IDP: Defensive Studs!
For all you defensive minded fantasy footballers, Top Fantasy Football is here to offer you a little insight on some of the better defensive fantasy football players to target in your drafts this summer.
When looking at drafting defensive players, you should always take into account different aspects of "real" football and "fantasy" football. For example.. In "fantasy" football when selecting at the DB position, having an elite talent like Asomugha is like having J.J Arrington on offence, reason being... teams will avoid Asomugha like the plague because he is a shut-down defender, which means he doesn't get a ton of chances to make plays or even tackles for that matter, teams will adjust their game-plan to stay away from players like him. In "real" football Asomugha is considered the No.1 corner-back in the NFL. So when your drafting your IDP's look at the defensive players positions and chances to make plays or tackles on a consistent basis.
In using the IDP format you have to correctly gauge what the point system offers to specific categories for the fantasy players you should target. For example.. If your league is rewarding heavy points for sacks, interceptions or any category that is considered a big-play, you might look to target machines like OLB's Ware or Harrison over stud ILB's like Patrick Willis, Jon Beason and Jerod Mayo, because they are consistently making plays, their tackle totals may be low but their big-play potential is staggering... or DB's Ed Reed and the Cromartie cousins who always have the chance to rack up points in the big-play leagues, but won't do as well in the tackle-heavy leagues.
In this article I am going to give you 5 players from each defensive position to target for your fantasy teams points system (tackle-heavy and big-play heavy leagues), and a few notables that are draft worthy players to acquire when filling out your positions for user friendly IDP owners.
Defensive Backs - When searching for fantasy DB's make sure to invest more scouting in safeties over corner backs, they are far more appealing when searching for big-plays and tackles.
1) Eric Weddle (SD) - Last year Weddle was a monster! He consistently finds himself in position to make the tackle, he also adds a dimension in the play-making department. Entering his third year in the league Weddle should be poised for a big season, if he can work off last years tackle totals and add a few more big plays in an improved Chargers defense, he could be something special for your roster throughout the NFL season.
2) Troy Polamalu (PIT) - A true play-maker, Polamalu always finds himself in a position to make a play. His tackles combined with the big-play make him user friendly in the IDP world and if healthy has the talent to have a standout campaign in 09. Polamalu has the benefit of their edge-rushers creating so much havoc and give him lots of opportunities for the big-plays.
3) Adrian Wilson (ARI) - It wasn't so long ago Wilson was the unquestioned No.1 DB on the market, if he can avoid injuries he obviously has the talent to provide you with a No.1 fantasy DB in your lineup. Wilson has the ability to make the big-play or rack up tackles, if your feeling good about his health this year, then go ahead and deploy him for your fantasy teams.
4) Oshiomogho Atogwe (STL) - If you are looking to add a stud on the back-end this year, look no further than Atogwe who has shown consistency for the big-play and solid tackle totals. With Steve Spagnuola as the new head-coach, O.J should be a huge part of the defensive scheme in terms of blitzing and shadowing QB's every Sunday. He is a true No.1 DB in fantasy and should be one of the top DB's off the board in your drafts this summer.
5) Michael Griffin (TEN)- This kid has big-play potential written all over him, if he can put up a few more tackles he would be an IDP super- star for a DB. Word out of Tennessee is Griffin is looking to touch the ball on offense and defense, it probably won't happen that way, but it's worth noting. Griffin is a very sound DB with a ton of upside and should be better in his third year, he has been a fairly consistent in the tackling department and should be in for a good year for IDP users who are searching for a rising star.
