Punch Drunk Wonderland

2014 IDP Linebackers: Who do I love?

We’re making the turn in this NFL offseason, and real football and fantasy football will be here before we know it. I’ve been updating the PDW IDP Rankings throughout the offseason and the Getting Defensive IDP Mock Drafts have given a good look at early ADP trends.  Here’s a look at some of the linebackers that I absolutely love as IDP prospects going into the 2014 season.  Some are no-brainers. Some not so much.

Lavonte David (WLB, Tampa Bay Bucs)

Lavonte DavidThere just aren’t enough good things to say about David. In two NFL seasons he’s managed to compile 284 tackles, 9 sacks, 6 interceptions, 15 passes defensed, and 1 safety. That’s solid. He was the top fantasy IDP of 2013 in most formats, and he’s been as good as it gets when it comes to consistency. Expect David to have another solid season in 2014.

Vontaze Burfict (WLB, Cincinnati Bengals)

vontaze-burfict-2013-01Much like Lavonte David, Burfict is entering his third NFL season after two outstanding years. In two seasons he’s piled up 298 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 interception, and 8 passes defensed. Vontaze is an amazing young talent and he’s in a great position to continue trending upwards. Look for him to have another solid season in 2014.

Bobby Wagner (MLB, Seattle Seahawks)

Bobby WagnerSuper Bowl champ and Mr. Consistency, Wagner is as close to a sure thing at linebacker as you can find. He’s had 120+ tackles in each of his first two NFL seasons and he’s also piled up 7 sacks, 11 passes defensed, and 5 interceptions. Look for him to continue the strong trend in 2014.

Kiko Alonso (WLB, Buffalo Bills)

Kiko AlonsoAlonso erupted onto the IDP scene last season, and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to be a monster. As a rookie he put up 159 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 4 passes defensed. He’s fast and intuitive, and he seems to have an excellent nose for the ball.  He’s like a bigger stronger Troy Polamalu playing linebacker. This guy is exactly what you want, and the sky’s the limit in terms of his potential going into his second NFL season.

Update (7/3/2014): Kiko tore his ACL and will be out for the entire 2014 NFL season. Bad, bad, bad news.

Luke Kuechly (MLB, Carolina Panthers)

Luke KuechlyKuechly arrived in 2012 and quickly ushered solid veteran Jon Beason out the door as he showed that he could be Carolina’s workhorse MLB of the future. Another solid linebacker going into his third NFL season, he should continue to be a reliable and consistent IDP option. In his first two seasons he’s compiled a monstrous 320 tackles to go with 3 sacks, 15 passes defensed, and 6 interceptions.

DeAndre Levy (WLB, Detroit Lions)

Lions LB, DeAndre LevyI seem to be the only one ranking Levy in the top 20 among linebackers going into the 2014 season. He’s coming off a solid 2013 season in which he amassed 119 tackles, 15 passes defensed, and 6 interceptions. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the #4 overall linebacker in coverage for the 2013 season. Levy is going to remain a three-down linebacker for 2014, and he should continue to put up good numbers.

Danny Trevathan (WLB, Denver Broncos)

Broncos LB, Danny TrevathanTrevathan put up 129 tackles, 2 sacks, 10 passes defensed, and 3 interceptions in his first season as a true starter in 2013. He may have been unheralded early in 2013, but everyone knew Trevathan’s name by the end of the year. With Woodyard gone, he is now firmly entrenched as a three-down linebacker for Denver. Look for 2014 to be another good year for him.

Mychal Kendricks (ILB, Philadephia Eagles)

Eagles LB, Mychal KendricksPerhaps you’re seeing a trend here. 2012 was a great year for linebackers. Kendricks is yet another third year player that stands to have a solid 2014 season. In 2013 he amassed 106 tackles, 4 sacks, 13 passes defensed, and 3 interceptions. He’s being groomed in Philly to be the defensive playcaller and his star is on the rise. Pro Football Focus graded Kendricks out with an A- among second year IDPs after the 2013 season.

Jerod Mayo (MLB, New England Patriots)

Patriots LB, Jerod MayoMayo was poised for a solid 2013 before going down to injury prior to the season’s midway point. In his five prior seasons he was a picture of consistency, and his 2012 performance was superb. The Pats and IDP owners can only hope Mayo returns to that level in which he put up 147 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 passes defensed, and 1 interception. He’s been progressing through rehab in the offseason, and all indications suggest he’ll be ready to get back on a solid track for 2014.

Jerrell Freeman (ILB, Indianapolis Colts)

Colts LB, Jerrell FreemanFreeman is another member of the 2012 class that just continues to shine. He was completely under the radar when he broke onto the scene in 2012, but now he’s a household IDP name. In his first two seasons he’s piled up 271 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 8 passes defensed, and 3 interceptions. While some fear the addition of veteran D’Qwell Jackson to Indy’s defense could indicate a drop in opportunity and production for Freeman, I have no such fears. He should continue to be a solid IDP option in 2014.

Perry Riley (ILB, Washington Redskins)

Redskins LB, Perry RileyWith London Fletcher officially retired the door is open for Riley to take full reigns of the Redskins defense. The downside with Riley is that he’s more suited as a 4-3 middle linebacker, and is a bit undersized as an inside linebacker in a 3-4. He definitely has some improving to do, but he should have more than enough opportunity to step up and shine. He’s had 115+ tackles in each of his last two seasons to go with 6.5 sacks. While there are some question marks, I feel like Riley should be able to be a solid IDP play in 2014.

Kevin Minter (ILB, Arizona Cardinals)

Cardinals LB, Kevin MinterMinter has nothing but opportunity in Arizona with Karlos Dansby gone and Daryl Washington suspended for the entire 2014 season. He didn’t get a chance to do anything in his rookie season, but this year he is going to have very little competition. Minter isn’t particularly fast, but he’s a thumper and has the intuition. He’ll be making the defensive calls and should be the team’s leading tackler by far.

 

 

K. Smelser About K. Smelser

Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine…

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