Fantasy Football 2013: Linebacker Rankings

Tackling machine Luke Kuechly is our top fantasy LB 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.

With apologies to defensive linemen along the lines of a J.J. Watt and the occasional breakout season by a defensive back, a la Charles Tillman last season, linebackers are typically the most productive fantasy IDPs. Of the top 20 fantasy IDPs in 2012, the only non-LBs on the list were the aforementioned Watt and Tillman.

Since there are so many LBs out there capable of being a valuable fantasy contributor, who you need to target in your draft is somewhat dependent on personal preference. For example, if you are looking for someone who racks up a lot of tackles, Luke Kuechly, James Laurinaitis, Lavonte David and Paul Posluszny are some of the top options to consider. Kuechly, the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, is a tackling machine whose value could reach another level should he find a way to increase his production in a few other categories.

There also are LBs who make a good living by piling up the sacks, such as Von Miller, Aldon Smith and Clay Matthews. Miller in particular is appealing because of his big-play ability (six forced fumbles in 2012). And then there are the solid, all-around LBs, those may not shine in any one category, but are no less valuable and can serve as the anchor of your IDP unit.

Teammates Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman highlight this list, along with Derrick Johnson, Jerod Mayo, Sean Weatherspoon and D'Qwell Jackson. Daryl Washington would be near the top as well, but he is scheduled to serve a four-game suspension to open the season, which hurts his overall value.

Order your Athlon Sports 2013 Fantasy Football Preview magazine today!

Fantasy Football 2013: Linebacker (LB) Rankings

1Luke KuechlyCAR4
2Patrick WillisSF9
3James LaurinaitisSTL11
4Derrick JohnsonKC10
5NaVorro BowmanSF9
6Lavonte DavidTB5
7Von MillerDEN9
8Paul PoslusznyJAC9
9Jerod MayoNE10
10Sean WeatherspoonATL6
11D’Qwell JacksonCLE10
12Bobby WagnerSEA12
13Chad GreenwayMIN5
14Daryl WashingtonARI9
15London FletcherWAS5
16Aldon SmithSF9
17Wesley WoodyardDEN9
18Arthur BrownBAL8
19Lawrence TimmonsPIT5
20Zach BrownTEN8
21Brian CushingHOU8
22Curtis LoftonNO7
23Sean LeeDAL11
24Terrell SuggsBAL8
25Clay MatthewsGB4
26Donald ButlerSD8
27Manti Te'oSD8
28Lance BriggsCHI8
29Vontaze BurfictCIN12
30Desmond BishopMIN5
31David HarrisNYJ10
32DeMeco RyansPHI12
33Dannell EllerbeMIA6
34Jarvis JonesPIT5
35Brandon GrahamPHI12
36Jerrell FreemanIND8
37Kevin MinterARI9
38Akeem AyersTEN8
39Mason FosterTB5
40Pat AngererIND8
41Alec OgletreeSTL11
42Perry RileyWAS5
43Rey MaualugaCIN12
44Justin HoustonKC10
45Jabaal SheardCLE10
46Brandon SpikesNE10
47Larry FootePIT5
48Mychal KendricksPHI12
49Russell AllenJAC9
50Karlos DansbyARI9

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 Linemen
Defensive Backs

More Stories: