34-Year-Old Linebacker – Denver Broncos
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
Ware ended 2015 with the second-lowest sack total of his career, 7.5, in a career-low 11 games. Health will likely be the single biggest factor in whether Ware's third year in Denver is a productive o...
DeMarcus Ware Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Broncos in March of 2014.
Ware (back) will undergo surgery Friday on a ruptured disc in his back, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports.
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Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
DeMarcus Ware: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After an injury-plagued season with the Cowboys in 2013, Ware joined the Broncos as a replacement to Elvis Dumervil to partner with young pass rusher Von Miller. Ware was solid, finishing with 10 sacks (the eighth time in his career he’s reached double-digits), though his days as a dominant pass rusher requiring multiple blockers are gone. The Broncos drafted defensive end Shane Ray in the first round of this year’s draft, and they will likely give Ware the responsibility of teaching Ray how to play in the NFL, before the latter eventually replaces the former.
Shaun Phillips made it to the 10-sack plateau just once in his six seasons prior to 2013, but he managed to get there a second time during his lone season with the Broncos last year. Ware heads into Denver in a similar situation, except he reached double-digit sack territory in five of the last six years. He probably would have made it a year ago, too, if not for lingering elbow and quadriceps ailments. Ware was an All-Decade talent in his prime, so even at age 32 he should perform well above the average, especially with offensive lines worried about Von Miller and Terrance Knighton. So long as he's healthy, it's hard to see why Ware shouldn't at least match Phillips' production. He's always been the much better player.
The Cowboys are abandoning the 3-4 in favor of Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 alignment, and the resulting position switch makes the IDP values of Ware and fellow linebacker-turned-end Anthony Spencer skyrocket. No longer left to compete with players who routinely pile up 100 or more tackles, Ware should be one of the first IDPs picked in any format, even with a potential drop in tackles. He battled his way through elbow and shoulder injuries in 2012, both of which required offseason surgery, and still racked up 11.5 sacks despite playing at far less than 100 percent. Kiffin's 4-3 places a high emphasis on disrupting with speed and quickness, and the decreased emphasis on containment could allow Ware to get back into the 20-sack range. Kiffin once made Simeon Rice an annual contender for the league sack title, and Ware is a better player than Rice ever was.
With 99.5 sacks in just seven years, it goes without saying that Ware’s value gets a big boost in leagues that disproportionately value sack production. Even in leagues that don’t Ware’s consistently elite sack numbers keep him more relevant than other 3-4 outside linebackers, and back-to-back 84-tackle seasons in 2007 and 2008 give some hope for respectable tackle totals, too. Ware totaled 58 tackles (47 solo) and 19.5 sacks last year despite playing through a stinger, back spasms and a rib injury. You won’t find a more reliable pass rusher among 3-4 linebackers.
It says a lot about a player when 123 tackles (101 solo), 26.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles are considered down numbers over a two-year span. But there was a day when Ware totaled 168 tackles (129 solo), 34 sacks and 10 forced fumbles over the same time, so it’s easy to see why the expectations are so high. Perhaps new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan can get Ware back on the warpath, but his recent production still isn’t anything to complain about.
One of the league’s premiere pass-rushers, Ware racked up 11 sacks and 57 tackles in 2009 while playing through a litany of injuries (stress fracture in his foot, fractured wrist, strained neck, sore back) that would put most of us in the hospital. He should be back at full strength for the 2010 season — much to the chagrin of NFL quarterbacks. The last time Ware was healthy for a full season, he racked up 20 sacks and 84 tackles — even getting close to those numbers would make him an IDP star.
Ware finished the 2008 season just two-and-a-half Brett Favre lay-downs from tying Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record of 22.5 and has increased his sack output every year he’s been in the league, going from eight to 11.5 to 14 to 20 last year. The reason he doesn’t rate higher among IDP linebackers is tackles – 84 is a nice number for a defensive lineman, but a pedestrian total for a ‘backer. He’s often used like a defensive end, taking advantage of his excellent speed out of a two-point stance in pass-rushing situations. Move Ware up significantly if your league requires a defensive lineman, and Ware is listed as such.
Ware led all linebackers with 14 sacks in 2007. He also added four forced fumbles to his 84 tackles. One of the NFL's foremost sack threats, Ware increased his total from eight sacks as a rookie to 11.5 in 2006 to 14 last season. He also increased his tackles by 13 each season, though 84 is still low for a linebacker. That can be explained by the fact that head coach Wade Phillips employs a 3-4 format that often utilizes Ware as a pass-rushing linebacker. In many ways, Ware plays like a defensive end. He has great speed, although he is undersized at 251 pounds. Don't ignore Ware too long because he's a monster in the sack category and especially useful for a flex IDP position.
Ware led the Cowboys with 11.5 sacks and added 71 tackles, an INT, five defended passes and a TD in his second NFL season. Look for him to take his game to another level in Wade Phillips' version of the 3-4 defense, and for Ware to become a true IDP stud.
Had eight sacks and 58 tackles as a rookie, but has the talent, tools and drive to increase that sack total by 50% or more. A future IDP stud.
11th overall pick could be a very disruptive force in opposition backfields from a weakside LB/DE position in the 3-4 defense. Don't be surprised if he's among the NFL's sack leaders at season's end.