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IDP Fantasy Outlook: AFC East

The IDP Forecast is headed East, first up is the AFC. Which players on the Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, and Bills will be IDP studs or duds in 2023?

We’ve taken on the North and South; it’s time to get out East, starting with the AFC. The Bills are amongst the elite teams in the league and are now the class of the division. They are buoyed by a proficient offense and a top-ten defense. The Dolphins aren’t far behind and have a defense rising in the rankings and knocking on the door of the top ten. The Patriots have a top-ten unit too, but traditionally don’t have many IDP options. And the Jets, who finished 7-10 last season, added Aaron Rodgers but fields the best defense in the division and a potential top-three unit. 

This division could end up with all four teams ranked in the top ten of total defense in 2023. But who are the IDP players to target? 


Defensive Line

The Bills employ a 4-3 base defense, and Ed Oliver is a player to target if you have to start a defensive tackle. He missed time last season and only had 34 tackles with a forced fumble and a pair of sacks. Oliver was in the top 24 of scoring on a per-game basis, albeit it was quite a bit behind the top eight. I have Oliver projected for 45 tackles with five sacks, with a few splash plays added, and he’s a healthy DT2/3 finisher. 

On the end, the Bills have Greg Rousseau and Von Miller penciled in to start but have one of the deepest depth charts at the position I have ever seen. Rousseau is who you want for dynasty, and he’s got the potential to be a top twenty end this season. He tallied 37 tackles and eight sacks on only 44% of Buffalo’s defensive snaps. I have him projected for 55 tackles and 11.5 sacks this year and a breakout season for the young end.

Miller had eight sacks also, in just a few fewer snaps than Rousseau, but may be designated as an outside linebacker in your leagues. As an end, he’s more valuable, but the man will be getting sacks in any role he has – even at 33 years old. He’s currently on the PUP list but should return soon. 

I mentioned the depth, and it’s impressive – the Rams brought in Leonard Floyd to rotate in, whether at the end or outside linebacker, and he’s going to flirt with double-digit sack numbers. AJ Epenesa plays mostly end and had 6.5 sacks on only 35% of snaps. He’s entering his fourth season and seems to be getting better, thriving in the rotation. Boogie Basham and Shaq Lawson can also get after quarterbacks. It’s a nasty depth chart. 

I’m rostering and starting Rousseau, Miller, and Floyd, especially if the latter two get defensive end eligibility. And Epenesa is a solid bench player who can fill in if you need it. 


The linebacker unit has a massive hole after the departure of Tremaine Edmunds. Matt Milano is the only player to roster for IDP purposes and the only linebacker you will want to start from the Bills. 

Milano is a steady middle linebacker who raked in 99 tackles and tacked on three INTs in 2022. He had 11 passes defended for good measure. Those numbers put him in the LB25 range, so it’s not sexy, but Milano is a consistent producer and will always get you good LB2/3 production. 

Rookie Dorian Williams is a good stash, I liked a lot about his college film, but he’s going to need some time to develop. He’s a good hitter and a great athlete, but his instincts need time to improve. Williams plays with fire and should factor in early on special teams, and the Bills may need him to see the field earlier than they’d like. 


A couple of corners could figure in for IDP purposes, led by nickel corner Taron Johnson. He raked in 100 tackles in 2022 and was one of the top corners scoring on a per-game basis. There’s no reason he can’t do it again, and Johnson is one of the few corners I like to roster and leave in my lineup. 

Dane Jackson was right up there in scoring but will see the field less this season, so I don’t trust him to replicate it. Tre’Davious White is back, and he’s capable of scoring well, but teams will likely be avoiding him at all costs. 

Jordan Poyer starts at strong safety and is a valuable IDP asset. He missed time in 2022 and will be asked to assist the linebacker unit from his strong safety spot. I project him to flirt with the top twenty in scoring for his position – with 110 tackles and five INTs. 

Micah Hyde is the starter at the free safety spot, and he’s a solid vet to roster. He’s not going to hurt you if he is called on to fill in for your lineup, but he’s a shadow of the player he once was. Damar Hamlin will likely steal snaps from him as well. Hamlin is a lock for Comeback Player of the Year and worth a roster spot, but my expectations are tempered for IDP production. 


