We’re already gearing up for the new season, we’re well into training camp and scouting depth charts too see if we can get a leg up on our fellow competition in our leagues.  I’ve put together one last updated tiers as we head into the new season and whether or not you’re in the middle of drafts or starting some drafts, even if you’re looking to make some moves then these tiers should help you.  If you’re already dealing with injuries (Reggie Ragland *sad face*) and looking for a replacement, I got you here (Zach Brown).


  • Luke Kuechly (CAR)
  • Jamie Collins (NEP)
  • Telvin Smith (JAC)
  • Navorro Bowman (SF)
  • CJ Mosley (BAL)
  • Lavonte David (TBB)
  • Alec Ogletree (RAM)
  • Deone Bucannon (ARI)
  • Bobby Wagner (SEA)

These guys don’t need much introduction (they’ll help bring in that trophy) but I could be on an island with Bucannon in this unit, that’s fine but I totally believe he belongs and I wrote about that here.  The cheapest one here is probably Ogletree; coming off an injury where he missed more than 1/2 of the season.  Wagner has been hit or miss, I think he finally gets it together this season and puts up superb LB1 numbers that we all expected.  

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  • Derrick Johnson (KCC)
  • Sean Lee (DAL)
  • D’Qwell Jackson (IND)
  • Vontaze Burfict (CIN)
  • DeAndre Levy (DET)
  • Karlos Dansby (CIN)
  • Thomas Davis (CAR)

I don’t have to tell you about DJ and Lee as both have been staples as LB1 starters, as for Lee you’re rolling the dice here with his health and he could be a little tough to move.  With McClain now out for 10 games, look for Lee to maintain his top 10 value so long he stays healthy.  Jackson has been a beast in Indy since he got there, if you’re a contender he could be one to help you bring in that title.  I put Burfict here because; yes when he’s on the field he racks up damn near elite numbers but his attitude and stupidity cost him at times.  Then you got Levy and his hip issues, as this tier is named “enjoy while it lasts” because they may not last much longer putting up LB1 numbers. 


  • Kwon Alexander (TBB)
  • Khalil Mack (OAK)
  • Jordan Hicks (PHI)
  • Preston Brown (BUF)
  • Eric Kendricks (MIN)
  • Ryan Shazier (PIT)
  • Myles Jack (JAC)
  • Brandon Marshall (DEN)
  • Denzel Perryman (SDC)

This unit is for those who are flirting with LB1 status and majority of the time either of these guys will be your LB2 on a weekly basis and you’ll be in great hands.  Lot of sky high potential in this group then you got a few who’ll put it all together this season (Brown/Shazier) and then savvy vet who will get better (Marshall).  


  • Danny Trevathan (CHI)
  • Avery Williamson (TEN)
  • Stephone Anthony (NOS)
  • Su’a Cravens (WAS)
  • Reggie Ragland (BUF)
  • Darron Lee (NYJ)
  • DeVondre Campbell (ATL)
  • Mark Barron (RAM)
  • Mychal Kendricks (PHI)

this unit will give you a bunch of high scoring weeks outside of Ragland (out for the 2016 season).  Trevathan will fall back into owners good graces with a superb year ahead, Williamson & Stephone will hold steady LB2 value.  Barron will see a slight regress in his tackle production with Ogletree back but still hold value.  The rookies will be a solid grab, Campbell is going to provide impact from the get go as he’s already the starting WLB in Atlanta.  Lee will unfortunately see sub package duties in the beginning as he has some improving to do, and I see Cravens proving his doubters wrong in Washington as the WILB where he can roam.  


  • Benardrick McKinney (HOU)
  • Shaq Thompson (CAR)
  • Preston Smith (WAS)
  • Markus Golden (ARI)
  • Christian Kirksey (CLE)
  • Zachary Orr (BAL)
  • Justin March (KCC)
  • Ramik Wilson (KCC)
  • Ben Heeney (OAK)
  • Tahir Whitehead (DET)
  • Vic Beasley (ATL)
  • Za’Darius Smith (BAL)
  • Shaq Barrett (DEN)

This is the breakout group, I written about a handful of them already and have been acquiring majority of these guys just about everywhere.  Tahir will pretty much have a career year up as he’ll man the middle with Levy still battling his hip issues; clear path for Tahir to pile up tackles.  McKinney, Tahir, Heeney all have LB2 ceilings, Kirksey can get there as well as March & Ramik but they got some uphill battles to get through at first.  I like the big play LB’s in Beasley, Preston, Markus and Za’Darius to take next step forward and they’ll solidify their dynasty value this season.  


  • Lawrence Timmons (PIT)
  • Jerrell Freeman (CHI)
  • David Harris (NYJ)
  • Tamba Hali (KCC)
  • James Laurinaitis (NOS)

those you just can’t quit, Timmons/Freeman arguably the top 2 of this group you’d more than likely prefer though.  Hali is pretty much good for in sack heavy leagues, Harris and Laurinaitis have been steady but a lot of times get ignored.  

