By Sean Haugh
The 2008 Fantasy Football season is barely over, and here we are, readier than ever in releasing our "Early Bird" 2009 IDPs rankings.
These are tiers rather than straight rankings, although ranking numbers are given.
Note that these are DYNASTY, not seasonal, rankings!
Tiering reflects my approach to acquiring Defensive Linemen (DL).
It is very much like the Tight End position on offense in that there are fewer true DL1s than there are teams in your league.
So it makes sense to reach a bit in your draft to make sure you get one, and when you do you hang onto him for dear life.
In a typical IDP league, there are no more than 40 Defensive Linemen on rosters, generally three per team. If possible, acquire at least one player from Tier One and use your other spots for another solid veteran and a Tier Three prospect. Ideally, get three Tier One and Two guys and forget the prospects.
Even the greatest stud DLs generally take at least a year and half to fully make their presence known on the field. It wasn’t until this year, for example, we all saw for ourselves that Mario Williams was absolutely worth drafting over Reggie Bush and Vince Young.
I try to be generous in noting who has major upside, but note that not all Tier Five and Seven prospects will pan out. Indeed, Tier Seven can be defined as the young talent I don’t particularly believe in yet, but I’m keeping an open mind about them.
Although some Defensive Tackles rate among the top linemen, I will break out a separate DT tier at the end for DT required leagues. Undrafted rookies-to-be are not included in this month’s rankings.
Ages given as of Sept. 1, 2009.
Tier 1 – Top Studs1. Mario Williams, 24, Houston
2. Jared Allen, 27, Minnesota
3. Osi Umenyiora, 27, NY Giants
4. Julius Peppers, 29, Carolina
Complete Rankings ...