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2012 Draft Prep: On the defensive

Senior Fantasy Writer
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For some people, starting eight, nine or 10 players just isn't enough. Sometimes you need to start at least 15. For those people, defensive players are part of the league game plan and part of the enjoyment of Fantasy Football.

When you are asked to start individual defensive players (IDPs), the game becomes a bit more challenging. You must focus on both sides of the line of scrimmage and all players around the league, not just the customary quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Everything from draft strategies to waiver claims become complicated.

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Using IDPs isn't for everybody but it's becoming increasingly popular. Some leagues have added one or two defenders to their starting lineup requirements as a way to "test" whether or not they should be bigger parts of rosters. Other leagues have already decided that IDPs is more fun and ask owners to use eleven of them -- that's on top of a deep starting lineup.

Picking good IDPs is lot like picking good offensive players: Get guys who are around the ball. Ball-hawking defensive backs and playmakers in the front seven are always desirable Fantasy options because they're racking up stats by making tackles, registering sacks, forcing fumbles, deflecting or intercepting passes and scoring touchdowns. The only exception, and it's a weird one, are stud cornerbacks who don't get thrown at as much.

Like yardage for typical Fantasy players, tackles are the primary stat to use to judge IDPs. Most leagues that use defenders rely on both solo and assisted tackles to give points, with the other defensive stats boosting totals. You might see all tackles count for one point; passes defensed, forced fumbles and recoveries count for two; sacks and interceptions count for three; and touchdowns count for six. Obviously, because a good defender will make anywhere from 90 to 150 total tackles in a season versus a handful of other stats, tackles are king.

We're going to provide you a rank list for IDPs (good through the start of training camp), but a sharp Fantasy owner should always keep an eye on the waiver wire for rising talent. That's the key to success with defenders. Just like offensive players, defenders will come out of nowhere to post big stats and be helpful options to your team. Win the battle of uncovering waiver-wire gems, and you'll be on your way to IDP-league success.

IDP rankings
  Defensive linemen Linebackers Defensive backs
1 Jared Allen Patrick Willis Roman Harper
2 Jason Pierre-Paul James Laurinaitis Tyvon Branch
3 Kamerion Wimbley Curtis Lofton Yeremiah Bell
4 Julius Peppers D'Qwell Jackson Morgan Burnett
5 Trent Cole Derrick Johnson Eric Weddle
6 Jason Babin London Fletcher Charles Woodson
7 Cameron Wake DeMarcus Ware Mark Barron
8 Justin Smith Karlos Dansby Jairus Byrd
9 Adrian Clayborn Chad Greenway Antoine Bethea
10 Calais Campbell Sean Weatherspoon Charles Tillman
11 Charles Johnson Pat Angerer Kam Chancellor
12 Justin Tuck Stephen Tulloch Antrel Rolle
13 Jeremy Mincey Brian Cushing Bernard Pollard
14 Jabaal Sheard Sean Lee Eric Berry
15 Haloti Ngata James Harrison Quintin Mikell
16 Mario Williams Desmond Bishop Dawan Landry
17 Chris Clemons NaVorro Bowman George Wilson
18 Cliff Avril James Anderson Earl Thomas
19 Ahtyba Rubin Daryl Washington Devin McCourty
20 Elvis Dumervil Lance Briggs Dashon Goldson
21 Kyle Williams Lawrence Timmons DeAngelo Hall
22 Matt Shaughnessy DeMeco Ryans Malcolm Jenkins
23 Shea McClellin Von Miller Brandon Flowers
24 Andre Branch Brian Urlacher Tramon Williams
25 Chris Long Ray Lewis Reggie Nelson
26 Israel Idonije Donald Butler Steve Gregory
27 Osi Umenyiora David Harris Joe Haden
28 John Abraham Tamba Hali Brandon Carr
29 Kyle Vanden Bosch Akeem Dent Gerald Sensabaugh
30 J.J. Watt Daryl Smith Kenny Phillips
31 Ndamukong Suh Mason Foster Richard Marshall
32 Darnell Dockett Colin McCarthy Morris Claiborne
33 Brian Robison Paul Posluszny Jason McCourty
34 Geno Atkins Luke Kuechly Darian Stewart
35 James Hall Perry Riley T.J. Ward
36 Mark Anderson David Hawthorne Harrison Smith
37 Derrick Morgan Clay Matthews Ryan Clark
38 Trevor Scott Bobby Wagner Troy Polamalu
39 Richard Seymour Jon Beason Michael Griffin
40 Marcell Dareus LaMarr Woodley Patrick Peterson

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
49ers DE Tank Carradine ready for increased playing time in 2015
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:49 pm ET) The 49ers are poised to slot Tank Carradine as a starting defensive end in 2015. Carradine, who was drafted in 2013, did not play in his rookie season due to ACL surgery. In 2015, Carradine played nine games, recording three sacks and 16 total tackles.

