2014 fantasy football profiles and projections: (DL 16-30)

Auction...............$5

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

After being selected with the fifth-overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, "Ziggy" Ansah delivered on that lofty draft status by recording eight sacks -- tops among all rookies. The Lions will be looking to Ansah to build upon his early success and become a dominant pass-rushing threat playing alongside their talented defensive tackle duo of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Ansah was still raw last season, as he only started playing football in his sophomore year at BYU. With another full offseason in an NFL program under his belt, Ansah is a huge breakout candidate in fantasy land in 2014. He's worth taking higher than expected because of his potential to fill out the stat sheets.

Auction...............$4

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

After nine seasons of suiting up with the G-Men, including two Super Bowl championships, Tuck will find himself on the opposite end of the coutnry in 2014, trying to help revive the Raiders' defense. Tuck showed in 2013 he still has plenty to offer, registering his first top-10 fantasy finish since he led all defensive linemen in fantasy scoring back in 2010. He'll pair with fellow veteran LaMarr Woodley to try and add some juice to a Raiders pass rush that notched just 38 sacks last season. Tuck didn't need a ton of help on defense last year to produce fantasy-wise, so there's no reason to expect him to fall too far down the list of the top fantasy defensive linemen. He's a nice low-end No. 1 option heading into 2014.

Auction...............$4

Bye Week.............12

Over the last four years, few players have been as consistent from the defensive end position at rushing the quarterback as Charles Johnson. He's averaged 11 sacks a season since 2010, and that includes him missing a handful of games due to injury. As the 2014 season approaches, Johnson remains one of the crucial cogs in arguably the NFL's most dangerous front seven. Opposing offenses are going to have a hard time deciding whether to focus their attention on Johnson, or his pass-rushing running mate Greg Hardy. When that attention is elsewhere, expect Johnson to wreak havoc. Nab him as a solid No. 2 option at the defensive line position.

Auction...............$4

Bye Week.............11

The Defensive Rookie of the Year definitely earned his title in the fantasy realm as well, filling the stat sheet admirably in his first pro season. Yet, it was the two rushing touchdowns Richardson scored that allowed him to finish just outside the top-10 in fantasy scoring for his position. Without those scores, Richardson would have fallen out of the top 25. Nevertheless, Richardson is likely in for a stats increase in his second season, as together with Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon "Big Snacks" Harrison he forms one of the most dynamic 3-4 defensive lines in the NFL. Rex Ryan and his coaching staff will likely find ways to keep their big men productive, and if Richardson just happens to deliver an encore "Fridge" performance, his fantasy value increases that much more.

Auction...............$3

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

Atkins was coming off a sixth-place fantasy finish among defensive linemen in 2012 before a torn ACL derailed his follow-up campaign. Atkins was off to a slower start anyway, registering one fantasy point or less in three of the first seven weeks. However, Atkins looks to be on track to return in time for training camp, and could be suiting up for game action early next season. It's unclear how well or how quickly Atkins will return from his ACL injury, but he's proven he can dominate the stat sheets before and is worth a late-round flier in case he proves to be a fantasy monster once again.

Auction...............$3

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

After five years with the Cincinnati Bengals, Johnson now joins the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he'll team with talented defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to form the inside-outside pass rushing presence new head coach Lovie Smith desires for his defense. McCoy notched 9.5 sacks last season, and that was without a rusher like Johnson on the outside. The two should work in tandem well together, and with McCoy commanding double teams on the inside, Johnson should face a fair amount of one-on-one situations. If either Da'Quan Bowers or Adrian Clayborn become the type of pass rusher the Buccaneers expected when they drafted them, Johnsons' stock will rise even more as he'll have a competent pass-rushing partner opposite him on the line.

Auction...............$3

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

Vernon is a homegrown talent for the Dolphins, having played both his high school and college ball in the state of Florida. Their investment in one of their own paid off in a big way in 2013, when Vernon racked up 11.5 sacks while attacking the quarterback opposite Cameron Wake. Vernon's 46 solo tackles helped him become a relevant IDP defensive lineman as well, as he finished the season with a respectable 74.50 fantasy points. Year 3 could be a big one for Vernon, as he'll look to prove he deserves to remain the starter as he fends off last year's first-round pick, Dion Jordan. Vernon's worth drafting as a DL2 and possible flex starter when he is lining opposite a porous offensive line.

