Updated Dynasty Linebacker Rankings – August 2014

Complete dynasty linebacker rankings can be found here

  • wagnerWith the injury to Kiko Alonso, we have a new entry to the top five. The order now goes Luke Kuechly, Lavonte David, Vontaze Burfict, NaVorro Bowman, and new to the list, Bobby Wagner. 
  • Couple injury drops include Kiko Alonso from 4 to 10 and Sean Weatherspoon from 23 to 37.
  • Rookie risers include C.J. Mosley from 32 to 22; Christian Kirksey from 44 to 38; and Khalil Mack from off the list to 41.

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Updated Dynasty Defensive Back Rankings – June 2014

Click here for updated dynasty defensive back rankings.

  • smithA new top five with Harrison Smith heading up the list; Eric Berry follows with Morgan Burnett, Mark Barron and Earl Thomas behind.
  • Rookies new to the list include Calvin Pryor at 18; Deone Bucannon at 21; Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at 28; and Dezmen Southward at 37.

Updated Dynasty Linebacker Rankings – June 2014

Click here for complete updated dynasty linebacker rankings.

  • shazierA new top five in dynasty linebacker rankings: Luke Kuechly, Lavonte David, NaVorro Bowman, Kiko Alonso, and Vontaze Burfict. 
  • Rookies entering the rankings include Ryan Shazier at 15; C.J. Mosley at 32; Christian Kirksey at 44; and Tevin Smith at 46.
  • Some notable movers include Alec Ogletree to 8 from 24; fresh off his suspension, Daryl Washington to 22 from 7; and on the flip side, Kevin Minter to 21 from 44; thanks to his latest injury, Sean Lee drops to 26 from 6.

Updated Dynasty DB Rankings – February 2014

Click here for updated dynasty DB rankings. 

  • Top of the list remains the same with Packers safety Morgan Burnett and Vikings safety Harrison Smith claiming the top two spots.
  • The big risers include Cowboys safety Barry Church making an appearance in the top 10. Rams safety T.J. McDonald should also see more action in his second year.
  • The big drops include Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor for no other reason other than there’s just a ton of talent around him. Lions safety Glover Quin also drops. Quin has never had a 100-plus tackle season and the Lions big area of need is their secondary. Steer clear.

Updated Dynasty Linebacker Rankings – January 2014

Click here for the latest dynasty linebacker rankings. 

  • The top of the rankings stay mostly the same with Luke Kuechly, NaVorro Bowman, and Lavonte David making up the top three. Bowman’s status will be closely monitored after destroying his knee in the NFC Championship game.
  • The big risers this month include the Eagles Mychal Kendricks, Buffalo’s Kiko Alonso and the Bengals Vontaze Burfict. All are coming off strong seasons and will enter 2014 under the age of 24. They will be heading in to the top ten soon.
  • Drops this month include the 49ers Patrick Willis (age/injury) and the Cowboys Bruce Carter (pass protection) and Tampa’s Mason Foster (new scheme). These are guys you should look at trading to see what you get.

Kiko Alonso Dynasty Analysis

On the official Bills website today, they take a look at the race to be the starter at ILB.  As author Chris Brown mentioned, the Bills haven’t had a consistent starter at ILB since Paul Posluszny in 2010.

All indications are Kiko Alonso will start the season there after being drafted 46th overall. New coach Doug Marrone recently said, “he’s shown he has all the ability to play all three downs.” Alonso flashed that ability in his last year at Oregon when he was all over the field recording 87 total tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, four interceptions, seven passes defended, two forced fumbles and a sack.

New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will play a big, if not the biggest, role in who the starting inside linebacker is. Whether it’s Alonso or other candidates  Nigel Bradham, Arthur Moats or Bryan Scott, recent history indicates Pettine’s defenses haven’t had a consistent tackler at the position. In his four years as the New York Jets coordinator, inside linebacker David Harris had 127, 99, 86, 123 from 2009-2012. Harris is still an above average fantasy linebacker but more consistency from Pettine’s linebackers would be preferred.

Assuming Alonso starts the season as the starter, he should put up LB2/3 numbers right away as most inside linebackers do. Said Pettine, “he has come in and he is as close to NFL ready as I’ve seen a rookie linebacker step into this system.” Additionally, the Bills are in full-scale re-build mode under new general manager Doug Whaley, Marrone and raw rookie quarterback E.J. Manual. This should buy Alonso plenty of time to develop his game before the real pressure builds.

