Watt's Up

March 6, 2013

A reader's poll we conducted over the weekend suggests a fairly small percentage of fantasy coaches utilize individual defensive players. Those who do, however, should strongly consider using an early pick on difference-making defensive lineman JJ Watt.

The Houston end, a near-unanimous choice as last year's Defensive Player of the Year (49 votes; Von Miller received 1), was every bit as dominant in fantasy terms as he was in the actual NFL. Our IDP scoring system, which gives points for tackles (1.5 and .75), sacks (3), turnovers (3) and defensive touchdowns, with slight bumps to linemen for tackles and sacks, had Watt as the top defensive player -- and it wasn't even close.

The top 50 IDPs in 2012, sorted by fantasy points, are presented below. Talk about making a difference: Note that 2nd-ranked Daryl Washington is closer to 10th-ranked Jerrell Freeman than he is to Watt.

Top IDPs, 2012

Pts     Pos    
250     DE     J.J. Watt, Hou.
221     ILB     Daryl Washington, Ariz.
218     MLB     Luke Kuechly, Car.
205     MLB     James Laurinaitis, St.L.
205     MLB     Paul Posluszny, Jac.
203     OLB     Jerod Mayo, N.E.
203     OLB     Chad Greenway, Minn.
197     OLB     Lavonte David, T.B.
195     ILB     NaVorro Bowman, S.F.
194     ILB     Jerrell Freeman, Ind.
191     ILB     Derrick Johnson, K.C.
190     ILB     London Fletcher, Wash.
185     MLB     Bobby Wagner, Sea.
183     CB     Charles Tillman, Chi.
183     OLB     Russell Allen, Jac.
180     OLB     Jo-Lonn Dunbar, St.L.
179     SS     Morgan Burnett, G.B.
179     MLB     Karlos Dansby, Mia.
178     ILB     Lawrence Timmons, Pitt.
175     OLB     Von Miller, Den.
174     OLB     Wesley Woodyard, Den.
173     ILB     Patrick Willis, S.F.
170     MLB     D'Qwell Jackson, Clev.
169     MLB     Curtis Lofton, N.O.
168     ILB     Perry Riley, Wash.
167     OLB     Zach Brown, Tenn.
167     ILB     David Harris, NYJ
165     ILB     Larry Foote, Pitt.
164     FS     Harrison Smith, Minn.
161     OLB     Lance Briggs, Chi.
160     DE     Cameron Wake, Mia.
160     ILB     A.J. Hawk, G.B.
159     CB     Cortland Finnegan, St.L.
159     FS     Quintin Mikell, St.L.
159     FS     Eric Weddle, S.D.
159     OLB     Vontaze Burfict, Cin.
158     SS     Roman Harper, N.O.
158     OLB     Philip Wheeler, Oak.
158     OLB     Aldon Smith, S.F.
156     FS     LaRon Landry, NYJ
155     MLB     DeMeco Ryans, Phil.
155     DE     Cameron Jordan, N.O.
155     OLB     Anthony Spencer, Dall.
153     OLB     Nick Barnett, Buff.
153     OLB     Kevin Burnett, Mia.
152     FS     Reshad Jones, Mia.
152     MLB     Mason Foster, T.B.
152     OLB     Akeem Ayers, Tenn.
150     DE     Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG
150     DE     Elvis Dumervil, Den.

--Andy Richardson