True fantasy football leagues don’t draft team defense. There’s no worse copout in the game. Drafting team defenses is basically admitting “I don’t know and don’t care who wears jerseys between #30 and #79.” But, I’m not here to put down your sissy FF league — I’m here with some interesting NFC West predictions, because the guys at IDP Zone — a fantasy football site here on the FanBall network that specializes in Independant Defensive Position leagues — have unveiled their “Ten Bold Predictions” for the NFC West’s defensive players. Four Rams figure prominently in these predictions.
Here are the relevant clips, though I highly recommend clicking through to read the full back-and-forth debate on each player.
James Laurinaitis will finish the year in the top-fifteen LBs in the fantasy world.
It’s good to see optimism about Laurinaitis. In my last guest spot on Turf Show Radio, we openly discussed whether the linebacker position was one of the easiest ones for a raw rookie to step in and have immediate impact, leaning towards a “yes.” Corroborating this thought was a quote from Dan Patrick’s recent interview with Brian Urlacher: “I was watching some film of my first three seasons… I just ran to the football. I made a bunch of plays like that.” Considering that he won Defensive Rookie of the year and made the Pro Bowl that season, I’d say so.
Will Witherspoon will be a Top 20 LB this season.
There is a lot of support for this statement. Witherspoon excelled on the weakside, both with the Panthers and in 2006-07 for the Rams, averaging nearly 100 solo tackles per season, and picking up 10 sacks combined. Assuming he is at full health, there’s no reason to believe he won’t immediately contribute at those levels again.
Oshiomogho Atogwe will be the No. 1 DB in fantasy football.
This will be interesting to see. Atogwe is not as physical as a Brian Dawkins, the Eagles’ perennial star at safety, and Spagnuolo has already brought in James Butler from the Giants, who he may implicitly trust more in the higher-risk position closer to the box. Moving the safeties up would also show much more faith in the Rams secondary as a unit than last year’s performance would seem to warrant — and in particular our weakest corner, Tye Hill. He looks as though he will continue to need deep safety help over the top all season long, which might cut into this projected productivity.
Chris Long is a Top 10 defensive lineman in 2009.
They promised “bold” and this prediction delivers. All I can say is “let’s hope so.”