Brian Orakpo (WAS): Orakpo had a pretty solid rookie campaign (netting 11 sacks) but only managed 38 solo tackles. If you’re relying on Orakpo as an every-week linebacker, you should hope he’s able to up those solo tackles while continuing to perform as a sack artist. With the Skins running the 3-4, London Fletcher gobbling up tackles in the middle and a capable Andre Carter on the other end, Orakpo’s value has a pretty limited ceiling.
Justin Durant (JAX): Once thought to be the MLB of the future for the Jags, Durant now finds himself shifted out to the WLB spot. Durant will still retain some value, but with Kirk Morrison now manning the middle, Durant’s short and long term value seems diluted.
Gary Brackett (IND): If you’re drafting Brackett as your third LB, then perhaps you got a steal in the mid-to-late rounds of your IDP draft. If you reached for him as your 2nd LB, then tsk-tsk. All Brackett really does is make tackles. In the past three seasons, Brackett has only managed three fumble recoveries and has forced but two. Brackett’s a steady vet, but why not take a stab at a similarly-ranked LB like James Harrison or Jerod Mayo, who have the potential to put up gaudier stats.
John Abraham (DE – ATL): Abraham’s sacks and forced fumble stats went way down in 2009 after two huge seasons. The Falcons’ coaching staff may limit his snaps, seeing that he’s getting up there in age and they have some decent young pass rushers. He’s definitely no longer an option as a first fantasy DL, but could have some value as a DL2 in larger leagues.
Charles Johnson (DE – CAR): With the departure of Julius Peppers, Johnson appears to be the incumbent with the most potential to put up solid fantasy stats. Johnson has had opportunities in the past two seasons, and has 10 sacks in those two seasons. He’ll likely be in the 35-40 tackle, 8-9 sack range. Those thinking that he’s going to be the next Julius Peppers will be sadly mistaken.
Albert Haynesworth (DT – WAS): This is probably already ingrained in your head, but avoid Big Al this season. Sure, he’s supposedly “working things out” with the coaching staff, but the fact remains that he’s just not going to flourish in the Skins’ 3-4. Don’t waste the pick.
Kenny Phillips (S – NYG): Many outlets have Phillips and new Giant safety Antrel Rolle ranked just about the same. Before getting hurt last season, Phillips looked to be putting things together, building on a promising rookie campaign. While he hasn’t suffered any setbacks after microfracture surgery, he is still on the PUP list and won’t be practicing for at least another 4-5 days. The value in the Giant secondary is definitely in Rolle.
Darrelle Revis (CB – NYJ): Look, Revis is a stud, don’t get me wrong. But his fantasy value just doesn’t equal his “actual NFL value”. There’s just no way he defends 31 passes again this season. And I wouldn’t bet on him racking up 74 solos like he did in 2007. I would expect numbers closer to his 2008 totals where he ended up as an average fantasy CB, especially with Antonio Cromartie on the other side now.
Michael Lewis (S – SFO): Lewis is still a capable NFL’er, but his days of being fantasy relevant are probably gone now that he’s on the wrong side of 30, and Dashon Goldson is a fantasy stud. If you’re in a larger league, Lewis is a decent fill-in, but don’t expect him to put up consistent, weekly starter type of numbers anymore.