WISH I HAD IT (limited ceiling, better floor)

  • Jelani Jenkins (MIA)
  • Donta Hightower (NEP)
  • Demario Davis (CLE)
  • Nate Irving (IND)
  • Brian Cushing (HOU)
  • Blake Martinez (GBP)
  • Deion Jones (ATL)
  • Anthony Hitchens (DAL)
  • Malcolm Smith (OAK)
  • KJ Wright (SEA)
  • Will Compton (WAS)
  • Jonathan Casillas (NYG)

this group has either peaked already or you know what you’re getting out of them and that’s ok, you don’t need a roster full of upside and then the upside doesn’t happen, it’s ok to build with a couple of these guys that provide you a solid floor.  The two rookies here in Martinez/Jones I believe have better floors than ceilings, one or both are slotted to start in 2016 – with Martinez best shot at producing right away.  Demario bounces back in CLE, would be ok if he was my 3rd or 4th weekly LB starter (depending on league).  Malcolm will be good to role out but he’s peaked and Heeney is going to take on a bigger role now.  


  • Von Miller (DEN)
  • Chandler Jones (ARI)
  • Bruce Irvin (OAK)
  • Melvin Ingram (SDC)
  • Devon Kennard (NYG)
  • Anthony Barr (MIN)
  • Ryan Kerrigan (WAS)
  • Justin Houston (KCC)
  • Lorenzo Mauldin (NYJ)
  • Emmanuel Ogbah (CLE)
  • Whitney Mercilus (HOU)
  • Leonard Floyd (CHI)
  • Pernell McPhee (CHI)

this is the big play guys that you’d want to target, Anthony Barr leads the way here followed by a healthy Justin Houston on the top targets.  Irvin should have a career year in OAK, Jones will be fine in ARI as he played some OLB in NEP too and still picked up some tackles.  Kerrigan will definitely bounce back, maybe not to full ’14 form but he’ll be back closer to ’14 (LB25 finish) than ’15 (LB45).  Mauldin is the one to keep an eye on from this bunch, should take the next step and if Spags figures out to play Kennard more then Kennard will produce.  Thing with Mercilus is, was ’15 a fluke or he’s starting to peak? 

FOR FREE (On Queue)

  • Tyler Matakevich (PIT)
  • Kamalei Correra (BAL)
  • Vince Williams (PIT)
  • Kareem Martin (ARI)
  • Antonio Morrison (IND)
  • Aaron Wallace (TEN)
  • Kevin Dodd (TEN)
  • Kentrell Brothers (MIN)
  • Jeremiah Attaochu (SDC)
  • Shaq Lawson (BUF)
  • Kevin Pierre-Louis (SEA)
  • Todd Davis (DEN)
  • Shilique Calhoun (OAK)
  • Scooby Wright (CLE)
  • Jordan Jenkins (NYJ)
  • Kyle Van Noy (DET)
  • Travis Feeney (PIT)
  • Joe Schobert (CLE)
  • DJ Alexander (KCC)

this tier is self explanatory, most if not all are basically free whether it be your rookie draft or you’re scouting your waiver wire.  If you an afford to stash them on your taxi squad or keep them on the end of your bench, you could help build some future depth.  All of the rookies listed in here are strong taxi squad considerations, only a few should see some snaps early on (like Jordan Jenkins).  Just keep an eye on these guys – you could be adding 1 or 2 of them sooner than later. 


  • Keenan Robinson (NYG)
  • Zach Brown (BUF)
  • Kevin Minter (ARI)
  • Sio Moore (IND)
  • Nigel Bradham (PHI)
  • Dee Ford (KCC)
  • Manti Te’o (SDC)
  • Gerald Hodges (SF)

this tier is basically those who we may or may not give a second or third chance too.  We’ve either been burned before or they got injured and we never got to see their potential.  The biggest ones to take a shot at here is Keenan Robinson (new team, new motivation) and Sio Moore (if fully recovered from hip injury, can produce in Indy).  Brown may have a lot of benefit now that Ragland is out for the season, he’s expected to at least carve out the nickel/dime role as he’ll be a better coverage LB than Spikes.  


  • Jonathan Freeny (NEP)
  • Joshua Perry (SDC)
  • Paul Dawson (CIN)
  • Vincent Rey (CIN)
  • Neiron Ball (OAK)
  • Sean Spence (TEN)
  • BJ Goodson (NYG)
  • Willie Young (CHI)
  • Christian Jones (CHI)
  • Josh Forrest (RAM)

this is your major key alert, some next man up guys to keep your eyes on in case of an injury and they’ll become relevant in a bigger role.  Yes, Christian Jones was a starter last year and he has lost it with the additions of Trevathan & Freeman but if either where to miss time, he’s got next and should be improved this season.  Goodson & Perry are the 2 rookies who’ll be very solid when their number is called, definitely throw them on the taxi squad if you can.  Dawson could become sorta relevant if anything happens to Dansby/Burfict but nothing more than a deep league consideration.  Spence is your dark horse here, could start alongside Avery. 


  • Paul Posluszny (JAC)
  • Kiko Alonso (MIA)
  • Daryl Smith (TBB)
  • Brandon Spikes (BUF)
  • Josh Mauga (KCC)
  • Erin Henderson (NYJ)
  • Clay Matthews (GBP)
  • Jake Ryan (GBP)
  • Terrell Suggs (BAL)
  • Sam Barrington (GBP)
  • Dannell Ellerbe (NOS)
  • Derrick Morgan (TEN)
  • Jadeveon Clowney (HOU)
  • Wesley Woodyard (TEN)
  • Mason Foster (WAS)
  • Michael Whilhoite (SF)

this is the “let someone else draft them” group as you won’t lose much by not taking them.  Many are past their time, others are just early down ‘backers who are better on game day than your IDP team.  Yes, Kiko is on this list because I just don’t believe he’ll do much, could he? maybe – will I take the chance? no I’d rather have Anthony Hitchens.  


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