IDP rankings for Week 10
We've championed Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs a few times already this season, but his quietly amazing season merits much more attention (he's owned in just 53.2 percent of ESPN leagues). Not just from us fantasy nerds, but in a larger league-wide sense. With 60 tackles and nine sacks halfway into the campaign, the simple math suggests Suggs is trending toward the first season we have on record (using a database with defensive stats going back to 2001) with more than 100 tackles and more than 13 sacks. This exclusive triple-digit tackle and double-digit sack club Suggs is hoping to join might just be limited to AFC North defenders, as current Bengals linebacker and former Steelers stalwart James Harrison posted 100 tackles and 10.5 sacks in 2010 for Pittsburgh and Jamir Miller tallied 101 tackles and 13 sacks in 2001 for the Browns. Suggs has at least one sack in each game this season and has averaged more than nine tackles per game since Week 4. With a listless passing game and the league's most inefficient running game, this Ravens campaign seems to be a classic "Super Bowl hangover" season. Yet lost in this post-championship fog has been Suggs' epic efforts this fall. With an inviting schedule and awesome usage (Suggs rushes the passer on 89.5 percent of dropbacks while also capably containing the run on early downs), Suggs is a strong trade target and a simply amazing free-agent acquisition for the second half.
Front Four: The weekly word on the world of defendersAP Photo/John FroschauerEarl Thomas is enjoying a career year, including four interceptions and two forced fumbles already.
Ball hawk: The Seahawks' secondary doesn't often require more attention or praise given that it's already widely acknowledged as the best secondary in all of football, if not the best position group in the league. While Richard Sherman's larcenous ways on the field have led to consideration as the best corner on the planet, he hasn't been a worthy fantasy commodity this season given the penchant for meager production, as opposing arms prefer to avoid challenging him. Sherman leads football in interceptions since Week 15 of last season, and just behind him is his teammate, safety Earl Thomas, with five picks to Sherman's six in that span. Unlike Sherman, Thomas has been a top fantasy contributor, as he's turning in a simply elite season in the statistical department. Thomas already has more tackles this season than he did in all of 2012 and is on pace for career highs in tackles (126) and turnovers forced (11) this season. The Texas product has already enjoyed All-Pro success, but the fantasy crowd needs to catch up (available in 35 percent of ESPN leagues).
Bust to boom: Eight years into the investment it might just be fact the Packers will never get the elite, game-changing presence they expected when taking A.J. Hawk with the fifth overall selection in the 2006 draft. Hawk has been a valuable pro in many ways, but when a team uses such a uniquely high pick on an inside linebacker, he essentially has to be Brian Urlacher in his prime to make good on the investment. It's simply not a premium position in the league these days, so the lofty investment was almost due to be a loss in some sense. All this said, Hawk has been a fantasy gem for much of this season (on pace for 134 tackles and six sacks) and yet is still available in nearly 75 percent of ESPN leagues. While his three sacks came in one game, Hawk is rushing the passer on 22.9 percent of opponents' dropbacks according to Pro Football Focus, good for the fourth-highest rate among qualifying inside linebackers. You didn't place a premium investment in Hawk's career, as Green Bay has, so you can easily profit on this largely free fantasy commodity.
Ward leader: After a somewhat slow start to the season for Browns safety T.J. Ward, the Oregon product has been brilliant over the past month, tied for third in all of football with Paul Posluszny with 30 tackles in the past four weeks. Ward enjoyed an awesome rookie campaign in 2010 (123 tackles), but was limited to just 22 injury-riddled games over the past two seasons. Now healthy and back to enforcing for a strong defensive group in Cleveland, Ward is trending toward triple-digit tackles and career-best marks in sacks and forced turnovers. The stout safety is available in more than 60 percent of IDP leagues and while the Browns are on bye in Week 10, Ward is a good bet to finish as a top-10 defensive back in nearly any format.
