? This unsolved mystery needs more clues during OTAS to solve this caper.

Entertaining, to say the least, this Division has it all, especially for the Fantasy community. As a fantasy manager, you want to know who the best players are at their positions and where the values may fall in drafts. The NFC East is loaded with players in that regard. Let's take a look.

2023 IDP Football NFC East Breakdown

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Dallas Cowboys

PlayerPositionGain/Loss
Stephon GilmoreCBGain
Ben BanoguDEGain
Takk McKinleyDELoss
Davante BondLBLoss
Xavier RhodesCBLoss

Following two consecutive 12-5 seasons, the Dallas Cowboys are once again undergoing changes to make a push for the Super Bowl. Despite being a talented team throughout last year, they faced unfortunate circumstances that led to their offense looking helpless against the 49ers in the playoffs. However, it is no secret that the team excels on the IDP (Individual Defensive Player) side of football, and their defense will once again be the driving force. Despite the struggles on offense, the team was able to thrive, thanks to their strong defensive performance.

PlayerPositionCollegeDraft Result
Mazi Smith
DTMichiganR1 P26
DeMarvion Overshown LBTexasR3 P90
Viliami Fehoko DLSan Jose StateR4 P129
Eric Scott Jr. CBNew MexioR5 P178

The Cowboys run a 4-3 under or over, which is a neat way of saying they use 3-4 defensive linemen and play them in 4-3 packages. The secondary plays a lot of cover one and is in man coverage often. Similar to many teams, the Cowboys heavily rely on their nickel defense, which sees more usage than their traditional 4-3 base defense. Due to the prevalence of 11 personnel, Dallas prefers to counter the extra receiver with a cornerback, resulting in only two major starting linebacker positions in Coach Quinn's advanced scheme.

 

Key IDP's

Micah Parsons, DL/ LB

Although often categorized as a linebacker, Parsons primarily excels as a pass rusher. In 2022, he accumulated 859 snaps on the defensive line, and his workload is unlikely to change dramatically in 2023.

DeMarcus Lawrence, DL

Lawrence brings veteran leadership to the group, boasting a versatile skill set that earned him Pro Bowl recognition. He can move inside on passing downs, showcasing his adaptability is something we worry less about in IDP. Consider Lawrence a top-25 DL.A

Jayon Kearse and Donovan Wilson, DB

Donovan Wilson led the team with 101 tackles and ranked fifth in sacks with 5.0 in 2022.

When paired with Jayron Kearse, both players have specific roles within the Dallas defense and are essentially guaranteed to be starters.

In 2022, three Dallas safeties received significant playing time, and we can expect the same from Donovan Wilson, Malik Hooker, and Jayron Kearse this year. Wilson and Kearse are the top fantasy options among this group and will be in plenty to cover 1 man to stay relevant.

Leighton Vander Esch, LB

We mentioned the scheme above as there are rumors suggesting that the third safety can possibly take away from this linebacker corps. As you already know, with Parsons sliding down to play DL, this unit may not be as valuable on IDP then once thought, but one player could emerge as the best among them.

Looking at those linebackers further, Leighton Vander Esch may never reach the heights he achieved in his rookie year. He has signed a one-year extension and will remain with the team. But in Redrafts, he is a top-50 linebacker and should get most of the snaps here.

Sam Williams and Dorance Armstrong, DL

Keep an eye on this in deeper leagues. It has been rumored at the time of this article that Armstrong could be traded; if so, that opens the door here. At this moment, both could have a role in this defense and have both excelled with limited action and need time to shine. A top 50 player at the position is on the horizon.

Trevon Diggs, CB

Although Trevon Diggs had a slight drop in interceptions last year, recording only three after challenging the single-season interception record set by Dick "Night Train" Lane in 2021, he remains highly valued in IDP leagues. Diggs contributed 63 combined tackles and 10 pass breakups. Take these stats with a dart-throw approach because the corner is so hit or miss. In one of your leagues, I'd wager to bet someone will drat him early or you could trade him off because of his name.

Philadelphia Eagles

PlayersPositionGain/Loss
Terrell EdmundsDBAdd
Nicholas MorrowLBAdd
Greedy WilliamsDBAdd
TJ EdwardsLBLoss
Kyzir WhiteLBLoss
C.J. Gardner-Johnson DBLoss
Javon Hargrave DTLoss
Marcus EppsDBLoss

The Eagles put together a historic season. The team, which has been around since 1933, broke records in wins totals (14), most rushing touchdowns (32), and team sacks (70). Built around the cornerstone of a young franchise player, third-year Quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts became a phenomenon; he went from a functional starter into an NFL-caliber player.  That's not all. With a top 5 offense and defense created by a competent general manager in Howie Roseman, this team is set for seasons to come. In an era where dynasties are hard to come by, thus young nucleus has the blueprints of contending for years to come.

