Getting defensive: IDP rankings for 2010

Not everybody uses Individual Defensive Players, or IDPs, in Fantasy play. Many Fantasy owners are comfortable enough with what's become the standard in Fantasy: using offensive skill-position players and team defenses. There's nothing wrong with that.

But there are more than a handful of Fantasy owners who aren't satisfied with that standard. Some people want to manage both sides of the ball and have a more "real" experience when drafting, setting lineups, working waivers and hoisting league trophies. For them, using IDPs is a better option.

And honestly, it's not that much more of a hassle. Going from a standard flex league to one that uses three or four IDPs might mean five or six more rounds of drafting and a few extra minutes each week considering a lineup. No one should be opposed to this -- after all, this is Fantasy Football, not filing your taxes. Who wouldn't want to spend more time crafting their Fantasy roster?

If you take the IDP plunge, there are some important factors to keep in mind on Draft Day and beyond.

• You want players who are constantly around the ball -- run-stopping linebackers, pass-rushing linemen and playmaking defensive backs. The more tackles, sacks, interceptions, fumbles forced and passes defensed a player makes, the more valuable he is to your Fantasy team.

• Subsequently, the defenders who aren't always around the ball simply aren't valuable Fantasy choices. Stud cornerbacks, beefy defensive tackles and most outside linebackers in 3-4 defenses don't measure up as studs because they don't put up a lot of tackles -- and that's the primary basis of Fantasy points for defenders. They're like yards to running backs. If a defender doesn't have a strong history of putting up tackles, he's probably not a starting option (unless your league doesn't count tackles, which then would make for a completely different story).

• Here's the best part about IDPs -- almost a trade secret: Waivers are typically full of useful players. If you've ever tried to find a good running back off waivers, you know what it's like to grasp at the proverbial straw. Save for the IDP leagues that have deep rosters, you should always be able to find good talent off waivers, making roster management a piece of cake. Just like offensive players, defenders will come out of nowhere to post big stats and be helpful options to your team. But unlike offensive players, waivers are typically stocked with guys who can help your team on a game-by-game basis. It is not uncommon to cut many of the defenders you draft based on slow production. Win the battle of uncovering waiver-wire gems, and you'll be on your way to IDP-league success.

For the first time ever, we're going to provide a list of the Top 50 overall defenders for your consideration. We'll also deliver our rankings of the Top 40 players per position. Keep in mind that high-tackle producing linebackers are usually the first defenders off the board, followed by the most consistent linemen and defensive backs out there. Then it's essentially a free-for-all across the three positions as many owners will wait to pad their roster with IDPs until the later rounds. That's a smart move since many of the players you'll draft late will be cut during the season. If there's one piece of drafting wisdom we can deliver here, it's that the talent pool at defensive line is thin, so grabbing two (or three depending on your league) high-powered pass rushers in 4-3 defensive schemes will save you from some roster headaches later in the season.

