Strategic Dynasty Linebacker Rankings

Ken KellyContributor IIIAugust 1, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 27: Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers eyes quarterback Drew Stanton #5 of the Detroit Lions before a play during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on December 27, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Finding a ranking system that suits a franchise’s current position as either contender or builder is one of the many challenges an owner faces in a dynasty league.

Fantasy football players who excel in dynasty leagues have a commitment to building excellence. That requires much more than a simple set of rankings in a “one size fits all” category.

With that in mind, here are our top 15 tight ends presented in two distinctly different categories .


Competing Team : Use these if you have a team competing to win a title in the next two to three years.

Rebuilding Team : Use these if you have a team rebuilding and not in contention in the near future.



1. Patrick Willis, SF

He's averaged 156 tackles the past three years. Some linebackers don't have that many stops in their career.

2. Jon Beason, CAR

He added his first three career sacks last year and has averaged 140 tackles over the last three years. He's a fine consolation prize if you miss out on Willis.

3. James Laurinaitis, STL

He enjoyed a solid rookie campaign with 120 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. His Dad was "Animal" from the Road Warriors. How can you argue against that?

4. Paul Posluszny, BUF

Injuries are a concern with Poz, but he may have challenged Willis for the league lead in stops had he made it through 2009.

5. David Harris, NYJ

He's an anchor to a dominant defense. Owners would take the 129 tackles and five and a half sacks he posted each and every year.

6. Curtis Lofton, ATL

Lofton came into his own last year and established himself as the leader of the Falcons defense for the foreseeable future. He'll look to build upon his 133 tackles in 2010.

7. DJ Williams, DEN

Williams is 28 now, but he's still very productive. Durability is the key with Williams as he's missed just five games in his six-year career.

8. Barrett Ruud, TB

Ruud, 27, isn't quite as young as some other dynasty linebackers, but it's tough to replace the 140 tackles he's churned out the past two years.

9. DeMeco Ryans, HOU

He's tapered off his unbelievable 156-tackle rookie campaign, but he's still extremely consistent. You can count on 120 tackles, a handful of sacks, and 16 games played each season.

10. Rolando McClain, OAK

The rookie debuts at number 10 on the list for a competing team. While we haven't seen him in action at the NFL level, he has a skill set that is unmatched by the other rookie linebackers. He should be a tackle machine playing on a team who tends to execute a lot of defensive snaps.

11. D’Qwell Jackson, CLE
12. Kirk Morrison, JAX
13. Ray Lewis, BAL
14.Jerod Mayo, NE
15.Karlos Dansby, MIA
16. Jonathan Vilma, NO
17. DeMarcus Ware, DAL
18. Stephen Tulloch, TEN
19. Brian Cushing, HOU
20. DeAndre Levy, DET



1. Patrick Willis, SF
2. Jon Beason, CAR
3. James Laurinaitis, STL

4. Brian Cushing, HOU

The suspension hurts his value for a competing team, but he's a tackling machine long-term.

5. Paul Posluszny, BUF
6. David Harris, NYJ
7. Curtis Lofton, ATL
8. Rolando McClain, OAK
9. DeMeco Ryans, HOU
10. Barrett Ruud, TB

11. DeAndre Levy, DET

Levy gets himself a golden opportunity to produce as the middle linebacker in Detroit this season. IDP league owners hope he takes advantage.

12. D’Qwell Jackson, CLE
13. Jerod Mayo, NE
14. DJ Williams, DEN
15. Kirk Morrison, JAX
16. Karlos Dansby, MIA
17. Lawrence Timmons, PIT
18. DeMarcus Ware, DAL
19. Stephen Tulloch, TEN
20. Ray Lewis, BAL

For further explanation on the difference between the two sets of rankings, click here .

For the complete strategic rankings beyond the top 20, click below:

Strategic Quarterback Rankings
Strategic Running Back Rankings
Strategic Wide Receiver Rankings
Strategic Tight End Rankings
Strategic IDP Rankings: LBs
Strategic IDP Rankings: DLs
Strategic IDP Rankings: DBs


Article written by Ken Kelly

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