Defensive Line

The Dolphins employ a 3-4, and it all starts with the mammoth defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. One of the rare tackles that should be drafted in DL positional leagues, Wilkins had 98 tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles – leading defensive tackles in scoring for 2022. He’s entering the prime of his career, and he’s not going anywhere. Wilkins is a top-three defensive tackle. 

Jaelen Phillips often gets defensive end eligibility, and if he does, he’s a top-ten option at the position. Phillips really turned his career around after a rookie college career and had 60 tackles with seven sacks in 2022, flashing potential to be much more dominant as well. He’s a leader on this defense and getting better, only 24 years old, with a massive ceiling. 

Zach Sieler has evolved into a steady defensive end, with 70 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles in 2022. Being alongside Wilkins helps quite a bit, and Sieler is a solid DE3 with a fairly safe floor. 


Jerome Baker is the most productive member of the linebacker corps, but he isn’t going to be a guy you can put in your LB1 spot and leave. Baker had 100 tackles with four sacks in 2022, and right around that 100 mark is his sweet spot. It’s not sexy, but he’s a consistent LB2/3. 

David Long is an IDP buy for me and a guy who could far outperform his price tag. He actually had more points per game than Baker and was taking a more prominent role for IDP before missing the last four games of 2022. I have Long projected for 130 tackles and a few big plays like interceptions and tackles. I believe Baker is still wearing the green dot, but Long will have that taken over before too long. 

Bradley Chubb is an outside linebacker worth rostering, particularly in big-play scoring. He had 39 tackles and eight sacks in 2022; I expect the same or close for 2023. Chubb is a solid bye-week fill-in. 


Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard are the starting corners, and Ramsey was the CB2 overall in scoring, with 88 tackles, three forced fumbles, four INTs, and a pair of sacks. Unfortunately, he is out until December, but he is still worth a hold in dynasty leagues. 

Howard still isn’t much of a value in IDP formats. He doesn’t get tested enough and doesn’t give much as far as big plays. Nickel corner Kader Kohou will give you solid production for the position, and he had 72 tackles, 10 passes defended, and an interception in his rookie season. Kohou is a strong streaming option. 

Rookie Cam Smith could end up being a strong streaming option if he plays more. He will get tested and have tackle opportunities. 

Strong safeties Brandon Jones and DeShon Elliott produced strong numbers for IDP, but each missed time last season. Jones is the guy to target, as he’s starting, but Elliott has value if either safety misses time. 

Jevon Holland scored the most points of the safeties, but it was mostly later in the season when Jones was out. He’s a solid starter but not a player to lock in as a starter every week. Not yet, as I don’t see him replicating even the 96 tackles he corralled in last season. 


I’m going to give you the best information I can, but as a rule, I avoid Patriots in IDP for the most part. I’m not saying there isn’t production to be had, but it’s a maddening system at times. 

Defensive Line

The defensive line starts three as the Pats run a modified 3-4 type of defense. Davon Godchaux and Lawrence Guy man the interior spots and have little value, even in DT-required leagues. Godchaux is a bit more consistent, and each player won’t get you a zero, so each has some value as a fill-in defensive tackle if a quick need arrives. 

Deatrich Wise is the defensive end on the depth chart, but linebacker Matthew Judon will play some from the end spot. More on Judon later. Wise is not going to win weeks, but he’s also not going to cost you matchups. He had 59 tackles, two forced fumbles, and seven sacks. That would put him in the top 24 of scoring for DEs. 

All three guys move around some, and if Wise gets DT designation or DE/DT, then his value gets a nice little bump. 


Judon was the Patriots’ top scorer in the front seven after posting 60 tackles and 15 sacks in 2022. He’s the outside linebacker and is more valuable in big-play scoring formats. But Judon is also giving your IDP squad a few tackles, so he’s not a liability. The sacks are a wicked bonus, and I am projecting him to have 13 in 2023. 

Ja’Whuan Bentley is the middle linebacker, and he raked in 125 total tackles, an interception, and a trio of sacks in 2022. He’s the most consistent option for production and was stronger, production-wise, from Week 7 on. I project him nearly the same in 2023, and he’s simply a strong LB2/3 for IDP fantasy. 

