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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
Redskins place LB Ja'Gared Davis on non-football injury list
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:48 am ET) Reserve linebacker Ja'Gared Davis , who spent time last season on the Redskins' practice squad, was placed on the non-football injury list by the team Thursday after apparently injuring himself during practice, per The Washington Post

Davis last played in the NFL in 2014 with the Patriots. 


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(1:33 am ET) Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy suffered a strain in his left side during Thursday's practice, which the team said is not considered serious, per the Dallas Morning News. 

Hardy told fans "I'm invicible," as he signed autographs after practice. The Cowboys training staff was checking out Hardy after practice as a precautionary measure. 

"To be honest with you, with Greg right from the start, he was actually going too hard," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He was going too hard in the weight room and too hard on the field early on in the offseason."


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(1:28 am ET) Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant reported to camp Thursday and said that just because he's inked a big-money contract, he won't change the way he plays, per the Dallas Morning-News. 

Bryant participated in every drill and the afternoon practice, even though the team suggested he might be limited at the start of camp after signing his $70 million deal so late in the offseason. 

"That deal don't make me," Bryant said. "It don't make me. I play this game because I love this game. I don't give a damn about none of that. It's not going to change the way I play. It's not going to change the way I act."


S Kam Chancellor lone Seahawks no-show
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:19 am ET) Kam Chancellor did not report to the Seahawks' facility on Thursday, and appears to be prepared to hold out when the team's training camp opens Friday, per the SeattlePI.com. 

If Chancellor does hold out, he would incur up to $30,000 per day in fines. He is upset about the four-year, $28 million deal he signed in 2013. 

Chancellor recorded 78 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 14 games for the Seahawks last season.


Cowboys QB Tony Romo intends to practice more
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/30/2015) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he plans to ramp up his level of activity during training camp, planning to practice for three days in a row at times, per the Dallas Morning-News

Romo, who has battled back issues for the last several seasons, did not practice in more than consecutive days last training camp. 

"I think we'll practice more this year than we did last year, but at the same time it's not out of the realm to go two-and-one sometimes (two days on, one off) and I think the plan is we'll have some where we go three in a row," Romo said. "We'll see how it goes."


Report: WR James Jones to sign with Giants
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/30/2015) Veteran wide receiver James Jones , who was released earlier in the year by the Raiders, will sign a one-year deal with the Giants , per NFL.com. 

Jones fielded offers from the Eagles, Chiefs, Seahawks and Bengals, but decided to sign with the Giants due to his relationship with New York offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, per the report. 

Jones had 73 receptions for 666 yards and six touchdowns last season. 


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson charged with resisting arrest
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/30/2015) Less than two weeks after being suspended for four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was charged with resisting arrest and child endangerment in Missouri on Wednesday, per NFL.com.

Richardson was clocked driving as high as 143 miles per hour in mid-July with a 12-year-old in the back seat. According to the police report, Richardson turned off his headlights in an attempt to evade the police and lost control of his car at times. Police found a fully-loaded semi-automatic weapon under the seat once the stop was made. 

"We are aware of the situation and are gathering information," the Jets said in a statement. "This is a pending legal matter and we will have no further comment at this time."


Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson in camp, 'frustrated' with deal
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/30/2015) Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson did indeed report to the start of training camp Wednesday, but remains "frustrated" with his contract status, per ESPN.com. 

"It is a little frustrating, but at the end of the day I am happy to be out here with my teammates and get the season going," Wilkerson said. 

The veteran is seeking a big-money, long-term contract, and hopes to work out a new deal with the Jets before the start of the season. If not, he will make $6.97 million and become a free agent - at which point, the Jets could apply the franchise tag. 

Wilkerson has racked up 16 sacks over the past two seasons. 


Bengals place Rey Maualuga on injury list
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7/30/2015) The Bengals placed linebacker Rey Maualuga on the non-football injury list, the team announced on Thursday. 

The team didn't release details on the nature of Maualuga's injury. He can be activated from the list whenever he's medically cleared to play. 


Report: Bengals reacquire WR Greg Little
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/30/2015) Wide receiver Greg Little has signed a one-year deal with the Bengals, a source has told Pro Football Talk.

Little, who was cut by Cincinnati in late February, caught just six passes for 69 yards last season after a disappointing three-year stint with Cleveland.


 
 
 
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