2024 IDP Football Top 12 Picks

by Mase Riney
2024 IDP Football Early Top 12 Picks

The dust has begun to settle on the 2023 fantasy football season, and what better time than now to begin planning for your first move of the 2024 fantasy football draft season? Welcome to my version of the 2024 IDP Football Top 12 Picks. These are players that you definitely should consider when beginning a new startup or individual defensive player draft.

This is a premature list, as the 2023 NFL playoffs and the following off-season have yet to conclude. Teams and players alike are still battling for the Lombardi Trophy, and the offseason has yet to begin, so many variables are at play when considering personnel for a list like this.

I had FantasyPros scoring in mind when I created this list, so I may not have your team's favorite player here; however, these players are some of my favorites among those who I consider "Elite" for IDP.

I will do my best to provide a solid baseline of top players to consider when drafting in your IDP leagues. You can also look at Mark Strausberg's offensive players top 12. Let's get into it.

2024 IDP Football Top 12 Picks

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No. 12: Josh Allen, DL, Jacksonville Jaguars

The former 2019 first-round draft selection is in the last year of his rookie contract and played the best ball of his career this season, finishing with the most pressures(88) he's ever finished a season with. Despite not having a guaranteed contract in 2024, I still like Josh Allen's future output from here on out for IDP purposes.

IDP managers have waited to see if Allen could replicate or surpass his solid rookie year statistics. He finally did, and in a big way, almost doubling his pressures, finishing ninth among all edge defenders in pass rush snaps(576) and finishing with an impressive pressure win rate of 35.1%, which was second to only Myles Garrett.

Though Josh Allen may have taken bronze in the sack category this season,  he is about to strike gold this off-season, as I expect Allen to sign a fairly hefty contract. Whether Allen stays in Jacksonville or moves on to brighter pastures is yet to be confirmed, but I have confidence that wherever he ends up, he will be a player in IDP formats drafted early and often.

No. 11: Nick Bosa, DL, San Francisco 49ers

Unsurprisingly, Bosa makes the top 12 for the 2024 list, but managers were left wanting more from "Thick Nick" at the beginning of the 2023 season. Bosa started the season with only one sack on the stat sheet after the first four weeks of the 2023 season. After week five, Bosa caught fire for most of the season, finishing the year with 14 total sacks on 94 total pressures, posting a 30.5 pressure win rate.

The 49ers may change defensive coordinators; however, Nick Bosa is no stranger to new coordinators as the 49ers have had three in the past four seasons, and Bosa has produced elite numbers in all of his seasons except 2020, where he was on IR all season due to a season-ending ACL injury in week 2. The 49ers also recently paid Nick Bosa, and he is under contract in San Francisco until 2029.

Bosa should remain an early-round draft selection in IDP formats for the next few years.

No. 10: Ernest Jones, LB, Los Angeles Rams

In his third season in the league, Ernest Jones was an IDP force to be reckoned with, finishing the year with five sacks and 33 pressures (the most of his career). The rising star wears the green dot for the Rams' defense, so he should be primed for another great year in 2024.

9th-Bobby Wagner, LB

Father Times favorite linebacker Bobby Wagner has shown insane consistency, totaling over 1,000 snaps in nine seasons since his arrival in the NFL in 2012. Wagner is the signal caller for the defense, as he holds the green dot for the defensive side of the ball.

The Seahawks' head coach, Pete Carroll, is no longer the coach for Seattle, and Wagner's contract was a one-year deal for Seattle. If Wagner isn't a member of the Seahawks, I still believe he can join a team in need on another one-year mercenary deal. Despite his age, Wagner is still quite active in pass rush and is one of the true linebackers who can make a stop or tackle in pass coverage.

No. 8: Nick Bolton, LB, Kansas City Chiefs

Bolton had an underwhelming season in 2023 due to a dislocated wrist and the recovery time from the surgery, participating in only eight games. In those eight games, Bolton sacked the quarterback three times and finished with 60+ combined tackles.

I expect the Kansas City defensive signal caller to return to proper form next season and put up elite numbers as he did in the 2022 season.

No. 7: Micah Parsons, DL/LB, Dallas Cowboys

A man who needs no introduction to the list of the top 12, Micah Parsons is not only the heart and soul of the Dallas defense. He is a player who can slot at multiple positions in one's lineup. With Parsons, you get a phenomenal playmaker consistently putting up DL1 pints for IDP rosters everywhere in multiple formats.

It's worth noting that Parsons did not surpass 1,000 defensive snaps this season; however, his numbers did not take a hit. Parsons finished with more QB hits (18) and more sacks (16) than he had in his three seasons in the league. If you're in the first round of an IDP draft, it would be strange not to see Parsons off the board in the early to middle of the first round, depending on the league's scoring.

No. 6: Antoine Winfield Jr., DB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Lone Ranger is at the defensive back position in the top-12 list. I mean no disrespect to the position, but I believe the seasonal turnover is higher than any other position (usually). That said, the Tampa Bay safety balled out last year, so much so that I've heard rumblings that Winfield may be the community's new top man, thus dethroning Chargers elite safety Derwin James.

