2019 IDP Draft Rankings - Linebackers (Redraft)

Listed below is a sample of my 2018 Linebacker 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 2019 IDP Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

Drafting Philosophy:
Linebackers are undoubtedly the staples of a fantasy defense. However, I believe many fantasy owners tend to overvalue this position on draft day. There always seems to be a huge run on linebackers early in drafts as many owners feel that securing a "top tier" linebacker is essential to having a competitive fantasy defense. Although this is a fair strategy, I think more times than not, more value is to be found within other positions at the early junctures in drafts.

The fact is that there are a plethora of potential LB1 linebackers (e.g. Myles Jack, Maston Foster) that can be had rounds after the Tier 1 and even Tier 2 linebackers are off the board.
Additionally, IDP studs always emerge at the linebacker position throughout the season (e.g. Leighton Vander Esch). So often times the best strategy is to wait until the upper echelon linebackers have been taken and then come in and start plucking up the potential LB1 upside value plays a few rounds later. This will allow you to use those early round draft picks to shore up other positions such as defensive line where more relative value is to be found, while at the same time, not suffering significant losses of quality at the linebacker position.

Scoring System:
Solo Tackle = 1.5 points
Assist = 0.75 points
Tackles for Loss = 2 points
Sack = 4 points
Interception = 5 points
Forced Fumble = 4 points
Fumble Recovery = 4 points
Pass Deflection = 1.5 point
Defensive TD = 6 points
Safeties = 2 points

Tier 1
1Darius Leonard LB - IND (6), +6 vs. ECR 
Leonard had one of most impressive IDP rookie campaigns in recent memory, compiling a ridiculous 161 total tackles to go along with seven quarterback sacks and leading all defenders in total fantasy points by a fairly wide margin. With the Colts expected to be much improved in 2019, Leonard may not see as much opportunity, but he still has relatively minimal tackle competition and is the clear-cut #1 fantasy linebacker this season.

Tier 2
2Bobby Wagner LB - SEA (11), -1 vs. ECR 
Wagner is perhaps the league's best linebacker and a perennial top 3 fantasy option at the position . The Seattle stat crew suppresses his solo tackle upside, but he's still a strong bet to finish in the top five in total tackles year in and out. And with Seattle continuing to lose key defensive players, Wagner figures to have more opportunity than ever. Heading into a contract year, he has a decent shot of finishing as the top fantasy linebacker when the 2019 season reaches its end.

3Luke Kuechly LB - CAR (7), -1 vs. ECR 
After a couple seasons struggling through concussion issues, Kuechly's production bounced back a bit in 2018 as he was third in the league in solo tackles and racked up 19 TFLs to lead the league in the category. Outside of concerns around his head injury history, Kuechly remains one of the most consistently productive IDPs in the game.

4Blake Martinez LB - GB (11), +0 vs. ECR 
Martinez benefitted from the Packers' severe lack of depth at the inside linebacker position as he was the only consistent every-down linebacker throughout the season. This allowed him to rack up 142 total tackles and a surprising five sacks. Green Bay hasn't done much to strengthen their linebacking core, so we have every reason to believe Martinez will put up similar numbers to year ago.

5Deion Jones LB - ATL (9), -2 vs. ECR 
Jones missed a majority of the 2018 season with an early season foot injury. However, he eventually returned to the starting lineup in Week 13 and showed no ill effects of the injury as he posted 15 total tackles and a sack. He should continue to be a top seven fantasy linebacker moving into his age 25 season.

6Leighton Vander Esch LB - DAL (8), +3 vs. ECR 
Vander Esch took the NFC by storm, finishing with 143 total tackles (2nd in the NFL behind Darius Leonard), despite playing in only 76% of the total defensive snaps. His 18.2% tackle frequency was the highest in the league and shows he has #1 overall LB fantasy upside. He will be a every-down player heading into the 2019 season, but the presence of Jaylon Smith keeps LVE outside the top 5 linebackers.

Tier 3
7C.J. Mosley LB - NYJ (4), -2 vs. ECR 
Target
After an LB1 2017 campaign, Mosley saw a fairly significant reduction in production last year with just 71 solo tackles and 0.5 sack. He should see more tackle opportunity with the Jets and their scheme emphasises pass-rushing from their inside linebackers, so an uptick in sack production is likely as well. It's reasonable to expect numbers similar to his 2015 campaign (76 solo tackles, 40 assists, and 4 sacks) but there is more uncertainty with Mosley than other players in this rankings range.

8Tremaine Edmunds LB - BUF (6), +2 vs. ECR 
Edmunds has a nice rookie season, compiling 121 total tackles over 15 games. The Bills didn't add any real tackle threats beside him at linebacker, so one would expect Edmunds to build upon his stats from last year, which makes him a mid-range LB1 with upside.

9Roquan Smith LB - CHI (6), -1 vs. ECR 
Despite holding out deep into training camp and playing limited snaps in Week 1, Smith wasted no time in establishing himself as one of the game's best young linebackers. He racked up 122 total tackles and five sacks which was good enough to place him among the top 15 fantasy linebackers come season's end. He's just 22 years old, so his numbers should only improve heading into his sophomore season. The only things limiting his upside is the Bears staunch defense and the presence of Danny Trevathan which will likely cap his tackle opportunity.

10Cory Littleton LB - LAR (9), +4 vs. ECR 



The Rams saw enough in Littleton (an undrafted free agent out of Washington) to make him the centerpiece of their linebacking core and trade Alec Ogletree to the Giants. Their decision was a good one as Littleton served as an upgrade at the position and led the team in tackles with 124 total and was also very strong in the big play department with 4 sacks and 3 interceptions. Similar to the Bears, there is some concern the Rams defense will limit their own opportunity, but that shouldn't stop Littleton from registering another LB1- season.

Like what you've read so far? Looking to dominate your 2019 Fantasy Football draft(s)? For $7.99 you can get complete access to The IDP Guru's comprehensive and exhaustive 2019 IDP Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

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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 14, 2019
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