Pigskin Buzz

Keeper and Dynasty IDP Rankings for 2012 Fantasy Football

Last updated: February 13, 2012

These rankings are for IDP fantasy football leagues with standard scoring systems.

See also: QB Rankings | RB Rankings | WR Rankings | TE Rankings | K Rankings

LB Fantasy Rankings 2012

Gold Tier (every-week LB1)

1. Desmond Bishop, Packers

There is a new top dog in IDP fantasy football, a tackle machine who is locked into one of the most stable and optimal IDP situations in the NFL. Bishop is still undervalued in some fantasy circles, so jump on him if you can.

2. Patrick Willis, 49ers

If Bishop is 1A, then Willis has only dropped to 1B. The only reason he’s slipped at all is that he is finally playing next to a skilled, productive player (Navorro Bowman) who is taking away a few of his easy tackles. Willis is the superior player and he is being asked to perform more difficult tasks, like pass coverage, which yield less fantasy value.

3. Daryl Washington, Cardinals

Like those above him in this list, he’s another 3-4 ILB. The days of the 4-3 MLB being the stud to target in IDP fantasy football are over. He produces tackles and turnovers in a linebacking corps that lacks talent around him.

4. Derrick Johnson, Chiefs

It took Johnson a few years to hit his peak and establish consistency in his game, but he is there now. Ride him as long as he keeps it up.

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5. D’Qwell Jackson, Browns

As long as he stays healthy, the opportunity will be there for him to put up enormous tackle numbers.

6. James Laurinaitis, Rams

Has yet to put up the kind of numbers many have expected from him, but he’s a reliable 4-3 MLB and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

7. Sean Lee, Cowboys

The only reason he’s not ranked higher is that the way he’s used by the Cowboys may change a bit as the team’s other young linebackers are worked in.

8. Colin McCarthy, Titans

Way underrated on many rankings lists. Will produce both tackles and turnovers.

9. Navorro Bowman, 49ers

He burst onto the scene in a big way in 2011. Expect him to regress a bit in 2012, but his value is still significant.

10. Pat Angerer, Colts

He’s one of the only talented players on the Colts’ defense, so his tackle numbers are inflated by the scrubs around him.

11. David Hawthorne, Seahawks

A sure-tackling middle linebacker on one of the league’s best run defenses. Don’t second-guess it. Hawthorne may not be a big name, but he is a productive IDP.

12. Ray Lewis, Ravens

The concern, obviously, is age. At some point, his production will drop off. When the decline comes, expect it to be rapid.

Silver Tier (LB2 with upside)

13. Curtis Lofton, Falcons

14. Jerod Mayo, Patriots

15. Stephen Tulloch, Lions

16. Paul Posluszny, Jaguars

17. Brian Cushing, Texans

18. Brian Urlacher, Bears

19. Jon Beason, Panthers

20. Kelvin Sheppard, Bills

21. Donald Butler, Chargers

22. London Fletcher, Redskins

23. Chad Greenway, Vikings

24. Rolando McClain, Raiders

Bronze Tier (LB3 at best)

25. DJ Williams, Broncos

26. Lawrence Timmons, Steelers

27. Sean Weatherspoon, Falcons

28. James Anderson, Panthers

29. Karlos Dansby, Dolphins

30. Mason Foster, Buccaneers

31. Perry Riley, Redskins

32. Brandon Spikes, Patriots

33. Von Miller, Broncos

34. DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys

35. Lance Briggs, Bears

36. Kevin Burnett, Dolphins

37. David Harris, Jets

38. Nick Barnett, Bills

39. Daryl Smith, Jaguars

40. Jonathan Vilma, Saints

41. Michael Boley, Giants

42. Clay Matthews, Packers

43. DeAndre Levy, Lions

44. Bruce Carter, Cowboys

45. Rey Maualuga, Bengals

46. Nate Irving, Broncos

47. Thomas Howard, Bengals

48. Paris Lenon, Cardinals

49. AJ Hawk, Packers

50. EJ Henderson, Vikings

DL (DE and DT) Fantasy Rankings 2012

Gold Tier (every-week DL1)

1. Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants

There is no bigger freak of nature in the NFL than Pierre-Paul. He came out of college as raw as can be and he has developed into one of the best defensive players in all of football. He’s only going to get better.

