2017 DYNASTY LB TIERS

during their NFL game on November 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.

I will be taking away my rankings and placing IDP’s in tiers because that should help you gauge some value whether or not you’re looking to trade for a guy, where to draft a player or what you’d be missing on (if that) on certain guys.  Putting rankings together isn’t that easy and there’s a bunch that are in the same tier, it’s like asking yourself to rank the TV show “The Office” episodes – you just can’t and it’d probably be easier if you placed em in tiers.

TIER BREAKDOWN

 

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REAL ONES 
  • no questions asked here, the elite LB1’s that you can start every week without hesitation.  Of course there’s some slight concern (and have no problem selling them) with a few like Kuechly (concussions) Bowman (knee injury) Lee (seems fragile, can he continue to stay healthy) but you’d definitely feel comfortable if you had at least one of them in 14-20 team leagues.  These are your ride or dies right here.
RIGHT NOW AND LATER ON
  • these are the linebackers who are knocking on LB1’s door and is damn near close to it.  The tier name fits them perfect because you want them right now and then later on when they’ve arrived into the LB1 field.  Kirksey is close, if he follows up his breakout year with consistency then I’d have no problem moving him up.  Shazier just has to stay healthy and Jatavis is on the rise; don’t be surprised if he finishes the year in the top 5.  Yes, I still believe Hicks has LB1 potential – his talent says so as more times than not you have to trust the talent.
TRUST THE PROCESS
  • ah well here are (sorry Sixers, had to copy the lingo here) but this tier is for rookies who have LB1 potential.  You might ask why is Jaylon listed, well – he missed all of last season and is working his way back so somewhat if he takes the field in ’17 then this would be his rookie year (buyer beware at the same time).  But the name is exactly that, trust the process – means you’re not getting LB1 numbers right out the gate – naw, you want them because thats the potential they’ll have given their talent, future opportunity and potential volume.  I’m buying ALL the rookies listed here and would roster them all IF I could but so far have only gotten Reddick, Reeves-Maybin and a ton of Eligwe shares.
STASH AND WAIT
  • this is a little similar to “Trust the Process” but not the same, whether they’re rookies or been in the league for a year or two they’re worth the stash and wait.  I say that because they’d be in prime situation if an injury occurs and/or they earn their starting spot with excellent play.  There’s potential to hit LB1 value here but I’d trust these guys with LB2 ceiling, a handful of them can end up in the top 25 at some point.  Keep tabs on Jayon Brown, Duke Riley and Connor Harris for rookies and if Trevathan can’t stay healthy then Kwiatkoski benefits.  Most if not all of these guys should be cheap to trade for or late round picks in rookie drafts.
UNDERGROUND KINGS
  • this tier is your sleepers and breakouts, they are all in prime spots right now and can breakout onto the IDP scene, waiting on you Shaq Thompson.  A bunch of guys here will be 1st time starters and should relish the opportunity and you’ll be rewarded.  Now, when I say breakout I don’t expect LB1 numbers (you shouldn’t either) but more in the likes of being relevant for your IDP units on a weekly basis, they give you upside and can have some big weeks for you or there value becomes a hot commodity and you’d be able to make a quick trade to help you elsewhere. Lot of these guys are LB3’s and 4’s who will make next step into LB2’s and 3’s.

