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2015 fantasy football profiles and projections (LB 1-16)

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Auction...............$14

Bye Week.............5

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 99 3 1 12 0 149.00
2015 Projections 104 3 4 13 0 166.50

There's been a lot of change this year at the linebacker position, but one thing that hasn't changed is Kuechly's dominance. He notched over 150 combined tackles for the third straight year while setting career marks in sacks (three) and passes defended (12). Kuechly will once again serve as the leader and anchor of the Panthers defense as they look to get back to the postseason for the third straight season. When one considers Kuechly's track-record, natural talent and scheme fit (he's still under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Sean McDermott), it's easy to see that he should be the first linebacker taken in fantasy drafts this fall.

Auction...............$14

Bye Week.............6

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 101 1 0 3 0 138.00
2015 Projections 106 4 2 2 0 146.50

David cemented his status as one of the league's top linebackers by finishing third in fantasy scoring, despite missing two games with a hamstring injury. The third-year star of the Buccaneers defense saw his sack numbers fall as he played predominantly in the weakside role in Lovie Smith's 4-3 defense, which focuses more on run support than pass-rushing. Nevertheless, David notched 101 solo tackles and forced four fumbles to help even the score. David has youth still on his side to now go with three years of experience. He should be one of the top 'backers selected in IDP formats.

Auction...............$12

Bye Week.............9

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 118 2.5 1 5 0 148.50
2015 Projections 96 3 5 2 1 145.50

We here at NFL Fantasy were high on Levy last year, but even we didn't expect him to post a ridiculous 148.50 fantasy points -- just a half a point shy of top scorer Luke Kuechly. The oft-overlooked Levy made people notice him in 2014 by racking up 118 solo tackles, the most by a linebacker in 2014. The Wisconsin product proved he's not a one-trick play-making pony, either as he replaced his six interceptions from a season ago with a career-high 2.5 sacks. Levy is entering the final year of his contract and will be looking to secure a mosnter payday as one of the Lions' top defenders. He'll be extra motivated to perform in 2015, and fantasy owners would be wise to join him for the ride.

Auction...............$10

Bye Week.............9

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 87 3 2 8 0 129.50
2015 Projections - - - - - -

Mosley was the top linebacker selected in the 2014 NFL draft, and finished as the top scoring rookie at his position in fantasy. Coincidence? We think not. Mosley came into the NFL as billed from college -- a phenomenal athlete with phenomenal instincts. He stuffed the stat sheets across the board, registering three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery in his rookie season. For Year 2, the team will be able to rely on Mosley even more now that he has some NFL experience under his belt. Expect Mosley to remain near the top of the linebacker scoring charts for years to come, and get in on the fun in 2015.

Auction...............$9

Bye Week.............10

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics - - - - - -
2015 Projections 107 3 1 6 0 140.00

After putting together a career-year in 2013, Bowman suffered a ghastly knee injury in the NFC Championship Game that cost him the entire 2014 season. Now fully recovered and hungry for the field again, Bowman will look to reinvigorate the 49ers defense and assume his rightful place near the top of the IDP rankings. Prior to his injury, Bowman was one of the fastest inside linebackers in the game, shooting through gaps to stuff run plays and rack up tackles. It'll be interesting to see if his injury will slow him down at all, but given his recovery time he should be good to go.

Auction...............$9

Bye Week.............10

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 84 2 0 3 0 124.50
2015 Projections 83 2 2 5 0 123.50

In 2014, Worrilow delivered on the potential he flashed in his rookie season, putting together a fantasy campaign that netted him a seventh-place finish at his position. Not bad for an undrafted kid out of Delaware. Worrilow has great instincts and constantly gets in on tackles, as evidenced by his 59 assisted take downs, third-most among all linebackers. Entering his third season, Worrilow will be counted on as one of the leaders of the Falcons defense. If he can add a few more highlight-reel plays, Worrilow could vault into the top five IDP linebackers. For now, he's a great option to target as a low-end No. 1 linebacker.

Auction...............$9

Bye Week.............8

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 47 2 0 1 0 65.00
2015 Projections 106 3 3 5 0 149.00

A long-time fixture at the top of the IDP linebacker lists, Posluszny saw his 2014 season cut short by a torn pectoral muscle. Prior to suffering his season-ending injury, however, Poz was as consistent as ever, with four double-digit fantasy outputs in seven weeks. After signing an extension with the Jaguars through 2017, Posluszny isn't in danger of losing his starting gig, especially since J.T. Thomas (who performed admirably in Posluszny's stead) signed with the New York Giants. The Jaguars young defense will look to Posluszny as a leader once again in 2015, and he should be able to pick up right where he left off. Grab him as a low-end LB1 and never look back.

Auction...............$9

Bye Week.............6

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 84 0 2 12 0 121.50
2015 Projections 92 3 3 11 0 143.50

Two years in the league, and two top-10 fantasy finishes. That's not a bad start for Alec Ogletree and the St. Louis Rams. Ogletree benefits from playing as part of one of the most dangerous front sevens in football, but that doesn't mean he's not a playmaker in his own right. Just look at Ogletree's two interceptions and 12 passes defended. Olgetree's speed helps him play sideline-to-sideline and rack up tackles in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' scheme. Olgetree might not have what it takes to reach the very top of the fantasy linebacker crop, but he's done nothing to make us doubt that he'll be a fixture among the top 10 for years to come.

