The linebacker is by far the most valuable player in most IDP formats. They are the most consistent of the IDP positions and usually rack up the most points compared to their DL and DB teammates. However, they can be matchup-dependent based primarily on whether or not their opponent is running the rock.
The mild fluctuation in production leads me to believe that it might be a better idea to wait on drafting your linebackers. I would much rather draft my fifth or sixth running back before I take my second or third linebacker. Of course, you might want to make sure that your scoring doesn't heavily favor defense. Also, if your league is really competitive and most of the owners are always on the prowl for some 4-3 MLB sleepers, it might behoove you to grab some linebackers earlier than you might have planned. There are usually a half dozen linebackers that emerge once the season starts, so if you feel comfortable in your ability to hone in on them and pluck 'em off the wire, waiting is certainly a great option in standard IDP leagues.
Similarly, if you're able to clean up on the offensive front, chances are someone that reached for an elite linebacker might be more apt to dump them at a discount in order to address a need on offense due to injury (usually at running back). Basically, almost every owner in the world is more comfortable rolling the dice on a linebacker that's ranked outside of the top 30 instead of a back that's beyond the top 50 at their respective positions.
The following is a list of the top 40 linebackers for the 2012 season:
Follow @MikeSGallagher Follow me on Twitter to answer your IDP questions according to your league.
|1||D'Qwell Jackson (T1)||CLE|
|5||Derrick Johnson (T2)||KC|
|8||Sean Weatherspoon (T3)||ATL|
|14||Bobby Wagner (T4)||SEA|
|20||Brian Cushing (T5)||HOU|
|24||Jerod Mayo (T6)||NE|
|29||DeMarcus Ware (T7)||DAL|
|37||Brandon Spikes (T8)||NE|
As stated above, if you have any questions about your IDP league you can find me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher. Also, If your league has over 40 linebackers drafted, please let me know how much deeper and I'll make sure my rankings are deep enough for you. Oh and send me an invite for next year! Lastly, if this is your first IDP leagues, I'd like to congratulate you. These are by far the most fun leagues and it seems like the best teams almost always get in the playoffs. Your research will pay off!
Thanks for reading!