Well folks, preseason games have come and gone, and we are inching ever closer to Week 1 of the NFL regular season. Even though these exhibition games don’t count toward teams’ win-loss records, they are far from meaningless for fantasy football managers. New coaches, new players, and a new year present a great deal of uncertainty for IDP rosters, but preseason games can give us a glimpse of what to expect for the next 18 weeks. Keeping a close eye on which players are playing, and perhaps more importantly who isn’t playing in preseason games allows us the opportunity to piece together how defensive coordinators plan to use our IDPs and helps us deduce just how large of a role they’ll have.

“But wait, I haven’t been watching these glorified practices! What am I supposed to do now?!” Don’t worry, my friend, I knew you’d be busy enjoying the last few weeks of summer, so I went ahead and paid all the attention for you! Take a look at my Top 100 Overall IDP Rankings below, and read further to see my biggest winner and biggest loser from Preseason 2021.

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Hello again to all the IDP degenerates out there! Like it or not, you have stumbled onto the third and final set of position rankings for the 2021 season: Defensive Backs. If you missed the first two articles, make sure to check out the rankings for Linebackers and Defensive Line/EDGE. 

These DB rankings will include both safeties and cornerbacks, but you’ll notice the list is overwhelmingly safety-heavy. Corners provide a rare instance in which being a great real-life player does not translate to fantasy production. If the defense boasts a shut-down corner, offenses are less likely to throw his way, meaning fewer opportunities for tackles, pass break-ups, or interceptions, aka fantasy points. Even those corners who are targeted are often inconsistent fantasy producers on a week to week basis, since much of their production depends on where the opposing quarterback chooses to throw the ball. Safeties, however, generally provide much more consistency on the stat sheet, and are therefore more reliable assets for your IDP lineups. Like linebackers, look for safeties who are 3-down players, and preferably those who spend a lot of time in the box assisting in run support. More time in the box means the player is closer to the action, and therefore more likely to achieve tackle numbers that a deep safety will not. 

As always, it is important to know your league’s lineup requirements and scoring settings before you draft. Some leagues split defensive backs into cornerbacks and safeties, requiring the you start one or more of each. Other leagues may lump them together, but give cornerback stats an added boost to bring their value closer to safeties. These leagues are far from the most common, but still worth mentioning before getting into the rankings. Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s dig in!

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Welcome back for IDP Rankings Round 2! This week we take at the players that keep your favorite quarterbacks up at night: defensive linemen/edge rushers. A strong pass rush is critical for a defense in today’s pass-happy NFL, and a well-timed sack on an important 3rd down can swing the momentum like few plays can.

For the sake of these rankings, defensive tackles, defensive ends, and 3-4 outside linebackers are included together. It is important to know your league’s scoring, however, understand these rankings properly. Many leagues include DT/DE/OLB players as one position (like I’ve done), while some lump outside linebackers with inside linebackers. If you play in one of the latter, a player like TJ Watt may lose some value when competing with top tacklers like Darius Leonard and Roquan Smith for a spot in your lineup. Meanwhile, you may encounter a league which requires you to start defensive tackles as an entirely different position than defensive end, which will make players such as Aaron Donald or DeForest Buckner that much more valuable.

Bottom line is this: knowing the scoring and positional requirements for your leagues is absolutely critical to understanding player values and leaving your IDP drafts with a championship caliber roster. Anyway, enough lallygagging, let’s take closer look at the DL/EDGE players for the 2021 season.

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With training camps starting up this week, it’s time to get defensive!

“Wait, defense??? You mean those nameless guys that try to stop my running backs and wide receivers from scoring fantasy points?”

Yes! Well, sort of… Believe it or not, there are those of us so depraved that we actually play in fantasy football leagues that include Individual Defensive Players (IDPs); With this first set of rankings, we’ll focus on the heart of those IDP rosters, the linebackers. With linebackers, much like running backs (perhaps even more so), you should focus on full-time players who rarely leave the field. Generally, more snaps = more opportunities to produce statistics, a.k.a. fantasy points. These rankings will reflect just that.

“Yeah, yeah, I get it. I should roster LBs who play a lot… not exactly rocket science, pal. Just tell me who they are! Name names!”

Wow, impatient much? Ok, ok, fine! Without further ado, here are the top 40 linebackers for 2021 redraft leagues. Enjoy!

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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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