Wednesday - Jan 23, 2019

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Fantasy Linebacker Cheat Sheet

Welcome football fans.  While casual observers are only interested in the skilled offensive positions, the real fantasy footballer includes defensive players.  Many fantasy leagues use individual defensive players (IDP) as point producers.  I have compiled a list of what I believe are the best fantasy linebackers going into this season. 

The categories for my determination are:  1. Solo Tackles, 2. Tackle Assists, 3. Sacks,  4. Interceptions,  5. Passes Defended.  Solo tackles were the dominant statistic in my determination.  Another fantasy  shark, Seadog (Doug Gaskell), wrote in his excellent article on August 11, his choices for linebackers.  My goal with this article is to give another independent opinion on the matter, as well as to provide some commentary.

If you are in a league that does not separate linemen from linebackers, then use this list below to draft all your DLs.  Linebackers get more tackles and interceptions than defensive tackles, ends, or nose tackles.

Seadog included linemen separately in his article, and he made a great list, so refer to that if your league separates linemen from linebackers.  Below are my top 52 linebackers.

Top Tier

1. Ray Lewis BAL
Ray comes into the season nursing some nagging injuries.  You may not like him personally, but he is still the number one fantasy linebacker in the game.  The Ravens use Ray in all their defensive packages, giving him all game to rack up fantasy points.

2. Zach Thomas MIA
He has never been tall or especially fast, but he has the heart of a lion and finds a way to get to the ball carrier.  This All Pro also has big name appeal if you ever need to trade him later in the season.

3. Donnie Edwards SD
Having learned from the best in Junior Seau, Donnie is carrying on the
tradition of great Charger linebackers.

4. David Thornton IND
He racks up tackles like its his business, and also had 2 picks and a sack last year.

5. Scott Fujita KC
Scott had 4 sacks and an interception last year.  Is very consistent,
usually totaling 10 total tackles a game.

6. Jamie Sharper HOU
Jamie collects a massive amount of total tackles, but a big percentage of those are tackle assists.  Also had 4 sacks last year.

7. Shawn Barber KC
The Chief’s defensive coordinator loves to use his linebackers aggressively.

8. Keith Brooking ATL
Keith is the master of solo tackles, but after that he provided no bonuses last year.  Doesn’t collect many tackle assists, sacks or picks.

Second Tier

9. Brian Urlacher CHI
Brian Urlacher’s jersey is the best selling jersey in all of the NFL.  He is a clear choice as a pro bowler every year.  That said, he didn’t have many INTs or tackle assists last year, but I won’t be surprised if he mages his way back into the top tier this year.

10. Chris Draft ATL
Chris exploded on the fantasy scene last year.  A big percentage of his tackles are solo tackles.

11. Mike Barrow NYG
12. Dat Nguyen DAL
13. Eric Barton OAK
14. Nick Barnett GB
15. Akin Ayodele JAC
16. James Farrior PIT
17. Jay Foreman HOU
18. Andra Davis CLE
19. Keith Bulluck TEN
20. Derek Smith SF
21. Dhani Jones NYG
22. Al Wilson DEN
23. Derrick Brooks TB

Third Tier

24. Boss Bailey DET
The brother of Champ in Denver, Boss is young and talented.  He has the upside to rise in the ranks of linebackers.  He may be injured for week 1.

25. Lavar Arrington WAS
One of the most over-rated linebackers in the game.  He is a headache for his defensive coordinator, and doesn’t read offenses well.  Check his stats before you draft him.  Also, he may not be available in every league because of a unique union contract.

26. Shelton Quarles TB
27. Edgerton Hartwell BAL
28. Dan Morgan CIN
29. EJ Henderson MIN
30. Will Witherspoon CAR
31. Kendrell Bell PIT
32. Earl Holmes DET
33. Dexter Coakley DAL
34. Mark Simoneau PHI
35. Nate Wayne PHI
36. Ian Gold TB

Fourth Tier

37. Brian Simmons CIN
38. Anthony Simmons SEA
39. Orlando Huff SEA
40. London Fletcher BUF
41. Sam Cowart NYJ
42. Nate Webster CIN
43. Tedy Bruschi NE
44. Takeo Spikes CIN
45. Raynoch Thompson ARI
46. Napoleon Harris OAK
47. Mike Peterson JAC
48. Julian Peterson SF
49. Rocky Calmus TEN
50. Robert Thomas STL
51. Tinoisamoa Pisa STL
52. Courtney Watson NO

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.