Bargain bin -- Defenders available in more than half of ESPN leagues
Vikings 'backer Erin Henderson is on pace for more than 140 tackles and could be kept busy Thursday night pursuing Redskins rushers. ... Atlanta linebacker Paul Worrilow has filled in admirably for Sean Weatherspoon. The undrafted Delaware product is coming off a 19-tackle gem versus the Panthers and faces the run-heavy Seahawks this Sunday. While it's not an enduring investment, it could be fun for at least one more week with Worrilow. ... Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans leads all defenders in snaps played this season and is being sent to rush the passer on 21.9 percent of opponents' dropbacks, just behind Green Bay's Hawk among inside men. ... At some point, you are going to want to forgive Denver's Danny Trevathan for his infamous goal-line gaffe earlier this season and realize that he's putting together a stellar overall season. ... Oldie-but-goodie Charles Woodson continues to compile numbers in the twilight of his career and faces a pass-happy Giants offense this Sunday.
Week 10: The Top 25 linebackers, linemen and defensive backs
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 (4), Pass defended (0.5), Blocked kick (3).
Top 25 Linebackers
Rank/Name Team Opponent 1. Sean Lee Dal NO 2. Lavonte David TB Mia 3. NaVorro Bowman SF Car 4. Vontaze Burfict Cin Bal 5. Luke Kuechly Car SF 6. Paul Posluszny Jac Ten 7. Daryl Washington Ari Hou 8. Kiko Alonso Buf Pit 9. Bobby Wagner Sea Atl 10. James Laurinaitis StL Ind 11. Patrick Willis SF Car 12. Daryl Smith Bal Cin 13. Karlos Dansby Ari Hou 14. Wesley Woodyard Den SD 15. Lawrence Timmons Pit Buf 16. Terrell Suggs Bal Cin 17. Chad Greenway Min Was 18. Erin Henderson Min Was 19. Jerrell Freeman Ind StL 20. Von Miller Den SD 21. Alec Ogletree StL Ind 22. Dannell Ellerbe Mia TB 23. DeMeco Ryans Phi GB 24. London Fletcher Was Min 25. Robert Mathis Ind StL
Top 25 Defensive Linemen
Rank/Name Team Opponent 1. J.J. Watt Hou Ari 2. Mario Williams Buf Pit 3. Jared Allen Min Was 4. Robert Quinn StL Ind 5. Cameron Wake Mia TB 6. Calais Campbell Ari Hou 7. Carlos Dunlap Cin Bal 8. Greg Hardy Car SF 9. Osi Umenyiora Atl Sea 10. Lamarr Houston Oak NYG 11. Derrick Morgan Ten Jac 12. Michael Johnson Cin Bal 13. Charles Johnson Car SF 14. Adrian Clayborn TB Mia 15. Chris Long StL Ind 16. DeMarcus Ware Dal NO 17. Cameron Jordan NO Dal 18. Jason Pierre-Paul NYG Oak 19. Chris Clemons Sea Atl 20. Justin Smith SF Car 21. Jason Hatcher Dal NO 22. Kyle Williams Buf Pit 23. Jason Hunter Oak NYG 24. Brian Robison Min Was 25. Jurrell Casey Ten Jac
Top 25 Defensive Backs
Rank/Name Team Opponent 1. Earl Thomas Sea Atl 2. Morgan Burnett GB Phi 3. Barry Church Dal NO 4. Eric Weddle SD Den 5. Mark Barron TB Mia 6. LaRon Landry Ind StL 7. Ryan Clark Pit Buf 8. Bernard Pollard Ten Jac 9. Duke Ihenacho Den SD 10. Major Wright Chi Det 11. Reshad Jones Mia TB 12. Charles Woodson Oak NYG 13. Charles Tillman Chi Det 14. Tyrann Mathieu Ari Hou 15. Kenny Vaccaro NO Dal 16. DeAngelo Hall Was Min 17. Johnathan Cyprien Jac Ten 18. Troy Polamalu Pit Buf 19. Kam Chancellor Sea Atl 20. William Moore Atl Sea 21. Aaron Williams Buf Pit 22. Nate Allen Phi GB 23. Antoine Bethea Ind StL 24. Antrel Rolle NYG Oak 25. Yeremiah Bell Ari Hou
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