Fantasy Football 2013: Defensive Lineman Rankings

Jason Pierre-Paul is one of our top fantasy options at DL for 2013

NFL training camps open up this week, meaning we are that much closer to the start of the regular season and fantasy football. While kickoff may still be nearly a month away, it's never too early to start preparing for your draft.

Last season when it came to fantasy defensive linemen (DL), there was J.J. Watt and then everyone else. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year not only outscored the No. 2 DL (Cameron Wake) by more than 60 points, he was the No. 1 IDP in all of fantasy football.

Besides collecting a league-high 20.5 sacks, one of the reasons Watt was so valuable was his all-around production, including 16 passes defended. It seems unlikely that Watt will be able to match that total this season, but that doesn't mean he can't come close to repeating his overall fantasy production. As remarkable a season as Watt had in 2012, keep one thing in mind — he didn't score a single touchdown.

Watt is not the only DL out there capable of being a difference-maker from a fantasy standpoint either. Jason Pierre-Paul, DeMarcus Ware, Wake, Jared Allen and Mario Williams also are capable of racking up the sack totals and making their fair share of big plays. Pierre-Paul and Ware in particular are two worth keeping an eye on during training camp and the preseason.

Pierre-Paul had back surgery on June 5 and the expected recovery time of 12 weeks puts his return right around the time of the Giants' season opener on Sept. 8. Pierre-Paul said he expects to be ready to go in Week 1, but this is a situation worth monitoring. Pierre-Paul's division rival, Ware, will have to adjust to a new position, as the Cowboys' transition to a 4-3 scheme means Ware will move from linebacker to defensive end. While he may not have been a top-tier LB, Ware's track record in the sack category alone should make him one of the top DLs in fantasy, provided he's able to maintain that production as his new position.

Order your Athlon Sports 2013 Fantasy Football Preview magazine today!

Fantasy Football 2013: Defensive Lineman (DL) Rankings

Rk Player Team Bye
1 J.J. Watt HOU 8
2 Jason Pierre-Paul NYG 9
3 DeMarcus Ware DAL 11
4 Cameron Wake MIA 6
5 Jared Allen MIN 5
6 Mario Williams BUF 12
7 Elvis Dumervil BAL 8
8 Calais Campbell ARI 9
9 Charles Johnson CAR 4
10 Geno Atkins CIN 12
11 Osi Umenyiora ATL 6
12 Julius Peppers CHI 8
13 Robert Quinn STL 11
14 Corey Liuget SD 8
15 Cliff Avril SEA 12
16 Chandler Jones NE 10
17 Derrick Morgan TEN 8
18 Carlos Dunlap CIN 12
19 Cameron Jordan NO 7
20 Greg Hardy CAR 4
21 Haloti Ngata BAL 8
22 Anthony Spencer DAL 11
23 Rob Ninkovich NE 10
24 Brian Robison MIN 5
25 Chris Long STL 11
26 Muhammad Wilkerson NYJ 10
27 Lamarr Houston OAK 7
28 Ezekiel Ansah DET 9
29 Bruce Irvin SEA 12
30 Justin Tuck NYG 9
31 Vince Wilfork NE 10
32 Ndamukong Suh DET 9
33 Michael Johnson CIN 12
34 Trent Cole PHI 12
35 Everson Griffen MIN 5
36 Kroy Biermann ATL 6
37 Marcell Dareus BUF 12
38 Fletcher Cox PHI 12
39 Mathias Kiwanuka NYG 9
40 Michael Bennett SEA 12
41 Will Smith NO 7
42 Dwight Freeney SD 8
43 Jason Babin JAC 9
44 Robert Mathis IND 8
45 Henry Melton CHI 8
46 Star Lotulelei CAR 4
47 Dion Jordan MIA 6
48 Sharrif Floyd MIN 5
49 Damontre Moore NYG 9
50 Adrian Clayborn TB 5

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

Solo tackle = 1 pt
Tackle assist = 0.5 pts
Sack = 3.5 pts
Interception = 3.5 pts
Forced fumble/recovery = 2 pts
Defensive TD = 8 pts
Safety = 2 pts
Pass Defended = 0.5 pts
Blocked Kick = 4 pts

Additional Fantasy Football Rankings:

2013 Big Board (Top 250)
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams
Top 75 IDP

Defensive Backs


More Stories: