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.
- Khalil Mack – DE, OAK (at HOU)
- Cameron Wake – DE, MIA (at PIT)
- Ezekiel Ansah – DE, DET (at SEA)
- Ndamukong Suh – DT, MIA (at PIT)
- Olivier Vernon – DE, NYG (at GB)
- Cliff Avril – DE, SEA (vs. DET)
- Michael Bennett – DE, SEA
- Andre Branch – DE, MIA (at PIT)
- Kerry Hyder – DE, DET (at SEA)
- Romeo Okwara – DE, NYG (at GB)
- Kiko Alonso – ILB, MIA (at PIT)
- Bernardrick McKinney – ILB, HOU (vs. OAK)
- Malcolm Smith – OLB, OAK (at HOU)
- Bobby Wagner – ILB, SEA (vs. DET)
- Tahir Whitehead – ILB, DET (at SEA)
- Ryan Shazier – ILB, PIT (vs. MIA)
- Lawrence Timmons – ILB, PIT (vs. MIA)
- Perry Riley – ILB, OAK (at HOU)
- Keenan Robinson – ILB, NYG (at GB)
- Jake Ryan – ILB, GB (vs. NYG)
- Landon Collins – S, NYG (at GB)
- Morgan Burnett – S, GB (vs. NYG)
- Karl Joseph – S, OAK (at HOU)
- Tavon Wilson – S, DET (at SEA)
- Hasean Clinton-Dix – S, GB (vs. NYG)
- Sean Davis – S, PIT (vs. MIA)
- Kam Chancellor – S, SEA (vs. DET)
- A.J. Bouye – CB, HOU (vs. OAK)
- Quintin Demps – S, HOU (vs. OAK)
- Reggie Nelson – S, OAK (at HOU)