Now, with Justin Smith and Ray McDonald no longer on the team's defensive line, the 49ers are expecting to have Carradine be a more regular player this season, playing along side linebacker Aldon Smith.

“We work together a little bit, figuring out what kind of stunts and things we could do,” Carradine said, per CSN Bay Area. “I’m excited to work with him this year. He’s a great pass-rusher. I feel like I can bring something to the table to help him as well as he helps me.”

Carradine will likely get action on the right defensive end and spots along the defensive line. 

“We got guys who can play left and right end,” Carradine said. “We got guys who can play in the nickel package. We got guys who can play in the base package. So it’s different. We’re all going to work together. Each guy does things different. We’re going to do it together and get things done. For me, I can do both. I’m excited about it. Other guys can do it as well.”


Ravens WR Michael Campanaro 'extremely excited' for 2015
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:32 pm ET) Ravens second-year receiver Michael Campanaro caught four passes in a playoff game last season. That might not seem like much, but it has helped create optimism heading into this year.

After all, he snagged just seven for 102 yards in all of 2014.

Campanaro is hoping not only to land the top job as a kick returner, but also for an expanded role in the offense.

"I'm extremely excited," he told the Baltimore Sun as the team prepared to begin OTAs. "Rookie years are difficult for anyone getting on a new team and figuring out the playbook and adjusting to the NFL game. Year Two, I just feel more comfortable.

"We basically kept our same offense. With another year in the system after going through installs and running plays, you feel way more comfortable. It's like second nature. That should allow me to play faster because you know what you're doing."


Redskins WR DeSean Jackson: I will join team next week
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:18 pm ET) Redskins veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson is not participating Tuesday in OTAs, but he has stated that he will join the team next week, per SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Jackson proved productive in his first year with Washington in 2014, snagging 56 passes for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns.


Coach: Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (knee) week-to-week
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:09 pm ET) Gus Bradley has announced that a knee injury sustained in Phase 2 of the offseason program has Jaguars WR Marqise Lee considered week-to-week.

Lee started eight games last season and finished with 37 catches for 422 yards and one touchdown.


Report: WR A.J. Jenkins set to join Cowboys
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:53 am ET) The Cowboys have signed wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, a source has told the Dallas Morning News.

Jenkins has been a disappointment since his selection in the first round of the draft three years ago by San Francisco. He played in only three games that season before a trade to Kansas City, where he managed just 17 catches for 223 yards and no touchdowns in 2013 and 2014 combined.

He tried out for the Cowboys last week. And with superstar wideout Dez Bryant not expected to participate in OTAs, Jenkins at the very least gives the team another body at that position.


Dolphins LT Brandon Albert, DB Don Jones out of OTAs
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:41 am ET) As expected, Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert (knee) and defensive back Don Jones (shoulder) have been ruled out of OTA work, per the Miami Herald.

Albert is expected to be ready to roll for the season opener. The shoulder injury that has sidelined Jones has been a factor since late in the regular season.


Colts sign CB Chance Casey, make two other minor moves
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:41 am ET) The Colts have made several minor moves, including the signing of cornerback Chance Casey and guard Will Corbin, per Indysportscentral.com. They have also waived-injured cornerback Josh Mitchell.

Casey has played in four NFL games in two seasons. He totaled six tackles with Oakland a year ago.

Corbin and Mitchell are undrafted rookie free agents. If the latter clears waivers, he will revert to injured reserve.


Family issue has Seahawks DE Cliff Avril sidelined
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:25 am ET) A family issue will prevent Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril from attending the OTA sessions this week, per 710 ESPN.

Avril tied a career-low with five sacks in 2014, but still landed a hefty guaranteed contract in the offseason.


Lions SS James Ihedigbo attending OTA
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:19 am ET) Lions strong safety James Ihedigbo has reported to OTAs and will likely attend minicamp despite his stated desire for a new contract, the Detroit News is reporting.

Ihedigbo was the lone Lion to skip voluntary workouts last month. But general manager Martin Mayhew expressed understanding about his absence given the contract situation.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo has been a starter in the NFL since 2009. He racked up 59 tackles and a career-high four interceptions in his first season with Detroit in 2014.


Seahawks QB Russell Wilson skips OTA to attend funeral
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:10 am ET) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is set to skip OTAs, but his absence is not related to his contract situation. He is instead in Florida to represent the team at the funeral of Tammy Meyerson, who served as the mentor for teammate Jimmy Graham, per NFL.com.

Wilson and the Seahawks have reportedly been millions of dollars apart in contract negotiations, but the two parties have not been contentious publicly about their differences.


 
 
 
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