2. Jared Allen, Vikings

Possessing the best motor in the game, nothing will stop Allen from putting up double-digit sacks next season. You could put him on the worst defensive line in football and he would still be a beast.

3. Justin Tuck, Giants

His presence helped Jason Pierre-Paul become what he is and now things will work in reverse. Tuck is at his best on the big stage and there will be plenty of attention given to the Giants’ defensive line next season.

4. Terrell Suggs, Ravens

The reigning defensive player of the year just keeps getting better. He is just as much a part of the soul of the Ravens defense as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed–and he’s even more important than those players on the field.

5. Trent Cole, Eagles

The Eagles defense as a whole had a down year in 2011, as they adjusted to a new defensive co-ordinator and new position coaches. Expect a bounce-back season in 2012.

6. Julius Peppers, Bears

The Bears gave Peppers a gigantic contract in free agency and he has been worth every penny. He’s a very nice consolation prize for fantasy teams that miss out on the top five defensive ends.

7. Chris Long, Rams

Long’s development has been a longer process than many in the Rams organization had hoped, but it’s clear now that he is a very effective player. As those around him continue to improve, Long should get more opportunity to turn his abilities into fantasy production.

8. Jason Babin, Eagles

Babin leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to run support, but he knows how to rush the passer from out wide. Luckily for him, he’s matched up with the perfect defensive line coach for his skill-set, Jim Washburn. Expect him to continue to pile up sacks.

9. Charles Johnson, Panthers

He signed a monster contract before the 2011 season, but it didn’t affect his drive on the field. The young Johnson can be absolutely elite, but he will need upgrades to his teammates on the Panthers’ defensive line before he can reach his full potential.

10. Elvis Dumervil, Broncos

As Von Miller continues to develop into a fearsome pass rusher, many will forget about just how good Elvis Dumervil is right now.

Silver Tier (DL2 with upside)

11. Mario Williams, Texans

12. Cliff Avril, Lions

13. Osi Umenyiora, Giants

14. Cameron Wake, Dolphins

15. Ndamukong Suh (DT), Lions

16. Robert Mathis, Colts

17. Justin Smith, 49ers

18. Adrian Clayborn, Buccaneers

19. Calais Campbell, Cardinals

20. Chris Clemons, Seahawks

21. JJ Watt, Texans

22. Will Smith, Saints

23. Carlos Dunlap, Bengals

24. John Abraham, Falcons

Bronze Tier (DL3 at best)

25. Andre Carter, Patriots

26. Robert Quinn, Rams

27. Da’Quan Bowers, Buccaneers

28. Michael Johnson, Bengals

29. Derrick Morgan, Titans

30. Lamarr Houston, Raiders

31. Brian Robison, Vikings

32. Jeremy Mincey, Jaguars

33. Greg Hardy, Panthers

34. Kyle Vanden Bosch, Lions

35. Brandon Graham, Eagles

36. Cameron Jordan, Saints

37. Israel Idonije, Bears

38. Haloti Ngata (DT), Ravens

39. Ray Edwards, Falcons

40. Marcell Dareus (DT), Bills

DB (S and CB) Fantasy Rankings 2012

Gold Tier (every-week DB1)

1. Tyvon Branch, Raiders

At a fantasy position that sees more turnover from year to year than any other, Branch is special because he always produces big numbers. His consistency is what  sets him apart. He’s still young, so he likely has several more years of top production left in him.

2. Roman Harper, Saints

Like Branch above him, Harper doesn’t possess elite skills. That doesn’t stop him from putting up his stats every year, though. Expect more of the same from him in 2012.

