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Top 5 IDP Defensive Linemen Under 25 (2024 Fantasy Football)

Top 5 IDP Defensive Linemen Under 25 (2024 Fantasy Football)

The final part of this series is the defensive lineman. Depending on the fantasy scoring in your league, this position is either highly volatile and therefore requires real focus or is very static and requires little investment. If your league is the latter, speak to your commissioner and look to add more points for sacks and tackles for loss to make the position more relevant in your league.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Regardless of the status of defensive linemen in your league, it is always good to roster good, young players at the position that you can set and forget every week. Therefore, here are the top five defensive linemen in IDP in 2024 under the age of 25.

Top 5 Defensive Linemen Under 25

1. Micah Parsons (DL – DAL) — Age: 24

Micah Parsons played a lot more at defensive line in 2023 and should receive a duel classification in 2024 for both DL and LB. As a result, he immediately becomes a top tier defensive lineman. Parsons is averaging 13.5 sacks per season in his career so far, with a high of 14 sacks this past season. Add to this respectable tackle numbers, and he is an elite defensive lineman.

There will be some question marks about how he is deployed in 2024. With Dan Quinn leaving to go and become the head coach of the Washington Commanders, it will be interesting to see how they utilize Parsons. Many critics will argue he is best served as an off-ball linebacker as opposed to an EDGE rusher. However, if that change happens, Parsons becomes a cheat code at the defensive lineman position.

2. Aidan Hutchinson (DL – DET) — Age: 23

2023 saw Aidan Hutchinson become one of the elite defensive linemen in the NFL. He elevated his game and really delivered on being a first round pick in the NFL Draft. Hutchinson delivered 11.5 sacks in his sophomore season while maintaining his forced fumble numbers (3) and combined tackles number, with 51 tackles (52 combined tackles in 2022).

Hutchinson, and his 6-foot-7 frame, is one of the most athletic linemen in the league and a game wrecker. He can disrupt games all on his own. However, due to this, teams with great offensive linemen can put two on Hutchinson, making it more difficult for him to return points. While finishing as the DL5 on the season, he only returned double figures in just six of his 18 games for fantasy managers.

This streakiness makes him difficult to pick sometimes and he does appear as a matchup dependent option at times. However, he is improving all the time and the Lions should add some strength to help Hutchinson on the other side. Hutchinson should also find other ways to beat his men and put up even more stats in 2024. Not to mention, with potential game winning week upside at the position, it is impossible to leave Hutchinson on your bench.

3. Will Anderson Jr. (DL – HOU) — Age: 22

Will Anderson Jr. is the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year after a highly impressive rookie season. Anderson, who only started 13 games, managed seven sacks, 29 solo tackles and an impressive 10 tackles for loss.

While many fantasy owners expected a lot out of the third overall draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, they perhaps did not expect this good of a season. While Anderson Jr. did finish as the DL53, he did have three games where he scored under one point due to sustaining injuries. If you remove these three games he would have averaged 9.9 points per game and would have ended up as the DL11 (PPG).

The scary thing is we have yet to see the best of Anderson Jr. There is no doubt he will improve significantly in 2024 and step up to another level. Fantasy managers will be hoping he can return a DL1 finish in 2024.

4. Kayvon Thibodeaux (DL – NYG) — Age: 23

Kayvon Thibodeaux started the 2023 season looking every bit the first round pick he was drafted to be. However, his 2023 season tailed off and was largely representative of the New York Giants team as a whole. Thibodeaux managed just nine points in his final four games of the season as he was largely ineffective on that Giants defensive line.

However, the talent is there. Hopefully, the team can give Thibodeaux some opportunities to win in his matchups and provide him some assistance. It is, at times, almost too easy for opposing linesmen to double up on him and contain him.

Fantasy mangers will be a little bit concerned that they have not gotten the most out of their draft pick. However, it is still early days. It is unlikely that Thibodeaux and the Giants will be as bad as they were in 2023. Fantasy managers should remain patient, as it is likely he will become good. It will just take a little longer than they expected.

5. George Karlaftis III (DL – KC) — Age: 22

George Karlaftis might have been one of the surprise packages of the 2023 season at the DL position. Despite finishing as the DL32 over 17 weeks, he still was a high floor starter most weeks at the position.

His rookie season wasn’t much to write home about. However, as the Kansas City Chiefs relied more and more on their defense on their way to successfully defending their Super Bowl crown, Karlaftis really started to show why he is a former first round pick in the NFL Draft.

Karlaftis managed 10.5 sacks and 29 solo tackles, while also managing seven tackles for loss in 2023. The big question for fantasy managers is have we seen the start of Karlaftis growing into an elite defensive lineman, potentially challenging for a DL1 finish at the end of the 2024 season. Or, is the 2023 season the best we can expect from Karlaftis and therefore it might be the right time for fantasy owners to sell.

Personally, I think Karlaftis will improve and will be better. However, I project him to be a DL2 in 2024 at this stage. Nonetheless, he is still a potential star in the making and one of the more exciting players at the position in the NFL under the age of 25.

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Adam Murfet is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Murf, check out his archive and follow him @Murf_NFL.

 

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