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Reading the Defense: Quinn leads 2013's IDP studs

The fantasy football season is over. For most of us.

If you're still playing into Week 17, this is what I have to say to you.

Anyway, since most of you are closing up shop until next August, it's time to recognize some of the defensive studs that likely made your 2013.

Robert Quinn, DL, St. Louis Rams: We'll spare you any jokes about being mighty or any references to Denzel Washington movies ... although, I can't say the same for this guy.

It was going to take a pretty big effort to knock J.J. Watt off his throne as the reigning IDP defensive line champion. A pretty big effort is what you got from Quinn. The defensive end posted a league-high 18 sacks with a pair of fumble recoveries and a touchdown return. This play sums up his entire season.

Karlos Dansby, LB, Arizona Cardinals: What sort of season would it be without an Arizona Cardinal linebacker lurking near the top of the standings? Last season, it was Daryl Washington. This season, with Washington suspended at the start of the year, it was Karlos Dansby's turn.

Like most good IDP linebackers, Dansby made hay as a high-volume tackler. Unlike some other IDP linebackers, Dansby was just as much a hindrance to opposing passing games as he was to the run. The Cardinals defender swatted 18 passes -- second among all linebackers -- and snagged four interceptions. Two of those picks he returned for touchdowns. Just in case that wasn't enough, Dansby logged six sacks this year as well. Well done, sir. Well done.

Barry Church, DB, Dallas Cowboys: If you were a Dallas Cowboys fan, Church's numbers were a mixed bag. It's usually not a good thing for a defensive back to rack up 100 tackles in a season. But, if you were an IDP owner, you weren't complaining.

Perhaps the strangest part of Church's IDP odyssey is that he led all scorers at his position with just one interception and one touchdown. Normally, you find your volume tacklers at the linebacker spot. Then again, considering how easily teams were able to throw the ball against the Dallas defense, it probably shouldn't be much of a surprise that someone in the team's secondary was forced to make a ton of stops.

So that's it. It's been another fantastic year. Let's hope for more of the same next year. And we'll keep alive the dream of IDP spreading like wildfire across the fantasy football landscape. In the meantime, one final series of news and notes for you. Enjoy!

Four downs

» The season is over for Von Miller. The Denver Broncos sack master suffered a torn ACL in last week's win over the Houston Texans. It's definitely a blow to the Denver defense, but it might not be quite as big a loss for IDP owners. Miller's value is based upon his ability to get to the quarterback, which makes him feast-or-famine. Only once this season has he scored double-digit fantasy points. This week, the Broncos face a Raiders offense that is merely average when it comes to allowing sacks.

» Speaking of pass-rushing linebackers who are out for awhile, Clay Matthewsre-injured the right thumb he broke earlier in the season. The last time the Packers linebacker suffered the issue, he missed a month. If he's faced with a similar recovery timeline, his season is over. Certainly, as far as fantasy owners are concerned, Matthews is finished in 2013.

» One more on the list of players facing a premature end to their 2013 season -- Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro. The rookie will undergo surgery to repair a fractured ankle, leaving a void in New Orleans' secondary. In his place, look for veteran Roman Harper to see some extra snaps this week against the Buccaneers.

» Vikings linebacker Audie Cole appears likely to miss the team's season finale against the Detroit Lions with an ankle injury. Cole isn't a name that is likely to move the meter among IDP fantasy owners, but he had been the seventh-best linebacker in fantasy football over the past month. It's not worth picking up anyone who could slide in to replace Cole, but he is a name worth remembering when it comes to next season. Middle linebacker is a position of opportunity in IDP leagues, and, if Cole's the man to take the position next season, he's worth taking a chance on.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for Follow him on Twitter.

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