2010 Fantasy Football Rankings: IDP Linebackers <br> By Steve Strange
By Steve Strange. Steve Strange, a graduate of Penn State's Center for Sports Journalism in 2006, is currently writing Fantasy is Reality, a book geared around the commissioner aspect of fantasy sports. Steve has been playing fantasy sports of all sorts and sizes since 1997. Feel free to e-mail Steve questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These 2010 Fantasy Football IDP Rankings will be updated often throughout the summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out the other 2010 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2010 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material.
Patrick Willis, LB, 49ers. Bye: 9.
Patrick Willis is a tackling machine in his prime who contributes in all categories. He's the No. 1 IDP, and it's not even close.
Jon Beason, LB, Panthers. Bye: 6.
Sure, 140 tackles per season is great, but Beason also has 15 passes defended and six interceptions over the last two seasons.
Barrett Ruud, LB, Buccaneers. Bye: 4.
Ruud had 142 tackles last year, and his tackle total has increased every season. Three sacks in five seasons limit his upside, though.
David Harris, LB, Jets. Bye: 7.
The casual football fan may be unaware of Harris' talents, but IDP enthusiasts should note his 2009 season. The 26-year-old had 5.5 sacks to go along with 127 tackles, which was similar to his 2007 numbers.
D.J. Williams, LB, Broncos. Bye: 9.
Williams had career-highs in sacks (3.5) and forced fumbles (3) last season. He matched a career-high in passes defended (7), and had 122 tackles. With Elvis Dumervil out indefinitely, the Broncos defense will rely on the playmaking ability of the 28-year-old Williams more than ever.
James Laurinaitis, LB, Rams. Bye: 9.
Laurinaitis' rookie season represented that of a seasoned fantasy IDP contributor. He's on track to be a yearly stud.
D'Qwell Jackson, LB, Browns. Bye: 8.
It's time to gamble on upside. The 26-year-old Jackson missed 10 games last year due to a torn pectoral muscle, but led the NFL in tackles in 2008.
Kirk Morrison, LB, Jaguars. Bye: 9.
Five NFL seasons with well over 100 tackles is good enough for me. This guy's talent flew under the radar in Oakland.
Ray Lewis, LB, Ravens. Bye: 8.
The 160-tackle years are over, but Lewis is still a model of smash-mouth consistency. The 35-year-old is defying his age.
Curtis Lofton, LB, Falcons. Bye: 8.
The 24-year-old Lofton has a lot of upside as middle linebacker in Atlanta's 4-3. But he also has never picked off a pass, and has one career sack. You're gambling on a season you haven't seen.
Paul Posluszny, LB, Bills. Bye: 6.
The buzz is about Posluszny going to his 3-4 Nittany Lion roots, but one career sack concerns me. I like players who have potential to contribute across the board.
Jonathan Vilma, LB, Saints. Bye: 10.
The former Defensive Rookie of the Year had 173 tackles in 2005, but hasn't come close to that insane number since. Vilma cancels out his lack of sacks with a lot of passes defended.
Karlos Dansby, LB, Dolphins. Bye: 7.
Dansby is solid in all stat categories, but great in none. Will the move to Miami help or hurt his fantasy production?
Rolando McClain, LB, Raiders. Bye: 10.
All rookies should be drafted with some caution, but McClain should be a stud. SEC running backs are glad to get rid of the 2009 Lambert Award winner.
Lance Briggs, LB, Bears. Bye: 8.
Briggs' 53 career passes defended is impressive, and Brian Urlacher's return can only help.
London Fletcher, LB, Redskins. Bye: 9.
Fletcher has 1,480 career tackles. He had 142 tackles last season, and doesn't get enough credit for his great career. Fletcher is a great addition to any fantasy team.
Brian Cushing, LB, Texans. Bye: 7.
Determining Cushing's proper rank was excruciating. If he wasn't suspended for the first four games, I'd have him at No. 3. Cushing was a monster in all statistical categories in his rookie season.
James Harrison, LB, Steelers. Bye: .
Harrison is a big-time playmaker. He has 34.5 sacks and 18 forced fumbles over the last three seasons. Unfortunately, Harrison only has one season with more than 100 tackles in his career.
DeMarcus Ware, LB, Cowboys. Bye: 4.
I don't care if Ware had 57 tackles last year. I'm not going to ignore 13 sacks per season.
LaMarr Woodley, LB, Steelers. Bye: 5.
If your fantasy league scores correctly, one sack should be worth roughly three tackles. Lamar Woodley had 13.5 sacks last season, which was third-most in the league.