It's time to get a little defensive about fantasy football.
No, I don't mean it's time to come up with lame and over-the-top excuses for your worst picks from last season in order to defend yourself from the onslaught of ridicule that's sure to be fired your way at the upcoming draft (it's cool, it happens to all of us).
Rather, I mean it's time to give some shine to the top fantasy players on the defensive side of the ball.
While the vast majority of fantasy football leagues still only give credence to individual players on the offensive side of the ball and simply go with the tried-and-true overall defense/special teams format, the popularity of individual defensive players (IDP's) has risen over the past few years as fantasy sports continue to explode.
And why shouldn't they? These guys grind it out every week just as much as the offensive stars, and this piece is for owners who play in leagues that reward these defensive studs with the recognition they so rightly deserve.
So, here is my list of the top 25 IDP's for 2013. (You can find last year's rankings here.) And remember, these rankings are aimed toward leagues that actually award points for tackles, instead of only acknowledging sacks, interceptions and touchdowns.
Just as a point of reference, these rankings are based off of a typical IDP scoring system (such as this one listed on NFL.com): 0.5 points per assisted tackle, 1.0 points per solo tackle, 1.0 points per pass defensed, 2.0 points per sack, 2.0 points per any turnover (interception, forced fumble or fumble recovery), 2.0 per safety and 6.0 points per touchdown.
As a result, you will see a lot of linebackers on this list followed by a few defensive linemen and barely any defensive backs. While you certainly can tweak your points system to create a more balanced field, I am basing these rankings off of the most common type of system.
Read on to find out the list, and be sure to leave some comments below. After all, what's fantasy football without the banter?
* All statistics courtesy of ESPN.com, unless otherwise noted.