Understanding IDP: Defensive Backs
Defensive Backs (DBs), Cornerbacks and Safeties, can be a boom/bust position in IDP.
The glass cannon nature of DBs is due to an array of different factors. First, the line between a Strong Safety (often a blitzer and playing the run, leading to a higher tackle chance) and Free Safety (often the failsafe for pass protection, leading to passes defended and interceptions) varies greatly depending on defensive scheme and the counterpart offense of the week. Second, with the aforementioned Safety fluidity, Cornerbacks now, dependent on scheme, blitz more often than in previous generations of the NFL. Additionally, with the rise of the slot receiver, corners are picking up more tackles in the middle of the field because the quick pass is harder to prevent, which is the opposite of deep/open field situations where corners are trying to stop the completion, and a tackle is more of a second thought. Third, DBs collect interceptions in the highest amounts compared to Linebackers and Linemen, and interceptions, along with fumbles, can lead to defensive touchdowns. Fourth, good real life DBs are not always good fantasy DBs, Champ Bailey and Darrelle Revis historically are the kings of this concept (though Revis had an above average fantasy year last year, in many leagues he was still not a top 75 DB), this is because a “shutdown corner” does not end up producing a measurable stat (think about it, the pass isn’t coming their way, the DB can’t make a play).
There are more finite factors that can be reviewed, but long story short, DBs can be the least statistically dependable position yet can yield the highest points on any given Sunday.
This leads to the dance of drafting DBs. In drafting DBs you will see that they will normally start going off the board after at least one round of Linebackers have gone. There are three ways to approach your DB squad for your team. 1) draft tackles, simple and straightforward, consistency in points reside in a player’s ability to get tackles. 2) draft passes defended and interceptions, while the players drafted may not produce major points every week, there is a chance that every couple of weeks your DBs will put up a large number of points. And 3) drafting a mix tackle players and passes defended/interceptions players, simple risk management here, points per week may not be as potentially low or high as way number 2, but still has a chance of putting up more points in a week than way number 1.
Reshad Jones was out of his mind last year, between his hold out and his play over previous seasons I’m a little cold on expecting him to match his performance again this year, but I expect Tyrann Mathieu fill the void left by Jones. Kenny Vaccaro was a pleasant surprise for the Saints last year and has plenty of opportunity to step up further this year. Jalen Ramsey has been getting the most rookie attention, he is a very flexible player with experience all over the secondary, but keep a look out for Karl Joseph who will see Travis Kelce and Antonio Gates twice each this year, which means plenty of chances for tackles for Mr. Joseph.