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 NFL peers, but only a few, and he probably has no superiors. Since 2012, when the Panthers selected him ninth overall, Kuechly is the only player with 150-plus tackles each year. Only four others in that span have done it even once, none twice. His seven interceptions since 2012 are second among linebackers, as he earns elite marks in all IDP dimensions. He's proven durable, too, never missing a game. And it doesn't hurt that he has a fine duo of defensive tackles in Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short to keep blockers off him.
2. Lavonte David Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker
|2015 Projections||View Lavonte David's 2015 projected stats.|
If there is a linebacker rival to Luke Kuechly, David might be the most formidable contender. He averaged 10.5 tackles per game last year, posting 147 stops despite missing two games due to a concussion and a hamstring injury. David is rangy, instinctive and aggressive, dominating against the run with top-grade abilities as a blitzer and in coverage. However, his weakside role last year in Lovie Smith's 4-3 defense contributed to a big drop in both sacks and interceptions, as he was used in fewer passing situations and played a career-low 919 snaps. Considering the Bucs were 21st in sacks last season and had seven fewer interceptions than in 2013, it wouldn't surprise if David was again used as a weapon on passing downs instead of almost exclusively as a run stopper.
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 honor last season, despite missing five games with a turf toe injury. Even on a defense that has ranked no higher than 27th in snaps each of the last three years, Wagner has been an unstoppable tackle machine, averaging nearly 10 a game last season. Considering he hit triple-digit tackles on just 658 snaps last year, Wagner has 160-tackle upside if he ever sees close to 1,000 snaps, though Seattle's ability to consistently force punts and turnovers make that unlikely. As perhaps the league's most athletic linebacker with 4.46 speed, he also has more upside for sacks and interceptions than his career numbers suggest.
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