I know you’ve been on the edge of your seats waiting for the second half of my linebacker rankings to drop.  Well probably not but since you probably have to draft more than 2 in 12 team leagues, this should be useful.  We see the debut of three rookies for those who asked “Where are the rookies?” in response to my top 25.  We have three tiers here in the second 25 because, well, the differences between these players start to get smaller.  

Remember in leagues where you are starting two linebackers, these are all bench guys/bye week fillers if you were smart enough to take two of my top 25.  Here you want to look for upside if you took players towards the end of the top 25 or you just don’t agree with my rankings. If you took Darius Leonard, look for a guy who has a great matchup in week 7 because, well, you’re not benching him. Ever.  Or you can just go with the boring guy like Matt Milano who will give you tackles week in and week out.

 

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If you play in an IDP league, you already know that linebackers are the bread and butter of defensive scoring.  If you are trying to learn about IDPs or deciding whether to convince your fellow league mates to switch from the hum-drum team defense to the dynamic scoring of individual defensive players, this is a good place to start.  We’ll start with the top 25 linebackers and then cover 25-50 and the top 50 at DL and DB.

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Whenever you see an overall ranking for IDP leagues, linebackers will dominate the list.  Some will have the top 10-20 players be linebackers and that would be true if you only based the rankings on projected points, but draft strategy has to come into play.  As in your offensive player part of the draft, position scarcity and tiers come into play.  There is a large core of players in each of the three positions that don’t vary much, but the start of each of these cores varies greatly between positions.  

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With all the free agency chaos that has been engulfing the league in the last month, it’s easy to forget about the season that just ended. This will be the culmination of the positional recaps here at Razzball, and honestly it’s about time. When these recaps started, Sky was still running the show, Nick Capozzi was still in Canada, and Jay and I had never met (Note: We still have not met). Things have changed in the IDP world as well. Some of these guys are already on different teams, and others have seen their teams go out and sign players who will potentially replace them in 2014. Such is life for DBs in IDP leagues.

These recaps will focus mostly on how each player landed in the top-20 last year, and whether or not they can do it again in 2014. Spoiler alert: a lot of them can’t.

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Keeping with the theme of moving into the future while looking at the past, we move on to Linebackers. The top crop of LBs in 2013 had a lot of the expected faces, along with a couple of rookies and some throwback performances by Ghosts of IDP Seasons Past.  But before we get to the top 20, there are others that warrant some discussion:

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Sky (#NeverForget) has been dominating these pages with his offensive positional recaps, while I’ve been sitting back and enjoying the playoffs. But then I saw Navorro Bowman’s knee get mangled while he recovered a goalline fumble in the NFC Championship Game, and it made me reflect on things. If Bowman can keep giving it his all and sacrificing his body after carrying countless IDP teams to championships, why can’t I do the same thing? I thought I was the IDP expert you deserved, but not the one you needed right now, but who am I kidding? There is no offseason. So here is my first batch of 2013 positional recaps.

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Over the past month, I’ve gone through my top 50 Defensive Linemen, Linebackers and Defensive Backs, and now it’s time to put it all together. Below you will see my top 75 overall IDPs, regardless of position.

I’ll be brief with this write-up because it’s well over 100 degrees here in Austin, and I have busy day that involves floating down the San Marcos River in a tube with a few cases of Lone Star, followed by an ungodly amount of BBQ in Lockhart. But before we get to the actual rankings, here are a few topics merit some additional discussion:

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When drafting Defensive Lineman, you pick your studs early, then look for some pass-rush specialists to complement them. When drafting Linebackers, you look for consistency in tackles above all, focusing on three-down backers. When drafting Defensive Backs? Anything goes.

Some owners will only take safeties, and pretty much just strong safeties at that, knowing that tackles are more predictable than any other DB stat. Others look for deflections, interceptions and tackles in coverage by focusing on DBs that play alongside a shutdown corner, or rookie corners in general. Still others will go for the gold, taking a return man who might win you a matchup all by himself by taking one to the house.

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As opposed to my 2013 DL Rankings, the top spot in the LB rankings is not quite as clear cut. Luke Kuechly took the #1 overall spot in 2012, as a rookie no less, so common sense would tell you that he will only improve in year 2. I’m not one to disagree with Thomas Paine, so Kuechly will appear at the top of my rankings, but he likely won’t be on any of my teams. Unlike the top Linemen, the top Linebackers are not worth reaching for in 2013.

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As we start rolling out the 2013 IDP Rankings here at Razzball, I thought I would start with the easiest position first. JJ Watt is the consensus #1 IDP this year, and his 2012 numbers were even more impressive than those of Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson considering he was a 3-4 Defensive End. While you might have trouble deciding between a gamut of players to take first at any other position, you can rest easy knowing that Watt should be the first DL taken and that it took me three tries before correctly spelling gamut.

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