Good news, you can stop holding your breath. Individual Defensive Player top 100 revealed (***waves smelling salts at computer monitor***).

These rankings form an upside projection, position scarcity, injury risk analysis, and playing time composite, which equates to a tackling and tipped pass totem pole of tremendousness. Important note, I’m basing these rankings on a very vanilla league scoring system (documented in italics below) melded with a slice of grittiness and gut-check intuition. I would prefer allotting higher point totals across the board but I, like Johnny Mayer, feel the gravity of public perception. That’s right a John Mayer reference. These rankings will experience fluctuation throughout the preseason, so envision this as the primer on the canvas you’re about to go all Jackson Pollock on. As a bonus, I’ve chunked the top 100 in 10 packs and headlined each tier with a Legendary Roots crew song title. IDP = fantasy’s weird looking 2nd cousin AND The Roots = hip hop’s live instrument heavy weight. There’s a connection there I swear.  Enjoy and happy IDP’ing to all!

1)     Scoring 2) Ranking Key
1)     Solo Tackle = 1.0, Tackle Assist = 0.5, INT = 6, Forced Fumble = 4, Sack = 6, Fumble Recovery = 4, Pass Defense = 3, Blocked FG/Punt = 3, Defensive TD = 6, Safety = 2

2)     (Team- Positional Ranking) — 45 LB ranked, 35 DBs ranked, and  20 DL ranked

 Do You Want More?!!!??!

  1. Patrick Willis (SF – LB 1) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  2. Jon Beason (CAR – LB 2) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  3. Jerod Mayo (NE – LB 3) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  4. Justin Tuck (NYG – DL 1) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  5. Lawrence Timmons (PIT –LB 4) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  6. Jared Allen (MIN – DL 2) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  7. Eric Berry (KC – DB 1) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  8. Ray Lewis (BAL – LB 5) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  9. Terrell Thomas (NYG – DB 2) – Outlook defined within Installment 1 (OUT FOR SEASON)
  10. James Harrison (PIT – LB 6) – Outlook defined within Installment 1

The Next Movement

  1. Paul Posluszny (JAX –LB 7) – Hardnosed offensive line challenger inserts himself into a domesticated Jaguar defense.
  2. LaRon Landry (WAS – DB 3) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  3. Curtis Lofton (ATL – LB 8) – Breakout expected last year. He thinks he’s ready to breakout this year.
  4. Ndamukong Suh (DET – DL 3) –  Outlook defined within installment 1
  5. Stephen Tulloch (DET – LB 9) – Whether Music City Country or Mo-Town Soul Jim Schwartz wants to give this guy the MIKE on D.
  6. Brian Urlacher (CHI – LB 10) – He’s old right? Funny, he just tackled people 126 times last year and captains a cold-weather defensive unit revived by a hint of Orange and Navy Julius (Peppers).
  7. James Laurinaitis (STL – LB 11) – A slightly smaller Urlacher body double plays in a division allergic to the pass so should see a plethora of tackling opportunities.
  8. Osi Umenyiora (NYG – DL 4) – Outlook defined within installment 1 (INJURED: Seek Jason Pierre-Paul in the interim!)
  9. Derrick Johnson (KC – LB 12) – Talk is cheap, but heck, I’m buying the hype after a ballerific type year in ’10.
  10. Julius Peppers (CHI – DL 5) – Outlook defined within installment 1

