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3 Fantasy Football Draft Targets: IDP Rookies (2024)

If the randomness and unpredictability of offense-only fantasy football isn’t enough for you, then IDP (individual defensive players) leagues are for you. To be clear, some trends and outcomes are predictable but defensive players, inherently, are reacting to something rather than creating it and are at the mercy of the situation. Nonetheless, it can add another layer of fun to fantasy football. Below are some fantasy football rookies to add to your redraft IDP cheat sheet.

2024 fantasy football draft kit

Fantasy Football Draft Targets: IDP Rookies

Edgerrin Cooper (LB – GB)

Linebackers, much like running backs, are not what they used to be in the NFL or fantasy football. Teams no longer rely on either one as the game has evolved to different styles and players. Case in point, the firsttraditional(Note: not pass rushing) linebacker was taken with the 13th pick of the 2024 NFL Draft when the Packers took Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper (and just one pick before the first running back when the Panthers drafted Jonathon Brooks).

Back to the Packers, they needed a linebacker after releasing former First-Team All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell in the offseason. They also needed to make some changes after the unit finished as the sixth-worst in the league, according to DVOA. So they drafted Cooper along with four more defensive players in their first eight picks, signed free agents and brought in new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.

In Hafley, the Packers have yet another former 49er/Kyle Shanahan disciple. There are many examples of coaches working in San Francisco and moving onto greener pastures, especially on the defensive side which is good news for Packers defensive players. Those coaches — Robert Saleh and DeMeco Ryans — tend to build good defenses that lead to lots of fantasy points like tackles and interceptions.

For Cooper, he’s got a clear path to starting early and racking up numbers. Quay Walker is already penciled in to start and see most — if not all — of the defensive snaps. But the void left by Campbell means the Packers will need Cooper out there early and will give him a lot of opportunities thanks to that second-round draft capital. There should be no reason Cooper can’t match Campbell’s production last year when the latter totaled 75 tackles, a pass defended and a fumble recovery. That was just in 11 games. Cooper, if healthy, should be able to give the Packers more.

Tyler Nubin (DB – NYG)

There seems to be one rookie defensive back a year that quickly becomes a top-flight fantasy option. Tyler Nubin is in prime position to be that player this season. After being selected in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Nubin will be asked to slide into the opening left by former Giant Xavier McKinney’s departure. McKinny cashed in on free agency and signed with Green Bay to lead their new-look defense. But that left a huge hole in the Giants’ secondary as McKinney is considered one of the top-10 safeties in the league.

Enter Nubin. The 47th overall pick out of Minnesota. Nubin took advantage of a fifth-year of eligibility and went on to become a First-Team All-American in 2023. The Giants used the second-round pick they acquired from Seattle for Leonard Williams on Nubin.

Nubin enters a Giants defense in transition. They finished just 21st in defensive DVOA last year and moved on from veteran coordinator Wink Martindale. Replacing him is former Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, who led some mediocre defenses when it comes to giving up points and yardage. But his safeties wracked up fantasy points, especially tackles. His two main safeties in Tennessee last year — Amani Hooker and Kevin Byard — averaged 6.5 and 7.8 tackles, respectively, which would have put both of them well over 100 on the season if they stayed healthy.

Nubin’s potential partner in the starting lineup — Jason Pinnock — is nothing to write home about, posting a sub-70 Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade last season. Nubin’s primary backup, free agent pickup Jalen Mills, was even worse and posted a sub-60 PFF grade. The point is that Nubin isn’t competing with studs to get playing time and should see the field right away. When he does, he’ll quickly become a fantasy favorite.

Dallas Turner (DL – MIN)

Any time a team trades up for a player in the first round, it’s a good bet that player will see the field quickly. That’s what the Vikings did when they moved up six spots in the 2024 NFL Draft to take Dallas Turner from Alabama. Turner was just the latest in a major overhaul of the Minnesota defensive line as he joins free agents Jonathan Greenard and Jerry Tillery as they attempt to replicate what was a solid Vikings defensive line in 2023. Of course, that line had perennial Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter anchoring it but he was signed away by the Texans in the offseason.

And while no one player the Vikings brought in should be expected to make up for Hunter’s production, they might be able to in the aggregate. Greenard comes to Minnesota after a career year that saw him record 12.5 sacks in Houston. He’ll be expected to lead the pass rush attack but Turner will benefit from having Greenard getting the most attention. While Hunter led the team last year with 16.5 sacks, former Viking D.J. Wonnum (who is now a Panther) had eight sacks. The scheme is the same with Brian Flores returning to Minnesota as defensive coordinator, which means it should produce similar numbers. That is good news for future Turner IDP managers.

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