This is the closing article in the TOP 100 Linebackers (IDP purposes). Surely there are some that slipped through the net– it’s up to you to jot them down and rank accordingly. I tend to play in LIVE DRAFT leagues and use the old school method of making my own board. There are two ways to go with this, you could drag a list off the internet, ENLARGE IT and code it. You’ve seen them in the hands of NFL coaches, color coded with squiggles, arrows, symbols and the like. The only one that can understand it is THAT GUY. OR you can take the time to set up a simple EXCEL sheet with position and note columns, get the sucker blown up and mount it on one of those dumb ass shiny advertisement signs you see littering roads across America.
SEE BELOW the links to options 100-18
In doing the research for the top 100 I stumbled upon an interesting article that “defined” the peak zone based on position. In essence, linebackers in general peak 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
17) OLB Olivier Vernon, Giants– the former edge rushing DE didn’t impress with his new team and at a new position but with the addition of Ogletree could take off this season. More of a gut pick than one based on the normal “markers” I used to make the top 100. To be clear, a top 50ish LB that COULD SOAR TO #17 with a new defensive coordinator/scheme- pick him accordingly
16) ILB Wesley Woodard, Titans- seasoned vet whose stats are as predictably good as anyone in the top twenty. Gives a little of this and a lot of that. Easily could suffice as your #1 LB
15) OLB Lavonte David, Bucs– LoLo is a premier player whose stats will never resemble the free ranging beast when as a youngster he averaged 106 tackles in a three year run of dominance. Still only 28, bank on solid but not awe inspiring numbers. Overall, worth consideration as your first LB taken especially if sacks are weighted heavily (5 or more points per)
14) MLB Jarrad Davis, Lions– ex-Gator had a solid rookie season in the middle. Consider 65 solo tackles the tip of the iceberg. All Pro potential–BUY
13) MLB Demario Davis, Saints– liberated from the Jets. Very durable- in six years has never missed a game! But I’m doubtful he repeats last year’s FANTASY ALL PRO season. Still an anchor for any IDP defense. On Nawlins, bring him down to the very good mortal range of at least 80 solos and a handful of sacks
12) MLB Joe Schobert, Browns– 4th round draft pick from Wisconsin that blossomed in his second season. Tremendous motor and vision. Expect the ramp to continue. You need a tackling machine (85 solos in ’17) not known by the masses- this could be your guy
11) OLB Sean Lee, Cowboys- wear and tear is a definite worry but a solid pick even at 31 years old. Incredibly effective while on the field but common sense begs for a younger LB or two on your bench just in case.
10) *OLB Telvin Smith, Jaguars– made the Pro Bowl even though was just as good if not better the two previous years. There is no box this guy cannot check in an IDP scoring system. Premier talent.
9) *OLB Christian Kirksey, Browns– playing in Cleveland may not be a bonus for players but for fantasy owners this is one of the spots where you can strike gold. Such is the case with this ex- Iowa Hawkeye that has done nothing but excel the last two years. Absolutely one of the new wave of IDP superstars on the horizon
8) MLB Blake Martinez, Packers– blossomed in second year. Eight passes defensed were a bonus in a sterling 94 tackle season. Up and coming IDP star
7) ILB Kwon Alexander, Bucs-all around talent that has averaged almost 8 solo tackles a game. The problem is that his all out style has cost him to miss eight games in three years, If you have a crystal ball and it says KWON WILL PLAY 16 GAMES promote him near, or to, the top of the class
6) *ILB Alec Ogletree, Giants– two-time Pro Bowler that is expected to be the linchpin in a rebuilt defense. Expect 80+ tackles, a few sacks and overall stellar play
5) ILB Zach Brown, Redskins– lost a year due to an injury but this has been a tremendous run in the other five years. A mercenary type- three different teams doesn’t stir my faith when you average almost 80 tackles the last three years. Coming off his most productive season he’ll get due respect. Valid lead player on an IDP defense
4) *MLB Luke Kuechly, Panthers– in standard leagues the Gold Standard over the last five years due to immense amount of tackles, outstanding cover skills and an extraordinary nose for the rock. The problem is multiple concussions the last three years, most recently for smashing his coconut. He’s missed ten games. In the other three years he never missed a game and averaged over 100 tackles per season. Subsequently “stats” have been down at least 25% which isn’t good but not crippling since in most cases you had a chance to fill his spot. Still VERY GOOD but no longer the no brainer top selection at IDP
3) ILB Bobby Wagner, Seahawks– bellwether IDP player. Fantasy owners get too caught up in front loading their teams with offensive players (including backups). Those type players, as well as being unpredictable, will be available LATER and on THE WIRE. Buck the trend- address your IDP faction sooner than later with A STUD
1b) MLB Deion Jones, Falcons– the key player in the Atlanta’s defense return to relevance. This second round draft pick from L.S.U is the prototypical size/speed package necessary at interior linebacker in today’s NFL. Bar injury-100+ tackles a few picks and a dozen passes defensed
1a) *ILB C.J Mosley, Ravens-another Bama product. In four years has missed only two games. Absolute money-in-the-bank choice as your IDP lead guy.
ADDENDUM- SACK EXCHANGE OMMISIONS
Somehow, someway in the dozens of alterations of the mega list I forgot two VERY VALID PLAYERS
OLB Terrelle Suggs, Ravens– another tweener whose best value lies at DE or flex due to age (35). Tough to solidly endorse a player whose best year was 2011 but with 19 sacks and 7 forced fumbles in the last two years he’s still relevant. Lack of tackles demotes him to the 60-70 range on this list but still top 30 as a DE
OLB Von Miller, Broncos– easily should have earned a place in the top twenty based on SACK ABILITY. In 104 regular season games has registered 83 1/2 sacks and about 3 tackles per game. Due to his high commercial appeal may get drafted in the top five in some leagues. Value in fantasy is very good just not the same as it is in real life (GREAT!)
In closing, anyone on this list will suffice as the top LB you pick. If you can connive two of these players FUGGEDDABBOUTT IT! Below you will see a chart with just a few of the “markers” I used to rank the players. At the bottom is the source I used for the table. It was built after all rankings, has just a few of the “markers” I mentioned the past three weeks.
You’ll notice the conspicuous omission of SACKS, not because I don’t enjoy a good QB creaming but because generally speaking in the IDP world TACKLES is King. If that is not the case for your league you’ll still notice that players that get SACKS are sprinkled throughout just not in this edition. The link below will give you access to most stats imaginable in your particular league. The last column of the data chart is simply, games played divided by “points”accumulated OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS. (Exceptions being Jarrad Davis who was a rookie last year and sophomore stalwarts, Deion Jones , Blake Martinez and Joe Schobert)
 Indicates GENERAL HEALTH HISTORY
 Indicates Age/ experience
 indicates players performance going UP+ STABLE~or Downward
 Indicates SOLO TACKLES the past three seasons
 Indicates PASSES DEFENSED/INTERCEPTIONS the past three seasons
 Indicates value per game (see link above)
ENJOY and see you next week with some IDP GEMS to bookmark for the coming season.
SO LONG FOR NOW
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday July 29th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #131 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 discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com. His articles publish every Sunday and he focuses on spot starting pitchers for the coming week.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts, and James Wilk live August 2nd, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #87 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 South!
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #167, 6/23/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Kevin Bzdek
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #169, 8/4/2019 Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone
@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.