Top 50 Fantasy Football Linebacker Rankings

Linebacker. The meat of your Individual Defensive Players in an IDP Fantasy Football Dynasty League. Our own Dudley Dooright from up north, TJ Ford, has submitted the first batch of IDP rankings for 2009 for Football Jabber. Here is a peek at some of the rankings with commentary…

#1 Patrick Willis (3-4 ILB), 49ers-

“No question here. Willis is the top dog among LBs, this guy can single handedly win games for you with astronomical tackle stats as well as big play potential.”

#6 Karlos Dansby (4-3 WLB/3-4 ILB), Cardinals-

“Always a big play LB that has improved his solo tackles steadily over the past three years. Dansby is arguably became the best defensive player on his team over safety Adrian Wilson. Dansby will once again be the focal point of a great attacking defense centered on big plays and turnovers.”

#11 Curtis Lofton (4-3 MLB), Falcons-

“I’m projecting a big jump for this guy and before you guys start writing your homer accusations in the comments, hear me out. Curtis Lofton led the league in points scored per defensive snap. The only thing that held him back was his limited snaps. This year will be different with Keith Brooking and Michael Boley gone. Lofton will be a 3-down LB and will have the stats to back it up.”

#26 James Laurinaitis (4-3 MLB), Rams-

“The Rams Mike job has top 10 potential but Chris Draft is still running with the ones in OTAs. Little Animal needs to step up, take the job and show he can perform.”

#33 Nick Barnett (3-4 ILB), Packers-

“How the mighty have fallen. Barnett was a consensus top 10 LB last year but a ripped up knee and a position change to the Ted backer in Dom Capers 3-4 defense have reduced him to a LB3.”

View the complete TOP 50 rankings HERE—>

Related:

IDP Fantasy Football LB Consistency Rankings

One thing I’ve always put stock in for fantasy football is consistency. If my player is supposed to be a RB1, how often does he actually score enough points to be ranked as such in any given week. Other fantasy sites have consistency rankings for offensive players that are based off of certain stat milestones and spit out a percentage rank that give you a clear indication of the “odds” of your player performing as you expect him to. It’s a great way to make decisions on who to draft/trade for when you view two players as equals otherwise.

I got to thinking, why not do the same with defense? Sure, there is a greater measure of chance when it comes to predicting defensive stats. Plays are rarely designed to incorporate defensive players into the game (with the exception of blitzes or robber zones); in fact, often the opposite occurs as the offense gameplans to keep the ball away from an impact player on the defense. IDPs are usually matched up man-on-man or assigned gaps or zones and only the offense determines where the ball goes. In that respect, defense is rather difficult to predict. That being said, I still think that the cream regularly rises to the top regardless of how the offense chooses to address the defense it is playing against. I believe that scheme and talent have a greater part in determining IDP production than sheer opportunity, although opportunity is a big contributor.

CONTINUED—>

Rookie Review | Fantasy Football Dynasty Scout

Rookie Review | Fantasy Football Dynasty Scout

The Fantasy Football Season rolls on for those in the playoffs but for many it has come to an end.  Some owners in Fantasy Football Dynasty Leagues are already looking forward to the NFL Draft as they know their draft position and are looking at their needs.  There certainly seemed to be more rookies this season that had an unlikely fantasy impact than usual.  Let’s have a look at the 2008 Fantasy Football Rookie standouts…

The scoring used for reflection in how these fantasy players performed is as follows…

Passing TD’s=4 pts
All other TD’s=6 pts
Passing Yards= 1 pt point per 20 yards
Rushing/Receiving Yards= 1 pt per 10 yards
Receptions: .5 pt
2 Point Conversions= 2 pts

Scoring is used up to Week 13 as many leagues end their regular season at that point.

Quarterback

You hear it all the time about NFL QB’s in their rookie season.  You don’t really want them to have to start.  Goes the same in fantasy football.  In 2008, with the injuries and benching, some people were forced to pick some rookies up off the waiver wire.  There were a couple fellas that did not turn out all too terrible to have in a backup position.