Rolling with Heat

  1. London Fletcher (WAS – LB 13) – I will not bet against London until he misses a game for once. Never calls out sick, which makes him the Alex Trebek of IDP ‘backers.
  2. Barrett Ruud (Ten – LB 14) – His name might remind you of a bluegrass-oriented American Idol contestant, but Barrett’s game is to consistently bring football players to the field turf.
  3. Lance Briggs (CHI – LB 15) – A consistent playmaker in Urlacher’s entourage that dipped below the tackle century mark last year. I probably won’t target him at this price; however, the guy’s track record speaks for itself.
  4. Trent Cole (PHI – DL 6) –The DL position could use a Rogaine treatment, because after Cole it starts to thin out like a young Andre Agassi.
  5. DeMarcus Ware (DAL – LB 16) – Sack-Master-Flex pulled the QB down 16 times last year with 66 total tackles. I can see him replicating a similar line at the ripe old age of 29.
  6. D.J. Williams  (DEN – LB 17) – The guy might have accepted unspecified favors, money, and unlimited buy-one-get-one passes to a burrito joint in Coral Gables, FL. From an IDP perspective, I’m still drafting him.
  7. T.J. Ward (CLE – DB 4) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  8. Patrick Chung (NE – DB 5) – Outlook defined within Installment 1
  9. Desmond Bishop (GB – LB 18) – Could push into The Next Movement tier if he can make it 2 successful seasons in a row patrolling the frozen tundra as a 3-4 middle man.
  10. Chad Greenway (MIN – LB 19) – This might be a shade low, as the guy is essentially Barrett Ruud. Practices against a top-flight running back and provides value solely on textbook tackling.


  1. David Harris (NYJ – LB 20)
  2. Yeremiah Bell (MIA – DB 6)
  3. Charles Johnson  (CAR – DL 7)
  4. DeMeco Ryans (HOU – LB 21)
  5. Elvis Dumervil  (DEN – DL 8**) – **Assumes he acquires DL eligibility.
  6. Robert Mathis (IND – DL 9)
  7. Brian Cushing (HOU – LB 22)
  8. David Hawthrone (SEA – LB 23)
  9. Eric Weddle (SD – DB 7)
  10. Jonathan Vilma (NO – LB 24)


  1. Charles Woodson (GB – DB 8)
  2. D’Qwell Jackson (CLE – LB 25) – Sleeper.
  3. Rolando McClain (OAK – LB 26) – Sleeper.
  4. Roman Harper (NO – DB 9)
  5. Mario Williams (HOU – DL 10) – Sleeper.
  6. Tyvon Branch (OAK – DB 10)
  7. Antoine Bethea  (IND – DB 11)
  8. Bradie James (DAL – LB 27)
  9. Karlos Dansby (MIA – LB 28)
  10. Joe Haden (CLE – DB 12)

Now or Never

  1. Thomas Davis (CAR – LB 29)
  2. Clay Matthews (GB LB 30)
  3. Dawan Landry (JAX – DB 13)
  4. Earl Thomas (SEA – DB 14) – Sleeper.
  5. Nick Barnett (BUF – LB 31)
  6. Darnell Dockett (ARI – DL 11)
  7. James Anderson (CAR – LB 32)
  8. Bernard Pollard (BAL – DB 15)
  9. Donte Whitner (SF – DB 16)
  10. James Farrior (PIT – LB 33)


  1. Stewart Bradley (ARI – LB 34) Sleeper.
  2. Tramon Williams (GB – DB 17)
  3. Aldon Smith (SF – DL** 12) **Outside ‘backer with DL eligibility.
  4. Rey Maualuga (CIN – LB 35)
  5. Troy Polamalu (PIT – DB 18)
  6. Oshiomogho Atogwe (WAS – DB 19)
  7. LaMarr Woodley (PIT – LB 36)
  8. Geno Hayes/Quincy Black/Mason Foster (TB Linebackers – LB 37) – Pulled my hair out trying to separate this group, so thought it’d be fitting for them all to occupy the same preseason rank. Essaywhuman?
  9. Gary Brackett (IND – LB 38)
  10. Justin Smith (SF – DL 13)


  1. DeAngelo Hall (WAS – DB 20)
  2. Kyle Williams (BUF – DL 14)
  3. Nick Collins (GB – DB 21)
  4. Mathias Kiwanuka (NYG – DL 15)
  5. Marcell Dareus (BUF – DL 16)
  6. Daryl Washington (ARI – LB 39)
  7. Ed Reed (BAL –DB 22)
  8. Cameron Wake (MIA – LB 40)
  9. William Moore (ATL – DB 23)
  10. Terrell Suggs (BAL – LB** 41) **Bump up 3 tiers if DL eligible.

