2012 IDP Fantasy Football Week 1: Linebacker (LB) Rankings

Sean E. DouglasSenior Writer IIISeptember 5, 2012

D.J. Smith has big shoes to fill.
D.J. Smith has big shoes to fill.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

IDP fantasy owners' hearts dropped when Desmond Bishop fell to the ground with a leg injury against the Chargers and was helped off the field. Now, D.J. Smith will fill in for the all-world fantasy stud, but playing against the 49ers won’t be the first time he’s replaced Bishop.

Last season, Bishop missed three games with an injury and Smith stepped up to provide respectable fantasy numbers. What I like about Smith is that he has had plenty of reps and preseason action with the first team to come out of the gates and perform like a LB2 for us.

Bishop was arguably the top linebacker for IDP leagues, and Smith, while not as talented as Bishop, will inherit a terrific situation in Dom Capers' defense. Hopefully you were wise enough to land Smith on draft day, and if he’s still sitting around on your waiver wire, pick him up right away.


Sean’s Watch List

While rookie Mychal Kendricks is slated to be the Eagles' strong-side linebacker, his skill set is that of a future stud middle linebacker. Kendricks may be off my top 35 this week, but it’s more because Philadelphia is playing a weak opponent in Cleveland.

I can’t confirm Kendricks has a three-down job yet, but it’s coming, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is in for sub-package this weekend. Keep an eye on this budding star, because if something should happen to DeMeco Ryans, Kendricks could fill in as the middle backer and would explode in that role for possible high end, LB1 production.

As it stands right now, if Kendricks holds a three-down role, we should target him as a possible LB3 most weeks.

In Carolina, I’m thinking about giving Ron Rivera the Shanahanigans tag for IDP purposes. The guy is killing me with 4-3 and 3-4 fronts that hurt Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, and he continues to meddle with the linebackers.

Will Jon Beason and Luke Kuechly hold down sub-package roles?

Will we see Thomas Davis work in sub-packages?

Can James Anderson work his way back to begin a regular LB2 or fall off the radar as a bench player?

I really have no idea at this point, and we could be in for a ever-changing situation throughout the season. For now, look to Kuechly and Beason as LB3 options and Anderson is best left on the bench.


1 James Laurinaitis @ Lions
2 Colin McCarthy Patriots
3 D’Qwell Jackson Eagles
4 Patrick Willis @ Packers
5 London Fletcher @ Saints
6 Ray Lewis Bengals
7 Daryl Washington Seahawks
8 Donald Butler @ Raiders
9 Derrick Johnson (I) Falcons
10 Sean Weatherspoon @ Chiefs
11 Sean Lee @ Giants
12 Lawrence Timmons @ Broncos
13 Karlos Dansby @ Texans
14 Brian Cushing Dolphins
15 NaVorro Bowman @ Packers
16 Mason Foster (I) Panthers
17 Paul Posluszny @ Vikings
18 Nick Barnett @ Jets
19 Chad Greenway Jaguars
20 D.J. Smith 49ers
21 DeMeco Ryans @ Browns
22 Von Miller Steelers
23 DeMarcus Ware @ Giants
24 Stephen Tulloch Rams
25 Kavell Conner @ Bears
26 Curtis Lofton (I) Redskins
27 Perry Riley @ Saints
28 Rolando McClain Chargers
29 Luke Kuechly @ Bucs
30 Jon Beason (I) @ Bucs
31 Jerod Mayo @ Titans
32 Aldon Smith @ Packers
33 Jerrell Freeman @ Bears
34 Bobby Wagner @ Cardinals
35 Wesley Woodyard Steelers

Week 1 Rankings—QB | RB | WR | DL | DB |