Fantasy football player analysis: Defensive linemen

by Cory J. Bonini on September 2, 2011 @ 17:46:36 PDT

 


Rk
Player Team
Height
Weight
Year
Analysis
1
Jared Allen Minnesota Vikings
6-6
270
8
Allen has accounted for at least 51 tackles every year as a full-time starter and double-digit sacks each of the last four years. He has forced 22 career fumbles and has a relentless motor. Allen is coming off a down year but is poised to rebound against a weaker Green Bay line and a sad Chicago front five.
2
Trent Cole Philadelphia Eagles
6-3
270
6
Cole suffered a minor elbow injury in preseason play but is expected to be fine. He is coming off another strong all-around effort with 65 stops and 10.0 sacks. He has double-digit QB takedowns in three of his last four seasons and has missed only one game since his rookie year.
3
Justin Tuck New York Giants
6-5
268
7
Last season was a career year for Tuck, as he posted 76 tackles and 11.5 sacks. He has forced 11 total fumbles in the last two seasons and has at least 59 tackles each of the past four years. Tuck has been durable and provides a great combination of statistical production.
4
Jason Babin Philadelphia Eagles
6-3
267
8
Babin comes over to Philly after a breakout year in Tennessee (58 tackles, 12.5 sacks). The talent is there and he finally lived up to his potential. You are assuming some risk because he is in a new system and could be a one-year wonder, but the Eagles' strong D-line should keep him from seeing many double-teams.
5
Ndamukong Suh Detroit Lions
6-4
307
2
What a rookie season that was! Suh has high expectations placed on him now. He posted 66 stops, 10.0 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in 16 starts last year. He overpowers double teams but has a lot of help around him to draw away some of the attention. He plays in a good division to be a defensive lineman.
6
Charles Johnson Carolina Panthers
6-2
272
5
A breakout 2010 campaign has Johnson on fantasy radars this draft season. He tallied 62 total tackles and sacked opposing passers 11.5 times on the year. His peripheral stats were rather paltry, and he may be a one-year wonder. Draft with caution, but recognize his sack-tackle ratio is a big help.
7
Justin Smith San Francisco 49ers
6-4
285
11
A long-time productive veteran, Smith and fantasy owners enjoyed arguably his best season to date in 2010 (70 tackles, 8.5 sacks). Three of his sacks came in the final game of the year, though. He has at least 6.0 sacks in each of the last three seasons and has not missed a game since 2001. Smith is about as reliable as they come year in and year out.
8
Kyle Williams Buffalo Bills
6-1
303
6
The baby-faced Williams keeps getting better. The last three years he has made across-the-board improvements in his game. Last year he topped out at 77 total tackles and 5.5 sacks. He has found a home at nose tackle in Buffalo's 3-4 alignment. Confidently draft him as your top DL.
9
Robert Mathis Indianapolis Colts
6-2
245
9
When healthy, Mathis is as dominant as anyone. He is a disruptive pass rusher and creates turnovers. He is coming off a 60-tackle, 11.0-sack, 16-game season. From 2004 to 2009, Mathis forced no fewer than four fumbles in a season. Injuries, including a minor hamstring strain at the moment, have slowed him in recent years. Draft with caution.
10
Kyle Vanden Bosch Detroit Lions
6-4
278
11
Temper your expectations because of his age, but Vanden Bosch has the potential in Jim Schwartz's defense to relive some of his past success under his former DC. He probably will struggle to post double-digit sacks but is a strong tackler and will likely be a value pick because many owners have seemingly forgotten about him. He's a low-end No. 1 or strong second DL.
11
Julius Peppers Chicago Bears
6-7
287
10
Peppers' first year with the Bears didn't go as planned. It was only the second time in a healthy season in his career that he didn't record double-digit sacks (8.0). Three of them came in Week 11 against the Miami Dolphins. His true value is in his extended stats - nine passes defensed, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
12
Ahtyba Rubin Cleveland Browns
6-2
330
4
Rubin burst onto the IDP scene in 2010. He logged 82 combined tackles, 2.0 sacks, a pair of passes defensed and one interception in 16 starts. There is some risk since it was his first year with notable production, and the team has switched to a 4-3, but the massive tackle has potential to come close to last year's totals.
13
Chris Clemons Seattle Seahawks
6-3
254
8
Clemons showed flashes as a pass rusher with the Oakland Raiders in 2007 (8.0 sacks) before breaking out in 2010 (11.0 sacks, 49 tackles). He comes with the fears of any seventh-year breakout player, but Clemons' style of play fits Seattle's defensive scheme quite well.
14
Glenn Dorsey Kansas City Chiefs
6-1
297
4
Dorsey has improved each year in the league and seems to be on his way to a standout career. His 69 total tackles and 2.0 sacks in 2010 are borderline No. 1 figures for fantasy purposes. More production in PDs, INTs and forced fumbles would be icing on the cake.
15
Darnell Dockett Arizona Cardinals
6-4
290
8
The outspoken Cardinal has been consistently productive since 2005. He contributes around 50 tackles per year and close to a half-dozen sacks most seasons. Dockett is a midrange second fantasy DL with low upside.
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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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