As voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) turn into mandatory mini-camps and training camps right around the corner, it is time to kick fantasy draft preparation up a notch or two.
With that in mind, I decided to compile a quick hitting list of Individual Defensive Players (IDP) that hold excellent value and should be targeted in all formats.
For the most part I am avoiding the ‘no-brainer’ elite names such as defensive end J.J. Watt or linebacker studs such as Luke Kuechly, James Laurinaitis and the like. While there are some top-level names listed here, it is because I believe they are poised to join the elite tier and can be drafted as such.
Some of the players mentioned have already been covered to some extent in my previous articles and rankings but deserve mentioning again as I am that high on them. These are players that I have targeted and will continue to target in IDP drafts as lynchpin options to lead a squad to a successful season.
There are not a lot of ‘so and so posted X amount of tackles last season’ to be found in this particular article as I wanted to sprinkle it with my thoughts as to why I feel they are viable options.
As the season approaches and position battles are won and lost, there will be plenty of time for the hard hitting stat and scheme based analysis that I love to do, but for now I wanted to just toss out these names to keep high on draft lists.
What can I say? I am a visual guy, and the more times I see a name the more likely that player sticks in my mind, so I figured there must be some folks like me out there (that is a scary thought).
Why 12 names at each position? Umm … why not? Let’s get to it!
Dawan Landry, SS, N.Y. Jets:
Takes his little brother’s former spot in the Jets secondary and will post similar totals in a prime fantasy scoring position.
Casey Hayward, CB, Green Bay
: Ball hawking cornerback in a pass-happy division with quarterbacks that combined for 45 picks in 2012. Ascending fantasy talent.
Eric Berry, SS, Kansas City:
Not everyone is Adrian Peterson, and it took Berry until November to resemble the player he was as a rookie as he returned from his knee injury. He’s back!
Stevie Brown, FS, N.Y. Giants:
No, last season was not a fluke. Look for Brown to post another season of above-average fantasy totals.
Antoine Bethea, FS, Indianapolis:
Don’t fall asleep on this perennial tackling machine just because the Colts signed LaRon Landry. Bethea still represents excellent fantasy production into 2013.
Glover Quin, SS, Detroit:
He will easily lead the Lions secondary in tackles and could challenge for the overall team lead. Very shaky front seven makes Quin fantasy gold.
Kenny Vaccaro, FS/SS, New Orleans:
The kid is too good, and Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins were too bad last season to keep Vaccaro off the field. The only question: which one does he replace?
Reshad Jones, SS, Miami:
Last season he knocked on the door of defensive back elite status. In 2013, he kicks the door down and finishes Top 5 in scoring.
T.J. Ward, SS, Cleveland:
Returns to Top 10 status after a pair of down seasons for the Browns. Look for triple-digit tackle numbers and a boost in big play totals as he anchors the secondary.
Bernard Pollard, SS, Tennessee:
His act wears thin pretty fast with teams but he puts up excellent fantasy numbers wherever he plays. Pollard will excel again for at least this season in Tennessee.
Ryan Clark, FS, Pittsburgh
: He’s not a flashy or sexy name to call out on draft day but he brings consistent high-end fantasy production year in and year out.
Yeremiah Bell, FS/SS, Arizona:
Perfect example of a better fantasy option than actual NFL player. Struggles in coverage but posts solid tackle numbers every year and in fantasy we love that!