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2012 IDP Rookie Rankings


Now that the 2012 NFL Draft has passed and the newest group of defensive players have had a chance to settle in a bit in their new homes, it’s time for drafts of another sort to start heating up, as Individual Defensive Player (IDP) Dynasty fantasy football leagues far and wide will conduct their rookie drafts.

In most dynasty leagues, unless your scoring is slanted pretty heavily towards defense or your rosters are very deep, the offensive newcomers will dominate most of the early portion of rookie drafts. However, as always it pays to do your homework, so here’s an early look at the top rookie options for Dynasty IDP leagues in 2012.

These rankings are based on Default IDP Manor scoring.


1.) Andre Branch, DE, Jacksonville:
Branch was one of the few “tweener” types to land with a 4-3 defense, and the former Clemson star will see significant playing time early, which could propel the 6-foot-4, 259-pounder into the Top 25 at his position as early as 2012.

2.) Chandler Jones, DE, New England:
The Patriots traded up in the first round to grab Jones, and while he may be eased in a bit slowly at first he should soon step into the “elephant” pass rushing role that produced 52 tackles and 10 sacks from Andre Carter in 14 games last year.

3.) Shea McClellin, DE, Chicago:
The Bears got younger along the defensive front with the addition of the blue turf bull-rusher. The presence of veteran Israel Idonije may cap McClellin’s upside for 2012, but Idonije is on a one-year deal and McClellin will probably be a fulltime starter with DL2 upside by 2013.

4.) Courtney Upshaw, DE, Baltimore: Upshaw’s been classified as a defensive lineman by MyFantasyLeague, and that coupled with the Achilles’ injury suffered by 2011 NFL defensive player of the year Terrell Suggs is a ‘perfect storm’ of good news for Upshaw’s short-term IDP prospects. The All-American will probably get plenty of early playing time, and if the rookie acclimates to the NFL quickly he could make a run at being the top newcomer among redraft IDP defensive linemen in 2012, with considerable long-term value as well.

5.) Vinny Curry, DE, Philadelphia:
Vinny Curry’s short-term value may be hampered by the presence of Jason Babin and Trent Cole, but the Eagles like to rotate their defensive linemen quite a bit. Babin is on the wrong side of 30, and all it would take is one injury for Curry to drop into a prime IDP situation.

6.) Bruce Irvin, DE, Seattle:
Irvin’s selection with the 15th overall pick caught many draftniks off guard, but reportedly the Seahawks weren’t the only team that was enamored with Irvin’s impressive speed off the edge. I’ll freely admit that many IDP pundits will likely have Irvin higher than this, but I have reservations about trusting a situational pass rusher for steady fantasy production.

7.) Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami:
Vernon was a talented but somewhat inconsistent player while with the Hurricanes, and he landed in a pretty favorable spot IDP-wise. The Dolphins are searching for a starter opposite Cameron Wake along Miami’s new 4-3 front, and early playing time could land Vernon IDP DL3 value if things break the right way.

8.) Jared Crick, DE, Houston:
It seems that every year more and more players are bucking the conventional wisdom that 3-4 ends can’t be IDP-relevant, as J.J. Watt did for the Texans last year with a Top 25 finish at his position. It may not be realistic to expect that sort of impact from Crick, but he could develop into a quality IDP reserve if he can carve out an early role in the Houston defense.

9.) Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia:
The highest ranking defensive tackle on this list, the Eagles were reportedly drooling over Cox prior to the draft and traded up to get their man. Cox’s main IDP value likely lies in leagues that require defensive tackles, but Cullen Jenkins posted DL4 numbers in “standard” IDP leagues, and it’s possible that Cox could approach that level of production.

10.) Quinton Coples, DE, New York Jets:
I will freely admit that most IDP experts will probably have Coples ranked higher than this, and the athleticism he displays at 6-foot-6 and 281 pounds is tantalizing. However, I hate the fit of Coples in New York’s 3-4 defense, and I have reservations about a player with a questionable work ethic thriving in the Jets’ dysfunctional locker room.

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