Friday - Apr 19, 2019

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IDP PLAYOFF RANKINGS: Divisional Round

They don’t call it Wild Card Weekend for nothing, folks.

The first weekend of the 2018-19 playoffs was upset city. Both of the No. 6 seeds (Indianapolis and Philadelphia) bounced the No. 3 seeds (Houston and Chicago). The Los Angeles Chargers won on the road in Baltimore.

The only higher seed that moved on in Wild Card Weekend was Dallas, and while I went 2-1-1 against the spread with my Wild Card picks at Bleacher Report, straight-up I went 1-3.

That’s a lot of wrong, folks. I hit on Indianapolis, and then nothing but swings and misses.

Ugh. Baseball metaphors.

In fantasy playoff leagues, being that wrong can become a problem PDQ (immediately). It’s certainly important to pick the players who you think will post a big stat line, but it’s equally vital that you try to maintain the deepest possible player pool by picking individual defensive players (IDPs) who will post that big stat line on the way out the door — leaving you as many of the players who advanced as possible for the following week.

That balancing act is the key to winning IDP playoff leagues like the he Fantasy Sharks IDP Playoff Extravaganza of Goodness — which is led after one week by “The Z Men,” who hold a lead of just under 18 points over JT Maynard.

In order to help you in one final quest for a fantasy championship, I’ll be publishing 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 10 defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs for the Divisional Round.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

  1. Aaron Donald, DE, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Dallas)
  2. Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers (at New England)
  3. Chris Jones, DE, Kansas City (vs. Indianapolis)
  4. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas (at L.A. Rams)
  5. Cameron Jordan, DE, New Orleans (vs. Philadelphia)
  6. Melvin Ingram, DE, Los Angeles Chargers (at New England)
  7. Trey Flowers, DE, New England (vs. L.A. Chargers)
  8. Jabaal Sheard, DE, Indianapolis (at Kansas City)
  9. Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia (at New Orleans)
  10. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Dallas)

LINEBACKERS

  1. Darius Leonard, OLB, Indianapolis (at Kansas City)
  2. Cory Littleton, ILB, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Dallas)
  3. Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Dallas (at L.A. Rams)
  4. Anthony Hitchens, ILB, Kansas City (vs. Indianapolis)
  5. Jaylon Smith, OLB, Dallas (at L.A. Rams)
  6. Demario Davis, OLB, New Orleans (vs. Philadelphia)
  7. Nigel Bradham, OLB, Philadelphia (at New Orleans)
  8. Kyle Van Noy, ILB, New England (vs. L.A. Chargers)
  9. Anthony Walker, ILB, Indianapolis (at Kansas City)
  10. Jordan Hicks, ILB, Philadelphia (at New Orleans)

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  1. Derwin James ,S, Los Angeles Chargers (at New England)
  2. John Johnson, S, Los Angeles Rams (vs. Dallas)
  3. Adrian Phillips, S, Los Angeles Chargers (at New England)
  4. Clayton Geathers, S, Indianapolis (at Kansas City)
  5. Malcolm Jenkins, S, Philadelphia (at New Orleans)
  6. Vonn Bell, S, New Orleans (vs. Philadelphia)
  7. Kenny Moore, CB, Indianapolis (at Kansas City)
  8. Eric Berry, S, Kansas City (vs. Indianapolis)
  9. Rasul Douglas, CB, Philadelphia (at New Orleans)
  10. Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans (vs. Philadelphia)

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.