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
1. LDT Aaron Donald (STL) - After a slow start to his rookie season, Donald showed everyone why the Rams made him the 13th overall pick. He rattled off seven sacks in his final nine games and finished the year with a respectable 34/10 tackle line. Playing along the league's most talented defensive line should keep Donald free to build on his 2014 numbers. High upside DL2.
2. LDT Gerald McCoy (TB) - Although he missed three games last year, McCoy still managed to finish among the top 30 defensive linemen in fantasy points scored. If he can stay healthy, he’s a good bet to reach double digit sacks this season along with a 35/15 tackle line. This should easily place McCoy in the top 15-20 fantasy defensive linemen and justify this ranking. S, R
3. RDT Ndamukong Suh (MIA) - 2014 was a great year for Suh as he amassed his best statistical season since his 2010 rookie campaign. Given the inconsistency issues throughout his career, it’s fair to wonder if we will see a drop off in performance now that he has garnered a large payday. Add in the fact that he carries some suspension risk and his current average draft position of a low-end DL1/high-end DL2 seems a tad high. He’s still a top 20 fantasy lineman, just be careful not to get caught up in the name and overpay. B
4. NT Marcell Dareus (BUF) - Dareus set a career high in sacks last year with nine and has proven to be one of the more productive large-body front men in the league. His 21.7% sack conversation rate (sacks/pressures) is one of the highest in the NFL over the last 8 seasons. The switch to a 3-4, five-technique may have some concerned about his value moving forward, but he's seen success in a similar role before and should see ample pass rushing opportunity under Rex Ryan.
5. RDT Geno Atkins (CIN) - Atkins was once the top-valued fantasy DT in the game, but a fairly serious knee injury in 2013 robbed him of much of his explosiveness. His 2014 season was underwhelming as he was still working his way back from injury, but he showed signs of life towards the end part of the year. Atkins has reportedly looked quite explosive so far in camp and could very well be set up for a bounce back season. You shouldn't expect the 2012-version of Atkins but I think he can be something in between that version and his 2014-self. S
6. DT Jonathan Hankins (NYG) - Hankins sneakily emerged as a top 30 defensive lineman in fantasy realms last year. Although he's not a sexy pick, he will have value in the majority of leagues. If he manages to come close to his 2014 numbers (51 total tackles and 7 sacks), he will be worth a DL3 selection. S
7. DT Kyle Williams (BUF) - Year in and year out, Williams gets no love from the fantasy community; this despite being one of the more consistent defensive tackle options over the last several years. He's averaged over 55 total tackles and nearly five sacks a season over his nine year career (excluding his 2011 season in which he was injured for a majority of the year). He'll play the 5 technique position in the Bills new 3-4 scheme, a role in which he excelled in during the 2013 season. Williams remains one of the sneakier values at the position. S
8. DT Clinton McDonald (TB) - McDonald, a seventh round selection back in 2010, has emerged as a relevant fantasy option for owners over the last two seasons. During that time, he's compiled 11 sacks and averaged over 40 total tackles. He's not a high upside option, but he should be a fairly safe middle of the road DT2 player.
9. DT Sen'Derrick Marks (JAX) - Marks led all defensive tackles with 10 sacks last year. He tore his ACL in Week 17 however and may wind up missing the first couple games of the regular season. He should be a solid DT1-/DT2+ upon his return, so if you have a deep bench you can definitely think about grabbing Marks sooner than this ranking suggests.
10. DT Sharrif Floyd (MIN) - Floyd took a big step forward in his sophomore year under new head coach Mike Zimmer. Despite missing two games, he still managed five sacks. It wouldn't be a surprise if he bested that figure in 2015. He's a solid DT2 candidate.
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Last Updated: July 21, 2015 Related Posts: