Fantasy Football's IDP Impact: Steelers Linebackers

Football ManiaxsSenior Writer IAugust 24, 2009

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 29:  Le'Ron McClain #33 of the Baltimore Ravens gets in for a fourth quarter touchdown between James Farrior #51 and Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 29, 2008 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 23-20.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

By Sean Haugh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the defending Super Bowl Champions in very large part due to their dominating defense. When all is said and done, this could be considered the best Steelers defense of all time, which places this unit in very lofty company indeed.

But they’re not done yet, not by any means. In Fantasy Football, Linebackers are very much the IDP counterpart to Wide Receivers. Having elite players at the position gives you an edge, and yet the position is so deep that finding quality squads late is also a key to winning Fantasy Championships.

The Steelers boast four LBs who may all well belong on IDP rosters in 2009. In your typical IDP scoring system (2 points per tackle, 3 points per forced fumble or fumble recovery, 6 points per sack or interception), last year James Harrison finished as the third best LB. James Farrior was 12th and LaMarr Woodley came in 27th. Lawrence Timmons arrives to replace departed free agent Larry Foote, who ranked 90th in 2008.

So, what are the prospects for this elite unit going forward? Will there be enough to go around for all four of these starters?

James Harrison
Age: 31
2008 Statistics: 67 solo tackles, 34 assists, 16 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 1 interception.
After a slow start to his career, Harrison made his name known in 2007, with 77 tackles and 8.5 sacks. His tackle numbers went down only slightly in 2008, but he nearly doubled his sack total.

Except for the sacks, Harrison’s other numbers (forced fumbles and passes defended) have been amazingly consistent over two years. Given the continuity of the Steelers defensive scheme and the fact that Harrison is still in his prime, it is safe to count on him again for around 70 tackles, seven forced fumbles and an interception.

However, no one in their right mind expects Harrison to equal or better his sack count from 2008...

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