3. George Wilson, Bills

So much of  a DB’s fantasy value is opportunity and Wilson has a lot of it in Buffalo. Playing behind a very weak linebacking corps, there are a lot of tackles for Wilson to make.

4. Eric Weddle, Chargers

Weddle has been underrated for too long. On the surface, he doesn’t look like a game-changing player. All he does is show up and perform on the field, though. He is less consistent than those above him on this list, but his knack for big plays makes up for a lot of his faults.

5. Kam Chancellor, Seahawks

Chancellor is a linebacker playing safety. Usually, this is a recipe for disaster, as the added bulk makes covering wide receivers impossible. Chancellor is the exception–he’s able to adequately perform his pass coverage duties and his extra muscle makes him a monster in run support.

6. Patrick Chung, Patriots

We’ve still yet to see the break-out season that makes Chung a household name like Rodney Harrison once was, but I still believe it’s coming. A significant injury derailed much of his 2011 campaign, but don’t let that scare you off Chung going forward.

7. Eric Berry, Chiefs

He tore his ACL in week one of the 2011 season, so he should be just getting up to speed by the start of training camp. He’s still very young, so the injury shouldn’t hamper him too much going forward in his career.

8. Charles Woodson (CB), Packers

Some may ask why a player as productive as Woodson would be ranked this low. It’s simply a matter of philosophy. I believe there is far more consistency to be found among safeties than cornerbacks.

9. Jason McCourty (CB), Titans

Again, the volatility of the cornerback position is the culprit behind this relatively low ranking. If McCourty’s on-field play improves, he will be targeted less frequently by opposing offenses and his numbers will regress. It’s a double-edged sword for fantasy cornerbacks.

10. Devin McCourty (CB), Patriots

See his brother’s write-up. The two are identical not only in genetics, but also fantasy value.

11. Yeremiah Bell, Dolphins

As consistent as Tyvon Branch and Roman Harper, but Bell is already well into his 30s and his production is likely to dip in the coming years. That’s why he can’t be ranked any higher than this.

12. Troy Polamalu, Steelers

Injuries are the primary concern here. There is no doubt that Polamalu is a play-maker on the field. He just needs to stay on the field.

13. LaRon Landry, Redskins

If he can recover from the Achilles injury that has plagued him the past two seasons, he will rocket up this list.

14. Bernard Pollard, Ravens

He certainly has his deficiencies (pass coverage, primarily), but he is in a defense that allows him to play to his strengths.

Silver Tier (DB2 with upside)

15. Kenny Phillips, Giants

16. Quintin Mikell, Rams

17. Antoine Bethea, Colts

18. Dawan Landry, Jaguars

19. Donte Whitner, 49ers

20. Charles Godfrey, Panthers

21. Earl Thomas, Seahawks

22. Patrick Peterson (CB), Cardinals

23. TJ Ward, Browns

24. Morgan Burnett, Packers

Bronze Tier (DB3 at best)

25. Antrel Rolle, Giants

26. Jaiquawn Jarrett, Eagles

27. Quinton Carter, Broncos

28. Darian Stewart, Rams

30. Brandon Flowers (CB), Chiefs

31. Kerry Rhodes, Cardinals

32. Louis Delmas, Lions

33. Charles Tillman (CB), Bears

34. Malcolm Jenkins, Saints

35. Jairus Byrd, Bills

36. Cedric Griffin (CB), Vikings

37. William Moore, Falcons

38. Michael Griffin, Titans

39. Major Wright, Bears

40. Michael Huff, Raiders

41. Tramon Williams (CB), Packers

42. Reggie Nelson, Bengals

43. Danieal Manning, Texans

44. Eric Smith, Jets

45. Ryan Clark, Steelers

46. Adrian Wilson, Cardinals

47. Eric Wright (CB), Lions

48. DeAngelo Hall (CB), Redskins

49. Dashon Goldson, 49ers

50. Terrell Thomas (CB), Giants

David Woods is the editor of PigskinBuzz.com. You can contact him at pigskinbuzz@gmail.com.