Notables to draft:Atari Bigby (GB), Chris Horton (WAS), Nick Collins (GB), Charles Tillman (CHI), Chinedum Ndukwe (CIN), Gibril Wilson (MIA), Kevin Payne (CHI), Chris Harris (CAR), Richard Marshall (CAR), Ed Reed (BAL), Bob Sanders (IND) injury prone!, Laron Landry (WAS), Antoine Bethea (IND), Kenny Philips (NYG), Kerry Rhodes (NYJ), Brandon Meriweather (NE)
Defensive Lineman - When targeting lineman be sure to avoid DT's over DE's, the DE's have more potential to make plays in the backfield and give your team a boost in the big-play department. There are very few Warren Sapps in the league, DT's can be targeted if you can pick the elite, Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Rodgers, Tommie Harris and Kevin Williams would be among the top DT's for potential sacks and big-plays in the middle.
1) Mario Williams (HOU) - Fantasy owners across the nation (especially in dynasty leagues) should be lining up to target this monster, Williams is a terrific pass-rushing DE with huge upside, he can make plays in the back-field on a regular basis and should be considered the gold standard in fantasy for DE's. "Super Mario" is almost a lock (barring injury) for big-plays on Sundays, he should continue his dominance off the edge and maybe improve upon his sack totals last year.
2) Jared Allen (MIN) - Welcome the beast behind the mullet, Jared Allen. All this player does is account for stats across the board, he is a feared rusher off the end and should see his sack totals continue to be in the double-digits again this year. Allen is a fierce competitor who takes a blue-collar approach to the game, in fantasy football he is a monster stat producer and should be one of the top defensive lineman taken in IDP drafts throughout the summer.
3) Justin Tuck (NYG) - Don't get caught sleeping when this guy starts rushing the QB, he is relentless in his attacks and should run an assault on fantasy stat sheets with his ability to create mismatches on the line, Tuck should have plenty of chances to get to the QB's in the NY's blitzing defense and prove he will continue to get in the back-field at a rampant pace for fantasy owners. I believe Tuck can add even more sacks and big-plays considering he is still young and seems like a force, whether it be playing the edge or in the middle, he is top notch and should be drafted high for owners looking for that special play-maker in their IDP lineups. It's a toss up between him and Peppers in this spot.
4) Julius Peppers (CAR) - IDP owners who took a shot on Peppers after his terrible 07 season were rewarded graciously as he notched 14.5 sacks and regained his legitimacy as one of the best DE's in the NFL. Peppers was franchised in the off-season and that should allow him to play with something to prove, when determined their isn't a more dominating rusher in the game. If Peppers can continue his assault on QB's he should be an IDP superstar for owners this season. Julius is still in his twenty's and playing for another contract next year, which means.. look out!
5) John Abraham (ATL) -John Abraham proved last year when healthy he could be a disruptive force in big-play IDP leagues, in a situational role he went off for 16.5 sacks and covered lots of other statistical categories. In IDP dynasty leagues I would push him down the rankings because of age and injuries, but in 09 he should be back on his game and producing huge stats week in and week out for fantasy owners everywhere. Playing a situational pass-rusher role in Atlanta has been very beneficial to Abraham and he seems like a fine pick for a DE going into the 09 season this year. He might not get 16.5 sacks, but he should be poised for double-digit sacks again. Trent Cole and Robert Mathis are also decent picks for this spot.
Notables to draft: Robert Mathis (IND), Dwight Freeney (IND), Trent Cole (PHI), Chris Long (STL), Justin Smith (SF), Gaines Adams (TB), Derrick Harvey (JAC), Osi Umenyiora (NYG), Kyle Vanden Bosch (TEN), Antonio Smith (HOU), Darryl Tapp (SEA), Brian Orakpo (WAS), Cliff Avril (DET), Trevor Scott (OAK), Mathias Kiwanuka (NYG), Patrick Kerney (SEA)
Remember to always go over you point scoring systems before drafting IDP''s! You must be able to cater to the points that are rewarded for specific categories, don't be the guy who wasn't prepared for your leagues scoring system, you could have picked great players that won't help your fantasy team and shoot yourself in the foot all season. Make sure after your offensive positions are filled to target the top OLB's in big-play leagues, if you can secure a top notch OLB your team should fare very well against the suckers that went with offensive depth first.