2017 IDP Rankings - Defensive Linemen (Redraft)

Listed below is a sample of my 2017 Defensive Linemen Rankings for IDP Redraft Leagues. I will update these sample rankings periodically during 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 2017 IDP Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

Drafting Philosophy:
Defensive linemen are by far the most inconsistent week-to-week fantasy point producers. Many linemen will go three or four weeks without registering a sack and then exactly when you drop them, they have a multiple sack game. This can be extremely frustrating for fantasy owners. In addition, there aren't many unknown linemen that emerge during the season and consequently, the waiver wire is usually not packed with worthwhile IDP options.

With this being said, I try to use a couple of my early round defensive draft picks on defensive linemen. Obtaining guys like J.J. Watt or Jason Pierre-Paul allows me to plug them in my roster and not worry about their ups and downs throughout the season since they have proven their consistency and value.

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

Tier 1
1J.J. Watt DE - HOU (7)
Watt missed the vast majority of the 2016 season after undergoing season-ending back surgery in late September. He's had ample recovery time and said he feels "fantastic", so he should be fully recovered by the start of the regular season. The three-time defensive player of the year is well protected with Jadaveon Clowney playing very well on the opposite end of the line and he figures to have something to prove after being out of football for nearly a year. Watt is a solid bet to reclaim his position as fantasy's top IDP.
Tier 2
2Joey Bosa DE - LAC (9)
Despite missing the first four games of his freshman NFL season due to a contract dispute, Bosa still finished with 10.5 sacks and won Defensive Rookie of the Year while grading out as one of the league's top five edge rushers. The move to a 4-3 defensive scheme should only help boost Bosa's production in his sophomore campaign. Look for the Chargers to move him around the line to put him in the best matchups possible. He's a darkhorse candidate to finish as fantasy's number one fantasy defensive lineman.
3Danielle Hunter DE - MIN (9)
Among defensive linemen who registered more than 450 snaps last year, Hunter was #1 in points per snap. Brian Robison is 34 years old and won't see another 800+ snap season which means Hunter should get a 20-25% boost in snaps played as the near full-time starter in 2017. This plants him firmly in the elite DL1 conversation.
Tier 3
4Jason Pierre-Paul DE - NYG (8)
There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding JPP heading into the 2016 regular season. He severely damaged his hand in a fireworks accident and had to adjust his pass-rushing approach. Although his play against the run remained quite strong, he only had 1.5 sacks through the season's first 11 games, which caused frustration among some fantasy owners. That quickly changed however, as Pierre-Paul logged 5.5 sacks over his next two games and erased all doubts from people's minds about his ability to perform at a high level. He wound up suffering an injury and missing the remainder of the season after that production explosion, but the Giants saw enough to reward him with four-year, $62 million contract this off-season. There's always some concern of production fall off after a player signs a big contract, but JPP's high floor/high ceiling profile makes him an easy top seven selection at the defensive end position.
5Carlos Dunlap DE - CIN (6)
Dunlap saw a ~20% dip in fantasy production last year but still finished as a top 10 defensive lineman. He's been an extremely consistent producer over his seven-year career, so it's safe to assume his year ago numbers are his floor heading into 2017. He's a "set and forget" fantasy player and should be drafted with confidence.
6Melvin Ingram DE - LAC (9)
Ingram has quietly developed into one of the league's more serviceable pass rushers, registering 18 sacks over the last two seasons. He will make the transition to defensive end (LEO) in the Chargers' new 4-3 scheme and immediately enters the DL1 discussion.
7Olivier Vernon DE - NYG (8)
Vernon proved himself worthy of the $85 million contract he signed in the 2016 off-season and, along with Jason Pierre-Paul, gives the Giants arguably the best defensive end tandem in the NFL. He plays the run extremely well and consistently wins in one-on-one matchups. Although he hasn't amassed double-digit sacks since 2013, he generated more pressure than his eight sacks last year indicate. So 10+ sacks is not out of reach for the 26 year old Miami graduate. Consider him a high floor DL1 with some upside.
8Aaron Donald DT - LAR (8)
Aaron Donald is arguably the league's most disruptive defensive lineman behind J.J. Watt and has made his mark in the league as a penetrating, three-technique tackle. Therefore, the switch to the less fantasy-friendly five-technique position in the Rams' new 3-4 defense creates some cause for concern. However, other players such as J.J. Watt have been extremely productive in this role and Donald's generational-type talent should keep his production high enough to warrant DL1/DL1- consideration.
9Calais Campbell DE - JAC (8)
Campbell has been one of fantasy's most consistent low-end DL1s during his nine-year career, finishing near the top of the league in tackles at his position and contributing six to eight sacks in virtually every season since entering the league. His 2016 campaign started slowly giving some owners cause for concern as he entered his age 30 season. Campbell turned things around in the second half however and ended up with the second-most sacks of his career with eight. He will now take his services to Jacksonville after spending his entire career with Arizona. The team has stated they plan to use him as an edge rusher in their 4-3 scheme. This gives Campbell a chance to reach double-digit sacks for the first time in his career, but it will likely come at the expense of his tackle production.
10Everson Griffen DE - MIN (9)
Griffen has been extremely consistent over the last three seasons, averaging 36 solo tackles, 12 assists, and 10 sacks. He plays on one of the best defensive lines in the league, which provides him with a plethora of one-on-one matchups. He's a real threat to crack the top five in total sacks this coming season but his lack of elite tackle production keeps him from placing higher in these rankings.

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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: June 27, 2017
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