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.
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Fantasy Football 2013: Defensive Lineman (DL) Rankings
Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:
INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYER (IDP) SCORING
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: