Additionally, if you are a fan of Fantasy Football, then you will probably enjoy playing in daily Fantasy Baseball leagues through Fanduel.
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
1. ILB Stephone Anthony (NO) - Anthony has the potential to surpass Kendricks as the most valuable rookie linebacker this year if all the stars align, but we need to get a better understanding of the Saints’ vision for him in the immediate term before even developing that opinion. If they run him out as an every-down linebacker, consider him a solid LB2 with upside. If not, he’s probably best served as a depth or watch player in re-draft leagues. At this point in the year, drafters should hedge their bet and take Anthony somewhere in the middle of those two extremes (i.e. a low-end LB3 or high-end LB4).
2. DE Vic Beasley (ATL) - Beasley will man the weak side end spot in new head coach Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme. He’s an immediate candidate for 8-10 sacks as the LEO in this system. He’s not an overly strong run defender however which will partially limit his fantasy upside until he improves that facet of his game. He should be the top rookie defensive lineman taken in both redraft and dynasty leagues.
3. ILB Eric Kendricks (MIN) - Minnesota was perhaps the perfect landing spot for Kendricks as he fills a major need for the team at MLB and will pair with former college teammate Anthony Barr to form a formidable linebacking duo. However, the starting MLB role in Minnesota seems to be up for grabs at this point with Audie Cole, Gerald Hodges, and Kendricks vying for the position. Kendricks should be able to nap it sooner rather than later, but he carries some risk as he may start the season on the bench. He's a bit risky at this point. Consider him a boom/bust LB3/LB4 option right now.
4. SS Landon Collins (NYG) - Of all rookie safeties, Collins is far and away the top fantasy option. New York is a perfect spot for him as the Giants had a huge need at strong safety and were one of the leagues' worst defenses against the run last year. Seeing as Collins is best suited as an in-the-box safety, expect the G-men to play him close to the line of scrimmage. This should lead to ample tackle opportunity for the first year player out of Alabama. Consider him a top 15 fantasy DB heading into the year.
5. OLB Paul Dawson (CIN) - Dawson was an extremely productive linebacker in his two starting seasons at TCU, winning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Despite very poor measurables (4.93 forty yard dash, 28-inch vertical, and 9-foot-1 broad jump), he was perhaps the most instinctual linebacker in the entire draft. The door for some playing time is half open as Vontaze Burfict’s road back from micro fracture surgery is shaping up to be a long and difficult one. Dawson is very much a boom/bust pick, but is a dark horse candidate to be one of the top tackle-producing rookie linebackers come 2016.
6. ILB Denzel Perryman (SD) - Perryman, the 48th overall selection in this year’s draft, will battle with previous Chargers’ draft picks Donald Butler and Manti Te’o for a starting role. Perryman is a big hitter who plays ferociously against the run, but the jury is still out on if he’s good enough in coverage to be an every-down player. If he has an outstanding camp and preseason, he has a shot at one of the starting inside linebacker spots, but more than likely he’ll serve in a reserve role until someone falters or gets injured.
7. OLB/ILB Benardrick McKinney - McKinney entered the 2015 draft as one of the more productive players coming out of college. He has the build of a thumping, inside linebacker but has the versatility to play outside as well. He excels in run defense and should eventually pair next to Brian Cushing. For the time being, he'll serve in a reserve capacity behind Mike Mohamed. There’s mixed opinions on whether he’s good enough in coverage to stay on the field in sub packages, a fact which muddies his value slightly. He’s probably not worth drafting in most re-draft leagues, but he’s definitely a player to watch closely this season. For dynasty owners, McKinney is a top 5 rookie linebacker.
8. DE Randy Gregory (DAL) - Gregory was considered by most to be a top 10 talent entering the 2015 draft, however he fell to the end of the second round due to off-the-field concerns. Dallas projects to be an ideal landing spot for the 22 year old as he will get an immediate opportunity for playing time while Greg Hardy serves out his suspension. As long as he avoids trouble, he should see at least 400-500 snaps this season and possible DL3-/DL4+ redraft value to go along with it.
9. DE/DT Leonard Williams (NYJ) - At 6’5, 300 pounds Williams is an enormous presence along the interior of the defensive line and was perhaps the best overall player in this year’s draft at just 21 years old. It's always tough for rookie lineman to make an impact in their first season, but Williams will get a shot to prove himself early on while Sheldon Richardson serves out his four game suspension. He does have DT1 upside long-term, especially if the team gives him the attacking, one-gap role. But for this season, he's more likely to be a DL4.
10. Owamagbe Odighizuwa (NYG) - Odighizuwa looked great on film and could emerge as one of the steals of this year’s draft if his hip holds up. Much like former Giant Justin Tuck, he has the speed and power to play outside on early downs and kick inside in passing situations which should help boost his fantasy numbers. He has to wade through a crowded position in New York, but he’s worth a look as a top 10 selection in rookie, dynasty drafts and even as a DL5 in deep re-draft leagues.
11. DE Dante Fowler (JAX) - Fowler, the third overall pick in this year's draft, suffered a torn ACL on the first day of rookie mini-camp and will miss the remainder of the season. The good news is the injury happened so early in the year that he should have no issues getting back to full health for the start of the 2016 season. He will man the productive LEO position in Gus Bradley's defense and could still wind up being one of the more productive fantasy linemen to come out of the 2015 draft. Long-term DL2+ upside.
12. ILB Jake Ryan (GB) - Ryan isn't most heralded rookie on this list, but has an outside chance to see starter snaps alongside Sam Barrington in at some point this year. Although he needs to work on his technique, the Packers like his football instincts and he’s strong enough in zone coverage to see sub package snaps. He may not have as much long-term upside as the other rookie linebackers listed, but he could prove useful to owners in rookie drafts looking for a late round sleeper to help their team out this year.
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Last Updated: August 26, 2015 Related Posts: