Linebackers player analysis: 25-36

by Cory J. Bonini on August 19, 2010 @ 17:28:00 PDT


Karlos Dansby | Miami Dolphins | 6-foot-4, 250 pounds | 7th year

Fantasy tip: Dansby comes over from the Arizona Cardinals and has experience in the 3-4 system. He missed at least one game each of his first four seasons but hasn't sat in the last two years. In this time, he posted the two highest tackle totals of his career (109, 119, respectively). He has 5.0 sacks, nine passes defensed, three interceptions and as many forced fumbles in this time. Dansby is a low-end No. 2 or strong No. 3 fantasy 'backer.

Lofa Tatupu | Seattle Seahawks | 6-foot, 250 pounds | 6th year

Fantasy tip: A hamstring injury has sidelined him somewhat this offseason, but he should be OK for Week 1. Tatupu is coming off a year to forget, one shortened to five games because of torn pectoral muscle. He posted no fewer than 94 total tackles in each of his first four years and is a contributor against the pass. Injuries are something to watch with him, but he's a weak No. 2 linebacker when healthy.

Chad Greenway | Minnesota Vikings | 6-foot-2, 242 pounds | 5th year

Fantasy tip: A starter of three straight seasons, Greenway is a stable source of tackles. He has at least 99 each of the past three years and has shown flashes of being a contributor in other categories. In 2008, he notched 5.5 sacks - the only sacks of his career. He had two picks in 2007 and three in '09 but none during the 2008 season. Greenway is a little inconsistent and is a nice No. 3 linebacker for fantasy teams.

Geno Hayes | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 6-foot-1, 226 pounds | 3rd year

Fantasy tip: Hayes started 13 games last year (15 played) and put up very strong stats across the board. He finished with 98 combined takedowns, 3.0 sacks, six passes defensed, two INTs and a forced fumble. We're high on his potential and like how he fits in this Cover 2 scheme. Hayes is an upside pick as your third 'backer - he could post low-end No. 1 stats if all goes as planned.

Stewart Bradley | Philadelphia Eagles | 6-foot-1, 245 pounds | 4th year

Fantasy tip: The middle linebacker missed the entire 2009 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and was recently sidelined with a hamstring strain. Bradley has been declared healthy from both injuries and is looking to pick up where he left off in 2008. In his first and only full season as a starter, Bradley made 108 combined stops, tallied a sack, six passes defensed, an interception and one forced fumble. He is a No. 3 fantasy linebacker with moderate upside.

Dhani Jones | Cincinnati Bengals | 6-foot-1, 236 pounds | 11th year

Fantasy tip: The veteran linebacker keeps getting better with age. He has posted two of his finest seasons since turning 30. He made 116 tackles in 2008 and 113 last year. He contributes heavily in assisted stops (78 the last two years). Jones chipped in 3.5 sacks last year and a forced fumble. A 2008 interception was his first since 2005. Jones likely can be drafted for a value and gives low-end No. 2 production.

James Harrison | Pittsburgh Steelers | 6-foot, 242 pounds | 7th year

Fantasy tip: A year removed from a 101-tackle, 16.0-sack season, Harrison is looking to rebound from what was a slightly disappointing 2009 campaign. He finished with 79 combined tackles and 10.0 sacks. Harrison is getting long in the tooth (32) and was a late bloomer, but he still makes for a No. 3 fantasy linebacker who is capable of dominating single-game efforts.

Clint Session | Indianapolis Colts | 6-foot, 235 pounds | 4th year

Fantasy tip: The Pittsburgh product has come into his own the past two years with 197 total tackles in 30 games during this time. The undersized Session fits well in Indy's Cover 2 system and is an aggressive defender. He isn't much of a contributor in non-tackle categories but still makes for an on-the-rise, strong third linebacker.

Bradie James | Dallas Cowboys | 6-foot-2, 245 pounds | 8th year

Fantasy tip: James has been a steady tackler his entire starting career, having posted at least 101 tackles the past four seasons. He hasn't missed a start in more than five years and is a mild source of sacks (10.0 total the last two years). James is a No. 3 fantasy linebacker but doesn't have much room for growth in his game at this stage of his career.

DeAndre Levy | Detroit Lions | 6-foot-2, 238 pounds | 2nd year

Fantasy tip: A nagging back injury has kept Levy off the practice field for most of the early portion of training camp. He played every game last year, starting 10, and made 85 total stops. He didn't record a sack but defensed five passes, picked off one and forced a fumble. Levy has a lot of upside, but the injury is a bit of a concern. He's a sleeper No. 3 with strong No. 2 potential.

DeMarcus Ware | Dallas Cowboys | 6-foot-4, 262 pounds | 6th year

Fantasy tip: Few defensive players are overvalued by fantasy owners like Ware is. He simply doesn't make enough tackles or contribute meaningful stats against the pass to warrant being chosen as anything more than a No. 3. However, in most IDP leagues name recognition wins out, unfortunately. He has 31.0 sacks in the last two years, just one less than the entire Kansas City Chiefs team in this time. It's highly unlikely you'll be able to land Ware unless you make him one of your top two 'backers, and we're not willing to commit that much to him on draft day. 

Keith Brooking | Dallas Cowboys | 6-foot-2, 241 pounds | 13th year

Fantasy tip: The soon-to-be 35-year-old hasn't missed a contest since the 2000 season and has been consistent the last three years. He is pretty much a lock for 100 stops and a few sacks, but Brooking doesn't contribute against the pass or cause fumbles. He's a low-upside, slightly risky No. 3 or strong fourth IDP linebacker.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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