Top 50 IDPs
1 Patrick Willis, LB, SF (Bye: 9) 26 Jared Allen, DL, MIN (Bye: 4)
2 Jon Beason, LB, CAR (Bye: 6) 27 Jerod Mayo, LB, NE (Bye: 5)
3 D.J. Williams, LB, DEN (Bye: 9) 28 Oshiomogho Atogwe, DB, STL (Bye: 9)
4 James Laurinaitis, LB, STL (Bye: 9) 29 Clay Matthews, LB, GB (Bye: 10)
5 Barrett Ruud, LB, TB (Bye: 4) 30 Nick Barnett, LB, GB (Bye: 10)
6 Karlos Dansby, LB, MIA (Bye: 5) 31 DeAndre Levy, LB, DET (Bye: 7)
7 Jonathan Vilma, LB, NO (Bye: 10) 32 Lance Briggs, LB, CHI (Bye: 8)
8 DeMeco Ryans, LB, HOU (Bye: 7) 33 D'Qwell Jackson, LB, CLE (Bye: 8)
9 James Harrison, LB, PIT (Bye: 5) 34 LaMarr Woodley, LB, PIT (Bye: 5)
10 Eric Weddle, DB, SD (Bye: 10) 35 Lawrence Timmons, LB, PIT (Bye: 5)
11 Ray Lewis, LB, BAL (Bye: 8) 36 Bradie James, LB, DAL (Bye: 4)
12 DeMarcus Ware, LB, DAL (Bye: 4) 37 Stephen Cooper, LB, SD (Bye: 10)
13 Kirk Morrison, LB, JAC (Bye: 9) 38 Brian Urlacher, LB, CHI (Bye: 8)
14 David Harris, LB, NYJ (Bye: 7) 39 Dashon Goldson, DB, SF (Bye: 9)
15 Rolando McClain, LB, OAK (Bye: 10) 40 Tyvon Branch, DB, OAK (Bye: 10)
16 Yeremiah Bell, DB, MIA (Bye: 5) 41 Richard Marshall, DB, CAR (Bye: 6)
17 Bernard Pollard, DB, HOU (Bye: 7) 42 Elvis Dumervil, LB, DEN (Bye: 9)
18 Stewart Bradley, LB, PHI (Bye: 8) 43 Antrel Rolle, DB, NYG (Bye: 8)
19 Gary Brackett, LB, IND (Bye: 7) 44 LaRon Landry, DB, WAS (Bye: 9)
20 James Farrior, LB, PIT (Bye: 5) 45 Paul Posluszny, LB, BUF (Bye: 6)
21 Louis Delmas, DB, DET (Bye: 7) 46 Thomas Davis, LB, CAR (Bye: 6)
22 Roman Harper, DB, NO (Bye: 10) 47 Charles Woodson, DB, GB (Bye: 10)
23 Chad Greenway, LB, MIN (Bye: 4) 48 Eric Berry, DB, KC (Bye: 4)
24 Curtis Lofton, LB, ATL (Bye: 8) 49 Erik Coleman, DB, ATL (Bye: 8)
25 London Fletcher, LB, WAS (Bye: 9) 50 Charles Tillman, DB, CHI (Bye: 8)
Defensive backs Defensive linemen Linebackers
1 Eric Weddle, SD (Bye: 10) 1 Jared Allen, MIN (Bye: 4) 1 Patrick Willis, SF (Bye: 9)
2 Yeremiah Bell, MIA (Bye: 5) 2 Julius Peppers, CHI (Bye: 8) 2 Jon Beason, CAR (Bye: 6)
3 Bernard Pollard, HOU (Bye: 7) 3 Trent Cole, PHI (Bye: 8) 3 D.J. Williams, DEN (Bye: 9)
4 Louis Delmas, DET (Bye: 7) 4 Justin Tuck, NYG (Bye: 8) 4 James Laurinaitis, STL (Bye: 9)
5 Roman Harper, NO (Bye: 10) 5 Will Smith, NO (Bye: 10) 5 Barrett Ruud, TB (Bye: 4)
6 Oshiomogho Atogwe, STL (Bye: 9) 6 Mario Williams, HOU (Bye: 7) 6 Karlos Dansby, MIA (Bye: 5)
7 Dashon Goldson, SF (Bye: 9) 7 Justin Smith, SF (Bye: 9) 7 Jonathan Vilma, NO (Bye: 10)
8 Tyvon Branch, OAK (Bye: 10) 8 Robert Mathis, IND (Bye: 7) 8 DeMeco Ryans, HOU (Bye: 7)
9 Richard Marshall, CAR (Bye: 6) 9 Kyle Vanden Bosch, DET (Bye: 7) 9 James Harrison, PIT (Bye: 5)
10 Antrel Rolle, NYG (Bye: 8) 10 Darnell Dockett, ARI (Bye: 6) 10 Ray Lewis, BAL (Bye: 8)
11 LaRon Landry, WAS (Bye: 9) 11 Aaron Kampman, JAC (Bye: 9) 11 DeMarcus Ware, DAL (Bye: 4)
