2012 IDP Rankings: Top 15 Defensive Linemen

Let’s begin our look at IDP rankings with the top defensive linemen for the upcoming season.  Jason Pierre-Paul has clearly become the elite option in the league, but how do all the rest fall in?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Jason Pierre-Paul – New York Giants
  2. Jared Allen – Minnesota Vikings
  3. Mario Williams – Buffalo Bills
  4. Trent Cole – Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Justin Tuck – New York Giants
  6. Jason Babin – Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Julius Peppers – Chicago Bears
  8. Elvis Dumervil – Denver Broncos
  9. Chris Long – St. Louis Rams
  10. Calais Campbell – Arizona Cardinals
  11. Cliff Avril – Detroit Lions
  12. Charles Johnson – Carolina Panthers
  13. Chris Clemons – Seattle Seahawks
  14. Jabaal Sheard – Cleveland Browns
  15. J.J. Watt – Houston Texans


  • Pierre-Paul is a beast, isn’t he?  The fact that he plays on the same line as Justin Tuck and a few other talented lineman almost makes it unfair.  A force against both the pass and the run, Pierre-Paul accumulated 86 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 safety and 7 passes defensed.  He’s a man among boys, as he was the only defensive lineman with more than 70 tackles and 10 sacks last season.  The numbers could get scary this season.
  • When looking at Mario Williams, keep in mind that he was working as an outside linebacker in Houston prior to getting injured in 2011.  The Bills will slide him back to defensive end, where he has long flourished.
  • In each of his first four seasons Chris Long has slowly improved his sack totals, from 4.0 to 5.0 to 8.5 to last season’s 13.0.  Howie Long’s kid is getting better and better and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take another step forward this season.
  • Calais Campbell has been improving each season, especially in the tackle department (he registered 72 tackles last season, showing he can play both the run and pass).  Granted, playing in a 3-4 defense could hurt him a little, but if he can reach 70 tackles and 10 sacks he would be in the elite tier of defensive lineman.  Look towards him as a potential rising candidate on draft day and worth rolling the dice on if you miss out on the top names.
  • Don’t sleep on Elvis Dumervil based on his overall numbers.  He finished the season with 9.5 sacks, recording at least .5 a sack in 8 of the final 9 regular season games (and added on in the playoffs).  He’s the same player who put up 17 in 2009, prior to missing all of 2010, and he could post a similarly impressive 2012 campaign.

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 5 Rookie Running Backs
2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 15 Tight Ends


  1. Randy says:

    What do you think of Connor Barwin? I see him rising quickly up the ranks of linemen (but am hoping no one else has, in my league anyway)…

  2. John Merton says:

    In a dinasty fantasy league (with 2 DE; 3LB starters) what player will have more value: J.J.Watt or Rolando McClain?

    Thanks for your advice.

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