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IDP PLAYOFF RANKINGS: Conference Championship Games

And then there were four.

If you’re a fan of the little guy, then last week’s Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs wasn’t much fun — Goliath spent most of the weekend smacking the snot out of David. First, the Kansas City Chiefs ended the Cinderella run of the Indianapolis Colts in emphatic fashion. Then the Los Angeles Rams peeled off 273 rushing yards in a decisive win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Los Angeles Chargers became the latest team to get flattened by the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the postseason. And while the Philadelphia Eagles raced out to a 14-0 lead in New Orleans, the Saints racked up 20 unanswered points to make Drew Brees 6-0 in the postseason at the Superdome.

All in all, it was a weekend of beatings.

Now, if you’re the chalk-loving type and saw all those home teams winning, then all is well — you used fantasy options over the last weekend like Keenan Allen, who had a good game on his way out the door. Started linebackers Darius Leonard (Indianapolis) and Leighton Vander Esch (Dallas) while you still could.

However, if you predicted an upset or three in last week’s games, the pool of available players could be getting shallow quick — especially if you can only use each player once or twice.

This Sunday — when the NFL’s Final Four battles for the right to move on to Atlanta and Super Bowl LIII — is where things really get interesting.

The drama’s certainly building in the Fantasy Sharks IDP Playoff Extravaganza of Goodness. Through two rounds J.T. Maynard holds the overall lead, but there are a fistful of other teams within one correct lineup call of taking the lead.

In order to help you in one final quest for a fantasy championship, I’ll be publishing individual defensive player (IDP) rankings each week during the NFL 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 or two.

Again, 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 LIII, IDP owners won’t have anyone left to slot in starting lineups.

With those caveats in mind, here’s a look at the Top 5 defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs for the conference championship games.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. Aaron Donald, DE, Los Angeles Rams (at New Orleans)
  2. Chris Jones, DE, Kansas City (vs. New England)
  3. Cameron Jordan, DE, New Orleans (vs. L.A. Rams)
  4. Trey Flowers, DE, New England (at Kansas City)
  5. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Los Angeles Rams (at New Orleans)

LINEBACKERS

  1. Cory Littleton, ILB, Los Angeles Rams (at New Orleans)
  2. Demario Davis, OLB, New Orleans (vs. L.A. Rams)
  3. Anthony Hitchens, ILB, Kansas City (vs. New England)
  4. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, New England (at Kansas City)
  5. Dee Ford, OLB, Kansas City (vs. New England)

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. John Johnson, S, Los Angeles Rams (at New Orleans)
  2. Vonn Bell, S, New Orleans (vs. L.A. Rams)
  3. Eli Apple, CB, New Orleans (vs. L.A. Rams)
  4. Eric Berry, S, Kansas City (vs. New England)
  5. Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans (vs. L.A. Rams)

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 eight-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last three years. He won the honor in 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.