The Eagles were the No. 2 ranked defense (301.5), and the No. 1 ranked passing defense (179.8). The rushing defense was tied for 16th (121.6).

PlayerCollegePositionDraft Result
Jalen CarterDTGeorgiaR1 P9
Nolan SmithLBGeorgiaR1 P30
Sydney Brown
DBIllinoisR3 P66
Kelee RingoCBGeorgiaR4 P105
Moro OjomoDTTexasR7 P249

Key IDP's

Haason Reddick, DL/LB

Haason Reddick is an elite defender and is a Tier-1 option in IDP for his DL/LB eligibility. He is coming off a 16-sack season, so he may not be slept on. He generally goes in the top 7 of DLs on Draft Night.

Nakobe Dean, LB

Something worth mentioning here is that Philly lost both their top linebackers from 2022, T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White. Their replacements will be second-year player Nakobe Dean and newcomer Nicholas Morrow. Expect Dean to be logging in major snaps this season, and finish a top 25-30 linebacker at least.

Josh Sweat, DL

In 2022, Josh Sweat produced 11 sacks last season. For Fantasy purposes, he generally projects as a  top 30 in his position.

IDP Wildcards

Sydney Brown, DB

Camp battle! Reed Blankenship will be pushed immediately by rookie Sydney Brown, a popular IDP rookie this offseason, the Eagles drafted Brown in the third round, and the rookie is expected to compete for a starting role immediately.  I think Brown will ultimately get the job and be highly productive in IDP.

Nicholas Morrow, LB

Coming off 116 tackles last season with the Bears,  Morrow is set for another prime opportunity. If Nakobi Dean should struggle, Morrow has shown he could carry the load, as he has logged over 700 defensive snaps each of the last two seasons.

Darius Slay and James Bradberry, CB

Deeper dive content. James Bradberry and Darius Slay will serve as the cornerbacks here. Both players should be reliable fantasy options in formats where you have to play a CB, but I would recommend it for smaller formats.

 

Washington Commanders

PlayerPositionGain/ Loss
Cody BartonLBGain
David Mayo LBGain
Terrell Burgess DBGain
Cole HolcombLBLoss
Bobby McCainDBLoss

The Commanders had an up-and-down season under head coach Ron Rivera's third season. Starting out 1-4 before going on a six-game winning streak, only to be let down in the later games of the season, losing three of the last four and tying in one, finishing with a 7-9-1 record.  Some off-putting semantics were going with the leadership (Dan Snyder investigation and Defensive coordinator's Jack Del Rio comments about the White House insurrection) that were distracting and not in the team's best interests.

What you should know about this team is it has been bumpy, the offense has been average, and it tends to go with the Quarterback play too. This is not the case in the Defense. The Washington defense possesses incredible talent in terms of individual defensive players (IDP).

Washington has been strong, allowing the third-fewest yards league-wide and ranking close to the top 10 in sacks. They ranked 3rd overall on total defense (304.6), and their passing defense was ranked fourth (191.3) and just outside the top ten (again) and ranked 11th against rushing (113.3). We saw a lot of 4-3 cover 3 and quarters under Jack Del Rio last year, and before the injuries took chances and blitzed the corners.

PlayerPositionCollegeDraft Result
Emmanuel ForbesDBMississippi StateR1 P16
Jatavius MartinDBIllinoisR2 P47
KJ HenryDEClemsonR5 P137
Andre JonesDLLouisianaR7 P233

Key IDP's

Montez Sweat, DL

In 2022, Sweat had a career-best of 62 pressures, resulting in 8.0 sacks. Throughout his four seasons in the league, he has come close to reaching double-digit sacks three times, so he is always on the cusp of things. Consider Montez Sweat, another reliable IDP selection using a DE2 in most fantasy league drafts with an upside to becoming a DE1.

Jamin Davis, LB

Jamin Davis's led the team last season with 104 tackles. Once the better players come off the board, you could take him in the top 30-40 linebacker range based on your format. Expect Davis to play a strong role in this defense.

Daron Payne, DT

Payne led the line with 11.5 sacks in 2022. He just resigned and is going to be a mainstay, as he is proven he could always be trusted as a DL in fantasy IDP, despite being pled as a DT in real football.

Jonathan Allen, DT

The other quality defensive tackle compliments Payne. Both Payne and Allen had impressive seasons, finishing as the fourth and sixth-best defensive tackles. They have consistently ranked among the top players in their position for multiple seasons.

