A list of the top defensive players to draft for the 2013 fantasy football season.
1. Luke Kuechly Carolina Panthers Linebacker
|2013 Projections||View Luke Kuechly's 2013 projected stats.|
Kuechly had extremely high expectations in his rookie year after the Panthers selected him with the ninth overall pick out of Boston College – a college career in which Kuechly posted an entirely absurd total of 532 tackles in 38 games – but the rookie lived up to every bit of the hype. Despite seeing less than 50 snaps in four games, Kuechely finished with double-digit tackles in all but six games, making it to at least eight tackles in three of the instances where he fell short of double digits. After 16 games the result was 165 tackles (103 solo), one sack, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Kuechly could miss three games in 2013 and still be a serious threat to repeat as the league's leading tackler. It's a remarkably safe statement that Kuechly is the top IDP at any position, because he's locked in as the top linebacker by a safe distance, something no defensive lineman or defensive back can safely about their own positions.
2. James Laurinaitis St. Louis Rams Linebacker
|2013 Projections||View James Laurinaitis's 2013 projected stats.|
Laurinaitis has been an IDP beast for each of his four NFL seasons, and his owners will have every reason to expect a repeat for the fifth year in a row in 2013. The former Ohio State star posted 142 tackles for the second year in a row in 2012, though he raised his solo tackle total from 105 to 117 in the process, which actually signals an improvement. Laurinaitis isn't just an elite source of tackle production, though, as he has recovered a fumble in each of his NFL seasons while totaling 8.5 sacks and seven interceptions in that span. There's a fair amount to be said regarding Laurinaitis' consistency, too, because he had six or more tackles in 13 games last year. Laurinaitis should continue to pile up tackles and make plays in a rising St. Louis defense. A highly talented defensive line of Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford should both open up lanes for Laurinaitis and keep offensive linemen preoccupied, leaving Laurinaitis free to pursue the ball.
3. Bobby Wagner Seattle Seahawks Linebacker
|2013 Projections||View Bobby Wagner's 2013 projected stats.|
If you're the gambling sort, you might want to rank Wagner ahead of Laurinaitis and perhaps even rank Wagner on a plane similar to Kuechly's. Like Kuechly, Wagner was a rookie last year who, despite possessing much less hype than the Carolina star, quickly established himself as one of the league's most dominant defenders. Although he began the year in a two-down role, it didn't take long for Wagner to emerge as Seattle's top linebacker, and he finished the year with 139 tackles (86 solo), two sacks and three interceptions. Wagner is a highly disruptive player with exceptional speed, and he should continue to supplement his high tackle totals with impact plays in coverage and behind the line of scrimmage. While some might consider it unreasonable to expect Wagner to match the numbers from his exceptional rookie years, there's actually reason to suspect Wagner can improve on his stats in 2013. He posted those 139 tackles while playing just 849 snaps on defense, whereas Kuechly and Laurinaitis played 923 and 1,080, respectively. If Wagner can approach 1,000 snaps on defense, 160 tackles might come with them.
Imagine how confident you'll feel going into your draft with exclusive defensive player rankings from the premier fantasy football source on the web. Once you sign up, you'll not only get access to these rankings, you'll completely unlock every page on RotoWire.com.
P.S. Here at RotoWire.com, we've been giving out high-quality fantasy football advice for over a decade and we've won nearly three times as many industry awards as our next closest competitor. Try us out this season and we'll help you look like a genius.
2013 Positional Rankings
Find out where Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and other quarterbacks are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Find out where Arian Foster, Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller, Darren McFadden and other running backs are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Find out where A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Michael Crabtree and other wide receivers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Find out where Kyle Rudolph, Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates and other tight ends are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
Find out where Shaun Suisham, Adam Vinatieri, Blair Walsh, Mason Crosby and other kickers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.