IDP Showdown: Linebacker Values fantasysharks.com Tue 8/28/12 9:06 AM

If there's one thing about Individual Defensive Player rankings that's consistent, it's that very little among Individual Defensive Player Rankings is consistent. Show us five sets of rankings, each thoughtfully put together by an IDP pundit who we know knows their stuff every bit as well as any other and whose opinion we respect and we'll show you five very different sets of rankings. It's just the nature of the beast with IDPs.

The IDP crew here at Fantasy Sharks is often asked why there's so much variance among even our own rankings, so in an effort to shed some light on that particular subject Walton Spurlin and Gary Davenport sat down to give the rationale behind their rankings for some linebackers for whom their 2012 outlook seems to differ pretty significantly.

And so, without further delay, let the showdown begin!

Numbers in parentheses denote each author's current ranking of that player in Fantasy Sharks' redraft linebacker rankings.

D.J. Smith - ILB, Green Bay Packers

Walton Spurlin (14): Smith will be stepping into the position formerly held by Top 5 fantasy scoring linebacker Desmond Bishop as a three-down player and has already shown he can handle the workload. He racked up 19 solo tackles in the three games he started for an injured Bishop last season, which averages out to six solos a game and Bishop averaged seven solos a game last season.

In the Packers two losses last season, the Chiefs and Giants ran the ball 39 and 27 times, respectively, and I look for teams to emulate that game plan when facing Green Bay in 2012 to try and keep the potent Packers offense on the sideline, which will offer Smith ample tackle opportunities.

There is some concern about his big play capabilities (Smith had zero sacks and one interception in 2011) compared to those of Bishop's but he will have had nearly the entire preseason to be worked into some blitz packages. In limited preseason action he has put up seven solo stops, 13 total tackles and I believe he will flirt with 100 solo stops in 2012. A Top 10 finish among fantasy linebackers is well within the reach of Smith and if he can add a few sacks to his resume, a Top 5 finish is not out of the question.

Gary Davenport (26): First things first. I agree with just about all of what Mr. Spurlin said about Smith the player. D.J. Smith has shown the ability to get the job done in relief of Desmond Bishop, as evidenced by his 27 total tackles and an interception in three starts last year.

With that ...