Rising Down

  1.  A.J. Hawk (GB – LB 42)
  2. Devin McCourty (NE – DB 24)
  3. John Abraham (ATL – DL 17)
  4. Takeo Spikes  (SD – LB 43)
  5. Brent Grimes (ATL – DB 25)
  6. Chris Hope (TEN – DB 26)
  7. George Wilson (BUF – DB 27)
  8. Chris Long (STL- DL 18)
  9. Ray Edwards (ATL – DL 19)
  10. Charles Godfery (CAR – DB 28)

Don’t Feel Right

  1. Michael Huff (OAK – DB 29)
  2. Jamar Chaney (PHI – LB 44) – Sleeper.
  3. Ronde Barber (TB – DB 30)
  4. Greg Toler (ARI – DB 31)
  5. Carlos Dunlap/Derrick Morgan (CIN/TEN – DL 20.5) – Two sophomore defensive lineman to target.
  6. Morgan Burnett (GB – DB 32) – Sleeper.
  7. Jaiquawn Jarrett (PHI – DB 33)
  8. Aaron Curry (SEA – LB 45)
  9. Lardarius Webb ( BAL – DB 34) – Sleeper.
  10.  Adrian Wilson (ARI – DB 35**) **Bicep injury.

  1. ed says:

    just to let you know you have rolando listed as brown, got me exited as im a browns fan

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:

      Haha… Nice catch, consecutive sleepers must have tripped me up there.

  2. kurt says:

    In our league we can keep 2 defensive players regardless of where we drafted them. 1 point per tackle. 5 per asst, 3 for a sack or pick and 6 for a td. Who would you keep between David Harris, demeco Ryan’s, tj Ward, Chung, brad
    ie james and Bishop.

  3. Brodes

    Brodes says:

    @kurt: Seems like with that set-up you have to go tackle heavy. I’d say Bishop and David Harris, as they are the safest form of “pure tackler”. Ryans is risky, the DBs don’t get help with PDs, and Bradie James is a lottery ticket type.

  4. Topps says:

    Sorry , off topic but is Yahoo Fantasy NFL Down? I haven’t been able to log on for like 3 days. Just me?

  5. Brodes

    Brodes says:

    @Topps: I’m in using Google Chrome.

  6. Jim says:

    Outlook defined within Installment 1 ???

    Installment 1? Where do I find such?

  7. Lubey says:

    Sooo Ive decided to make my league IDP this year. I see you have the standard scoring listed but what is standard as far as positions started and bench space goes?? Btw Im loving The Roots references!

    Ohh and will you be updating your rankings on razz or do you have your own website that you will be updating with?? Im pretty clueless when it comes to IDP so Im most likely basing my entire draft off of your ranks.

  8. Brodes

    Brodes says:


    1) Depends on the number of teams to make your player depth challenging enough. 10 teams could breakdown as 3 LB 2 DB 2 DL and 1 Flex with at least 3/4 bench slots; or, 12 team move to 2, 2, 2, and 1. You see where I’m going? Just try to even out defensive starters w/ offensive starters if possible.

    2) Thanks! They deserved some love…

    3) Yep, I’ll maintain the rankings on the Razz, and stay tuned b/c these babies will be moving to a super-slick sort-able version similar to Doc’s soon…the anticipation is pretty overwhelming I must admit.

