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Defensive Position Rankings

“The Wizard of Goz” Top 100 Linebackers 2018 – PRIME BEEF (40-18)

You have now officially entered the PERTINENT ZONE. In effect, the common league (12-Teams) and the common LB’s (2) would equal 24 “starters.” Add to that the smart play of having a 3rd guy just in case and the players you will see in this segment and next week should be valid IDP options this year. COMMON SENSE TIP- PAY ATTENTION TO TRAINING CAMP/EXHIBITION SEASON developments (particularly injuries) and act accordingly.

In doing the research for the top 100, I stumbled upon an interesting article that “defined” the “peak” zone based on position. In essence, a linebacker’s general peak is around 26 years old. For the purposes of this article — ” * “ WILL DENOTE A PLAYER CLOSE ENOUGH (25-27 years old as of opening day this season). For more in-depth reasoning follow this link 

40) OLB Thomas Davis, Panthers– lots of miles, but does have 50 tackles or more six years in a row. Call me a snob, but I’d take an upside 25 year-old or under youngster with upside instead

39) OLB Clay Mathews, Packers– best years are way gone but still a threat to get to the QB and wreak havoc. Good best ball hunch but don’t overpay

38) OLB Kiko Alonso, Dolphins– absolute stat compiling beast as a rookie patrolling the middle for Buffalo in 2013. But lost the next year to injury and in 2015 moved to Philly and played sparingly. Still only 28 years old and coming off two good, not great seasons with the Miami. Decent second LB on your squad in a pinch

37)*LB Kyle Van Noy, Patriots– solid tackler who can rush QB. Emerged in year three and listed as one of the two (not a misprint) starting LB’s by the Cloak and Secrecy Society (aka New England). Could be a valid starter or bench fodder. Good luck

36) OLB Jamie Collins, Browns– seasoned veteran that is borderline relevant especially with Cleveland’s stocked LB cupboard.  Still a plug and play in deep leagues with benches

35) M/ILB Tahir Whitehead, Raiders– this guy is no secret to the serious IDP nation. In spite of “tapering off” to 78 tackles last year. A tremendous pickup by the Silver & Black and a SOLID IDP selection in 2018

34) OLB T.J Watt, Steelers– shares the prolific passion of his Big Bro. His Rookie season, even for a #1 pick, was solid. Showed the ability to rush QB, tackle, and even fallback in coverage. Not a must own yet, but as a second or third linebacker in a deep league, OH YEAH

33) ILB K.J Wright, Seahawks– underrated and often underowned. Solid veteran player that will rack up 70 tackles and dismember a few RB’s along the way

32) ILB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys– has freak-like skills but played the equivalent of only one big ass NFL season while a collegiate. If he can fill the stat sheet half as well (tackles galore, lots of sacks and ass kicking) he’ll be fine. One thing is for sure he will get a HUGE CHANCE on a team with a LOUSY defense. Buy quickly as your 2nd LB knowing that he’s a bit on the thin side and will get manhandled at times

31) OLB (TW) Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins– seven years and hasn’t missed a game. OneImage result for ryan kerrigan pic of the most consistent pass rushing LB’s.  By mistake, at least ten sacks and plenty of value especially in leagues with OLB requirements

30) OLB Justin Houston, Chiefs– solid bounceback from major injury. Name recognition may alter actual worth but absolutely an ideal player to pair with a top flight inside/MIKE linebacker

29) *OLB Nigel Bradham, Eagles– good player not known by the average fan. Can cover RB’s and TE’s as well as smother the running game. Sterling choice as your last defender taken

28) ILB/OLB  Danny Trevathan, Bears– injury plagued hellion who if healthy could rack up 75 tackles as well as other statistical morsels. In a twelve team league , if he’s your 2nd LB- BE HAPPY

27) MLB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills– stud rookie that may be too young (20 years old!) but has sideline to sideline speed and likes to clobber. Risky situation, BUT If you have the stones, give him a tryout as your #2 LB or #1 MLB

26) *OLB (TW) Jadeveon Clowney, Texans– Pro Bowl player last year who is still improving. Don’t be shy ESPECIALLY if miscast as a DE

25) ILB Avery Williamson, Jets– normally I’m not a Captain Pile-On (lots of assists) but seeing to the fact that he’s now in the Big Apple… Good speculative lineup filler

24) *MLB Preston Brown, Bengals– holy moley, does this guy ever fill up the tackle column! He’s only 26 and may still be improving. Solid Mike choice with the caveat that the Bengals also have another valid guy in Vincent Rey that could steal time

23) ILB Roquan Smith, Bears– rookie LB’s are often a dicey proposition. That is why you’ll see this ex-Georgia Dawg ranked from very high to barely in the top ten. I’m thinking he’s a great fix on a decent defense that will make his mark THIS YEAR. Top 20 LB but with trepidation

22) ILB Mark Barron, Rams– great athlete that has transformed from a hard-hitting safety to one of the best ILB’s in the game. As safe a pick as there is in point per tackle formats. GO TIDE

21) *ILB Benardick McKinney, Texans– on the rise beast that will be available a lot later than he should be

20) OLB Miles Jack, JaguaImage result for myles jack picrs– what a difference a year makes (first year was dreadful). Only 23 years old. Game breaking upper echelon is possible. Enjoy the show

19) *MLB Eric Kendricks, Vikings– a vital cog in the best defense in the NFC last year. Expect high amounts of tackles and some peripheral stats

18) ILB Brandon Marshall, Broncos– one of the few that could come close to 100 tackles, even on a team with some of the best LB talent in the NFL

 

NEXT WEEK we’ll venture into the no-brainer department with the illustrious TOP 17 LB selections for 2018

SO LONG FOR NOW
GOZ

 

 


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Intense sports lover . a writer who specializes in creative non- fiction almost always challenging the status quo. I've suffered but remain a staunch Atlanta Braves fan and this year became a seasons ticket holder with the Atlanta Falcons (Mercedes Benz Stadium is AMAZING!) . Very proud of my wife Kerrie and awesome children Christianna and Trai Van. Hoping to retire in a few years at the most and to finally get my golf game to the next level more than likely in a warmer climate...lastly I'm looking forward to contributing as a staff writer and being "on air" for Major League Fantasy Sports this season

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