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2018 IDP PLAYOFF RANKINGS: Conference Championships

The Divisional Round of the 2017-2018 NFL Playoffs was an object lesson in why you can’t things for granted in the National Football League.

One game went as expected, when the New England Patriots spotted the Tennessee Titans seven points before opening a 35-point can of whoop-a**.

The rest of the weekend turned the league on its head.

In Philadelphia, the Eagles embraced the role of home underdogs, riding a dominant defensive effort to a 15-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons that showed Philly is still a threat even without Carson Wentz.

Across the state of Pennsylvania things didn’t go so well for the home team. The Jacksonville Jaguars showed early in their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers that their win over the Steelers back in Week 5 was no fluke, racing to a 21-0 lead before holding on to win 45-42.

And in Minnesota, the Vikings sailed past the New Orleans Saints on the wildest game-ending playoff play since the “Music City Miracle.”

I still can’t believe that happened.

That wild slate set the stage for this year’s Final Four – a David meets Goliath matchup in Beantown and a battle of the top two seeds in the NFC in the Twin Cities. By week’s end we’ll know who will square off at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4.

And that means we’re one step closer to crowning a champion in IDP Playoff Leagues and putting the finishing touches on another fantasy football campaign.

In order to help you in that final quest for a championship, I’ll be publishing IDP rankings each week during the 2018 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 LII in a couple weeks, 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 AFC and NFC Championship Games.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. Calais Campbell – DE, JAX (at NEP)
  2. Brandon Graham – DE, PHI (at MIN)
  3. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN (vs. PHI)
  4. Yannick Ngakoue – DE, JAX (at NEP)
  5. Trey Flowers – DE, NEP (vs. JAX)

LINEBACKERS

  1. Telvin Smith – OLB, JAX (at NEP)
  2. Eric Kendricks – ILB, MIN (vs. PHI)
  3. Nigel Bradham – OLB, PHI (at MIN)
  4. Kyle Van Noy – OLB, NEP (vs. JAX)
  5. Myles Jack – OLB, JAX (at NEP)

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Harrison Smith – S, MIN (vs. PHI)
  2. Barry Church – S, JAX (at NEP)
  3. Jalen Ramsey – CB, JAX (at NEP)
  4. Malcolm Jenkins – S, PHI (at MIN)
  5. Patrick Chung – S, NEP (vs. JAX)

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 a seven-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who was named the organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year for 2017. 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.