Top 24 Dynasty Linebackers (#12-1)
These are the stud LBs you'll see going early in your startup drafts.
In today’s blog post, we’re looking at some of the most coveted assets in all of IDP: top 12 linebackers. If you missed it, we covered dynasty LBs 13-24 here. Let’s kick things off with a Mt. Rushmore IDP who got a fat new deal this year in free agency.
Listen to us or watch us talk about these LBs on the podcast.
12. Bobby Wagner (Los Angeles Rams)
Wagner, like Eric Kendricks, is now on the wrong side of 30. But unlike Kendricks, he gets a boost by moving into one of the most productive LB roles for IDP purposes in the league. Historically, we’ve always wanted: 1) the Rams LB and 2) Bobby Wagner. Now that’s one and the same. There’s a good chance that moving into this role has just added another year (at a minimum) to Wagner’s IDP shelf life.
11. Devin Lloyd (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Unless you’re in a league that heavily rewards DE or where half the EDGE players are classified as LBs, Lloyd is the IDP rookie 1.01, and even in those leagues that heavily reward sacks, we would still say Lloyd should be in contention. Lloyd was an accomplished pass rusher from the LB position in college and Mike Caldwell (the Jags’ DC) was Tampa Bay’s linebackers coach from 2019-2021. In that time, Devin White accumulated 15 sacks and put up an overall LB1 season in his 2nd year.
10. De'Vondre Campbell (Green Bay Packers)
Not a lot of guesswork here: Campbell was an All-Pro and a league winner in IDP. Yes, he’s 28 and we’re unsure what Quay Walker’s role is going to be, but these are minor concerns, not full-blown red flags. They are, however, enough to move him to the back of the top 12, behind a couple younger guys with more long-term upside.
9. Zaven Collins (Arizona Cardinals)
One of those aforementioned younger guys is Collins. Whereas Campbell was not a lot of guesswork, Collins is all guesswork. Or, as the experts like to call it: projection. He has all the physical tools to be a top 3 IDP LB, it’s just: does he get the opportunity to do so? And can he capitalize on said opportunity if it’s there? The buy window for this man is closing quickly (if it was ever open). So, if you want to get in on #ZVNSZN before it arrives, now is the time (but expect to pay up in a trade or startup draft).
8. Logan Wilson (Cincinnati Bengals)
Allow us to start by saying Logan Wilson is great. Anyone who’s played IDP or watched a Bengals game can tell you that. But of the remaining eight players on this list, it feels like he’s got the lowest ceiling. Oluokun is in consideration now that he’s moved teams, but we’d still settle on Wilson. Don’t get it twisted: is he still an LB1 in our eyes? For sure. Our only gripe is we don’t think he could ever be THE LB1.
7. Foyesade Oluokun (Jacksonville Jaguars)
If Wilson has the lowest ceiling of the group, Oluokun has the lowest floor. He was a production monster last year, but he graded really poorly. He’s also no longer on that same team, in that same scheme, and he’s got two promising rookies with him. However, he is a tackle MONSTER and he just got the Brinks truck backed up for him by Jacksonville. He’s the main guy and will be given all the opportunities in the world from the get go. If anyone is going to force Oluokun off the field in 2022, it’s Oluokun. He has that overall LB1 ceiling, but there’s so much volatility paired with it.
Find more dynasty LBs in The IDP Draft Kit: theidpdraftkit.com
6. Fred Warner (San Francisco 49ers)
Fred Warner is everything you want in your LB1. He’s consistent (13/16 games with double-digit points in 2021), he’s shown you ceiling (a 41.8-point game in 2019), and he’s young enough to still be a top 5-6 asset for multiple years to come based on performance. Warner isn’t flashy, but he’s very, very good. Don’t forget that.
5. Jordyn Brooks (Seattle Seahawks)
Jordyn Brooks had a career year last year: 184 tackles is an insane number for any player. What’s even more mind-blowing is that Wagner had 170 to go with it… and now Wagner is gone… so does that mean 354 tackles are incoming for Brooks??? Not quite, but he could post similar numbers or even improve that figure in 2022, as the competition around him has exactly stiffened. Cody Barton and Jamal Adams will be beneficiaries of Wagner’s departure, but Brooks should eat the most of the three.
4. Devin White (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
This is the tier break for us. We’re into the elite dynasty LBs now. These are the guys that are commanding rookie 1st round picks when being traded.
White has fallen out of favor a little bit due to his poor PFF grading, and not being able to convert on those pass-rush attempts like he did in 2020. But make no mistake: PFF grades or not, White is a game-breaker on the field and on your IDP roster. His ability to pull a 30, 40, or even 50-point performance out of his hat at any moment makes him one of the few true X-factor players at the LB position.
3. Darius Leonard (Indianapolis Colts)
The Maniac is the elder statesman of the top 4, and at 26, we have to believe that’s one of the few reasons we’ve seen some people with him outside their top 4. (That and injury—Leonard just had back surgery but is expected to be ready for the start of the season.) Pure and simple, Leonard is a playmaker, arguably one of the top 3 in the league on the defensive side (especially at forcing fumbles). His ability to generate turnovers is unparalleled LB, and if he can get back to converting his pressures into sacks, you’ll easily see his name in the top 5 weekly LB performers.
2. Roquan Smith (Chicago Bears)
Of the top 4, Smith is the least volatile because of his ability to procure 10+ tackles week in and week out. With that floor set, the rest is a cherry on top when looking at the big plays. Of his short career, 2021 was his best season so far in terms of splash plays. Now, he also graded the worst that he has so far, so take what you will from that. Chicago is looking like a bad team this year on both sides of the ball, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Smith to continue to score in bunches.
1. Micah Parsons (Dallas Cowboys)
Parsons found the blueprint that Leonard and White had drawn up for how to be the dynasty LB1 by the end of your second season, juiced it like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and landed in this spot at the end of his first season. It’s just insane what he achieved as a rookie in 2021. His age + production + pedigree make him one-of-a-kind. Who else in the NFL can boast they’re the best player at two positions on their team? (Taysom Hill at TE and QB maybe?) Questions remain about his role and how that impacts his tackle upside, and his 13 sacks could be unsustainable.
Counter argument: how many guys can make plays like these?
Listen to us or watch us talk about these LBs on the podcast.
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