2018 IDP Positional Rankings: Top Ten Defensive Backs
The Defensive Back position, in my opinion, is the hardest position to gauge year over year. In recent years we’ve seen a trend of rookie Cornerbacks exploding, this offseason we’ve seen pro-bowl level players still not signed as of this post, and it is near impossible to predict year to year interception totals for any one player, welcome to the tumultuous world of Fantasy Football IDP DBs!
A couple rules I follow when staffing DBs for any league I’m in: 1) review and know your league scoring settings, 2) draft for tackles, 3) Safeties over Cornerbacks, 4) don’t chase Sacks, Interceptions, and Fumble related stats they are horribly inconsistent.
Here are my top 10 defensive backs going into this season, and a couple honorable mentions:
Honorable Mention. Tre’Davious White, CB – As you will see the Buffalo backfield made quite the impact last season and White being the rookie on the squad did more than just surprise most of the IDP fantasy world with his level of production. With a new blue chip rookie Linebacker, that by most projections will be storming the league in a season or two, it’s expected that White, Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde will all take a hit in their production this year. I feel that given how all over the place the Buffalo offense is this offseason the defense should be on the field plenty of time, which will mitigate a good deal of any lost potential.
Honorable Mention. Tyrann Mathieu, S – Coming out of the second most productive season of his career, I think Mathieu’s move to Houston will only further aide both his and Houston’s team play. In his best season, Mathieu wasn’t a top tier fantasy asset. With all of my optimism for how advantageous this change will be for his career, he just won’t explode to the point where I can reasonably place him in the top 10.
Honorable Mention. Darius Slay, CB – While tackles for cornerbacks can fluctuate wildly yearly, Slay had a significant jump in his passes defended last year which slingshotted him to top tier fantasy production in most leagues. Slay is certainly the riskiest of my honorable mention players given how much of a jump his production was last year compared to his first 4 years in the league. This is why he should be viewed lowest on my list. With a new, more defensively minded coach, he should continue to flourish, just not as bright as last year.
10. Budda Baker, S – Possessing a strong set of skills resembling, if not exceeding, now former teammate Tyrann Mathieu, Baker should now be able to grow into the full potential he possesses. Given he was one of the most productive Safeties in the second half of last year there is a strong chance that even ranking him at 10th overall might be rather bearish when we look back at the end of the season.
9. Adrian Amos, S – Last season Amos had six games where he played 25% of snaps or less. Even at such a disadvantage, he had the most productive season of his career. Provided that he stays on the field I think Amos will survive the change of coaching staff and will continue to grow into a productive higher level Safety.
8. Jamal Adams, S – The Jets will need to cover the tackle hole that Demario Davis left. The addition of Avery Williamson will cover a little of that loss and it is presumed that Darron Lee will also pick a little of the slack. However, after pairing up with Marcus Maye last year who grew into a dependable deep defender, I think there is plenty of chances for Adams to take up many of those tackles. For that reason, he made it into my top 10.
7. Micah Hyde, S – After 4 decent seasons in Green Bay we finally got to see what Hyde could do on a team where he wasn’t buried behind two pro-bowl caliber players in Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. In short, he blew them out of the water and blew us away with how productive he could be. Conceivably, it could be justified that either he or Poyer could be in this spot, but I have faded both backs due to the drafting of Tremaine Edmunds and the emergence of Matt Milano as they should eat a little bit into the opportunity pool that Hyde and Poyer drink from. Still, Edmunds is young and raw, so I feel like his impact will be less this season and more in the seasons to come, keeping Hyde, Poyer, and White relevant this season at the least.
6. Harrison Smith, S – Benefitting from a fully clicking Minnesota defense last year, Smith turned in one of the three best seasons of his career. Off-seasons still register him as one of the better IDP DBs available, it just really helps when opposing offenses have to play the whole rest of the defense man to man. I think he’ll be able to put up another season or two of great work. His ranking is only being prevented by the skills of those ranked higher on this list.
5. Kevin Byard, S – This is a player I was banging the drum hard for last year! Byard did have 3 weeks with multiple interceptions, which will be hard to reproduce this year. The good news is he was wonderfully consistent with tackles and assisted tackles each week, in addition to his crazy interception spikes and consistent Passes Defended production. Given that he saw an over 400 total snap boost last year, Tennessee has got behind him and he should continue to see plenty of opportunity for more tackles, passes defended, and hopefully, keep up those interceptions in 2018.
4. Jordan Poyer, S – Statistically the major difference between Poyer and Hyde is that Poyer produced just under double the amount of assisted tackles this past season. This also means he was getting to the ball that much more often than Hyde and that means more opportunities which could turn into full on tackles or fumble related stats, which is why I have Poyer the highest of the Buffalo players on this list. So being a New England fan, it certainly pains me to have 3 Buffalo Bills in this article, but they have all proven their value as IDP studs and their situation continues to look advantageous this season.
3. Landon Collins, S – It could be argued that Collins or any other of the top three DBs on this list should be number 1. All three have produced tackle numbers that others on this list do not come close to and they tend to get other stats to fill out the box score as well. The stability of the New York Giants situation certainly does not improve my opinion of Collins this year. Adding to my cold feet, he’s coming off of his worst statistical season, even though he only missed the last game of the season, and saw lower snap counts in three other games. I still think he is a great and productive player, I just think Keanu Neal and Reshard Jones are less risky choices.
2. Keanu Neal, S – Having seen a 10% bump in total snaps last year, Neal’s strong production was overshadowed by Deion Jones’ stellar play last year. Given how young Neal is, I feel he can take better advantage of his vast amount of opportunity in the snaps he sees. I think this season he will be able to grow his production just a little bit more, keeping him relevant in the top tier of the DB position.
1. Reshard Jones, S – Three of the last four years Jones has been the dominant DB in the league. Before the last four years he was still wonderfully relevant when it came to his production. Entering his age 30 season it could likely be his last year of top tier productivity given how quickly most DBs start to slow down. That is the future, this year I think Jones should still get the same level of opportunity as he has had in every season he’s played in Miami. To quote Rick Flair, “to be the man, you got to beat the man” and right now Jones is the man and should be who everyone targets as the number 1 DB.
And there it is, the second installment of our IDP positional rankings, the counting down the top ten DB’s of 2018. Send us your feedback and let us know what you think by sending us an email: TrophyTime@TFFGurus.com. Remember to check out the Trophy Time Podcast which can be found on all the major podcast networks and follow and chat with us on Twitter – @TheFantasyBoys, @TFFGurus, @DaFantasyFather, and @DecoyLife.