For the last few weeks, Jay has been unveiling his 2015 rankings on the offensive side of the ball, and now it’s time for IDPs to join the party. If you’re new to IDP leagues, or thinking about joining one, I encourage you to read my annual case for using IDPs in fantasy football. Assuming you’ve already taken the leap into the IDP world, you know that positional rankings are not quite one-size-fits-all. Depending on your league’s roster requirements and scoring system, my DL20 could be your DL5, and potentially even your LB50. I try to cover the most “standard” settings with the rankings below, but if you have questions about a particularly customized league, feel free to post in the Comments section. One of the many beauties of IDP leagues is the level with which they can be customized, and I love hearing about the more exotic options out there.

Without further ado, here are the Razzball 2015 Defensive Linemen rankings, as well as a brief take on each of my tiers below:

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Every year ESPN has it’s Draft Day Manifesto, which is an entertaining read, but always rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because that article assumes little to no fantasy football experience. It’s 2015, even my grandmother knows the basics of our beautiful game. It also could be the word “Manifesto” which just comes off as un-American to me, and conjures images of Marx and Lenin. So rather than rip off our well-funded competitor, I named my annual “post the same article but update it to reflect the league’s current landscape” column after a song by a different Lennon, albeit one who was still not a resident of the 50 states and may have also been a Communist. Hey, nobody’s perfect! Without further ado, here is my annual case for including IDPs in your fantasy football leagues:

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We’ve already tackled the draft and free agency, but there is one more facet of the IDP offseason that could potentially play the biggest role in altering a player’s value: scheme changes. When a team brings in a new Head Coach or coordinator, it’s a good bet that the new guy will want to imprint his own style on the team he’s inheriting. And while only seven teams changed their Head Coach since the 2014 season, a whopping 12 changed their Defensive Coordinators. Not all of these personnel changes will result in a true scheme change, but they all figure to have an effect on the opportunities presented to IDPs. It may take until training camp and the preseason to get a read on some situations, but there are other teams where we can already sense how things will look in Week One.

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NFL Free Agency officially started on March 10th, and most players were signed by the end of the month. But to truly understand how Free Agency impacts the IDP landscape, we need to wait until the NFL Draft is over and the rosters are set. Dannell Ellerbe getting traded to New Orleans may seem like a significant IDP move at the time, but when the Saints drafted Stephone Anthony at #31 overall, it quickly changed the situation. Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at how the major moves in March will affect the 2015 season for IDP leagues.

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It’s been a long time since we’ve had IDP content posted on Razzball. Five months to be exact. The world was simpler back then. Leonard Nimoy was alive, Bruce Jenner was a man, and no one was making jokes about Tom Brady’s balls. Okay there were still jokes about Brady’s balls, but they were in an entirely different context. Since then a lot has changed, not the least of which is the IDP landscape in the NFL. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking a look at how free agency and coaching changes will affect IDP in 2015, but today I’m starting with the rookies.

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2014 In-Season Accuracy: 57.0% (3rd out of 20 Experts, 58.4% Highest, 48.1% Lowest).

If you’re still reading these posts, you either made your Championship game, play in an ill-advised 17-week league, or spend far too much time thinking about the intricacies of IDP fantasy football. Regardless of your motivations, I congratulate you for making it this far. In a season that has been marked by untimely injuries to highly drafted stars as well as surprising breakouts from previous no-names, it’s been easy to ignore the absolute domination of J.J. Watt. From an IDP perspective, he was the first man off the board in most drafts, so me talking about him every week would be like Jay telling you to start Peyton Manning or Jamaal Charles. But let’s not ignore the fact that Watt has now reeled off a ridiculous three straight seasons as the #1 DL, and he’s put up top 10 overall IDP numbers in that time. Most DLs will have a breakout season, followed by opposing offenses adjusting, performances regressing, etc. If anything, Watt has gotten better.

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2014 In-Season Accuracy: 56.4% (4th out of 21 Experts, 59.3% Highest, 45.9% Lowest).

This season has felt like a warzone on the IDP front, with more highly-drafted players going down to serious injuries than any year in recent memory. I’ve been dwelling on this fact since we all lost Derrick Johnson in Week 1, but as bittersweet as it can be, injuries can often create the kind of opportunities that allow sharp owners to capitalize and ultimately win championships. The playoffs have just begun, but the ripple effect of injuries has already been felt all over the IDP landscape. Of the top 10 IDP scorers in Week 14, only 1 of them was the top player at their position on their own team heading into the season. And only one other player was likely even drafted. Let’s take a closer look at these guys and see if we can learn anything:

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2014 In-Season Accuracy: 57.0% (2nd out of 21 Experts, 59.8% Highest, 46.0% Lowest).

Week 14 marks either last the week of the regular season or the first week of the playoffs, depending on your style. Either way, we’ve reached the can’t-lose portion of the season. Apologies for abandoning you all during the playoff push, but I’m back from Argentina, full of steak and wine and empanadas, and ready to do nothing but watch football (not futbol, which I had to put up with for the last 2 weeks).

Because the upcoming games will likely dictate how much you enjoy the next 9 months, it’s time to re-wire your brain for the playoffs. Preseason assumptions stopped being meaningful long ago, but even players we thought we knew 2 weeks ago might not be the same. You obviously know that Chris Borland is an IDP god sent here to wreak havoc on all that he touches. But there are some other players who aren’t as much of a sure thing, and that can be dangerous in the playoffs. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

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2014 In-Season Accuracy: 59.0% (2nd out of 21 Experts, 61.0% Highest, 45.5% Lowest).

On the offensive side of fantasy football, it’s a common debate about whether it’s a good or bad strategy to pair up a QB and WR on the same team. Some argue that it’s great because you get double the points for every TD, while others say it’s twice as bad when that team has a bad week. I’m not hear to offer my opinion on that particular discussion, but in the IDP world there is a similar debate: Is it a good idea to pair up two players from the same team that play the same position? Let’s take a closer look.

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2014 In-Season Accuracy: 59.6% (2nd out of 21 Experts, 61.8% Highest, 46.6% Lowest).

In a year that has seen more than its share of devastating injuries, IDP owners everywhere have been scrambling to fill holes left by their “sure-thing” draft picks. While some of those replacements have shown flashes at times (Jelani Jenkins, Jasper Brinkley), they have yet to truly dominate statistically like we saw in Week 9. The top three scoring IDPs for the week were Jacquian Williams, Chris Borland and K.J. Wright, all of whom got their starting jobs thanks to injuries to more proven commodities. We even saw huge weeks in big-play leagues from guys like James Harrison and Whitney Mercilus, who weren’t even really on the radar. Performances like these are often very difficult to see coming, but if you pull the right string, the payoff can be enormous. With another IDP mainstay down for the year (see you next year DeMeco), there is yet another opportunity to look towards an unproven backup (this time Casey Matthews) with a chance to shine.

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