When looking at defensive back rankings you’ll notice a fair amount of variance. Scoring systems play a role, but attempting to predict how many passes a player will “defense” or intercept is far from a science. It is why the top of most IDP rankings are filled with safeties with high tackle profiles and not the highly touted cornerbacks. Here I’ll highlight players 26-50 after covering 1-25 last week.

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Defensive back rankings can be highly variable based upon your scoring system and even with that, there is a lot of year to year fluctuations especially at cornerback. If you read my DB drafting strategy article you know that my advice is to wait on drafting them.  Yes there are some elite players, but in general, the production from this position varies from week to week based upon who the player is going up against and what you expect the game flow to be. This is the most streamable position in IDP leagues, especially if the league separates out the safety and cornerback positions.  

The reliability of the linebacker position to get you points and the lack of depth at the defensive line position should lead you to drafting them first before going after defensive backs. The main exception is if you play in a very tackle heavy format where getting one the top safeties could be an advantage. Regardless, safeties remain the backbone of combined rankings as the volatility of corners on a week to week basis is what makes them streaming candidates.

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When I wrote about the top 25 defensive lineman, it was easy to get excited about it. There were players who got you revved up when thinking about their explosiveness coming off the ball, dominating the offensive lineman and putting a hit on the quarterback.  

Writing about the next 25 conjures up very little of those feelings. Historically, this is the shallowest position for IDP leagues as once you get past the top 10-20 players, there is very little difference in the next 30-40. Last year in my home league (scoring was 0.5/tackle, 3/sack/FF/INT, so big play skewed), Joey Bosa finished as DL22 with 4.16 ppg.  Brian Burns was DL51 with 3.12 ppg. That’s only 1 ppg difference between those two players. Is it better to have Bosa, well of course, but over a season, it probably made little difference in your record on a week to week basis. Now this may change a bit with the change in position designation by some sites as many OLBs will be designated at Edge and moved into the defensive line category. This will expand the choices at defensive line and make this group of 25 more interesting. I’ll cover this topic as we get more clarity as to what most sites will do.

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In the trenches of their team defenses, linemen can be the key to your IDP draft. Until I’m blue in the face I will say it over and over again: make sure you know your scoring system. Do you want a lineman with a high sack upside or someone in the interior who will produce tackles? Does your league separate out DE/Edge and DT? Does the hosting site have TJ Watt and Shaq Barrett as linebackers or Edge rusher? It’s simple to state that you need to know your rules but you’d be surprised at the number of fantasy players that don’t. Another aspect of drafting IDPs is how does their scoring compare to their offensive counterparts? This will help you decide when to jump into the defensive side of your draft. For those starting out with IDP, I’ll be covering draft strategies in upcoming articles and you’ll find out why you may want to prioritize this position over the more popular linebackers.

My rankings are based on a balanced scoring system (3:1 ratio of big play points to tackle points). If your league leans big play or tackle heavy, then some adjustments may be necessary.  

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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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2017 Rankings: Top 200 (Standard, Half-PPR, PPR) | QBRB (Standard, Half-PPR, PPR) | WR (Standard, Half-PPR, PPR) | TE (Standard, Half-PPR, PPR) | K | DST

IDP Rankings: Top 100 | DL | LB | DB

Dynasty Rankings: Top 200QB | RB | WR | TE | Top-50 Rookies

2016 Accuracy Rank QB RB WR TE K DST
Weekly Rankings 9 31 5 27 40 9 4
Draft Rankings 3 66 10 7 23 66 112

Even though I’m not one to pat myself on the back (actually, I am), Razzball has been on an upward curve, bringing some sort of conglomerate synergistic metamorphosis (as they say in the corporate world), providing you an ever-improving ranking accuracy year after year. How do we do it? No clue. It could be dark wizardry. It could be indigestion. It could even be your mother. But I have to admit, this year is going to be daunting, if only because the expectations we’ve placed on ourselves here at Razzball Football are at an all time high (just like my college years). Going from 31st overall to 22nd in Weekly Fantasy Football accuracy is one thing. But going from 22nd to the top 10 in the entire nation last season is quite another. And then on top of that, to finish third overall in our Draft Rankings last year… well, it’d be folly to try and say “Yes, we’re going to try even more, (more better if you believe in remedial English)”, but yeah, I’m going to say it… We’re going to do more better. (My English teacher just placed a bounty on me.) With that said, and my parentheses key broken, here are your 2017 Fantasy Football IDP Top 100 Overall Rankings

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As I mentioned in last week’s rankings, this will be my last IDP post on Razzball for the foreseeable future. And fittingly, the only people it really applies to are the die hard IDP fans that are reading a weekly rankings article during Week 17. If your league is still holding it’s championship this week, I strongly urge you to change that next year. However, this year you’re in luck because no team looks to be resting its starters. So unless you lost guys like Eric Weddle or Barry Church last week, you’re most likely good to go with your typical starters again in Week 17.

So without further ado, here are my final rankings of 2015. Happy New Year everyone, and good luck with your championship games!

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If you’re reading this, then you’re in your league’s championship game. Either that or you play in one of those weird leagues that end in Week 17, in which case I’ll still have rankings for you next week, but my thoughts here essentially still apply: Don’t get cute. You’re still playing because you have a dominant roster that has likely caught a few breaks here and there en route to a successful season. Remember who got you here, and don’t overthink things. That’s not to say that every lineup decision is going to be easy, but don’t let a good matchup for a guy like Justin Durant blur the fact that Bobby Wagner is still the correct play.

Here are a few things to watch for in Championship Week:

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