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Fantasy Football 2013: Linebacker Rankings

Author:
Luke Kuechly

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.

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Fantasy Football 2013: Linebacker (LB) Rankings

Rk

Player

Team

Bye

1

Luke Kuechly

CAR

4

2

Patrick Willis

SF

9

3

James Laurinaitis

STL

11

4

Derrick Johnson

KC

10

5

NaVorro Bowman

SF

9

6

Lavonte David

TB

5

7

Von Miller

DEN

9

8

Paul Posluszny

JAC

9

9

Jerod Mayo

NE

10

10

Sean Weatherspoon

ATL

6

11

D’Qwell Jackson

CLE

10

12

Bobby Wagner

SEA

12

13

Chad Greenway

MIN

5

14

Daryl Washington

ARI

9

15

London Fletcher

WAS

5

16

Aldon Smith

SF

9

17

Wesley Woodyard

DEN

9

18

Arthur Brown

BAL

8

19

Lawrence Timmons

PIT

5

20

Zach Brown

TEN

8

21

Brian Cushing

HOU

8

22

Curtis Lofton

NO

7

23

Sean Lee

DAL

11

24

Terrell Suggs

BAL

8

25

Clay Matthews

GB

4

26

Donald Butler

SD

8

27

Manti Te'o

SD

8

28

Lance Briggs

CHI

8

29

Vontaze Burfict

CIN

12

30

Desmond Bishop

MIN

5

31

David Harris

NYJ

10

32

DeMeco Ryans

PHI

12

33

Dannell Ellerbe

MIA

6

34

Jarvis Jones

PIT

5

35

Brandon Graham

PHI

12

36

Jerrell Freeman

IND

8

37

Kevin Minter

ARI

9

38

Akeem Ayers

TEN

8

39

Mason Foster

TB

5

40

Pat Angerer

IND

8

41

Alec Ogletree

STL

11

42

Perry Riley

WAS

5

43

Rey Maualuga

CIN

12

44

Justin Houston

KC

10

45

Jabaal Sheard

CLE

10

46

Brandon Spikes

NE

10

47

Larry Foote

PIT

5

48

Mychal Kendricks

PHI

12

49

Russell Allen

JAC

9

50

Karlos Dansby

ARI

9

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

Defensive Linemen
Defensive Backs