2017 Positional Rankings: Top Ten DB’s
Hello fellow IDP players! Welcome back to our top 10 defensive back list for 2017. Defensive backs are like the Robin to the Linebackers Batman, never the main focus of building a championship team but vital in helping you defeat the enemies. The defensive back position is a very deep one and value can be found not only in the later rounds of your draft but also via the waiver wire and free agency during the season. Your main focus should be on the safety position as they almost always out perform their cornerback counter parts in the ever important tackle category. It’s no coincidence that our entire top 10 list is completely made up of players at this position. Cornerback success rate can be hard to predict year in and year out as stats like interceptions are incredibly hard to predict unless your name is Marcus Peters.
And away. we. go:
- Landon Collins – The center piece of the Giants “NYPD” or “New York Pass Defense”, Collins had himself a breakout year in 2016 and was named to both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams. Collins is an absolute stat sheet stuffer, 125 tackles, five interceptions, four sacks and 13 pass deflections paved the way to him being the number one overall scoring defensive back in 2016. I expect a repeat performance in a system that will remain the same in 2017.
- Reshad Jones – Our number one defensive back from last year, Jones’s season was cut short after six games when he tore his rotator cuff. Indicating he is 100% healthy, Jones signed a five year deal in the off season to remain in Miami. Much like Collins, Jones likes to stuff the stat sheet. In his last full season Jones tallied 135 tackles, 5 interceptions, two sacks and ten pass deflections. Collins and Jones make up my clear cut tier one at the defensive back position.
- Keanu Neal – Neal took the fantasy football world by storm in his rookie season. He was one of the best free agent pick ups you could have possible made in your leagues last year. While Neal did not have any interceptions he made up for it with five forced fumbles. He is a lock for over 100 tackles, five to six total turnovers and double digit passes defensed. Positive game script also helps Neal as the Falcons high powered offense should keep the opposing team throwing the ball plenty of times in 2017.
- Morgan Burnett – Morgan Burnett is a player that isn’t very sexy come draft day but you can expect great week to week production from. When he is healthy he has only had one season of sub one hundred tackles. He doesn’t create turnovers like our top three defensive backs but he does contribute with the occasional sack to help you out. Much like Neal he has an elite offense on the other side of the ball to help keep the opposing team playing catch up through the air. The more opportunities, the better!
- Jamal Adams – With the sixth overall pick in the draft the Jets selected Adams to be the building block of their revamped secondary. This kid has it all, power, speed, instincts, loves to watch tape and he is a team leader. Adams will be a top five defensive back in the league for many years to come. The reason we have him ranked this highly in 2017 is a combination of his skills and the fact that he is going to be on the field a TON. The New York Jets are going to be one of the worst teams in football this year and the offense will struggle to sustain long drives thus putting Adams to work early and often.
- Harrison Smith- Fun fact: Did you know that Harrison Smith’s nickname is “The Heartbreak Kid”? Yeah me either. The more you know! Drafting Smith will surely not result in any heartbreak as he is an elite option at the position. I expect Smith to see a bump in a few of the major categories this upcoming season as it was hard to believe he didn’t record a single interception last year. A vital cog in one of the leagues best defenses, Smith will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
- Johnathan Cyprien – Our first player on the list that switched teams in the offseason, Cyprien finds himself in a great spot in a revamped Tennessee secondary where they signed free agent Logan Ryan and drafted cornerback Adoree Jackson. Cyprien has recorded over one hundred tackles in every season of his career so he has been a model of consistency. Cyprien has a safe floor but he will compete with Da’Norris Searcy and Logan Ryan for tackles so don’t be too surprised if he comes in under his career averages this season.
- Kenny Vacarro – The pairing of Vonn Bell and Vaccaro make up one of the most exciting, young safety tandems in the NFL. Vacarro was on his way to becoming a DB1 when a suspension cut his 2016 season short after eleven games. Vacarro can play both in the box and deep in coverage and I love the versatility that can result in sacks and an uptick in tackles. He is also heading into his free agent season and I love to invest in players that are trying to cement their financial future.
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – My favorite name in all of pro football, Dix did not suck in 2016. He posted a career high in interceptions with five and while he didn’t blow you away in tackles he still posted a rock hard 89 overall, his first season under 100. Burnett and Dix provide one of the best tag teams in the NFL and really excel where the Green Bay corners struggle. You won’t get laughed at when you draft Ha Ha, that I can assure you.
- Karl Joseph – Another rookie from last year makes the list! I’m not quite as high on Joseph as my counter part Everett but I see the potential upside of adding Karl Joseph to your fantasy teams in 2017. He is a locked in starter opposite Reggie Nelson and opportunity can sometimes be half the battle. I do like his skill set as a big hitting strong safety that can set the tone for a secondary. Ronnie Lott recently said of Joseph “I see a little Ronnie in Karl. And the reason I see it in his tenacity to want to be better. And I see it in his pursuit in how he tries to get to a player,” When Ronnie Lott speaks in third person, it’s probably a good idea to listen.
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