Sep 12, 2013

Week 2 Shuffle: Linebackers

Listed are the Top 36 LBs for the upcoming week.  Points are given out as follows: 1 per tackle .5 per assist 1.5 TFL 1.5 PD 3 FF 3 FR 3 INT.  Rankings are based on the projected mean performance without any specific team context on who you should start.  Sometimes you need to start the lower of two players due to upside or a high floor, so things are fluid.  As always, players can move up or down as we approach kickoff.  So please indulge yourself & dissect our list from top to bottom.  Let's Go!

Tier 1:
1. Jerod Mayo vs NYJ
2. London Fletcher @GB
3. Donald Butler @PHI
4. Lavonte David vs NO
5. Clay Matthews vs WAS
6. Luke Kuechly @BUF
7. Perry Riley @GB
8. Paul Posluszny @OAK
9. D'Qwell Jackson @BAL
10. Wesley Woodyard @NYG
11. Mychal Kendricks vs SD
12. Bront Bird @PHI

- The sheer volume of plays the Eagles are running vaults and ordinary linebacker in LB1 status this week. Donald Bulter is normally a decent LB2 but he catapults to the top of the charts against Vick & Co. with Bront Bird making an appearance until Manti Te'o comes back.  Everyone else here is a weekly play regardless, with Washington having another attractive matchup with Green Bay.

Tier 2:
13. Mason Foster vs NO
14. Nick Roach vs JAC
15. Aldon Smith @SEA
16. Karlos Dansby vs DET
17. DeMeco Ryans vs SD
18. Navarro Bowman @SEA
19. Kiko Alonso vs CAR
20. Vontaze Burfict vs PIT
21. Derrick Johnson vs DAL
22. Lance Briggs vs MIN
23. Zach Brown @HOU
24. Shaun Phillips @NYG

- Plenty of brand name players find themselves in LB2 status this week.  Streamers Nick Roach & Karlos Dansby vault up the rankings with attractive matchups.  Kiko Alonso might be the IDP steal of your draft and could be a LB1 before the year ends.  The rest of these guys offer solid floors along with the positive upside they always bring.

Tier 3:
25. James Laurinatis @ATL
26. Sean Lee @KC
27. Lawrence Timmons @CIN
28. Chad Greenway @CHI
29. Erin Henderson @CHI
30. Bobby Wagner vs SF
31. Tamba Hali vs DAL
32. Patrick Willis @SEA
33. Ryan Kerrigan @GB
34. Justin Houston vs DAL
35. Brian Cushing vs TEN
36. Bruce Carter @KC

- Linebacker is a position where consistent tackles outweigh variable sacks.  Sure Hali & Houston went off last week, but they barely crack the rankings because they are too boom or bust.  Just like Vincent Jackson at WR, you love them when they drop top 5 scores but loathe them when they put up 2 points.  Patrick Willis is a big question mark inside the best LB core in the NFL, no one is really sure where his level of play is going to settle in.  I expect both Greenway and Henderson to split stats all season making neither a true LB1 candidate.

Check out all our Week 2 Rankings: QB RB WR TE D/ST K LB DL DB

As always, read & discuss.  You can reach me on Twitter @ClevRocks_James or comment your (dis)agreements below.  Thanks for reading.

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