  9. John says:

    I really like mario williams this year as a sneaky play at the DL spot. Phillips has mentioned that williams will be playing a LB role similar to what Ware played in dallas. Could be a sneaky source of sacks and tackles with dual eligibility. Ala Elvis dumervil career year when making the 3-4 switch

  10. Buge Hoobs says:

    in my 10 team league where you start any 3 dp regardless of position, i drafted Luarinaitis, derrick johnson, and desmond bishop

    With the following scoring system, who do you think has more value as my bench dp ??

    sack, ff, int =4
    tackles, passes def =1
    asst tack =0.5

    palomalu, jared allen, woodson, or suggs?

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:

      Much of Allen’s value is derived from his position eligibility, so in that format I’d oddly say Woodson. I’m a little worried about Woodson holding up for 16 games with Shields knocking on the door, but Charles is the more consistent play in that league. Plus, seems pretty shallow, as far as roster’d players go, so you can always play the hot hand in a pinch.

  11. Buge Hoobs says:

    Typically in this format LBs outscore the other DP positions. Since you choose the DB over the LB in this question, there are other DBs available. So now I propose to you the following:

    Woodson, Tyvon Branch, Mikell, Y Bell, TJ Ward, or Rolando McClain (I had to throw in one more LB)

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:

      In that case here’s my take:
      (1) McClain= Greatest upside. In your format it’ll pay to play that ticket on the pine.
      (2) Ward = 2nd greatest upside.
      (3) Bell = Lower upside but consistent 90 to 100 tackle skill set.

      I’d prefer the upside play in a shallower format then you can adjust accordingly.

  12. Buge Hoobs says:

    Thanks Bro! I took palomalu as the man before Mr. Irrevelant knowing that I’d drop him. I’ll give McClain the spot !

  13. John says:

    Haha that’s awesome! Great minds think a like.. i also love Chaney this year

  14. Lubey says:

    Yo Brodes. Just joined a league which has scoring a little different than yours. 2 solo tackle, 1 assist, 5 sacks, 2 ff, 2fr, 1 pass defensed, 5 int. What does this do, if anything, to your rankings. Also the roster spots go 2 flex and 2 dbs, 12 teams. Im assuming LBs will be more valuable and will be both my flexes. Any suggestions on when to start drafting IDPs? I was told wait until most of your offense has been drafted. Any advice will help. Thanks man!!

  15. Brodes

    Brodes says:

    @Buge Hoobs: Cool man. I like Troy a lot in real football, but he’s just not consistent enough in IDP at this stage of his career. Does explode for insane points every 5/6 games just like his AFC North counterpart Ed Reed though.

    @John: Indeed! Chaney is a solid flier. Casey Matthews could sneak into the discussion as well, so keep an eye on that one.

    @Lubey: DL value plummets in that set-up, so make that adjustment to the above rankings. Look to grab elite talent at WR, RB, and QB first then you can stir the pot and try to pluck a Willis/Mayo/Beason type off the board by round 5 or 6 (assuming 12 teams).

    Also, it really all hinges on the points offensive players receive compared to IDPs. The question is: who will score the most points week to week? Is it PPR? 2 QB? 3 WRs? The strategies will quickly change in each format.

  16. Buge Hoobs says:


    What do you make of Laurinaitis’ and his pec and improved supporting staff situation.

    I just noticed that Hawthorne is available in my 3 man dp league. I have Laurinaitis, DJohnson, Bishop and McClain. Do I drop Laurinaitis or McClain for Hawthorne?

  17. Brodes

    Brodes says:

    @Buge Hoobs: I’d take Hawthrone over McClain in that format.

  18. Haley Joe Osmond says:

    We play 1 IDP. I have Willis, but it looks like he got hurt. I want to pick someone up just to be safe. Who do you like the most out of these?
    Derrick johnson, London fletcher, Lawrence timmons, james harrison, justin tuck, kevin Burnett, colin mccarthy, daryl Washington… maybe anyone I failed to mention?

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:

      Not certain of your scoring settings, but I’d say Derrick Johnson is your man against the Jets next week.

  19. Haley Joe Osmond says:

    Its standard scoring. Thanks!

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