In one of my fantasy leagues last season Calais Campbell was far and away the best defensive tackle, over twenty points clear of the next best tackle Aaron Donald. Neither Campbell nor Donald are listed by their NFL teams as defensive tackles however. One of these two players I have included in my rankings because he has defensive tackle eligibility on the majority of the sites I checked (three of four) in compiling my rankings. The other player I have not included because I only found him listed with tackle eligibility on one of the sites I researched. However, I bring this up because defensive ends with tackle eligibility are likely to gain you a bit of an advantage at your tackle position. Of course, the player will need ability, not only eligibility, to make a difference for your fantasy football teams, and I found only three that stood out.
20) Sheldon Rankins, New Orleans Saints – This is a speculative pick, Rankins’ fantasy stats last season weren’t impressive. Due to injury he played both inside at tackle and outside at end. This season he should play mostly inside, and teammates feel he is poised for a breakout season. In 2017 he was regularly able to put pressure on the quarterback, but converted these pressures into only two sacks. If he is able to convert his pressures into a few more sacks and add additional tackles this season he should definitely be able to reach this spot on the end of season rankings.
19) Jonathan Allen, Washington Redskins – Allen will be playing defensive end for Washington this year, but has a DT designation on several platforms. He will be playing next to former Alabama teammate and recent first round draft pick, Da’Ron Payne. This line is still a work in progress, but as these guys get more NFL experience their ability will begin to show. Allen this year should easily lead the Washington line in sacks and all other quarterback related stats.
18) Bennie Logan, Tennessee Titans – Logan is changing teams for the second consecutive season since leaving Philadelphia. In Kansas City last season he finished just inside of fantasy’s top twenty defensive tackles, and now in Tennessee playing next to Jurrell Casey, he should be able to maintain a spot in the rankings. Both Casey and Logan will benefit from playing next another quality tackle, and Logan’s strength is against the run.
17) Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles – Cox has been a regular on the defensive tackle rankings, and is coming off of another good season. However, with so many good lineman now on the Eagles team, Cox’s fantasy points have suffered. In 2017, Cox did miss two games, but his tackle numbers have nearly been cut in half. Playing next to Haloti Ngata may help.
16) Olsen Pierre, Arizona Cardinals – Olsen Pierre (who?) last season was a 26 year old rookie. After being signed by Chicago in 2015 and then cut, Arizona added him to their practice squad. It took a couple of years, but in 2017 he got his shot, and played in 14 games. He was re-signed to a one year deal in the off-season and will again start at defensive tackle for the Cardinals. In last season’s 14 games (seven starts) he amassed 5.5 sacks and 30 combined tackles.
15) Linval Joseph, Minnesota Vikings – Joseph is a high tackle defensive tackle who also gets a handful of sacks each year. In 2017 he had 40 solo tackles to go with 26 assists and 3.5 sacks. Newcomer Sheldon Richardson along with ends, Hunter and Griffin, should help keep defenses from always doubling Joseph.
14) Grady Jarrett, Atlanta Falcons – In 2017, Jarrett’s second season as a full time starter, he slightly increased his tackles by seven and his sacks by one. I look for Jarrett to maintain his consistency in the middle of this Falcons defense.
13) Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers – Clark, who was the Packers first round pick in 2016, was one of the most improved players on the Green Bay defense last season. With 55 combined tackles and 4.5 sacks in his first season as a full time starter expectations are high for Clark.
12) A’Shawn Robinson, Detroit Lions – the big man out of Alabama became a full time starter in 2017. His 53 combined tackles are similar to other guys ranking in this range, but his 0.5 sacks are below standard. What keeps him in this range is his knack for getting his arms up at the line and batting passes. If he can increase his sack totals he’d consistently rank among the top ten tackles.
11) David Irving, Dallas Cowboys – In 2017 Irving averaged the highest points per game among all defensive tackles. However he was suspended the first four games of the season due to a PED violation, and ended up only playing in 8 games, which kept him just outside of the top ten tackles in fantasy. This year he again will miss the first four games of the season, but this time because of a substance abuse violation. In 8 games last season Irving had 22 combined tackles and 7 sacks. He may not get nearly a one sack a game in 2018, but with more time on the field his numbers should still increase.
10) Michael Brockers, Los Angeles Rams – Brockers will move to the left defensive end position this season with Suh now in the middle. This is the best defensive line in football and Brockers will benefit like his teammates Donald and Suh with increased stats across the board.
9) Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals – Atkins regularly finishes among the top ten tackles in fantasy football. In 2017 he had 46 combined tackles and 9 sacks which put him near the top five, but I think the Bengals offense will be improved this season and Atkins will have fewer snaps, so I’m dropping him down to the 9th spot in the rankings.
8) Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – McCoy has also been a regular on the top defensive tackle rankings. What helps McCoy this most this season is the addition of tackle Vita Vea in the NFL draft. Vea should help Atkins in that teams will be able to key on him less and allow him room to make more plays. Also with the suspension of quarterback Jameis Winston, it looks as though the defense will be busy again this season.
7) Ndamukong Suh, Los Angeles Rams – Suh’s fantasy points were down a bit last season in Miami, but a change of scenery will lead to increased production again this season. Playing between Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers for the Rams this season should lead to the most one on one matchups Suh has scene since possibly his rookie season. He is getting older, but I look for him to bounce back in a big way this season.
6) Damon Harrison, New York Giants – Harrison has had 86 and then 76 combined tackles the last two seasons. In tackle heavy leagues he has to be one of the top defensive tackle targets. He doesn’t offer a lot of sacks, but with his tackle numbers all other stats are a bonus.
5) Jurrell Casey, Tennessee Titans – Casey is coming off of a year in which he had 60 combined tackles and 6 sacks. Tennessee has a young and improving defense, and Casey will again play a big role in 2018. New tackle, Bennie Logan, should help Casey find it easier to get to the quarterback this season.
4) Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers – Short has consistently finished with around 50 combined tackles and 8 sacks over the last three seasons. The Panthers added Dontari Poe this off-season, an improvement to the tackle position, which should only benefit Short and his fantasy stats in 2018.
3) Malik Jackson, Jacksonville Jaguars – Jackson is the best defensive tackle for the NFL’s best defense. I look for him to add to both his 40 combined tackles and 8 sacks as the Jaguars continue to reek havoc on opposing offenses in 2018.
2) DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49’ers – Buckner is the top tackle in leagues where Donald is only eligible as a defensive end. His numbers were down a bit after a great rookie season, but this was mainly due to more depth along the line which allowed the 49’ers to try to keep Buckner fresh. His tackle numbers are second highest to Damon Harrison, but Buckner hits a variety of other stat categories more consistently than most other tackles.
1) Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams – this will be Donald’s second year at the defensive end position in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense, however he still has a DT designation in many fantasy football platforms. In those platforms he is easily the top target at the DT position. 2017 was another great year for Donald with 11 sacks and 41 combined tackles, and he should only get better with the addition of Ndamukong Suh to the defensive line.
Check back over the next two weeks as I go over some of the top kick-off, and then punt returners, in the league that may be assets to your fantasy teams this year. As always, good luck this Fantasy Football season!
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday July 15th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #129 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.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts, James Wilk, and Coach Jeff Nelson live July 19th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #85 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will discuss everything NFC East!
Jeff has been a member of majorleaguefantasyports.com for 10 years, he is also a 3 time Major League Fantasy Football Champion, and was the defensive coach at White Hall H.S. in PA where Saquan Barkley went to H.S. Jeff clued us in on Barkley nearly 4 years ago on one of our football shows.