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There’s a Hunger Games-heightened awareness that kung-fu grips your junipers once lineups lock for the week. The endless control you once possessed within that chlorine-purified free agent pool or the comfort of a flex play switch fades into the distance then bursts into a monster truck tire downhill race of chaotic NFL RedZone quad-box onslaught. *breathing heavily* Stevie Brown owners rejoice while Lavonte David owners (like yours truly) contemplate Verlander’ing a beer glass off the back the deck. You have to realize it’s only a single week (hopefully for the sake of the beer glass). Fantasy pundits can only tell you so many times there’s no time like the present and “you are not defined by your past,” so once the week 8 waiver timeframe subsides get your carpe deim swagger on. Trade, drop, add, and realign your fantasy football hand before your competition texts you back the term LOL. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, pour that seasonal autumn libation and consume these sets of defensive player rest of season top 15s with a bitter beer face.

Linebackers

1) Daryl Washington

2) James Laurinaitis

3) NaVorro Bowman

4) Patrick Willis

NFC West linebackers, get ‘em while their QBs refuse to be effective. D-Wash offers the ‘sack a game’ threat with his typical B-gap pressures while Willis has yet to record a sack but rarely misses a ball carrier when they waltz his way.

5) Luke Kuechly

6) D’Qwell Jackson

7) Chad Greenway

8) Bobby Wagner

Kuechly cracks the top 5 via the loss of Jon Beason and a tackle friendly remaining schedule. Wagner probably pops the most eyes here, as I’m gambling on his upside and the fierce schedule Russ Wilson will be presented with to close out 2012.

9) Colin McCarthy

10) Jerod Mayo

11) Curtis Lofton

12) Lance Briggs

13) Donald Butler

14) Karlos Dansby/David Harris (too similar)

15) Philip Wheeler

15.b) Bruce Carter **Updated 11/12 –> Carter is now a 3 down linebacker with Sean Lee on the shelf.**

McCarthy finally enters the top 10 after battling a nagging ankle injury and can be classified as a serious game changer down the stretch. Mayo could be 2 tiers higher for some, but the Pats offense kills a ton of clock and opposing offenses are better off testing the youthful Pats secondary deep. The majority of this tier lacks upside and provides a safe 8 – 12 stops a game. For those that enjoy dice rolling, Don Butler and the dreadlock’d  run-stopper Phil Wheeler break through a glass ceiling.

(Just missed: Derrick Johnson (pass heavy schedule), Perry Riley, Nick Barnett, Jerrell Freeman, the “Don” London Fletcher,  Sean Weatherspoon (if healthy), and K.J. Wright)

Defensive Backs

1) Roman Harper

2) Kam Chancellor

3) Tyvon Branch

4)  Kurt Coleman

Safeties that are hella safe. Harper fills the strong spot on a historically weak pass defense and Kurt Coleman sees a fantastic passing slate from here to the finish line with 2 contests against Mr. 400 and 4 picks (Tony Romo), a match-up with Eyes-Wide-Dink-and-Dunk  (Brees), and 2 more against the Electric Circus (RG triple sticks).

5)  Eric Weddle

6) Malcom Jenkins

7) Mark Barron

8) Morgan Burnett

9) Stevie Brown

Weddle is the elder-statesman of the group and continues to textbook tackle in the open field with the best of them. I’m all in on Stevie Brown: Cape Canaveral upside (make sure you have a suitable backup). This tier has more upside than the Bill James handbook before Chris Davis and Dominic Brown simultaneously wave at 0-2 offerings in the dirt, so watch your step it gets volatile!

10) Antoine Winfield

11) Ronde Barber

12) Yeremiah Bell

13) Cortland Finnegan

14) Charles Tillman

15) Madieu Williams

Steady production from this stable of DBs. Madieu Williams is seeing a heavy diet of chances as a member of the ‘Skins band of yard-yielders. Tillman is a DPOY contender and Finnegan might be the fiercest tackling corner in the league.

**EXTREME VARIABLE** Eric Berry

I’m giving Berry a final chance in week 10 vs. Big Ben. I shouldn’t. He’ll most likely ride fantasy pine in week 9 against SD. EB doesn’t seem 100% this season and you’re only holding onto to him in deeper bench/keeper formats. However, those with iron stomachs and full heads of hair might be rewarded for holding onto the Chief of under-performing as he faces a pass-happy docket from week 9 to week 13.

(Just missed: Tim Jennings, George Wilson, Jordan Babineaux, LaRon Landry, William Moore/Thomas DeCoud, and Bernard Pollard)

From Around The Web

  1. Great article and im glad I have 2 top 10 players at both positions. Only thing your missing is DT/DE for the ROS. Please and thanks you. BTW love the site love the articles, so damn funny and insightful

  2. Also on the LB side what are your feelings on Akem Ayers, and on the secondary side of this thomas decloud? what are your feelings on those 2 players?

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:
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      Thanks man! I’ll be submitting a defensive line ROS piece for early next week, still crunching the numbers.

      Ayers — His defensive plays snap count was cut to 47% last week, so with McCarthy healthy he’s being phased out of 3 down linebacker territory. I’d look elsewhere.

      DeCoud — He’s a solid option. I’d hold and certainly start him against Brees in the coming weeks.

  3. Principle Blackman says:
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    Thanks for doing this IDp column. It can be hard to come by IDP advice.

    For this week only, is there a clearcut sit/start between William Moore vs Dal and Charles Tillman @ Ten, or is this more of a coin flip? I’m worried that Ten just won’t be forced to throw the ball much, not to mention the fact that Tony Romo loves to throw to opposing DBs.

    Thanks in advance, and good luck this week.

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:
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      Not a problem, sir. I’d lean toward Moore in tackle-heavy formats this week (safer). In big play bonus formats, I’d lean toward Tillman, as he’s always a threat to force a TO (higher upside). Best of luck!

  4. funkadelicatessen says:
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    Which two should I start Morgan Burnett, Jordan Babineaux,or Mark Barron? League is 1pt solo tackle .05 tackle assist 2pts for int 1pt for pass deflection 3pts for a sack and 6pts for a TD.Thanks

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:
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      I’d roll w/ Burnett and Babineaux this week. Barron draws some appetizing match-ups weeks 10 – 16 so hold if you can.

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