Understanding IDP: Defensive Linemen
Defensive Linemen (DLs), Defensive Tackles and Defensive Ends, are the defensive version of the TE position in the offensive fantasy world. Because of the general lack of high scoring depth, many IDP leagues do not even provide DL specific positions on rosters, or if they do it is only through a flex “D” position.
Furthering the TE comparison there are a few standouts, the elite star being J.J. Watt, and then basically everyone else. As well, the few standouts play more like a linebacker (much like standout TEs play more like WRs).
While DLs do not typically rack up vast amounts of tackles, they are a hot bed for Sacks and Tackles For Loss, so if your league scoring includes either or both stats then give DLs a good look before your draft to know how you might work in picks for them.
Speaking of your draft, you can expect that DL draft positions to be the least predictable out of the 3 major IDP positions. J.J. Watt should be drafted after the elite level Linebackers are off the board, barring any homer/fanboy picks, after he is gone it could be 5 or more rounds before anyone else is even sniffed at. Defensive Ends tend to move more often and faster than Defensive Tackles as the ends ever so slightly tend to produce more points.
As I mentioned J.J. Watt is THE guy for DL players, do not expect that to change, Khalil Mack played great switching between DE and OLB last year which I expect OAK to continue to use him like that, so look out for him be the distant number 2 to Watt this year. For rookies Joey Bosa has plenty of attention in the heavy DL rookie class, but look out for DeForest Buckner to get plenty of playing time on a SF team that needs to redefine its defensive identity.