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Fantasy Football 2013: Defensive Lineman Rankings

Author:
Jason Pierre-Paul

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

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:

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:

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

Linebackers
Defensive Backs