Joe Flacco, Ravens
Position Rank: 14th, 186 pts

Fantasy Football relevance for a Ravens QB was pretty unlikely going into the season.  This caused many Dynasty owners to pass on Flacco unless they were desperate.  Taken by the Ravens at #18 in the draft we knew he was going to be their guy, didn’t know for sure when.  Unless you have a developmental taxi squad where you can sit guys Flacco was likely not jumping out as a guy you HAD to have in your draft.

After suffering two below average games early in the season Flacco became a consistent backup/bye week QB for owners.  His high point came in Week Eight against the Raiders when he posted TD’s in the air and on the ground, he even had a reception for 43 yards.

Outlook: If the Ravens ever develop an offense for him to work with Flacco can become a viable QB option in fantasy football.  For Dynasty owners who have him he is at least going to be

Matt Ryan, Falcons:
Position Rank: 15th, 184 pts

Matt Ryan was picked up by the Falcons with the #3 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.  In most fantasy football Dynasty League drafts he was the first QB taken as well given his chance to start early.  There is an old saying though.  Don’t own players from bad fantasy teams.  The Falcons were supposed to be a mess again this season.  Apparently someone did not tell Ryan that when he was given the starting job.

He was called the most “NFL Ready QB” in the draft.  We hear this every season, right?  Ryan scored his best game of the season in Week 10 against the Saints, posting two TD’s and 248 yards.  The return against the Saints in week 14 was even better and could have made a decent playoff start.

Outlook: The Falcons are not nearly as bad as we suspected in the beginning of the season.  The Matt Ryan to Roddy White hookup looks to be  a scary pair for years to come.

Worth a mention:

Brian Brohm, Packers: There were question marks as to how Aaron Rodgers would pan out in Green Bay.  Enough that they took Brohm in the second round.  Turns out that Rodgers is doing okay for himself and not as injury prone as suspected.  Brohm is a stash away unless you can actually move him to the Aaron Rodgers owner.

Chad Henne, Dolphins: It appeared at one time that Henne may be the Rookie QB that had the best chance to start the season.  Then Chad Pennington came to town.  He totaled 67 yards on the season.  There is no telling the future of Chad Henne in fantasy football.  Chad Pennington had his most productive year in some time and appears a good fit with the offense.

Running Back

The Running Back position.  The grand Poo-Bah of fantasy football positions.  The most sought after players in the Dynasty draft.  There always seems to be a Running Back or two that have a significant fantasy impact in their rookie season.  In 2008 this was certainly the case with three finishing in the Top10!

Matt Forte, Bears
Postion Rank: 1st, 220 pts

That’s right kids.  A Chicago Bears Running back is the top fantasy football Running Back for 2008.  To top it off he is a rookie!  Forte had some fans coming into the season but nobody seriously expected Forte to lead the rookie runners, let alone the running back position.  Once Cedric Benson was booted out of Chicago the job became Forte’s, hands down.  He did not disappoint.

In many fantasy football dynasty drafts, Forte was at the highest the 5th running back taken.  One thing he had going for him that some of the bigger names didn’t was the outright starting job.  This important piece often gets lost behind the flashy name.  Top game of the season came in Week 12 against the Rams.  Two Rushing TD’s on 132 yards.  He added on a coupe of receptions as well.

Outlook: The Bears still want to improve their Offensive Line.  Every step they take in that direction will help Forte.  Let’s hope he does not go the way of Anthony Thomas…

Steve Slaton, Texans
Position Rank: 8th, 186 pts

They said he was too small.  The Houston backfield had become as crowded as one you may find in Denver, with nobody jumping out.  As the season went on the ball found it’s way more and more into the hands of Steve Slaton.  In weeks three, four, and five, owners who were not afraid of Slaton’s size or the fact he was a Texan were rewarded with drafting him.  Those three solid weeks erased many doubts.

Slaton was one of those names we heard in the fantasy preseason but many just dismissed.  A late round pick in many Dynasty drafts, Slaton is a gem.  His season was peppered with a few inconsistent games but considering there was not much expected of him, we can let this slide.  His best game of the season came in Week 13 against the Jaguars.  Two rushing TD’s on 130 yards with two receptions and 52 yards thrown in.

