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Individual Defensive Player (IDP) ranks, 2011 edition

Each year, I try to convert a few more fantasy owners to IDP leagues — just a few of you, that's all. I realize I can't get everyone, or even a significant percentage of the gamer population. I'm just looking to nudge a small number of reluctant-but-interested managers toward a setup that will, without question, make you a more knowledgeable fan.

Is there any doubt that your involvement in standard fantasy leagues has enhanced your game-day experience and made you a better-informed NFL observer? Of course there isn't. Maybe there was a time when you were the guy who sat at the bar on Sunday, draining his fifth frosty beverage, yapping about how your local team needed to hire Bill Cowher as head coach/general manager and play smashmouth football and OH-C'MON- WE-GOTTA-RUN-THE-[EXPLETIVE]-DRAW-RIGHT-HERE. But now look at you, lecturing the bartender on the fungible nature of NFL running backs. Fantasy has brought you this far. You've learned the league's personnel, learned its offensive schemes.

Still, you're only tracking a small percentage of the league's players. In standard fantasy formats, your team defense is basically an annoyance. Sure, the position might randomly win a match-up for you, but it scores just like a tight end. Your fantasy defense will provide something like one-tenth of your scoring, in a good week.

Individual Defensive Player (IDP) ranks, 2011 editionIf you're trying to design a league that reflects the principles and priorities of real football, at least to some extent, then standard fantasy settings shouldn't satisfy you. Make this the year you finally test-drive IDP scoring. It's yet another wrinkle, true, but I'm not suggesting anything so difficult here. You're only drafting an additional 4-5 spots in most IDP leagues, a few of which will be filled with brand-name stars.

I'm preparing to draft a roster using the defensive point system displayed on the right. (Might argue to tweak the value of sacks this year, but that's a league matter, none of your concern). We start one DL, one DB, two LBs, and one defensive player from any position. In this league, as in most IDP formats, the high-volume tacklers are generally the top scorers. Those points are relatively steady week-to-week; turnovers and TDs obviously are not. Forecasting interceptions, fumble recoveries and defensive scores at an individual level on a weekly basis is a fool's errand. As an IDP owner, these are the plays you dream of, but you can't predict stuff like that. Just get the guys at the top of the tackle leader-board (most of them are linebackers), and you'll score well enough to win a title.

Below you'll find the IDP ranks that I'm using on this season, as of this moment. (And yeah, that's the height of arrogance, publishing ranks in advance of a draft). I don't typically select defensive positions early, nor do I hold IDPs on my bench through their bye-weeks — only the elite guys. You can almost always find stats in the free agent pool. As always, your feedback is welcome in comments (constructive and destructive). Let's rank...

Individual Defensive Player (IDP) ranks, 2011 edition


1. Patrick Willis(notes)
2. Jerod Mayo(notes)
3. Jon Beason(notes)
4. James Laurinaitis(notes)
5. Paul Posluszny(notes)
6. Brian Urlacher(notes) (TOTAL HOMER PICK. Disregard rank)
7. Lawrence Timmons(notes)
8. Curtis Lofton(notes)
9. Stephen Tulloch(notes)
10. David Harris(notes)
11. London Fletcher(notes)
12. Ray Lewis(notes)
14. DeMeco Ryans(notes)
15. Chad Greenway(notes)
16. Nick Barnett(notes)
17. Terrell Suggs(notes)
18. Derrick Johnson
19. Jonathan Vilma(notes)
20. DJ Williams
21. Desmond Bishop(notes)
22. Barrett Ruud(notes)
23. Lance Briggs(notes)
24. Karlos Dansby(notes)
25. DeMarcus Ware(notes)
26. Elvis Dumervil(notes)
27. D'Qwell Jackson(notes)
28. Clay Matthews(notes)
29. Rolando McClain(notes)
30. Brian Cushing(notes)
31. David Hawthorne(notes)
32. James Farrior(notes)
33. EJ Henderson(notes)
34. Brian Orakpo(notes)
35. Tamba Hali(notes)
36. Cameron Wake(notes)
37. Paris Lenon(notes)
38. James Anderson(notes)
39. Shaun Phillips(notes)
40. James Harrison(notes) (off-season back surgery is a worry)

Individual Defensive Player (IDP) ranks, 2011 edition

Defensive Linemen

1. Justin Tuck(notes)
2. Julius Peppers(notes)
3. Jared Allen(notes)
4. Ndamukong Suh(notes)
5. Trent Cole(notes)
6. Charles Johnson(notes)
7. Justin Smith(notes)
8. Robert Mathis(notes)
9. Darnell Dockett(notes)
10. John Abraham(notes)
11. Ray Edwards(notes)
12. Jason Babin(notes)
13. Matt Shaughnessy(notes)
14. Chris Long(notes)
15. Jason Pierre-Paul(notes)
16. Israel Idonije(notes)
17. Cliff Avril(notes)
18. Lamarr Houston(notes)
19. Carlos Dunlap(notes)
20. Will Smith(notes) (StarCaps thing still lingers)

Individual Defensive Player (IDP) ranks, 2011 edition

Defensive Backs

1. Eric Berry(notes)
2. Patrick Chung(notes)
3. TJ Ward(notes)
4. Yeremiah Bell(notes)
5. Tyvon Branch(notes)
6. Roman Harper(notes)
7. Eric Weddle(notes)
8. Troy Polamalu(notes)
9. LaRon Landry(notes) (Injury red flag here)
10. Charles Woodson(notes)
11. Quintin Mikell(notes)
12. Donte Whitner(notes)
13. Louis Delmas(notes)
14. Antoine Bethea(notes)
15. Charles Tillman(notes)
16. Dawan Landry(notes)
17. Danieal Manning(notes)
18. Oshiomogho Atogwe(notes)
19. Kerry Rhodes(notes)
20. Michael Griffin(notes)


Photos via US Presswire

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