Auction...............$8

Bye Week.............9

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 67 2 0 3 0 92.50
2015 Projections 86 2.5 1 3 0 122.00

While Wagner probably didn't deserve the one MVP vote he received from the Associated Press, he did turn in a stellar season. And that was with him missing five games with a lingering turf toe injury. While the "Legion of Boom" gets all of the hype and attenion in the Seattle defense, Wagner is the crucial cog in the center of that devastating machine, racking up tackles and game-changing plays on a weekly basis. His combination of instincts, speed and sure-tackling has allowed Wagner to be an impact player since he first stepped on an NFL field. The Utah State product falls just outside the top-tier of starting fantasy linebackers in 2015, but it wouldn't surprise anyone if he wound up near the top of the scoring mountain.

Auction...............$8

Bye Week..............6

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 99 0 0 1 0 127.50
2015 Projections 82 0 0 3 0 108.50

While Lofton's name might not be common in household football discussions, or be mentioned a lot in weekend highlight reels, he's proven his worth in fantasy time and time again. He has posted over 100 combined tackles every year since his rookie season (2008) and his 144 combined tackles in 2014 ranked fourth in the NFL. Lofton's fantasy ceiling is lower than others because he isn't relied upon in pass-rushing and he doesn't make splashy plays. But when it comes to a reliable tier-one linebacker to be drafted after the top names are off the board, there are few options to look at ahead of Lofton. He will have plenty of chances to make plays manning the middle of the Raiders linebacking corps in 2015.

Auction...............$8

Bye Week.............10

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 58 1.5 0 6 0 86.50
2014 Projections 79 5 1 5 0 127.00

D'Qwell Jackson and Freeman were supposed to form a terrorizing 1-2 punch for Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense in 2014. Unfortunately, injuries prevented Freeman from reaching his potential, while Jackson finished fourth in fantasy scoring picking up the slack. Things should be a little more even in 2015, with Freeman back at 100 percent and playing for a new contract. Since joining the NFL in 2012 as a CFL transplant, Freeman has been one of the more consistent three-down backers from a fantasy perspective. His production in 2014 from an injury-riddled 12 games is a sign that he should have no problem bouncing back toward the top of his position this fall.

Auction...............$8

Bye Week.............4

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 74 4 2 3 0 104.00
2015 Projections 62 5 1 4 0 103.50

Bill Belichick has had a knack for discovering and developing outstanding defensive players during his tenure in New England. And it seems that during the 2013 NFL Draft he found the perfect student in outside linebacker Jamie Collins. Collins didn't make much of a splash in his rookie season, but broke out in a big way in 2014, flourishing under Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as a versatile playmaker. Collins can do it all, from rushing the passer to stuffing the run to covering in the passing game, and he fills out the stat sheet in the process. Collins jumped into the top-10 fantasy scorers at his position in 2014, and the sky's the limit for this talented youngster in 2015.

Auction...............$8

Bye Week.............7

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 90 2 1 9 0 118.00
2015 Projections 99 2 1 8 0 129.00

Sometimes, all it takes is a little opportunity. Brandon Marshall was drafted in the fifth round by the Jaguars in 2012, before being cut and landing on the Denver practice squad. After proving his worth, Marshall earned a starting chance in 2014 and turned in a breakout performance. Even though he missed the final two games of the season with a sprain to the Lisfranc area of his foot (that later required surgery), Marshall's statistical performance earned him an 11th place finish in fantasy scoring at his position. His cohort in the Broncos linebacking corps, Danny Trevathan, will be angling for a bounce-back after suffering multiple knee injuries in 2014. Nevertheless, there should be plenty of fantasy points to go around between the two of them. Marshall has low-end LB1 value this fall.

Auction...............$7

Bye Week.............6

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics - - - - - -
2015 Projections 56 0.5 1 2 0 76.50

When he's on the field, Sean Lee is a game-changing defensive force for the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, the number of times Lee has been on the field in recent years have been few and far between. A slew of serious injuries (most recently a torn ACL during training camp last summer) have limited Lee to appearing in just 17 of a possible 48 games over the last three years. Since Lee's injury happened last summer, he should be able to hit the ground running this year and look to reclaim his spot as the leader of the Dallas defense. When he's able to start a full season, Lee is an IDP force, but his recent rash of injuries cannot be ignored. He's a risky bet as a starting linebacker, but has the talent to launch back up to the top of the scoring charts for his position.

Auction...............$7

Bye Week.............8

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics - - - - - -
2015 Projections 78 2 1 4 0 111.00

After a breakout rookie season, the expectations were sky high for Kiko Alonso in 2014. However, a torn ACL in the preseason put an end to those fever dreams. When Rex Ryan came to town as the new head coach of the Buffalo Bills he saw fit to ship Alonso to Philadelphia in exchange for LeSean McCoy in one of the offseason's most surprising trades. Now the former Oregon standout is reunited with his former Oregon head coach, Chip Kelly, and will look to make his bounce-back season happen in Philly. As long as he hasn't lost too much of his acceleration and speed during his rehab, Alonso should be back on the radar as a fringe LB1 for 2015.

Auction...............$7

Bye Week.............7

Year Tackles Sacks INTs Pass Def Total TDs Fantasy Pts
2014 Statistics 15 0 0 2 0 28.00
2015 Projections 63 3 1 5 0 98.00

After landing on the scene with a splash during his first two seasons in the NFL, Burfict's third season can only be considered a disappointment. Myriad injuries including a concussion, cervical strain and multiple knee ailments (later requiring surgery) limited him to only five games and a mere 28 fantasy points. One of Burfict's offseason surgeries was of the microfracture variety, which is much harder to come back from than traditional procedures. However, Burfict was such a force in his first two seasons that he still merits consideration as a borderline LB1. Be sure to get a talented backup as well, though, in case Burfict gets off to a slow start returning from injury in 2015.

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