And then there were four.
Whereas the Wild Card Round brought with it an unprecedented road team sweep, the Divisional Round featured chalk, chalk and more chalk. All four home teams came out on top, setting up a pair of No. 1 vs. No. 2 seed conference title tilts.
Will Tom Brady and the New England Patriots make it to an unprecedented seventh Super Bowl, or will Peyton Manning get one last shot at glory with the Denver Broncos? And who will win the first ever conference championship game featuring a pair of Heisman Trophy winners at quarterback when the Arizona Cardinals travel to face the 15-1 Carolina Panthers?
Those are questions for another time and scribe. This piece is all about the defensive side of the football, and that means another set of IDP playoff rankings.
In order to help you in the final quest for fantasy glory this season, I’ll be publishing IDP rankings each week during the 2016 playoffs here at Fantasy Sharks. These rankings assume a league format where teams start two defensive linemen, two linebackers, two defensive backs and a “flex” spot.
They also assume a “one and done” format where players are concerned. In other words, while the entire pool of individual defensive players is available, each player can only be used once. So, while matchup and talent are still the primary considerations, it’s also important to identify which teams are going to be eliminated in a given week and use those players where possible.
Otherwise, by the time we get to Super Bowl 50 (no Roman numerals this time around), IDP owners won’t have anyone left to slot in starting lineups.
With those caveats in mind, here’s a look at the top five defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs for the conference championships.
- Chandler Jones – DE, NE (at DEN)
- Calais Campbell – DE, AZ (at CAR)
- Rob Ninkovich – DE, NE (at DEN)
- Kawann Short – DT, CAR (vs. AZ)
- Kony Ealy – DE, CAR (vs. AZ)
- Luke Kuechly – MLB, CAR (vs. AZ)
- Jamie Collins – ILB, NE (at DEN)
- Brandon Marshall – ILB, DEN (vs. NE)
- Thomas Davis – OLB, CAR (vs. AZ)
- Dont’a Hightower – ILB, NE (at DEN)
- Deone Bucannon – SS, AZ (at CAR)
- Kurt Coleman – FS, CAR (vs. AZ)
- Rashad Johnson – FS, AZ (at CAR)
- Josh Norman – CB, CAR (vs. AZ)
- J. Ward – SS, DEN (vs. NE)
With the calendar turning to 2016, Fantasy Sharks has you covered. Whether it’s 2016 player rankings and projections, waiver wire targets, rookie analysis for dynasty leagues or strategy tips, IDP Staff Writer Walton Spurlin and IDP Senior Staff Writer Gary Davenport have all the information you need to dominate your IDP league in the New Year.