A list of the top defensive players to draft for the 2015 fantasy football season.
1. Luke Kuechly Carolina Panthers Linebacker
|2015 Projections||View Luke Kuechly's 2015 projected stats.|
Kuechly might have peers in the NFL, but only a few, and he probably has no superiors. Since the Panthers selected him ninth overall in 2012, Kuechly has logged three straight years of 150 or more tackles, and there's no reason to think he'll slow down in 2015. Going back to his three years at Boston College, Kuechly averaged 167 tackles per year, and that was with playing 13-game seasons. He has shown very good durability, playing in every game over those six years. With excellent athleticism and a sterling history of production, Kuechly earns elite marks in all his IDP dimensions. It doesn't hurt that he has a fine duo of run-stuffing defensive tackles ahead of him in Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short.
2. Lavonte David Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker
|2015 Projections||View Lavonte David's 2015 projected stats.|
If there is an IDP rival to Kuechly at linebacker, David would seem like the most formidable contender. David produced at a rate of more than 10 tackles per game last year, posting 147 stops despite missing two games due to a concussion and a hamstring issue. David is a rangy, instinctive and aggressive linebacker who dominates against the run while showing top-grade abilities as a blitzer and in coverage, as his three-year average of 143 tackles is supplemented by averages of roughly 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. If he maintains the 10-tackles-per-game average he showed in his first year under Lovie Smith, David's considerable sack and interception upside make him a real threat to finish as the top IDP linebacker in 2015.
3. Bobby Wagner Seattle Seahawks Linebacker
|2015 Projections||View Bobby Wagner's 2015 projected stats.|
Two years too late, Wagner finally received his first All-Pro distinction in 2014, despite missing five games with a turf toe injury. Even on a Seattle defense that played no more than the sixth-fewest snaps in each of the last three years, Wagner has been an unstoppable tackle source while showing additional upside in the sack and interception categories. Perhaps the most athletic linebacker in the NFC, Wagner has mid-4.4 speed and probably has even more playmaking potential than his career nine sacks and five interceptions might imply. Considering he hit the triple-digit tackle mark on just 658 snaps last year, Wagner would have 160-tackle upside if he ever saw closer to 1,000 snaps, but Seattle's ability to consistently force punts and turnovers makes that seem unlikely.
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