Time to talk about the part of Dynasty Fantasy Football that to me is the hardest and most interesting aspect of putting together a winning squad, I'm talking about IDP, Individual Defensive Players.
Just like real NFL teams the core of a great Dynasty defense is having a linebacker that can put up some points. Dynasty Fantasy Football team managers tend to look to the offense during the draft. A winning manager knows how to balance out offense and defense because believe me I have seen a lot of match ups won or lost by the play of a linebacker on Sunday or Monday night.
Linebackers can put up points just like an offensive player (depending on your league scoring) so if you missed out on a guy like Luke Kuechly or Daryl Washington I'm going to go over the top 5 rookie linebackers that can help you finish in the money this season.
The 5 linebackers here are in no particular order but keep your eye on them to see if they earn the starting role on their respective teams. It is extremely important to make sure you target every down linebackers to maximize their scoring potential.
Offense is still going to be your bread and butter scoring-wise make sure to check out the Rookie QB's and Rookie RB rankings
Dynasty Fantasy Football: Arthur Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Arthur Brown has some big shoes to fill in Baltimore now that Ray Lewis is gone, but if there was a team that can show a rookie the ropes at linebacker it's the Ravens.
One of the biggest challenges for Brown will be getting used to playing in Baltimore's 3-4 base defense, Brown played in a 4-3 during his years at Kansas State.
It always helps a young linebacker gain confidence, and more importantly, pad his stats when you have a monster of a man in Haloti Ngata playing in front of you and Terrell Suggs lining up next to you. Who a rookie LB has around him will be a huge factor in how quickly you start to see dynasty fantasy points from him.
"Really fits a need for the Ravens. I believe positional versatility is what Arthur Brown brings to the table. I think he can play inside or outside. He's very good in pass coverage." -- Mike Mayock
In a rookie only draft Brown has a great situation and is worth picking up to fill a need at linebacker.
Dynasty Fantasy Football: Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns
Some believe that Cleveland reached a lot taking Mingo as early as they did. They obvious have big plans for the OLB from LSU. I've seen early comparisons to Aldon Smith and DeMarcus Ware, that is pretty good company to be in if Mingo can play up to expectations.
"It's a pass-first league, and every team in the league is looking for a guy that can go hunt. He's an explosive presence off the edge." -- Mike Mayock
Mingo would be a great IDP pick up especially in leagues where sacks equal big points. I expect Mingo to make an immediate impact with Cleveland's defense.
Dynasty Fantasy Football: Alec Ogletree, St. Louis Rams
Ogletree is fast and should be able to showcase his speed in St. Louis. Off the field issues should be a concern with the LB out of Georgia and that is a risk I'd be willing to take.
If INT's are weighed heavy in your scoring Ogletree should be of interest. The former safety now turned LB has a nose for the ball and his closing speed is a great recipe for turnovers.
"He's much more talented a player than the 30th overall pick in the draft. He plays linebacker like the safety he used to be. This kid does not take on the blockers, but he's a great athlete." -- Mike Mayock
It also helps that Ogletree will be hopefully playing along side James Laurinaitis who is already a top 5 IDP linebacker
Dynasty Fantasy Football: Jon Bostic, Chicago Bears
Bostic is the newest student in Chicago linebacker University. Like Arthur Brown Bostic has some big shoes to fill as Brian Urlacher has now left Chicago.
Bostic will have a great opportunity to come in and start at middle linebacker for the Bears and even with a new coaching scheme in Chicago the defense will still revolve around the MLB position.
Bostic has a mean streak (as illustrated in the picture) but needs to work on his changing of direction, quickness (not speed), and basically not over running plays.
Lining up next to pro bowler Lance Briggs will help the rookie in his progression into the pros. Bostic will be good for racking up a lot of tackles for your dynasty fantasy football squad.
Dynasty Fantasy Football: Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jarvis Jones was an absolute beast at Georgia and should transition nicely into the Pittsburgh defense as James Harrison's replacement.
Jones, like a lot of rookies, will have to earn his starting spot. People believe his 40 time at the combine and his neck injury he sustained in college are cause for concern. I believe he can be an explosive OLB for Pittsburgh and will have a lot of opportunities to get to the QB due to the fact Pittsburgh's secondary is so good.
"He's a pretty good fit there in Pittsburgh. If you look at the Pittsburgh edge at linebackers, this kid fits from a body type and an explosion perspective. I think he'll get on the field and challenge Jason Worilds for the starting spot." -- Mike Mayock
Jones would be a risking pick in a rookie only draft and I wouldn't reach too far for him but definitely keep your eye on him to see if he falls in the later rounds.
Dynasty Fantasy Football: Honorable Mentions
Let me conclude with saying It's great being back talking fantasy football defenses....love this stuff. IDP is a great way to evaluate team defenses as well in some of your other drafts (I'll have those rankings out as soon as some position battles are settled) Here is an early preview at my team D rankings SEATTLE IS VIDEO GAME GOOD hahaha.
Here are some other Rookie linebackers to keep in mind for your Dynasty Fantasy Football team.
Manti Te'o - San Diego Chargers
Kevin Minter - Arizona Cardinals
Khaseem Greene - Chicago Bears
Jamie Collins - New England Patriots