2014 IDP Rankings - Defensive Tackles (Redraft)

Listed below are my 2014 Defensive Tackle Rankings for IDP Redraft Leagues. I will continually update these throughout the off-season to reflect changes in free agency, defensive schemes, playing time, draft selections, etc. However, keep in mind that the information listed here is just a small sample of a much larger set of rankings and descriptions that are accessible through purchasing my 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

Scoring System:
Solo Tackle = 1 point
Assist = 0.5 point
Sack = 3 points
Interception = 4 points
Forced Fumble = 2 points
Fumble Recovery = 2 points
Pass Deflection = 1 point
Defensive TD = 6 points

S = Sleeper/Undervalued Player
B = Bust/Overvalued Player
R = Injury Risk

Tier 1

Geno Atkins 1. RDT Geno Atkins (CIN) - The start to Atkins' 2013 season was a rough one to say the least with just 1 tackle and 1 sack in his first three games. Over the next several games the sacks began to flow; however the tackles were few and far between. Then he suffered a season-ending ACL injury. All of the aforementioned factors will combine to make him a somewhat risky draft choice for owners this year. But there are question marks for a lot of the guys in this draft range and Atkins has the surrounding cast and talent to put up top 10 numbers from his DT spot which is invaluable in some leagues. R

Gerald McCoy 2. DT Gerald McCoy (TB) - McCoy finished 4th among defensive tackles with 9 sacks last season which was good enough for a top 5 fantasy finish at the position. The addition of Michael Johnson should help further boost McCoy's production and cement him as one the top DTs in the game. There is very nice upside here so draft with confidence.

Ndamukong Suh 3. DT Ndamukong Suh (DET) - Since a massively productive rookie season, Suh has struggled with inconsistency issues over his last three seasons. His play improved last year but he needs to do a better job of finishing in the pocket. I believe the development of Ezekiel Ansah and Nick Fairley will help grow and stabilize Suh's numbers. We may never see the type of fantasy season he gave owners back in 2010, but he has a 50+ total tackle/7-8 sack ceiling which places him just inside the top tier of defensive tackles.

Tier 2

Kyle Williams 4. DT Kyle Williams (BUF) - The Bills will be transitioning to a 4-3 defense this season which means Williams will be moving to DT and likely get a lot of 3-technique looks. He's been successful in this role in the past, especially from a tackle perspective. He's a great late round selection as he has a relatively high floor. However, his year ago production is likely his upside ceiling. 

Marcell Dareus 5. DT Marcell Dareus (BUF) - Dareus has served as a solid DT1- since entering the league averging 50+ total tackles and 6+ sacks over his first three season. He set career highs in solo tackles, assists, and sacks under Mike Pettine last year and finished as DT4 in standard scoring systems. The departure of Pettine and the switch back to a 4-3 shouldn't have a ton of negative effects on Dareus. He should still be a solid defensive tackle for fantasy owners.

Nick Fairley 6. DT Nick Fairley (DET) - Fairley is one of the best when it comes to collapsing a pocket from the inside of the line and getting after the quarterback, but he needs to improve his play against the run before he'll be regarded as an elite option at the position. He's probably the biggest boom/bust selection in this draft range.

Tier 3

Jurrell Casey 7. DT Jurrell Casey (TEN) - Casey had a breakout year with 50+ total tackles and 9.5 sacks. The arrival of new defensive coordinator Ray Horton will signal a more multi-front approach in which Casey will play the 3-technique in 4-3 looks and nose tackle in 3-4 looks. He's not an ideal fit for the latter so there are some concerns we will see a dip in numbers, but that withstanding, he's still a top 5 DT option.

Henry Melton 8. DT Henry Melton (CHI) - Melton will be reunited with old defensive coach Rod Marinelli in Dallas who should set him up well to succeed this season in his newly assumed Tampa 2 undertackle role. He is essentially playing on a one year deal which should keep him motivated throughout the season. Although he likely won't have another top level linemen to keep the double teams away, he should remain one of the better DT fantasy options. S

Dontari Poe 9. DT Dontari Poe (KC) - Through the first 5 weeks of the season, Poe was the number one ranked defensive tackle. However, he failed to register even one sack over the remaining 11 games. The good news is that his tackle counts remained relatively high and he was continuing to consistently put pressure on the quarterback. Poe is one of the more well conditioned interior linemen in the league, leading the NFL in snaps played at each position. If he plays near 1,000 snaps again this season, he should be one of the more safe high floor, low-end DT1s.

Aaron Donald 10. DT Aaron Donald (STL) - Donald (6-foot 7/8, 288) was a dominant interior penetrator at Pitt, earning the ACC Defensive POY award as a senior. Donald is smallish in stature, but shoots gaps with quick-twitch explosion, He will play three-technique tackle and should begin causing interior disruption as soon as he steps on an NFL field. His addition to the St. Louis line makes them the most fierce in the league. He's the top rookie fantasy DT and could have big upside as soon as this year.

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Questions, comments, or concerns with any of these rankings? If so, please let me know by posting a comment below or emailing me at theidpguru@idpguru.com. You can also hit me up on Twitter

Last Updated: July 2, 2014
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Mike Middleton said...

Guru, it seems as though Star Lotulelei is not getting any love in DT rankings I see around the web. As a rookie he was the 20th ranked DT in a balanced scoring format and he played the majority of his snaps at the 3 technique position. I wouldn't expect him to show up in your top 10 listed above, but I'm not even seeing him in the top 50 of other rankings. I play in a deep 16 team league where we start 2 DT's. Is there reason for me to be concerned that he shouldn't be a starter for me this year?

Ryan Sitzmann said...

@Mike Middleton
I have Star as a top 15 DT and #57 overall. I agree that he's probably being undervalued and he should be a player you target late in drafts as your DT2/DT3.

Jason Schwenker said...

Hey Ryan,

What are your thoughts on the STL D line? I have both Brockers and Donald as my DTs. I also have Henry Melton. Since we only need to start one DT, I'm looking to move one. Who do you suggest? (1.5 solo, 0.75 asst, 3 per 0.5 SK, 0.2/sk yd).


Ryan Sitzmann said...

@Jason Schwenker
I think their line is going to be nasty. I'd probably prefer Donald over Brockers even as a rookie. I like Melton because he's a very nice fit for the scheme and Marinelli has a way of making the most with his DLs. I'd probably keep Melton and Donald and let Brockers go back into the pool.

Jason Schwenker said...

@Ryan Sitzmann

That's what I was thinking too, but I wanted to hear someone else say it :-) Thanks.

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