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Home / Commentary / King J.J. the First: Watt’s Third DPOY Award Cements Defensive End’s Status as the 21st Century’s Top IDP

King J.J. the First: Watt’s Third DPOY Award Cements Defensive End’s Status as the 21st Century’s Top IDP

During the recent NFL Honors Ceremony, held the day before the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. It’s the third time Watt has taken home the award in the past four years.

Only Watt and the great Lawrence Taylor have won Defensive Player of the Year three times since it was first given out in 1971. Watt is the only unanimous recipient (in 2014).

Over that four-year span, Watt has tallied a staggering 69 sacks. And at only 26 years old, Watt told Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today he’s only getting started. “The second you think you’ve made it,” he said, “the second you think you’ve reached the top, that’s when you start to decline. So if I have to make up a chip on my shoulder that’s what I’ll do because the goal is always to be the best.”

Watt, only now entering the prime of his career, is already being mentioned among the all-time greats on the defensive line. By the time all is said and done, he may well go down as the all-time great.

When it comes to IDP leagues, you can go even farther. Where the 21st century is concerned, Watt has already established himself as the king of the mountain. The BMOC. The top defensive player at any position end of story.

And if his statistical production continues at anything close to the clip it has, Watt will one day reign as the greatest IDP who ever was.

And maybe the greatest at any position on either side of the ball.

Watt’s four-year reign as the chief cause of loose bowels among NFL quarterbacks has been a sight to behold. In each and every one of the past four seasons he has surpassed 75 tackles. In three of those seasons, Watt has met or exceeded 17.5 sacks. In the fourth, the slacker only posted 10.5. Over that four-year span, Watt has forced an eye-popping 15 fumbles.

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, Watt was the top-scoring defensive lineman in fantasy football in three of those years. In the fourth (2013), Watt finished third.

However, Watt hasn’t just been the most dominant defensive lineman in IDP over that four-year span…

We haven’t seen a run like this from a DL in this century.

Since 2000, there has been a grand total of two other defensive linemen who posted multiple No. 1 finishes over a span of four seasons. Hall of Famer Michael Strahan did it twice between 2000 and 2003, and future Hall of Famer Jared Allen did it two times from 2008 to 2011.

No one (besides Watt) has done it three times. And neither of those ends laid waste to the competition with nearly the Wattzilla-like destructive force of the man called Justin James by his mother.

And only his mother.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.