IDP: Spotlight DE's
In this article we are going to take an in depth look at some of the more potent defensive ends in the game, and bring a little insight to the world of the IDP ( independent defensive players).
1) Mario Williams (HOU)
If you are rounding out your rosters in this years draft, and you are looking for double-digit sacks, look no further than the man beast that is Mario Williams. All this player has done the past couple years is light QB's up, at an incredible pace for a young player. This young talent has the ability to get sacks in bunches with his elite quickness and non-stop motor. I would put him first in seasonal and dynasty leagues based on his potential and what he has accomplished so far, at such a young age.
2) Jared Allen (MIN)
You could make a strong case for this Viking to sit at the top of this list. Allen is a relentless QB killer with a super high motor, and does not get fazed by double-teams. He is a true DE in a defence that boasts two of the better DT's in the league, making it near impossible to stop Allen. Don't be afraid to pull the trigger on this stud, because he is one of the best at rushing the passer, and making big plays for your fantasy squad. Jared Allen is a must have DE in seasonal and dynasty leagues, especially in leagues that reward heavy points for sacks and forced fumbles.
3) Julius Peppers (CAR)
I am sure everyone who uses the IDP format knows who this freak athlete is. Peppers was a bit of a mystery in the 07 season setting a career low in sacks with 2.5, but last year showed he was back on his game and is one of the most fierce DE's in the game, posting 14.5 sacks, and cementing his status as one of the elite pass-rushers in the game today. He is another DE to target high in seasonal and dynasty leagues.
4) Justin Tuck (NYG)
Considering the fact that Tuck lost his partner in crime last year in Osi Umenyiora, he was still able to apply pressure to QB's while being double-teamed and chip blocked. This guy is the real deal, and it wouldn't surprise me if he were to lead the league in sacks. Do you remember the Super Bowl against the Patriots? Tuck single handily took the most potent offense in football and made holes in the field with Tom Brady, their best weapon on offence. Watching this guy play gives you goose bumps, and with Osi back Tuck should be a guaranteed 12-15 sacks, considering without him he had twelve last year anyways.
5) Robert Mathis (IND)
6) John Abraham (ATL)
Last year Abraham was a man possessed, he posted career highs in the sack department with 16.5 sacks. A natural for rushing the passer, and he plays the situational role about as well as Deangelo Williams does. Abraham won't post very good tackle totals, but is a threat to get a sack every time he is on the field. In a seasonal league he is a good bet to make plays if healthy, in dynasty leagues I would push him down in the rankings because of his age and injuries over the course of his career, but you can't ignore 16.5 sacks in any format.
7) Osi Umenyiora (NYG)
Lets forget about the fact that Umenyiora had season-ending knee surgery, and focus on the fact that having elite skills and Tuck on the other side will help ease Umenyiora back in to double-digit sacks, and some decent tackle totals. This guy is a brute, and from 05-07 he manged to man-handle QB's for 33.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles. If he is available in your drafts after people have soured on his injury riddled season, take him and reap the rewards that will follow. This guy is a stud DE, when he is healthy.
8) Trent Cole (PHI)
This Philadelphia eagle can fly! Cole is very underrated in my opinion, considering all the big names ahead of him on this list he could be in-line for a big season himself. With all the upgrades to the offense Cole should be in a position to have many chances at getting pressure on the QB in passing situations. He has shown in consecutive seasons he can get sacks, as well as excellent tackle totals. Double-digit sack totals are in the picture for this flying eagle. Dynasty leagues should be targeting this guy also.
9) Dwight Freeney (IND)
Another weapon the Colts have a ton of pride in, when healthy he is a constant force on the outside edge. He uses incredible strength and amazing spin moves to beat tackles on a consistent basis, for a player who is considered short in stature. With Payton Manning controlling the offense, this guy should have plenty of opportunities (with Mathis) to destroy backfields. The problem with Freeney has been injuries, over the past couple seasons pryor to 08, in 06 and 07 he tallied 9 sacks combined, which would make him a middle of the road DE with low tackle totals. One thing is for sure,when healthy and inspired he is a threat and can post double-digit sack totals, no problem.
10) Gaines Adams (TB)
I know he is yet to get double-digit sacks, but he has the potential to be a top five DE in the NFL. Adams has been getting rave reviews lately, and I can understand why, Raheem Morris is going to line Adams on the outside further down the line this year, to get Adams off the edge with his speed and bury people in the backfield. I think this is the year Gaines Adams becomes becomes a pass rushing force, and should be on top for a while, considering he is only 26, so dynasty leaguers beware.
11) Chris Long (STL) - A young pass-rusher with tons of upside, with new head coach Steve Spagnuola Long should be considered to better his sack production.
12) Kyle VanDen Bosch (TEN) - A groin injury hampered Kyle all season long, now he is coming to 09 with something to prove and could post good sack totals, but it will be harder to do without Haynesworth in the middle taking on double-teams.
13) Mathias Kiwanuka (NYG) - A talented pass-rusher, but it is unclear exactly how much time he will get with Umenyiora coming back, but I'm sure the coaching staff will find a way to use his skills on Sundays, and post good totals.
14) Cliff Avril (DET) - Detroit found a gem in the 08 draft, in a season where he only started four games, Avril had 5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles, he will be a starter this year and could vault up this list after the 09 season. Dynasty special!
15) Derrick Harvey (JAX) - Another young stud in the making, after his first year of seasoning I expect Harvey to smoke QB's in 09, and become the feature force they had expected when they drafted him in the first round.
16) Trevor Scott (OAK) - He is pretty much the reason Oakland felt decent about letting Derrick Burgess go to the Patriots. Scott will be starting this year and has the motor and drive to be a sack machine.
17) Darryl Tapp (SEA) -Tapp is a young player with upside, if he can maximize his potential, then the sky is the limit. He is also a very solid tackler and should be around the ball alot.
18) Brian Orakpo (WAS) - With the addition of Haynesworth, Orakpo should be a QB killer for quite some time. If you are in a dynasty league, he has double-digit sack potential and a nose for the ball. In some cases you have to look at what they are capable of doing, and he is a true blue-chip prospect.
19) Patrick Kerney (SEA) -If he can return from an injury plagued 08 season, Kerney could post very solid sack totals, and maybe find himself in the right position to get a handful of big plays.
20) Aaron Schobel (BUF) - In his last couple of years Schobel has seen more injuries than Nancy Kerrigan. A one time fantasy stud that has left a sour taste in the IDP world, I am giving him one more season to get back to form. Not a great dynasty IDP DE, but should start and contribute in a better Bills team.
Position watch: If your site allows you to flex LB's and DE's, then I would put Terrell Suggs, Demarcus Ware, Aaron Kampman and Shawn Merriman in my top ten rankings, but because they are playing OLB in a 3-4 scheme they are not considered DE's in the usual fantasy formats.
DT's are not usually the big play threats, but Albert Haynesworth, Darnell Dockett, Pat and Kevin Williams need to be considered as big play threats worthy of starting on your fantasy teams as lineman.
Player Watch:If you are in a dynasty league, then these are the players you should be watching.... Michael Johnson (CIN), Everette Brown (CAR), Jacob Ford (TEN), Aaron Maybin (BUF), Jason Jones (TEN), Connor Barwin (HOU), Quentin Groves (JAX), Philip Merling (MIA)