Kamren Curl, DB

Kamren Curl, despite missing five games in 2022, still finished as the second-best defensive back (DB2) in average points per game. Curl had 80 tackles for the third time in as many seasons. If he stays healthy, he has the potential to finish as a top-tier defensive back (DB1) this year. Expect a back-end top-ten season.

IDP Wildcards

Chase Young, DL

This guy's high pedigree confuses even the most expert IDP players. This is indeed a make-a-break season. Chase Young, the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, remains an intriguing player. Despite his immense talent, he has yet to demonstrate his abilities fully and struggled before his 2022 season ended with an injury that missed 14 games. Currently, his value may be at its lowest point, so it is crucial to be patient if he is on dynasty rosters, hoping that 2023 will be the year he breaks through.

Cody Barton, LB

The Commanders signed Cody Barton to replace the loss of Holcomb in free agency. Barton is not great but is a sure-handed tackler, so expect him to soak up tackles on this defense. It may not be clear which of these players will assume that role until training camp.

Emmanuel Forbes, DB

Rookie watch. The Commanders selected Emmanuel Forbes at 1.16. In College, he had 14 interceptions in his three seasons and set the FBS record for interceptions returned for a touchdown with six. He should start on day one. Keep an eye on him, as real NFL teams like to test rookies in coverage early games.

New York Giants

PlayerPositionGain/ Loss
Bobby OkerekeLBGain
Bobby McCainDBGain
A'Shawn RobinsonDTGain
Julian LoveDBLoss
Nick WilliamsDLLoss
Lorenzo CarterDL/LBLoss

Last season the Giants were supposed to be in a rebuild, then suddenly, they started winning games. New Coach Brian Daboll took coached his way to a 6-2 record and kept this team in games they should not have been in. Not to be outdone as well, but General Manager Joe Schoen kept finding gems from other rosters and secretly put together a winning defense. With a healthy salary cap in 2023 and 11 draft picks, the optimism is high this season in New York. However, the whole division is better, and the schedule is one of the NFL's tougher ones.

PlayerPositionCollegeDraft Results
Deonte BanksDBMarylandR1 P24
Tre HawkinsDBOld DominionR6 P209
Jordon RileyDLOregonR7 P243
Gervarrius OwensDBHoustonR7 P254

This team was decimated by injuries, and it showed. In total Defense, this unit ranked 25th (358.2) and was 14th against the pass (214.0) while also being 27th (144.2) against the run. This team is thin at depth and hopefully won't run into the same injury bug as last season. It’s helpful to know that Wink Martindale is known for calling aggressive pressure-heavy schemes. Operating outside of a 3-4 look allows defenders to come flying from all over sides of the field. Historically speaking, Wink has run 3-4 defenses that have routinely stopped the run. This system needs three experienced linemen to accomplish it, and this system has that.

 

Key IDP's

Dexter Lawrence, DT

Dexter Lawrence became an every-down player and achieved 9.0 sacks on 63 pressures. established himself as one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL, no question.  He is a must-start interior lineman on your teams.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, DL/LB

Kayvon Thibodeaux coming off an ACL tear from college showed flashes of his potential with notable performances toward the end of the year. Expect a huge breakout from IDP in 2023.

Azeez Ojulari, DL/LB

Azeez Ojulari has an impressive record of 16 sacks in his first 23 games as a pro. However, these numbers don't fully reflect the fact that he has generated only 61 pressures and a pressure rate of just 10.6%. Potential buyers should exercise caution, as he will need to improve his pressure rate to sustain his current sack production. He could be a cheaper bargain than Thibodeaux.

Bobby Okereke, LB

The addition of Bobby Okereke has provided a solid solution to this problem. Okereke has the potential to deliver LB1-caliber numbers in 2023 and will be an early pick in IDP formats. Outside of Okereke and the two edge rushers, this group is thin. Jarrad Davis is no longer considered a starter quality third-down player but will generate snaps out of necessity.

IDP Wildcards

Xavier McKinney, DB

Xavier McKinney is considered one of the best young safeties in the NFL, but still, fantasy is extremely underrated. Bobby McCain is a seasoned Veteran that could be in for some serious snaps even though he has not been a decent starter on the NFL level so far.

Leonard Williams, DL

Leonard Williams missed the first games of his career due to knee and back injuries. He is generally perceived as a buy-low in leagues right now for the perception of a decline in production. In watching later games of the 2022 season,  later this season, it was revealed that Williams still has it and made an outstanding 1-2 punch when teamed up here with Lawrence.

Deonte Banks, DB

Deonte Banks, at the combine, ran a 4.35 and showcased a 42-inch jump. He will be tested early and often as a rookie, so expect an immediate impact as he will be tested early. He enters a relatively weak cornerback and is one of the thinnest positional groups on the team.


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