Jordan Dizon: The Lions didn’t draft Dizon in the 2nd round of this past year’s rookie draft to play second fiddle to Paris Lenon. However, with that said Dizon needs to get a better grasp of the defense before the Lions will turn the MLB position over to him. I don’t think you will have to wait until next year because at some point this season he should take the starting job from Paris Lenon. Astute dynasty owners will be trying to buy Dizon early in the season while he is coming off the bench. If you happen to own Dizon you should most certainly stash him and wait patiently for future production that will at the very least match what Lenon produced in 2007.
Barrett Ruud: Fantasy owners waited 2 years for Ruud to get his shot as the Bucs starting MLB. Ruud didn’t disappoint his owners when he got the chance either. In his first 8 games as starter at MLB he logged 78 combined tackles and was one of the top LB’s to start the year last year. However, Ruud stumbled badly over the final 8 games of the year only posting 36 more combined tackles. Ruud may not match his torrid start from last year but he should easily post much better stats then he did over the final 8 games. Look for Ruud to rack up between 110-115 combined tackles. The bigger challenge will be if he can also step up and take over as a leader for a defense that has an aging Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber that will soon be riding off into the sunset.
Aaron Schobel: Schobel just turned 31 but still has a good 3-4 years of top production left in him. The catch is that he has been a notorious slow starter the last few years. If you own him you need to sit tight and monitor his matchups but if you don’t own him look to acquire him after his owners get frustrated if he starts off slow like in years past. Also the acquisition of Marcus Stroud at DT should be a plus for Schobel.
Darryl Tapp: Tapp is coming off of a pretty productive 2nd season in the NFL where he posted 49 combined tackles with 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 1 interception which helped him achieve a top 25 ranking at DL in 2007. The thing that Tapp owners need to monitor is how the Seahawks use rookie Lawrence Jackson. Early on it looks as if the Tapp will lose some rotational snaps to the rookie. As the season progresses if Jackson starts seeing more and more time Tapp owners will want to explore shopping him after a big performance.
Richard Marshall: Marshall would have been on this list even if he didn’t return that fake FG the Eagles tried for a TD versus Carolina earlier this preseason. Yes, John Fox is an NFL coach but there are many that just don’t understand how he can keep Marshall from being a starting CB. Simply put Marshall is a play maker with a nose for the ball and he possesses instincts that just can’t be taught. This year could be dicey starting him since he isn’t a starter yet but next year I can’t see him not starting. Astute dynasty owners will realize that Chris Gamble is a Free Agent next year which will pave the way for Marshall to finally be elevated to a starter for the Panthers.
Dwight Lowery: Reports out of Jets camp have Lowery overtaking Justin Miller at CB. Last year, rookie Darrell Revis had a great fantasy season for his owners and this year it looks like the Jets have another rookie that will make owners happy again. Lowery is more than a capable tackler and has a nose for the ball too. Both are traits that Coach Eric Mangini likes in his defensive backs. The other thing that will help Lowery is that rookie CB’s tend to get picked on by opposing offenses.
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