Josh Uche is a solid depth addition as well, as he tallied 11.5 sacks and 27 tackles last season. 


At corner, the Pats added Christian Gonzalez early in the draft and typically have strong producers from the CB spot. Jonathan Jones is the starting nickel corner and was able to corral in 69 tackles, three forced fumbles, four interceptions, and 11 passes defended. He’s a corner I roster and start, never worrying about his production. 

Jack Jones and Jalen Mills have also produced stats that would be solid for a CB start if you are streaming the position. Gonzalez, the rookie, is slated to start and should also be a strong streaming option.

Kyle Dugger is the starting strong safety and possibly the best option for IDP on the team. He’s a DB1 and has gotten better every season, entering his fourth season as a starter. Dugger had 78 tackles with three interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns. He has missed a few games each season, but if he plays 17, I project him for 90 tackles with a few big plays added. 

Adrian Phillips is the starting free safety, but Jabril Peppers also plays time at safety, and each of these players is solid depth for IDP. Peppers could see a value spike if Dugger missed time; I think his skillset would fit in well.  


Defensive Line

The 4-3 defensive line of the Jets is led by fifth-year superstar Quinnen Williams. He’s a top-five scorer amongst defensive tackles, tallying 55 tackles and 12 sacks from his interior spot. Williams is living up to his draft billing and is one of the few defensive tackles that you should start, even in leagues with generic defensive line spots.

Al Woods is 36 years old but worth a spot on your roster if you need to start defensive tackles. He was a solid option, with 51 tackles in 2022. 

It’s hard to find a plug-and-play starter at defensive end, although the Jets have some deep talent there. Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers are the starters, but second-year man Jermaine Johnson and rookie Will McDonald IV will push for reps. I have Lawson as a depth piece for IDP purposes, but I love the upside of Johnson and McDonald. I could see both young players pushing toward double-digit sacks sooner rather than later. But each is hard to start for the time being. 


CJ Mosley missed 2019 and 2020, then returned with a vengeance in 2021 and was even more productive in 2022. Mosley was a top 12 scoring linebacker and, even at age 31, shows no sign of slowing down. He had 158 tackles, seven passes defended, two sacks, and an interception in 2022. I am projecting nearly identical numbers, and Mosley will get borderline LB1 stats in 2023.

Quincy Williams is a solid linebacker for IDP and won’t get you a zero. He’s fairly consistent and is a great LB3/4 for your squad. He had 105 tackles and three sacks in 2022, I project identical production for 2023. 

The depth chart drops off pretty quickly, but backups Nick Vigil and Sam Eguavoen could be productive if thrust into action. Vigil is the one I would prioritize over Equavoen, as Vigil was semi-productive in action at Cincinnati. 


It didn’t take long for Sauce Gardner to announce he was here to the NFL, and he’s also a top IDP corner. He finished inside the top ten of scoring with 74 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Oh, and he had a ridiculous 19 passes defended. Gardner is already an elite corner, and it was awesome to see the tackle production. 

The opposite corner is manned by former 49er and Seahawk DJ Reed, and he wasn’t far behind Sauce in production. Reed tallied 80 tackles and 12 passes defended to finish in the top twenty of cornerback scoring. 

There wasn’t much meat left for nickel corner Michael Carter to chew on, but he’s still a decent bye-week fill-in or a spot starter if needed. Carter had 63 tackles, nine passes defended, and a pair of INTs. 

The safeties don’t get as much production due to the front seven and some corners that rake in all the tackles, but the Jets have a few solid depth guys. Tony Adams and Jordan Whitehead are listed as the starters currently, and I don’t love either guy for IDP. Whitehead is the strong safety and had 89 tackles with two INTs in 2022, and that’s his absolute ceiling. He’s a depth safety and could play in stretches if you need him. Just know he’s not an elite IDP safety. 

I could see veterans Chuck Clark and Adrian Amos getting a healthy snap share in either safety spot, and hindering the ability of all these safeties to score much for IDP. I am avoiding having to rely on any of the quartet but having Whitehead, Clark, and Amos as depth defensive backs is a solid move. 
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