Defensive backs have the most variability in point production from year-to-year. In other words, your top 20 defensive backs in 2016 could be quite different from your top 20 defensive backs in 2015 (especially in "big play leagues").
Much of this variability is because defensive back production is often dependent on the performance of the team's front seven. Their production is also heavily tied to how they are used in the defensive scheme (especially safeties).
The defensive back position, more than any other position, typically has top-notch fantasy producers available on the waiver wire. This is due to the relatively large amount of DBs that unexpectedly emerge as viable fantasy options throughout the course of the season (e.g. Rashad Johnson).
This said, I find it hard to use one of my first defensive picks on a defensive back. In reality, there are very few "locks" at the fantasy DB position. Therefore, I usually try to grab a solid veteran fantasy producer like FS Antoine Bethea or CB Jason McCourty and get riskier at this position with my later picks. This strategy affords me the luxury of using higher draft picks on other defensive positions where their projected performance is more accurately predicted.
Solo Tackle = 1 point
Assist = 0.5 point
Sack = 3 points
Interception = 4 points
Forced Fumble = 2 points
Fumble Recovery = 2 points
Pass Deflection = 1 point
Defensive TD = 6 points
S = Sleeper/Undervalued Player
B = Bust/Overvalued Player
R = Injury Risk
1. SS Reshad Jones (MIA) - With 136 total tackles, 5 interceptions, and 2 sacks, Jones had one of the best performances by a defensive back in recent memory and was the TOP scoring IDP (over every linebacker by a fairly wide margin). The arrival of Kiko Alonso may put a slight damper on his production, but I'm not convinced he's fully healthy and will have the same range as he did before. That said, Jones is the clear-cut first defensive back off the board.
2. FS Corey Graham (BUF) - Graham was part of the resurgence of the DB fantasy field and lit the world on fire with 95 solo tackles and 32 assists. He hadn't done much in his previous nine seasons in the league, so there's a risk he could bust. But the conditions are ripe again for another great year and defensive backs are fickle anyway, so he's worth a selection at this draft slot.
3. SS Landon Collins (NYG) - Collins got off to an OK start during his rookie season, but really started to hit his stride down the stretch compiling nearly seven solo tackles a game during the last third of the year. The Giants continue to have one of the weakest linebacking crews in the league, so Collins will see plenty of tackle opportunity. He could very well be a tackling machine this year. S
4. SS Morgan Burnett (GB) - As long as Green Bay's front seven continues to be fairly weak, Burnett will maintain a good share of his fantasy value. Additionally, he's been serving as the team's dime linebacker. If that holds true into the regular season, he should be well primed for a top 5 DB season.
5. FS Eric Weddle (BAL) - After nine years in San Diego, Weddle will be taking his services to Baltimore. The Ravens haven't historically produced many great fantasy DBs but Weddle has been ultra consistent throughout his career. So I trust that he can still produce top 10 DB numbers.
6. FS Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (GB) - HC-D continued to progress in his second season and as long as Green Bay's front seven continues to be weak, he should still be one of the more solid DB2+/DB1- options. A healthy Morgan Burnett may take away some share but there is enough to go around for the both of them.
7. FS Harrison Smith (MIN) - A hamstring injury derailed Smith's production towards the backend of the year. However up until that point, he had only eclipsed five solo tackles twice all year. With Minnesota's defense improving significantly I fear the opportunity just won't be there for him. That said, he's likely to be over drafted this year and is someone I wouldn't reach for as an elite DB1.
8. CB/S Tyrann Mathieu (ARZ) - If not for a late-season ACL injury, Mathieu would fall into the top four elite DB tier. Apparently he heals like "Wolverine" and is way ahead of schedule in his rehab. If all goes to plan, he should be ready for the start of the season and could provide owners with good value if he falls into the DB2+ range. R
9. S Malcolm Jenkins (PHI) - Jenkins bested his previous career high in solo tackles last year by a whopping 26. The Eagles linebacking crew was decimated by injury which allowed a lot of tackle opportunity to flow into the secondary. With Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks back healthy, Jenkins' numbers are likely to return down into the 70-75 solo tackle range. B
10. S Kenny Vaccaro (NO) - Vaccaro's production during the first two years of his career were seen as a disappointment. He seemed to right the ship in year three with a top 15 finish at his position, surpassing 100 total tackles and notching 3 sacks. His in-the-box playing style should continue to boost his numbers and keep him in the top 10-15 DBs.
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Last Updated: August 25, 2016 Related Posts: