As those fruit-infused wheat beer selections are replaced with “Ocktoberfest” on store shelves the reverb of polycarbonate crunching on Sundays begins to run flag patterns in your subconscious. This indication of summer’s fleeting grasp also impacts the “new car smell” of your fantasy football cheat-sheet. Those rankings you printed out and taped to the inner portion of your wallet might require a microwave nuking. New information introduced to an open market causes exchange value to spiral and spike. Injuries, positions battles, and some intangible attitude adjustments are shaking out daily in the IDP circuit. So, shaking off sweaty summertime memories can help you avoid a static roster, which allows you to harvest some fresh defensive sustenance. Classified by Jay-Z tracks (love it or hate it he controls the hip-hop stock market), here are a few individual defensive players that have shown some upward mobility in my previous rankings template, and might help you sip pumpkin-spiced ale atop the fake football standings from week-to-week:

Can’t Knock the Hustle

Aldon Smith (SF – LB/DL) Cast him as the Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow (no-brainer) of this IDP “stock up” piece for 3 reasons: A) Smith is an outside linebacker with DL eligibility. B) Smith has shown great pass rushing instincts this preseason (Preseason: 19 total tackles and 3.5 Sacks). C) Smith has DL eligibility. This is important if you haven’t noticed.

Big Pimpin’

Derrick Johnson (KC – LB) Johnson’s ready to enter elite status by all accounts this preseason. I might consider bumping him up to the top tier with Terrell Thomas’ injury (13 total tackles, a sack, a pick, and 3 passes defended in limited action this preseason). Johnson is a great consolation prize after the top 5 ‘backers head off the board like Ichabod Crane.


Thomas Davis (CAR – LB) Ron Rivera wants people to understand that Mr. Davis might be serving some Bitches Brew to opposing ball carriers (11 tackle preseason game performance). Back from injury, Davis is set to start at LB for a team that will lose Mr. Elite Jon Beason for an indefinite period of time.

A Star is Born

Von Miller (DEN – LB) For the record, we shouldn’t get too carried away with preseason stats. However, Arian Foster showcased some skills a preseason ago and won some leagues for some guys and girls. If a guy scores more playing time these “for fun” type contests start to give us a tiny looking glass into playmaking upside. Von has playmaking upside. Von will start. Von wears the same glasses as Joe Madden. Von is worth a flier in redraft leagues and is a potential top 50 defender in keeper leagues (limited by position eligibility).


Taylor Mays (CIN – DB) If you play in a league with less than 12 teams Mays should be off your radar quicker than a UFO in Roswell, NM (was it even there in the first place?). If you play in a deep keeper league this could be an intriguing pick up. He made the team, but is not yet a starter. Making the team AND looking solid in his final preseason game augments his IDP value.

  1. jonnycat says:

    Fred Jackson or Joseph Addai this week?

  2. Doc

    Doc says:

    @jonnycat: I’m leaning Addai. They’ll rely on him if Peyton is out

  3. In our keeper league, our as usual on it, site commisioner , changes eligibility at will & is usually quick to do so. Like Mario is a lb, so is Dumerville & Aldon Smith. Yet , i got the catch as i have Kiawanuka as a dl. The 1 he didn’t change. Smith has upside , but if u can get Mathias for the de. Much better upside.

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:

      I like do like Kiwi @ DE, but from from a “stock up” perspective Smith gets the nod due to his performance this preseason combined with a low “name value” at the moment. Kiwanuka is a more popular pick and I would draft him in a DE spot; however, Smith is more of the late round quiet assassin. Also, Dumervil is actually taking reps at end, so your commish might want to adjust the eligibility on that one. Best of luck!

  4. Brodes

    Brodes says:

    @Joseph Buccellato: Great points! My take is the DL position is paper thin, so after the top 10 guys are drafted you’re essentially playing match-ups with the remaining talent. Why not roster a player with the potential to log more tackles at DL? With shallow positions in fake sports it either pays to go expensive and draft early or focus on other positions and play-match-ups. Call me old school, but that’s the way I get down. Thanks for the awesome link!

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