Auction...............$3

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

It helps a defensive end when his pass-rushing partner in crime is Robert Quinn, who finished second in the league with 19 sacks. That's the case for Chris Long, who was able to turn frequent one-on-one situations into 8.5 quarterback takedowns of his own. Long's fantasy output was boosted by a fumble return for a touchdown, but with the way he and Quinn get after the quarterback, it's not too crazy to imagine him scoring at least one more next season. Long hasn't had less than 8.5 sacks since 2009, meaning his pass-rushing potential will be there again in 2014. He slots in as a decent No. 2 option for defensive linemen, or a nice situational starter if he's lining up against a shaky offensive line.

Auction...............$3

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

The Buccaneers have announced that they won't be picking up the fifth-year option on Clayborn's rookie contract, meaning the four-year veteran out of Iowa will be playing for a contract in 2014. That's not great news for Clayborn, but it is good news for fantasy owners looking for a lower-tier defensive lineman with lots of upside. Clayborn put together his finest pro season in 2013, and will be looking to build on that so he can land himself a long-term deal. As a backup defensive lineman, Clayborn comes with relatively low risk, and has the potential for a top-15 finish at the position.

Auction...............$3

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

It's not often that a defensive lineman has his breakout season at age 30, but that is exactly what Williams did last year. He (along with the rest of the defense) thrived under the guidance of Mike Pettine, and posted career highs in tackles, assisted tackles and sacks. Unfortunately, Pettine has now left to be the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, but Jim Schwartz has been hired to pick up where Pettine left off. Working in Williams' and the rest of his line's favor is that Schwartz possesses an astute defensive mind, and he'll find ways for his playmakers to stay productive. Williams might not be starting caliber in fantasy land, but he's worth grabbing for his stable production and the potential that he's just a late bloomer.

Auction...............$2

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

If you watched the Titans defense last season, it's likely one number kept drawing your attention, and that would be 99. That's because No. 99 was Jurell Casey, who was an absolute beast in 2013. Casey registered 10.5 sacks while constantly pressuring the quarterback and collapsing the pocket. He notched 38 solo tackles in run support to boot. The Titans figure to lock up Casey soon, who is entering a contract year. Casey will likely be looking to stuff the stat sheets once more in order to cash in on a big extension, which makes him an attractive target in IDP formats. Draft Casey late and hope to reap the rewards of another big season.

Auction...............$2

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

Few people seemed happier to have Lovie Smith signed as the new coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Gerald McCoy. McCoy enjoyed the finest season of his career despite playing on a team in, to put it politely, a constant state of turmoil. Now, McCoy and the rest of his young, talented defense get to suit up under the guidance of one of the best defensive minds of the last decade. Look for McCoy to stay at a high level of play, but his overall production might dip a tad. Nevertheless, he's definitely worth a later round pick as a backup defensive lineman.

Auction...............$2

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

Along with most of the Bills' defense, Dareus had one of his best statistical seasons in 2013. He posted career numbers in solo tackles, assisted tackles, and sacks. While it could be partly the effect defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had on the group, it's also likely that the mental side of Dareus' game caught up to the physical side. Heading into 2014, Dareus will have to adjust to a new coordinator in Jim Schwartz, and also might be facing a multiple game suspension after being arrested twice in the month of May. Until any official word comes down Dareus is still worth drafting as a backup lineman in 2014.

Auction...............$2

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

Bennett was able to parlay his one-year "prove it" contract with the Seahawks into both a Super Bowl victory, and a new, long-term deal. With Bennett now entrenched as a more permanent pass-rusher for the Seahawks' vaunted defense, his numbers could be on the rise. Seattle pass rushers have the benefit of playing with one of the best secondaries in the league, which leads to plenty of coverage sacks. Since Bennett doesn't rack up tackles or other fantasy statistics though, his value is diminished. He's a situational starter in fantasy this season, even if he has become a more permanent fixture of the Seattle defense.

Auction...............$2

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

With Jared Allen now a member of the Chicago Bears, the door is open for Robison to become the go-to pass rusher for the Minnesota Vikings. He's come into his own the last three years, posting 25.5 sacks during that span. However, at the age of 31, Robison might not have too many more chances to officially "break out," so it's almost now or never for him from a fantasy perspective. Either Robison or his running mate Everson Griffen are worth drafting as a backup defensive end, hoping they put together a season akin to what Allen did for the Vikings for the better part of the last decade.

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