Aaron Donald has been a fantasy stud the past few seasons
Those that play in fantasy football leagues that include Individual Defensive Players (IDPs) know what they are looking for in a defensive lineman. The guys that are most appealing are typically those that fill up one particular category – sacks.
After all, seven linemen wound up in the top 10 (really 11 because of ties) in sacks last season, led by Aaron Donald's 20.5. But Donald's dominance as a pass rusher wasn't the only reason he picked up his second straight NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. He also forced four fumbles and was credited with two recoveries. Guys like Donald, J.J. Watt (tied for NFL lead with seven forced fumbles), and Danielle Hunter (scored a TD) aren't popular fantasy choices just because they can get to the quarterback.
So the only question becomes how early do you take one of the stud DLs in your fantasy draft. It's safe to say that Donald, Watt, Joey Bosa and probably Myles Garrett will likely be among the first to go, but that doesn't mean you can't find value later in the draft either. Seventeen (17) different defensive lineman recorded double-digit sacks in 2018, one of which wasn't Bosa, who had 5.5 in an injury-plagued campaign that saw him play just seven games.
That group does include Khalil Mack, Bradley Chubb and Chandler Jones, who may have had dual eligibility at DL and LB last year, depending on the league/site. That may not be the case this year (and they are not included in the DL rankings below), so just be sure to check positional eligibility before making out your cheat sheet. Then again when it comes to Mack, he won't last long in drafts regardless of whether he's DL-eligible again or just a linebacker.
2019 Defensive Linemen (DL) Rankings