Long-term, the only potential hurdle is his few run-ins with the law. Currently, Alonso sits at 30 in our latest overall linebacker rankings. Assuming he can avoid those in the future, I’d have no problem taking Alonso as the second rookie linebacker in a dynasty draft.

Why are safeties are better than corners in fantasy?

Looking at the latest DB rankings for dynasty, you’ll see safeties take the top 1o spots. This is similar to the DL rankings that put ends at the top of the list over interior linemen.  But why is that?

If you were to look at the top tackling DB’s last year, you’d find a safety-heavy list with only three corners in the top 20. In fact, there’s no more than four corners in the top 20 for years and there were none in 2009. The fact is, tackles are the most consistent stats when looking at DB’s so it’s best to rank them by that. Plus, even if tackles are 1 point in your league while interceptions are 4, you’d still be better served drafting a tackling machine like Morgan Burnett who’s had 230 tackles over the last two years. Tackles are just more common than interceptions and happen at a higher ratio than the tackle/interception point ratio in most, if not all, dynasty leagues.

But why do safeties have way more tackles? Inherently, they’re the safety valve of the defense. They are there to prevent plays from going 10, 15, 20 yards. Corners, good corners anyway, are there to prevent the receivers from even catching the ball. That’s why corners will never have high tackle numbers if they’re picking passes off. The top six leaders in interceptions last year had 60-76-64-55-76-53 tackles respectively. Plus, corners are relegated to one side of the field while the safeties cover much more ground on any given play. They’re instinctively playing the ball while the corners have specific assignments.

Bottom line – get a safety as your DB1. Only if you’ve got that locked up would I even consider drafting a corner.

Dynasty Defensive Linemen Rankings – Top Tier

Looking at the recently published defensive linemen rankings in dynasty fantasy football leagues, there’s a consensus at the top. Houston end JJ Watt should be at the top of any IPD list. He exploded in his second year with a league leading 20.5 sacks and, maybe an even more impressive, 16 passes defended from the line. With Wade Phillips back leading the defense, and Watt entering his age-24 season, there’s no reason to doubt Watt’s potential. Whether it’s dynasty or re-draft leagues, Watt is at the top.

Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Football Giants was JJ Watt before JJ Watt was JJ Watt. In 2011, JPP had a breakout in his second year, just like Watt, with 16.5 sacks and 7 passes defended. But the Giants defense overall regressed mightily to the 2nd worst in the league statistically. On top of that, Pierre-Paul recently completed back surgery which puts his status to start the season in jeopardy. Even if he were to start in Week 1, the G-Men don’t plan on taxing him in training camp and pre-season which might delay his conditioning. At least he’s only entering his age-24 season (like Watt) so there’s time for JPP to bounce back.

St. Louis Ram Robert Quinn, the consensus #3 DL in dynasty, is all about potential. Only entering his age-23 season, Quinn’s coming off a 10.5 sack season while only starting 14 games. He’s also getting a new defensive coordinator in Tim Walton who previously coached the secondary in Detroit under Jim Schwartz, who coached under current St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher. Walton led an average secondary in Detroit that did no better than 16th in opposing passing yards. Hopefully, Walton can get more out of Quinn regardless.

Dynasty Linebacker Rankings – Top Tier

After just calculating the amalgamated linebacker rankings, it’s clear there’s a top tier of five. Luke Kuechly of Carolina is the consensus #1 no matter what rankings you’re looking at. The combination of his age (22) and the fact that he’ll be a three-down back on a pretty bad team means he should see plenty of opportunities to be right in the action for many years to come.

The next two spots are interchangeable and include San Francisco’s NaVorro Bowman and St. Louis’ James Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis is another three-down back playing the middle. He seemingly had his hands on everything – four passes defended, two interceptions and 117 solo tackles to go with 25 assists. The guy is a beast and is only ranked lower than Kuechly because of his age (26). The same could be said of Bowman who actually had more total tackles than Laurinaitis (148-142), more sacks (2.0-0.5), more passes defended (6-4). He’s also a year younger (25-26). If you put a gun to my head and told me to pick one, I’d go with Bowman.

The next two include Seattle’s Bobby Wagner, with a similar resume than Laurinaitis and Bowman but is just 23.

Next is the first outside linebacker of the group, Lavonte David. The second year linebacker from Tampa Bay is just 23 and has the potential to rack up sacks with 19 tackles for a loss in his rookie season.

Bottom line is you can’t go wrong if one of these guys is your lead LB for the next five years.