The numbers support it as Winfield Jr. finished the season with six sacks on 18 pressures, double the amount of any other safety in 2023. He also finished ten games with 7+ tackles, so the tackles were consistent for managers, and the sacks were the donut with your coffee. The beauty is that Antoine Winfield Jr. accomplished these numbers as a free safety, thus limiting his time in the box; Winfield finished 36th among safeties in total box snaps (225).

Looking ahead to 2024, Winfield Jr. is an unrestricted free agent, so whether he stays in Tampa Bay or signs somewhere else is something to monitor. If he resigns with the Buccaneers, I think he can repeat his IDP success; if he signed elsewhere, we will have to wait and see how he fits into the other defense. Regardless, we know that Windfield Jr. is excellent at real-life football and for IDP rosters, so I wouldn't sweat the landing spot as much, though every manager must consider it.

No. 5: Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers

Fred Warner is one of the best if not the best, all-around linebackers in the NFL and is fantastic at real-life football. In this case, he is also phenomenal for IDP, as Warner consistently finds ways to place himself around the ball carrier, resulting in points for IDP managers.

Fred Warner is not the leader of any category, but he is pretty consistent, finishing with 6+ combined tackles in 14 of his 17 games played during the fantasy season. Sprinkle in a few QB hits and sacks, which is possible in every contest as Warner can and has been asked to key in on and shadow mobile quarterbacks, as well as receiving targets(71) in the passing game, which result in tackles.

As for Fred Warner's future, I dont imagine San Francisco will be without him for a while as he is under contract with the 49ers until 2027; however, San Francisco does have an opportunity to opt out this year, but the dead cap would surpass his contract so I think Warner will be a top-12 for years to come.

No. 4: Myles Garrett, DL, Cleveland Browns

The former first-overall selection has been a force in IDP for five of his seven seasons playing in the NFL. Garrett is a beast in the trenches and an absolute menace for opposing quarterbacks. The only downside to Garrett's IDP points is he doesn't bring in a gratuitous amount of points off of tackles, so most weeks, managers are hoping for a sack from Myles Garrett, which there is no shortage of. Last year alone, Garrett finished the fantasy season with four multi-sack weeks.

If you're looking for a guy to put himself in a position to make points in clutch situations, Myles Garrett tallied 28 pressures in the fantasy playoffs (weeks 14-17). 2024 and beyond seem bright for the pride and joy of Cleveland.

No. 4: Roquan Smith, LB, Baltimore Ravens/ Maxx Crosby, DL, Las Vegas Raiders

Now, here are two players that immediately come to mind when I was thinking about 2024 IDP Football Early Top 12 Picks. Roquan Smith is a unit at the linebacker position who has finished with 120+ tackles in five of his six seasons in the league. Now, Smith is active in pass rush, but really, it's his consistent tackling that stands out. Smith finished 2023 with 13 weeks of 7+ tackles.

Maxx Crosby breaks the list rules as I have two people in third. Crosby is the kind of player who will be listed as doubtful every day on the Raider's injury report but still be active and overly effective on the field.

Crosby finished as the DL2 on the season via FantasyPros in 2023, and I expect him to repeat his success even with uncertainty about the head coaching /coordinator's future in Las Vegas.

No. 2: T.J. Watt, DL/LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Current sack leader, T.J. Watt, does it all. The man is phenomenal in pass rush and equally good against the run. If there is a way to score points in IDP, Watt will do it in any way possible. He sacks, tackles for loss, and even finished with eight pass deflections and one interception in 2023.

One could argue that Watt should be behind Garrett; however, with any of these top-edge guys, it could depend on the week on who scores more but know that all of them can sit and forget as your DL1. With that said Watt did have six multiple-sack weeks in 2023, though one of those weeks was in week 18  (not all, but most IDP leagues end on week 17)

No. 1: Foyesade Oluokun, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

The two-time tackling king and signal caller for Jacksonville is a lock for LB1 until someone proves otherwise. Oluokun has finished the past three seasons with 1,100+ snaps and has been a force in pass-rush situations for the past four seasons.

In nine games in 2023, Oluokun finished with 10+ combined tackles, and that kind of consistency is what IDP managers dream of in their LB1 spot. The only thing to monitor with Oluokun is that the Jaguars have a potential out in his contract this coming offseason. With that said, his dead cap would be around the same amount his contract would pay him this season, so I hope the Jaguars choose to retain Foye Oluokun.

I do not doubt that fantasy managers will see Foyesade Oluokun fly off the boards early on draft day in 2024, regardless of what team he is on.

Omissions

I'm sure some of you made it this far thinking that your team's best defensive player was snubbed, so here is a list of some players I consider to be in the running to be selected in the first round of IDP drafts in 2024.

DL- Danielle Hunter, Carl Granderson, Aidan Hutchinson, and Montez Sweat

LB- Bobby Okereke, Matt Milano, Alex Singleton, and Quincy Williams

DB- Jessie Bates III, Derwin James Jr., Kyle Hamilton, and Jaquan Brisker.

Thank you for taking the time to read my Early Top 12 2024 IDP Fantasy Football Picks.


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