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2017 IDP PLAYOFF RANKINGS: Wild Card Round

The 2016 NFL regular season has concluded, and with it another season of fantasy football has come to an end. IDP leagues far and wide are filled with one happy owner (the champion) and a whole bunch of unhappy ones (everyone who isn’t the champ).

However, it you’re having trouble bidding adieu to fantasy football for the year and want one last bit of fun before the cold darkness of baseball season envelops us, there’s something that can help.

Fantasy playoff leagues.

This year’s postseason tournament has something for football fans of all shapes and sizes. There are the usual suspects (the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers), the upstart challengers (the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys – the top two seeds in the NFC), and the thank you for playing soon to be gone longshots (the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions).

Then there’s Saturday’s postseason opener between the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans – a game that both features the top individual defensive player of the Wildcard Round and a pair of signal-callers who may well set back playoff performance by the quarterback position back about 12 years by the time it’s all said and done.

In order to help you in the final quest for fantasy glory this season, I’ll be publishing IDP rankings each week during the 2017 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/two 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 (or twice, in some formats). 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 try to use those players where possible.

Otherwise, by the time we get to Super Bowl LI (Back to Roman numerals this year – order is restored to the universe) IDP owners won’t have anyone left to slot in starting lineups.

With those caveats in mind, here’s a look at the top 10 defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs for the Wild Card Round.


  1. Khalil Mack – DE, OAK (at HOU)
  2. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at PIT)
  3. Ezekiel Ansah – DE, DET (at SEA)
  4. Ndamukong Suh – DT, MIA (at PIT)
  5. Olivier Vernon – DE, NYG (at GB)
  6. Cliff Avril – DE, SEA (vs. DET)
  7. Michael Bennett – DE, SEA
  8. Andre Branch – DE, MIA (at PIT)
  9. Kerry Hyder – DE, DET (at SEA)
  10. Romeo Okwara – DE, NYG (at GB)


  1. Kiko Alonso – ILB, MIA (at PIT)
  2. Bernardrick McKinney – ILB, HOU (vs. OAK)
  3. Malcolm Smith – OLB, OAK (at HOU)
  4. Bobby Wagner – ILB, SEA (vs. DET)
  5. Tahir Whitehead – ILB, DET (at SEA)
  6. Ryan Shazier – ILB, PIT (vs. MIA)
  7. Lawrence Timmons – ILB, PIT (vs. MIA)
  8. Perry Riley – ILB, OAK (at HOU)
  9. Keenan Robinson – ILB, NYG (at GB)
  10. Jake Ryan – ILB, GB (vs. NYG)


  1. Landon Collins – S, NYG (at GB)
  2. Morgan Burnett – S, GB (vs. NYG)
  3. Karl Joseph – S, OAK (at HOU)
  4. Tavon Wilson – S, DET (at SEA)
  5. Hasean Clinton-Dix – S, GB (vs. NYG)
  6. Sean Davis – S, PIT (vs. MIA)
  7. Kam Chancellor – S, SEA (vs. DET)
  8. A.J. Bouye – CB, HOU (vs. OAK)
  9. Quintin Demps – S, HOU (vs. OAK)
  10. Reggie Nelson – S, OAK (at HOU)

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.