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2013 fantasy football profiles and projections (DLs 16-30)

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Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports/

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  • Analysis

Long can get to the quarterback. He's done it quite well over the course of his NFL career and has cracked the double-digit barrier in each of the past two seasons. That's what will buoy his IDP fantasy value since he doesn't offer much else across the stat sheet. Long is worth a look as a waiver wire option, but it's hard to trust him as much more than a borderline No. 2 or 3 fantasy lineman across the board.

Smith, who was once considered a solid fantasy option in IDP leagues, is starting to feel the wear and tear of a long NFL career. His sack totals have declined in each of the last three seasons, and he'll be 34 in September. So while he's been more consistent in the terms of tackles, there's obvious signs of decline. With no real statistical upside, it's hard to recommend the Missouri product as more than a borderline No. 2 or 3 fantasy lineman in most formats.

Wilkerson is coming off a nice second season in the Big Apple, recording 70 combined tackles, five sacks and one defensive touchdown. That was good enough to finish with 84.00 fantasy points and fifth in points among defensive linemen in 2012. Now entering his third pro season and reportedly in the best shape of his like, the Temple product could be on the verge of an All-Pro season for a Jets defense that will need him to make an impact. Consider him in the middle to late rounds in all IDP drafts.

Morgan finished just an unimpressive 6.5 sacks last season, but he still ranked among the top 20 players at his position based on fantasy points. That's due in large part to his solid tackle totals. Morgan could have had more sacks, too, as he finished second in the league in quarterback hits and eight in hurries - that means there's upside here. In fact, the Georgia Tech could turn into a dandy sleeper for IDP leaguers who target him in the late rounds.

Quinn was the Rams' second-leading sacker in 2012 behind Chris Long. However, unlike Long, Quinn doesn't appear to have reached his ceiling. The Rams have made a concerted effort to bolster an already promising defense, which should do nothing but help the young pass rusher. Quinn is a candidate to break out for IDP owners in 2013.

Ninkovich is coming off a season with a career-best eight sacks while also recording a combined 58 total tackles. The veteran out of Purdue will continue to be a big part of the defensive line under coach Bill Belichick, and the fact that he's in a contract year should serve as added motivation. While Ninkovich isn't going to become an elite option in IDP leagues, he should be considered a borderline No. 2 or 3 fantasy defensive lineman in 2013.

Avril joins a crowded defensive line in Seattle, but should have ample opportunity to produce solid sack totals for IDP owners - especially with Bruce Irvin suspended for the first four games of the season. Avril could see some time as a linebacker, which just adds to his value as a lineman. Don't be surprised to see the former Lion turn in double-digit sack totals in his first season in the Great Northwest.

Much like DeMarcus Ware, Spencer will transition from the linebacker spot to defensive end in new coordinator Monte Kiffin's 4-3 scheme. He had a career year last season with 95 total tackles and an impressive 11 sacks, but Spencer will need to adapt from a standup pass rusher to playing with his hand in the dirt. Overall, the Purdue product will be a borderline No. 2 or 3 fantasy defensive lineman.

Ngata has long been a productive lineman in IDP formats, recording at least five sacks in each of the last three seasons. He did miss two games last season and saw a drop in total tackles as a result. Heading into the 2013 campaign, this unit will have a new look - Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty and Marcus Spears have been added to the line and should allow Ngata to play more snaps at his natural spot, nose tackle. At 29 and still in a position to produce, the Oregon product is worth a late-round look as a borderline No. 2 or 3 fantasy lineman.

Tuck's numbers last season were a major disappointment from a fantasy standpoint. Injuries have been a major issue for the veteran over the last few seasons, so he'll certainly come with some risk in fantasy land. On a positive note, he should see more pass-rushing opportunities with Osi Umenyiora out of the mix. He should be seen as a No. 3 fantasy defensive lineman for the upcoming campaign.

Houston doesn't overly excite fantasy owners in the stat sheets, as he's put up a combined 10 sacks over the three seasons. However, he is coming off a season with a career-best 69 total tackles - that was good enough to lead all defensive linemen. At 26 and in the prime of his career, Houston is worth a late-rounder as a No. 3 fantasy option at his position.

Cameron is coming off his best statistical season with an impressive 67 total tackles and eight sacks. New coordinator Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme should fit him to a tee, as Cameron was in a similar system at the collegiate level. While Jordan's pass-rush upside takes a small hit with this position move, his overall numbers still make him worth a look as a late-round look in all IDP formats.

Babin has seen his fantasy value decline after a 2012 season that saw him post just seven sacks between the Eagles and Jaguars. He had recorded a combined 30.5 sacks in the previous two years. Babin should see an increase in sacks in the defensive scheme of new coach Gus Bradley, as he'll be asked to rush the passer quite often. Still, it's hard to expect him to return to his previous elite IDP status.

An athletic freak, Ansah will be asked to come in and play a large role on the Lions defensive line this season. He's impressed his coaches, including defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, who plans to keep Ansah at right defensive end as a rookie. A threat to post double-digit sacks, the BYU product is a player to watch.

Mincey was a major disappointment for fantasy owners last season, as he experienced declines in several major categories compared to his 2011 totals. He attributed his struggles to wearing down, as the Jaguars were thin on the defensive line. Whether or not he can bounce back in 2013 remains to be seen, but he shouldn't be drafted as more than a No. 3 defensive lineman in fantasy leagues.

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