As IDP presence grows in Fantasy Football so will the depth of analysis. I was tasked with composing a list of the top 100 linebackers. For a large percentage of those reading this article Part 1 will be overkill, but I implore you to plow through it and you may find a player, or even a handful, that you can file away as the season develops and players get hurt.
My rankings are based on a blend of PPT (projected playing time), previous track record, ability to rack up tackles (point per SOLO tackle is the norm), ability to sack the QB (4 points) and wreak havoc (forced fumbles=3 points). Ability to cover RB’s/TE’s is reflected in passes defensed and an occasional pick. TFL (tackles for loss) also are taken into account. There is one other important avenue worth exploring: defensive scheme of each NFL team (it will be either a 3-4, a 4-3 or a mixed front). THE IDP GURU is one of many reputable sources that can further expound on the X’s and O’s, as well as the statistical implications of Inside Linebackers, Outside Linebackers and Mike (Middle Linebacker).
CODES: ILB= inside LB OLB=outside LB MLB= Mike (aka middle LB) TW= tweeners (players that are listed as DL or LB depending on the service)
NOTE: when referencing tackles I’m talking about SOLO TACKLES. If Assists also count in your league, bear in mind that, in general, MIKE’s and ILB’s outperform OLB’s
100) OLB Devon Kennard, Lions– career never took off in New York. But packs a punch and could surprise in the rare league that fields a full defensive squad
99) OLB Barkevious Mingo, Seahawks– mostly a special teams/ spot player in GB. Call it a hunch but I bet this is the case of a professional athlete getting a once in a lifetime shot. Late round gamble material
98) OLB Alex Anzalone, Saints– looks like Clay Mathews and supposedly has a burst. Rookie year was wiped out by injury, Desperation only
97) ILB Tyler Matekevich, Steelers– Outland Trophy winner in 2017 (Temple) who was given a shot as a crash test dummy special teams guy. Not only was he effective, but actually played some after Shazier and others got injured. Someone has to tackle someone for the Steelers….
96) ILB/MLB Mant’i Teo, Saints– over-hyped coming out of college. Has the speed to cover lots of ground but can be manhandled. Even if he doesn’t start, he will rack up tackles for a highly improved New Orleans defense. Late round reserve type
95) MLB Blair Brown, Jaguars– sandwiched between Telvin and Miles on the best defense in the league. Worthy of a pick ONLY as a backup
94) ILB Jon Bostic, Steelers– steady player that lacks wow factor. To be considered only on humongous IDP rosters
93) OLB Lorenzo Alexander, Bills– how can you not love a guy whose nickname is ONE MAN GANG? Archaic (34) by NFL defensive player standards he’s listed only because the last two years were good (and his best). Buyer beware but as a last pick YES
92) OLB Preston Smith, Redskins (TW)– doesn’t get many tackles but if your league overvalues sacks this is a solid choice as a fill-my-lineup type
91) OLB Josh Martin, Jets– auditions are open for the J-E-T-S. Playing at home now (went to COLUMBIA, the school not the country!) and with opportunity on a team that could surprise. Watch list material only
90) ILB Josh Bynes, Cardinals– played in college with Cam Newton at Auburn. This is his third stop in the league and first as a starter. Longshot pick only
89) MLB Vincent Rey, Bengals– solid veteran that can be a tackling machine. IF he beats Preston Brown out for the job a valid choice in middle to deep leagues
88) OLB Ramon Humber, Bills– seasoned vet who could play a role on an underrated Bills defense
87) ILB B.J Goodson, Giants– can play either inside or outside. Played well for half a season before getting hurt. Racked up some big tackle games but that may have been due to the Giants ineptitude. Worthy of a look only in deep leagues
86) OLB Kendall Beckwith, Bucs– surprised as a rookie with 60 tackles .While the Kwonster and Lavonte, for good reason, get all the fantasy community buzz Beckwith slips way below the radar. Solid late rounder in deeper leagues
85) OLB Todd Davis, Denver– a couple of respectable 50 tackle seasons will get you mentioned in the top 100. To be considered only in the deepest of water
84) OLB Jordan Jenkins, Jets– big and young. Will get plenty of opportunity but due to the glut of good OLB’s would have to be considered only Watch List worthy right now
83) OLB Nick Perry, Packers– USC product. Can rush the passer well but is injury prone and hasn’t proven to be anything other than “just a guy” in larger roster IDP formats
82) ILB Jake Ryan, Packers– can play inside or outside, none of them that noteworthy. Watch List fodder only
81) OLB Matt Longacre, Rams (TW)– broke out as a pass rushing specialist (5.5 sacks) after two years of riding the pine. Call it the low risk/ better reward late round gambit
80) OLB Craig Robertson, Saints– made a smooth transition from LB. Currently listed as a backup but will play plenty and would make a solid #3 LB
79) OLB Stephone Anthony, Dolphins– only three years removed from the All- Rookie team is supposedly healthy and poised to bang some heads. Deep sleeper status nonetheless
78) ILB John Simon, Colts– (TW) opportunity is there , motive is there but does he have the three down ability that is a drafters dream? playing on the Colts makes him a possible, maybe in deep leagues
77) SUPER SLEEPER ALERT – OLB Samson Ebukam, Rams– barely played last year but this is a good example of a project draft pick that could surprise. Monitor progress for now but if the hype train accelerates put him on the watch list immediately
76) ILB Mason Foster, Redskins– strong run stopper that could be a factor in multi linebacker setups and a staple in Gigantor leagues/roster
75) OLB A.J Klein, Saints– nothing special but showed signs back in the Carolina days filling in for Kuechly. Last year, in New Orleans, he logged more minutes but stats were unimpressive. Slated to start on a defense that no longer sucks breeds optimism. Late round pick only
tie 75) MLB Raekwon Mcmillan, Dolphins– this year’s 2nd round draft pick from Ohio State looks the part. Expected to man the middle between Alonso and Anthony. COULD SURPRISE
74) ILB Don’ta Hightower, Patriots– coming off back-to-back dismal seasons will keep owners away. Keep a close eye on him, if healthy could be a dynamic value
73) OLB Nick Vigil, Bengals– more mediocre than good but could retain a starting spot even after Vontaze Burfict returns from his annual suspension
72) OLB Dee Ford, Chiefs (TW)– hopes to shake off a rough year badly derailed by injury. Supposedly given a starting job, along with Justin Houston could wreak havoc in backfields across America
71) MLB Derrick Johnson, Raiders– coin flip situation . Is 35 too old for a LB? Surely, the last three years have shown a decline from very good to mediocre. Perhaps Gruden and playing with the Raiders can rejuvenate him? As a spare LB, jump on it. As a prime player, look elsewhere
That concludes the first part of a five part series. Over the next three weeks I’ll disclose the remainder of the Top 100.
SO LONG FOR NOW,
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday July 8th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #128 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Kyle Klinker. Kyle has been an owner in MLFS baseball, and basketball leagues for over 5 years. He also has a couple of championships under his belt over that span in some tough leagues. We loving refer to him as “The Red Rocket.”
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts, and James Wilk live July 12th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #84 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. This is our kick of show for the 2018 fantasy football season. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will discuss everything AFC South!