Fantasy IDP rankings for Week 2
It was a tough opening week for superstar defenders with last names beginning with "B."
We lost an elite linebacker to a torn Achilles in Carolina's Jon Beason. The middle man for the Panthers was a tackle maven and an emerging playmaker who had just signed a massive pact, assuring him years of menacing play in teal and black (not the easiest colors to call on). I discuss the ramifications of his absence in the Front Four below.[+] EnlargePeter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesEric Berry's athleticism and playmaking skills will be missed in Kansas City.
Equally devastating was the torn ACL suffered by our top-ranked defensive back, Eric Berry of Kansas City. The second-year dynamo promised a blend of playmaking and punishment that few defenders in the league can claim. The fantasy fallout isn't quite as clear as with Beason, and his owners must simply chalk this one up to the attrition of the game. We do, however, have some solid defensive back tandems that are flying under the radar for you to consider if you lost Berry for the season. But hey, you still have Matthew Berry, who would likely have to play through such an injury, being a company man and all.
Injuries happen, we are all well aware of this blunt reality in the NFL, and for both the real teams and our fantasy teams, depth will be tested.
Front Four: The weekly word on the world of defenders
Bishop the 'Backer: In a move that would make certain neighborhoods in Belfast tremor, the Green Bay Packers have both a Catholic and a Protestant team chaplain. But more relevant to our purposes, they also have a bishop on board in Desmond Bishop; a young 'backer from Cal by way of the juco circuit, has earned his way onto every team he's ever played with and last year made his impression felt as a spot-starter turned stud impact player as the team chased glory and rings. Now a fixture as an inside linebacker for the Packers, he produces at a brilliant clip for Green Bay and his savvy fantasy owners. Available in nearly 40 percent of ESPN leagues, it's time to get a Bishop on board. If you lost out on Bishop and truly lost out as a Beason owner, stick with the Carolina roster and go get Dan Connor before it's too late. While he has had durability concerns of his own, when Connor has manned the middle for the Panthers, the numbers have been rewarding.
All well with D'Qwell: The Cleveland defense has yet to form an identity despite investing heavily in drafts over the past several seasons. Defensive backs Joe Haden and T.J. Ward are special talents, but the front seven has gone relatively nameless for some time now. That should change with the reemergence of D'Qwell Jackson, a one-time star who has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons but who is now ready and able to dominate from a real and statistical perspective. A huge Week 1 got him noticed, but the Browns 'backer remains next to a plus symbol in nearly 70 percent of ESPN leagues. Join the minority on this one and enjoy the ride.[+] EnlargeJeff Moffett/Icon SMIBryan Scott is capable of racking up tackles in the Bills secondary.
DB Duos: As we mentioned above in regard to replacing an elite commodity like Berry, there are some strong options floating around in IDP leagues, as the crowd hasn't realized where the rewards are just yet. Starting in Buffalo, safeties George Wilson and Bryan Scott boast some value. Jairus Byrd remains the playmaker of the secondary in Orchard Park, and while these other two seemingly share the strong safety gig it's important to note that Scott plays a hybrid linebacker/defensive back role in nickel situations and most third downs, lending him worthy tackle opportunities and production while retaining a defensive back distinction for roster purposes. The versatile Scott put up nine tackles and a sack last week and is a player to keep a target on. [e] Looking to the Rams duo of undervalued defensive backs, consider Craig Dahl and Bradley Fletcher as sound options that go underappreciated on a team that opponents pass on regularly. [e] One more defensive back sleeper to wake up to is Morgan Burnett in Green Bay, who is owned just 10 percent of ESPN leagues but will be a statistical star in due time.
Baltimore Boys: Ray Lewis has been, and truly does remain, an elite force in fantasy, but the name to covet on that defense for fantasy purposes is outside 'backer/defensive end hybrid Terrell Suggs. With three sacks last week and a penchant for causing chaos in the backfield and in the pocket, get "T-Sizzle" through trade, barter or befriending his owner, because there are few defensive line options that make for better fantasy commodities given his dual citizenship in ESPN leagues across the two valuable positions.
IDP Rankings Week 2
So that we're working from agreed parameters, we'll use what many consider traditional scoring modifiers for an IDP league: Solo tackle (0.5), assisted tackle (0.25), sack (3), interception (3), forced fumble (3), fumble recovery (3), touchdown (6), safety (2), pass defended (0.5), blocked kick (3).
Please note the injury designation regarding the players' status in parentheses where applicable: (D): Doubtful, (Q): Questionable, (P): Probable.
Top 20 Linebackers
Rank/Name Team Opponent 1. Patrick Willis SF Dal 2. Lawrence Timmons Pit Sea 3. DeMarcus Ware Dal SF 4. Brian Urlacher* Chi NO 5. Chad Greenway Min TB 6. Jerod Mayo NE SD 7. James Laurinaitis StL NYG 8. Barrett Ruud Ten Bal 9. D'Qwell Jackson Cle Ind 10. Ray Lewis Bal Ten 11. Derrick Johnson KC Det 12. Brian Cushing Hou Mia 13. Lance Briggs Chi NO 14. Paul Posluszny Jac NYJ 15. James Anderson Car GB 16. Curtis Lofton Atl Phi 17. Mario Williams Hou Mia 18. Rolando McClain Oak Buf 19. David Harris NYJ Jac 20. David Hawthorne (Q) Sea Pit
Top 20 Defensive Linemen
Rank/Name Team Opponent 1. Justin Tuck (Q) NYG StL 2. Ndamukong Suh Det KC 3. Terrell Suggs Bal Ten 4. Trent Cole Phi Atl 5. Jared Allen Min TB 6. Julius Peppers Chi NO 7. Charles Johnson Car GB 8. Jason Pierre-Paul NYG StL 9. Robert Mathis Ind Cle 10. Calais Campbell Ari Was 11. John Abraham Atl Phi 12. Kyle Williams Buf Oak 13. Matt Shaughnessy Oak Buf 14. Darnell Dockett Ari Was 15. Haloti Ngata Bal Ten 16. Jason Babin Phi Atl 17. Chris Clemons Sea Pit 18. Carlos Dunlap Cin Den 19. Chris Long StL NYG 20. Justin Smith SF Dal
Top 20 Defensive Backs
Rank/Name Team Opponent 1. Charles Tillman Chi NO 2. Charles Woodson GB Car 3. Patrick Chung NE SD 4. Joe Haden Cle Ind 5. Tyvon Branch Oak Buf 6. T.J. Ward (P) Cle Ind 7. Michael Griffin Ten Bal 8. Yeremiah Bell Mia Hou 9. Patrick Peterson Ari Was 10. Donte Whitner SF Dal 11. Devin McCourty NE SD 12. Roman Harper NO Chi 13. Eric Weddle SD NE 14. DeAngelo Hall Was Ari 15. George Wilson Buf Oak 16. Troy Polamalu Pit Sea 17. Jairus Byrd Buf Oak 18. Brent Grimes Atl Phi 19. Earl Thomas Sea Pit 20. Nick Collins GB Car
Jim McCormick is a fantasy football analyst for ESPN.com and the high school football editor for ESPNHS.com. Contact him at JMcCormickESPN@gmail.com or @JMacPhillies on Twitter.
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