Outlook: We have heard how Houston is going to become kind of a Denver South with Coach Kubiak.  Will Slaton get lost in the whoever has the hot hand strategy?

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The Bedpan Fantasy Football Injuries of Note

2008 has been the year of the Red X.  Most fantasy football owners have to be looking at their rosters and seeing spots of injuries dotted throughout.  Let’s have a look at some injury reports, who is going to start, who is going to sit, and who you may be able to plug in this week.

QB:

Carson Palmer, Bengals: If you have been wondering if you should go a different direction but just could not stomach benching Palmer and his high draft status, it’s not your fault and you can do it this week.  Palmer is going to be sitting.  At least you know ahead of time this week.

Trent Edwards, Bills: They are being cautious with Edwards on the bye week.  Signs are pointing that he will return after the bye week.

Brian Griese, Bucs: His elbow held him out of practice again.  Will Jeff Garcia play well enough to hold him out of games after this week?  remains to be seen.  Jon Gruden is becoming to QB’s what Mike Shanahan is to RB’s.

Jon Kitna, Lions: This was an interesting tidbit earlier in the week because it appears that the Lions were not prepared for the possibility that Kitna could not go.  There was question as to if Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton would get the start.  It appears that Orlovsky is going to be the guy this weekend in his first NFL start.

Aaron Rodgers, Packers: All signs on the Magic 8 Ball are pointing to Rodgers starting against Seattle.  People questioned his durability going into the season but we are seeing some toughness as well as he is playing through the pain.  Kudos Aaron.

Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks: Hasselbeck is listed as questionable but is not expected to play according to The Big Show.  Beware the return of Charlie Fry.  Well, Charlie Fry will return anyway, we have not had to beware of anything with the Seahawks passing game this season so far.

RB:

Brian Westbrook, Eagles: Let’s look at it this way.  You are going to be without Brian Westbrook this week.  At least you know it now.  How much hair do you figure has been lost over the years on Sunday morning alone waiting to see if this guy was going to play or not?  He isn’t, go on and enjoy your weekend.

A lot More HERE—>

Packer Fans Basically Dress as Cheese | Fantasy Football Sleepers

Last night on Football Jabber Radio we had Adam, the football loving Brit that is taking in 35 NFL games around the country. It’s funny to hear an Englishman’s assessment of how Packer fans basically dress up as cheese. Poor guy didn’t know where he was, turns out he is in North Eastern Oregon heading to Vegas (there isn’t a football team in Vegas so whatever could he be up to?). NFL Recaps and Fantasy Football too!

Show Notes:

3:00-We get Mike in the house and rolling. Discussion of some of the big games from last week including the Broncos/Chargers fiasco, the Vikings disappointment against the Colts, and more…

12:19-We get a call from Reg at CowboysPride.net discussing the Cowboys and Eagles Monday Night Football shootout.

28:00- Adam from Adamsfootballtrip.com joins us to discuss his dream trip around the United States taking in 35 games in a season. Good stuff. Tales from the road so far and plans ahead.

42:00- Fantasy Football time! Smashmouth is in front of the 30+ owner Cowboys Pride/ Football Jabber Challenge. Take a look at some possible sleeper/waiver wire picks.

Go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/footballjabber to check it out!

Saturday night at 8pm Central we dive further into the fantasy football, injuries, and some NFL game picks.

A Community just for Football Fans…

Just in time for the 2008 Football season Football Jabber has added The Locker Room Community.  Think MySpace for the football fan!  From the NFL Draft all the way to the Super Bowl…

NFL Power Rankings Updated

A lot has happened in the last month since the Power Rankings were last updated so it appears it is time to refresh.  Sure, it’s only the preseason, but we need some kind of hierarchy in the league, right?

During the season the Power Rankings will be determined by a fancy little formula that we determined taking several factors into consideration aside from the win/loss record and opinion.  In fact opinion will have very little to do with it outside of a tie in the number crunching.  You can click HERE to view the Power Rankings.

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