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STILL BRAZY
  • linebackers listed here are the ones you can rely on a weekly basis as your LB2, KJ Wright is crazy consistent and although I like McKinney there’s a chance his breakout was his ceiling and now he has to sustain that; having Cunningham there may help him to get after the QB more instead of having to cover TE’s now.  Freeman is vastly underrated and one of the better LB’s in the league – will continue to eat in CHI-town provides high floor on a weekly basis.  Jarrad may prove me wrong and enter the LB1 discussion but I don’t view him as that even with his draft pedigree.  Once Reeves-Maybin gets ahold of the WLB job he will no longer be the best LB on DET.  I think Foster found a home in WAS, it’s gonna get interesting with addition of Zach Brown but both should feed off each other.
BUYER BEWARE
  • most of these LB’s will return pretty solid value but I put them here because they’re either coming off injury and are at an unknown level of production at the moment (Ragland) or are on an annual 1-year deal with new team (Zach Brown) and their future could have uncertainty.  Vince is listed here and is a sleeper/breakout candidate but also being realistic here that he might just be a one year starter, he’s been pretty solid but only Shazier is safe at ILB.  Tahir could have one more decent season as he’s moving to WLB or SLB with DET as they drafted MLB; Jarrad Davis.  Tahir might return kinda close to the numbers he put up last season but also he might drop all the way to LB3/4 so if you’ve sold him already – good on you.
BONAFIDE EDGE
  • These are the edge rushers that are must own and who are weekly starters.  On any given week either of them can win you a week with a huge game (Mack’s 5 sacks is one example).  Houston is on his way back to full health and will continue to wreck havoc.  It’s time to believe in Clowned and Golden, Clowney gets Watt back and continuing to move around on the defense could add value to JC and Golden is a rising stud, his breakout year in ’16 is no fluke.  IF Beasley gets the DE tag, then well – bummer.
SECONDARY HITS
  • the best of the rest in edge rushers, some risers mixed in with some savvy vets with solid floors. I’d feel comfortable having these guys as reserves and spot starters (LB3/4 range) or just to have depth.  Jordan Jenkins is your sleeper in this group as is Shane Ray, I expect both to start putting it together this year and start making waves.  Dee Ford can provide a big game or two, has been solid filling in for Houston but now he should slowly start replacing Hali, nasty pass rush from KCC.  I love Tyus Bowser, that is all – is on my target list.
STEADY ROCKIN’
  • these are the guys that are steady (obviously) and give you a good floor but have little to no upside, will feel comfortable with them as my LB3 or LB4.  Campbell is an interesting one because of potential move to SAM with the addition of Duke Riley (this is where Beasley moves back to DE tag gets play) … I still like Campbell in dynasty and would like him on my team, the good thing with ATL is all 3 of their LB’s (Jones/Riley/Campbell) are versatile – and can be moved around.  Minter could very well have been listed in buyer beware too because with the addition of Jordan Evans, this may be his only year as the MLB for CIN and he’d be looking for another team next season.  But, with that being said if I’m contending this year I’d take a crack at Minter and try to win it all then cut ties in the off-season with mindset to upgrade throughout the season as backup.

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FALSE ALARM
  • at some point in time they had a good name in IDP, now you’d be just fine passing em up and letting someone else draft them, pick them up off waivers or maybe trade for them.  Now, why are the rookies like Walker, Beckwith, Anderson there – well they’re the false alarm for rookies, don’t think they’ll contribute much or be that valuable.  It’s officially time to lay off Mychal Kendricks and Stephone Anthony, well maybe Anthony has a dim chance of hope in the next year or two IF he goes to a different team but you’re not going to lose sleep over any of these guys.
DEEP BLUE SEA
  • those in deep leagues should keep these guys on queue, some have opportunity now others have opportunity waiting in the wings (potentially) and a few here could surprise.  Majority of these guys here – have to pay attention to what’s to come in training camp, doors open.
YOU’RE CRASHING BUT YOU’RE NO WAVE
  • the good ole’ savvy vets (most) that have carried you to titles (maybe).  Nonetheless these were the good guys before and we’re here to enjoy the last season or two of top level production (Johnson, Davis, Timmons, Dansby) and others have taken or on the verge of taking on a lesser role which makes them kinda irrelevant now (if they already weren’t).  If I’m contending and looking for a solid vet that you already know what you’re getting I will be targeting guys like Timmons, Davis and Johnson on the cheap (fringe LB1 guys but LB2 numbers will do).  While Poz is moving to SAM, unless Myles falls flat on his face (too talented to not do this) then Poz’s IDP career is nearing an end, thanks for the memories.

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