“The rankings are here! The rankings are here!” In the grand tradition of Navin R. Johnson and his excitement over the newly published phone books, I am giddy with excitement that post-draft Individual Defensive Player (IDP) rankings are beginning to crop up.
If that reference is throwing you, I can only assume you have yet to see the cinematic classic, “The Jerk.” If that’s the case, you must immediately go rent, borrow or Netflix it and enjoy. Seriously, go now … I’ll wait. Done? OK, you’re welcome.
One of the many joys fantasy football brings is the chance to discuss and dissect the latest rankings with our league mates, friends or even strangers on the streets (I’m not going to lie, that last one has gotten me some sideways glances).
While standing around the virtual water cooler recently and having one such discussion with a peer in the IDP community (as well as a friend I daresay), it occurred to me that maybe some other folks out there may enjoy our thoughts and ideas on these initial ranks. If not enjoy then at least be enraged by and either way it gets the IDP fantasy juices flowing … a win/win.
If you play IDP football and are not acquainted with Joe Buccellato and FantasyleagueGM, you should be. He is what I would deem an IDP savant, and when he has something to say that’s IDP related, my radar goes up. We recently bounced some underrated and overrated names that jumped out in some of the most recent IDP rankings off of each other.
In the same vein as one of those awesome “Law and Order” episodes that crossed over with “Homicide Life on the Street,” here are those players.
We will start with Buccellato’s thoughts:
Justin Tuck, DE, N.Y. Giants:
Formerly a premier fantasy defensive lineman, Tuck has suffered through consecutive subpar seasons. However, I’m not ready to dismiss him. Injuries have caused his play to lag, but he’s only 30 years old. I’d rather add him to my team and hope for a rebound. If Tuck is washed up, useful linemen are easy to find on the waiver wire.
Patrick Willis, ILB, San Francisco:
Willis was injured in 2011, and suffered through a “down” year in 2012. The presence of NaVorro Bowman in San Francisco and sexier, younger linebackers around the league have caused Willis’ value to drop. In reality, his worst games were Week 13 (four solo tackles) and Week 1 (four solo tackles, two assists). That’s his floor! Just like the NFL draft, you don’t hit home runs in Round 1. You want safe, productive players. That’s Willis.
Stephen Tulloch, MLB, Detroit:
Tulloch has been a solid player for the past four years, highlighted by a dominant 2010 season (111 solo tackles, 48 assists, one sack, one fumble recovery, one interception, six passes defense). He’s the leader of the Detroit defense and in his prime (age 28). While he may never have another 150-tackle season, he’s a safe bet for consistent production. I’m drafting him as my LB2 all summer.
Terrell Suggs, OLB, Baltimore:
So what he’s losing defensive end eligibility. He’s still Suggs, and he’s a monster, when healthy. He wrecks games – the kind of player that win you fantasy games. Build your team with consistent fantasy starters (as described above), but sprinkle in “boom” players like Suggs, Clay Matthews, Tamba Hali, and/or Ryan Kerrigan. You’ll always have a chance to win with these sack-turnover guys. When you’re down by 20 points on Monday night, you’ll be glad Suggs is on your team.
K.J. Wright, OLB, Seattle:
In 2012, Wright was bordering on LB1 status up to Week 8. Then he suffered a concussion that opened the door for rookie Bobby Wagner. When Wright returned to game action in Week 12, Wagner kept the green-dot and three-down duties. Wright finished the season with a few nice games, but it’s clear every fantasy owner wants Wagner in 2013. I do, too, but it’s all about value. Wright is a steady linebacker that should avoid clunker games. At worst, you’ll own tremendous depth for your byes and injuries. At best he’s your starting LB3, and you won’t have to pay too much to get him.
Stevie Brown, S, N.Y. Giants:
Brown and Quintin Mikell catapulted both my teams to a fantasy championship, so I’ve been witness to their weekly dominance. Since Mikell is still unsigned, I’ll focus on Brown. Former safety Kenny Phillips was a constant fantasy disappointment, but the Giants refused to take him off the field. If you look at the game logs, every time Phillips missed the game with (another) injury, Brown blew up the stat sheet. Phillips is gone for good, and Brown will explode again. In addition, the Giants haven’t upgraded their mediocre linebackers, which will allow Brown a few extra box-tackles per game.