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2013 fantasy football profiles and projections (DLs 1-15)

[DL RANKINGS 16-30internal-link-placeholder-0]

Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports/

  • Player
  • Analysis

There have been few defensive linemen who have ever put together a season like Watt. His sack and tackle totals alone were remarkable. But to add 16 pass deflections to that is almsot unheard of. It's the reason Watt was a runaway Defensive Player of the Year candidate and a MVP for a lot of IDP owners. Those numbers could be hard to match in 2013, but there's little reason to think he won't remain in the upper echelon of fantasy defensive lineman.

Wake is a pass rusher, plain and simple. As long as the Dolphins point him in the direction of the quarterback and let him loose, he'll have a chance to produce nice totals. Beyond that, his IDP value is limited by a lack of interceptions, fumble recoveries and pass deflections. Wake ranks potentially as a boom-or-bust option, but coming off a big 2012, we'll take a chance on his upside.

Allen's 22-sack campaign in 2011 might have been an anomaly, but he's nearly a lock for double-digit sacks, averaging 15 sacks a year in his career. If Sharrif Floyd can occupy interior linemen, Allen could have another monstrous season. Either way, he'll be a quality IDP defensive lineman.

Over the past three seasons, Johnson has become a quality fantasy IDP option thanks to recording 33 sacks over that span. If Greg Hardy can maintain quality production on the other side of the line, Johnson should once again be a coveted IDP defensive lineman in 2013.

It's fair to wonder if JPP's 16.5 sacks in 2011 are an anomaly. In his other two NFL seasons, the Giants defensive end has averaged just 5.5 sacks. His (perceived) ability to be a sack master had him poised to jump into the upper echelon of pass rushers -- both on the field and in fantasy. But at this point, until he shows otherwise, Pierre-Paul is a good, but not great IDP fantasy option.

Ware had a poor statistical year in 2012, due in large part to the numerous injuries he was forced to play through. He'll move from linebacker to defensive end in 2013, which is going to have a major impact on his overall value. While he will need time to transition to his new spot, Ware has the speed and skills to make it work. He's now a viable No. 1 fantasy defensive lineman.

Williams got off to a bit of a slow start in Buffalo, but eventually picked things up to resemble the player we've become accustomed to watching. He remains one of the more consistent sack men in the game and should garner plenty of looks from fantasy owners during the 2013 season.

Campbell's final numbers in 2012 were a step back from his 2011 production. Some of that can be chalked up to injuries since he missed three games last season. Over the last two seasons, Campbell has stuffed the stat sheets in a number of categories. If he can continue that well-rounded production, he's worth considering for your fantasy roster.

Hardy, along with Charles Johnson, formed a dynamic defensive end duo for the Panthers in 2012. Both players are coming into their own and seem poised to once again menace quarterbacks in 2013. As long as Johnson lines up across the way, Hardy should be a coveted defensive lineman prospect -- and vice versa.

Johnson enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, recording 36 tackles and 11.5 sacks - that helped him finish among the top 10 in both sacks and total fantasy points for defensive linemen. Now entering the prime of his pro football career, Johnson is part of a Bengals defense that ranked an impressive third in the league with 51 sacks. He's a viable No. 1 or 2 fantasy defensive lineman in all leagues.

Peppers has remained one of the NFL's most consistent sack men throughout his career. The difference between his good and great fantasy seasons has depended on what other numbers he's able to contribute in terms of interceptions and touchdowns. Nonetheless, he deserves to be on most fantasy rosters.

Atkins posted the best numbers of his young career in 2013, starting with his 12.5 sacks. It's the type of production that's hard to find from a defensive tackle nowadays. And while it could possibly represent a high-water mark for Atkins, his last two seasons worth of production show that he can be a viable contributor.

Jones was considered a fantasy sleeper as a rookie, and he started the season hot - in fact, the Syracuse product was among the 10-best defensive linemen in fantasy football in the first half. Unfortunately, injuries and what some would call the "rookie wall" settled in down the stretch. With one full year and 13 pro starts under his belt, though, Jones has plenty of statistical upside in IDP leagues. In fact, he could produce top-10 totals in a best-case scenario. He's someone to consider in the middle to late rounds.

Umenyiora, a veteran defender out of Troy, landed in a terrific spot from a fantasy perspective. Now the starting right defensive end opposite Kroy Biermann in Atlanta, Umenyiora will have plenty of opportunities to fill the void left by fellow veteran John Abraham. That should mean a nice increase in sacks - he's had only a combined 15.0 over the last two years. That's a far cry from the totals in posted from 2007-2010. If he can remain motivated, there's no reason Umenyiora won't be a viable No. 2 fantasy lineman.

Dunlap was all over the place in 2012 -- collecting sacks, grabbing interceptions, recovering fumbles and scoring touchdowns. He can credit some of that to Geno Atkins' dominance on the inside. As long as Atkins can occupy interior offensive linemen, Dunlap's ability to make plays on the edge will hold him in good stead with IDP fantasy owners.

[DL RANKINGS 16-30internal-link-placeholder-0]

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