IDP: Fantasy Football Files: Playmaking Linebackers!

Chris TodishContributor IJuly 26, 2009

IRVING, TX - DECEMBER 14:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants fumbles the ball while sacked by DeMarcus Ware #94 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at Texas Stadium on December 14, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

IDP: FANTASY FOOTBALL FILES - Previewing Playmaking LB's

As a fantasy football fan, I am privileged to currently be involved in a PPR (points per reception) and IDP (independent defensive players) dynasty league that has been ongoing for quite some time now.

Although the league has been around for awhile I am currently in my fourth year with this group, and we have come along way in regards to our rules, starts, roster size, waivers picks, drafts, payrolls, and scoring systems.

The scoring system we have adopted for our IDP's in the league brings a new dimension to our drafts, trades and the general direction of our pools playmakers at each position. We have chosen to give heavy points to our pools defensive players for interceptions, forced fumbles, sacks, fumble recoveries, safeties and touchdowns, also a single point for tackles.

For example...DeMarcus Ware and James Harrison were No. 6 and No. 12 in total points production in our whole leagues scoring system. There were only five players ahead of DeMarcus Ware in fantasy points production!

Obviously you can see that in our league Ware and Harrison are valuable commodities, as they should be. Isn't that the whole point of fantasy football? To find the best scoring system to suit the players who make the most out of their positions.

Our goal is to reward points to the players who are the best in the league at being playmakers. Wouldn't you consider DeMarcus Ware a top ten player in the NFL? So shouldn't Ware, Harrison, and Merriman be considered fantasy football superstars? They are after all, true playmakers.

So in this article I am going to preview some of the NFL's more potent playmakers at the linebacker position.


1) DeMarcus Ware

It doesn't get better than this phenomenal playmaker at the LB position. Ware is one of the most feared edge-rushers in the league to play, if you are an offensive lineman playing against the Cowboys.

Last year was a disappointment for Cowboys fans, but if you are a fantasy football owner and you were looking for a defensive superstar, this guy was exactly that.

He torched offensive lines all year, and ended up with 69 solo tackles, 20 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery. If DeMarcus Ware stays healthy, then he could post better stats then last year, given his elite quickness and nose for the big play.

A man amongst boys in the game of football!


2) James Harrison

If you want to talk about a beast, then let the discussion begin.

James Harrison epitomizes everything you are looking for in a big play type of player, and if you look at the consistency he provides you with on a week to week basis, he is your man.

Last year James Harrison racked up 67 solo tackles, 16 sacks, 1 interception and 7 forced fumbles. Those are some serious numbers!

There is not many playmakers on defence that give you chills like James Harrison. He is playing on an amazing defence, and consistently imposes his will on the field. You must have seen his 100 yard interception in the Super Bowl? Enough said!

If your searching for a stud at LB, do not hesitate to call this super-freaks name in your fantasy football pools.


3) Shawne Merriman

One of the most decorated playmakers at the LB position since he's entered the league, and was held back from playing football last year due to an injury he thought he could play through. "Lights Out", turned the lights off after one game, but promised he would be back.

I for one, would never write off a superstar like this guy. He may have had a disastrous campaign last year, but don't count this man out. People like Merriman and Tom Brady are too good of football players to be thrown aside, due to season ending injury.

The Chargers defence will be reborn, and so will their sack totals, as well as their turnover differentials. When choosing playmakers for your LB position, take your Shawne Merriman medicine, and everything will feel so much better!

He will continue to hit double-digit sacks, and lots of chances to make countless contributions to the fantasy football score sheets. He has something to prove this year so, "WATCH OUT for LIGHTS OUT!"


4) Terrell Suggs

This Raven is a terror for opposing teams. Suggs is a fierce competitor and can increase his sack totals this year, if the defence can maintain it's strong play with the loss of Ryan.

Last year Suggs was OK in terms of production, but still could easily eclipse last years totals of 54 solo tackles, 8 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 2 TD's.

If you look at those sack totals, you could easily argue that he isn't the playmaker of a Jerry Porter or James Harrison, but I beg to differ, considering his 4 sacks in the playoffs were second most behind only LaMarr Woodley with 6.

I believe this guy is a true playmaker, and his youth and experience gives me a sound feeling when looking to round out my LB core. Suggs should see plenty of opportunity's to make big plays all over the field, and in all kinds of statistical categories.

This guy is an aggressive force on an already pretty intimidating defence. Huge upside with this one.


5) Patrick Willis

It doesn't matter that Patrick Willis is an ILB, and not an OLB, because he has the potential to get points in any statistical category. When you look at what this kid has accomplished in two years, 244 solo tackles, 5 sacks, 1 interception 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and a touchdown.

When it comes to making something happen, this guy stands out amongst the best in the world at making plays. He is the best ILB in football today! And if your getting praised over people like Ray Lewis, that's saying something.

This kid is an all out machine, he will fly around the field at will, to make plays for his team. He is a game changing talent that doesn't sack the QB as much as a Ware or Merriman, but his tackle totals are incredible and he is a stud who just gets it.

With his high totals in the tackling department, if you throw a couple sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions and fumble recoveries on top of that, and you got yourself an IDP monster!


6) LaMarr Woodley

This kid had a huge coming out party last year, he was able to make a nice living across from Harrison getting pressure on the QB, and making huge plays. 6 sacks in the postseason to Harrison's 1, proves this kid is the real deal.

An OLB that put up monster stats in his first year as a full time pass-rusher posting 41 solo tackles, 11.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries and 1 TD. Not to bad for the kid from Michigan.

Woodley not only is in a good scene to make plays, but he is a high motor pass-rusher with so much potential in his own right. He seems to put up statistics game in and game out, so if you are using IDP's this man has to be on your radar.


7) Joey Porter

Let's take a look at what this veteran was able to accomplish when he sizzled for Miami last year, 36 solo tackles, 17.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.

Very impressive in the sack category, but a bit weak on the tackles. Last year he started off like a man possessed, but later in the year he sort of faded in the playmaking department. I am impressed at his age he is able to apply so much pressure, considering '07/'08 he only had 5.5 sacks, and in '06/'07 he had seven sacks for Pittsburgh.

Facts are facts though, and one fact is for sure, this guy is in a pretty good situation to put fantasy football stats up for your teams. I can't overlook 17.5 sacks, but I would still pick a Lamar Woodley or a (not suspended) Calvin Pace, Jerod Mayo, Karlos Dansby, DeMeco Ryans or John Beason in dynasty IDP leagues at the LB position.

Thank you for reading my article! If I left people off this list that you feel should have been represented a little better, please let me know who, and your reasons why, and I will gladly listen, and hopefully become more knowledgeable for future articles.


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