12 Charles Woodson, GB (Bye: 10) 12 Mathias Kiwanuka, NYG (Bye: 8) 12 Kirk Morrison, JAC (Bye: 9)
13 Eric Berry, KC (Bye: 4) 13 Ray Edwards, MIN (Bye: 4) 13 David Harris, NYJ (Bye: 7)
14 Erik Coleman, ATL (Bye: 8) 14 Dwight Freeney, IND (Bye: 7) 14 Rolando McClain, OAK (Bye: 10)
15 Charles Tillman, CHI (Bye: 8) 15 Alex Brown, NO (Bye: 10) 15 Stewart Bradley, PHI (Bye: 8)
16 Brian Dawkins, DEN (Bye: 9) 16 Kelly Gregg, BAL (Bye: 8) 16 Gary Brackett, IND (Bye: 7)
17 Aqib Talib, TB (Bye: 4) 17 Everette Brown, CAR (Bye: 6) 17 James Farrior, PIT (Bye: 5)
18 Quintin Mikell, PHI (Bye: 8) 18 Calais Campbell, ARI (Bye: 6) 18 Chad Greenway, MIN (Bye: 4)
19 Adrian Wilson, ARI (Bye: 6) 19 Brandon Graham, PHI (Bye: 8) 19 Curtis Lofton, ATL (Bye: 8)
20 Brandon Flowers, KC (Bye: 4) 20 Kevin Williams, MIN (Bye: 4) 20 London Fletcher, WAS (Bye: 9)
21 Leon Hall, CIN (Bye: 6) 21 Stylez White, TB (Bye: 4) 21 Jerod Mayo, NE (Bye: 5)
22 Antoine Bethea, IND (Bye: 7) 22 John Abraham, ATL (Bye: 8) 22 Clay Matthews, GB (Bye: 10)
23 Jairus Byrd, BUF (Bye: 6) 23 Chris Long, STL (Bye: 9) 23 Nick Barnett, GB (Bye: 10)
24 Cortland Finnegan, TEN (Bye: 9) 24 Jerry Hughes, IND (Bye: 7) 24 DeAndre Levy, DET (Bye: 7)
25 Dawan Landry, BAL (Bye: 8) 25 Gerald McCoy, TB (Bye: 4) 25 Lance Briggs, CHI (Bye: 8)
26 Terrell Thomas, NYG (Bye: 8) 26 Derrick Harvey, JAC (Bye: 9) 26 D'Qwell Jackson, CLE (Bye: 8)
27 Darrelle Revis, NYJ (Bye: 7) 27 Osi Umenyiora, NYG (Bye: 8) 27 LaMarr Woodley, PIT (Bye: 5)
28 Johnathan Joseph, CIN (Bye: 6) 28 Ndamukong Suh, DET (Bye: 7) 28 Lawrence Timmons, PIT (Bye: 5)
29 Michael Griffin, TEN (Bye: 9) 29 Haloti Ngata, BAL (Bye: 8) 29 Bradie James, DAL (Bye: 4)
30 George Wilson, BUF (Bye: 6) 30 Darryl Tapp, PHI (Bye: 8) 30 Stephen Cooper, SD (Bye: 10)
31 Brandon Meriweather, NE (Bye: 5) 31 Aaron Schobel, BUF (Bye: 6) 31 Brian Urlacher, CHI (Bye: 8)
32 Eric Wright, CLE (Bye: 8) 32 Richard Seymour, OAK (Bye: 10) 32 Elvis Dumervil, DEN (Bye: 9)
33 Tanard Jackson, TB (Bye: 4) 33 Jonathan Babineaux, ATL (Bye: 8) 33 Paul Posluszny, BUF (Bye: 6)
34 Chris Gamble, CAR (Bye: 6) 34 Jay Ratliff, DAL (Bye: 4) 34 Thomas Davis, CAR (Bye: 6)
35 Chris Harris, CHI (Bye: 8) 35 Glenn Dorsey, KC (Bye: 4) 35 Clint Session, IND (Bye: 7)
36 Champ Bailey, DEN (Bye: 9) 36 Kroy Biermann, ATL (Bye: 8) 36 Michael Boley, NYG (Bye: 8)
37 Antoine Winfield, MIN (Bye: 4) 37 Tyson Jackson, KC (Bye: 4) 37 Will Witherspoon, TEN (Bye: 9)
38 Kerry Rhodes, ARI (Bye: 6) 38 Brett Keisel, PIT (Bye: 5) 38 Keith Brooking, DAL (Bye: 4)
39 Darren Sharper, NO (Bye: 10) 39 Randy Starks, MIA (Bye: 5) 39 Brian Cushing, HOU (Bye: 7)
40 Terrence McGee, BUF (Bye: 6) 40 William Hayes, TEN (Bye: 9) 40 Anthony Spencer, DAL (Bye: 4)

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Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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