2016 Fantasy Rankings – Top 10 Defensive Backs
When Doug and I sat down to talk about IDP rankings and I mentioned the phrase “Glass Cannon” he thought I was making up a new nickname for Tony Romo. Now, while one could argue Mr. Romo’s collar bone is made of glass, I was bringing up the phrase to describe how defensive backs tend to produce points.
For those of you who don’t play many online RPG’s or just don’t know the phrase, a “Glass cannon” is a popular term in gaming (especially online-gaming), where it refers to a character or class that has remarkable offensive power, but has low defense. In our use here, the translation rolls out to, some of these players can produce massive amounts of points one week, and the next week put up a piddily 2 points.
What you will find in the following list is that we expect these players to put up points at much more regular intervals than those who we didn’t list. Furthermore, one must always remember that fantasy rankings truly are about expected point production over the coming season, not a gauge of the talent that each player has.
And away we go:
- Reshard Jones – Mr. Jones is (in many formats, but depending on your league’s scoring) the reigning IDP points champ, and while Kiko Alonso should eat up some of the tackles Jones captured last year, it is difficult to rank Reshard anywhere but the number one spot when he out scored the number two DB often by about 20%. He has yet to show the consistency like Watt does at the DL or the top 5 of LBs, but he does fill up the stats across the board, getting passes defended, interceptions, sacks/tackles for loss at a respectable rate and tackles all day every day, and seriously in one league I was in he scored 25% more than the number 2 DB.
- Tyrann Mathieu – When the “Honey Badger” came out of college I think the whole universe expected him to be a worse version of what Johnny Manziel is doing right now. To be blunt, we were all wrong, Mathieu has done nothing but continue the leadership and production that he showed in college, and worked his way back from injury in a respectable way. The ride with Tyrann won’t be as smooth as Reshard, there are just too many other good defensive players on Arizona for him to get the tackles that Jones does, but Mathieu fills up the other stats just as respectably.
- Harrison Smith – Coming off of a 12 game season expect Smith to get into his 2014 form. Really all we have to say is when he is on the field, Harrison Smith shines.
- Morgan Burnett – Another injury bounce back, Burnett quickly became the lynch pin of the Green Bay defense alongside Clinton-Dix in 2014. Expect them both to shine, as GB plays a 2-4-4 base D, that provides plenty of blitz opportunities for their Safetys.
- Corey Graham – For many leagues last year Graham finished as the second or third highest scorer. This 5th rank comes from a result of what we expect out of Graham’s peers, and not knowing what to expect from the defensive scheme changes in Buffalo this year.
- Kurt Coleman – A player who may be a surprise for many to have such a high rank, Coleman has played in 3 different defenses in the previous seasons. Of those, last year was his best, and he’s going to get to stay in the same defense this coming year! With the loss of Norman in Carolina, we expect Coleman to shoulder a bigger role in the Defense.
- Kenny Vaccaro – He stepped his game up last season and this coming season will really show us if Vaccaro will be a back that fluctuates from year to year or will be a standout in his field in the coming years, we expect the later.
- Malcolm Jenkins – Coming off of a career year in tackles Jenkins role in Philidelphia changed over the course of the season last year. While we expect much better linebacker play there this year, Jenkins was often called on to be the 4th backer and this often worked in confusing offenses. Expect similar stats this coming year.
- Landon Collins – He had an amazing rookie season last year, nothing points to him slowing down.
- Marcus Peters – Another rookie who had an amazing year. Peters has the lowest tackles total of any player on this list (including honorable mention), so why is he on this list? 26 passes defended, 8 interceptions, and still had 60 total tackles, these numbers usually combine for these types of totals. Peters showed he has a nose for getting to an airborne ball this past year, and when a player gets his hands on the ball that often, he is much more likely to get a chance to get a touchdown. Truly the definition of “Glass Cannon” that I outlined above, Peters has the capability of winning your week for you, while still having a rather high floor. The ultimate pick for someone who love risk/reward players.Honorable Mentions
1. Kam Chancellor – Similar to why we ranked Bobby Wagner the way we did, Kam lives on a defense full of pro-bowlers, and while he would be probably in the top 5 if he were on other teams, there are just too many mouths to feed for him to put up elite numbers.2. Antoine Bethea – Proven to be amazing when healthy, and damnit someone else has to play defense in San Francisco besides Bowman. Chance to be a sneaky play if you find DBs are flying off the board and you didn’t get a top producer that you wanted.3. Eric Weddle – Cooling off since his rookie year, Weddle has the chance to emerge as a leader in the re-tooling Baltimore defense. There is a lot of potential in Baltimore this year, we expect a better year than last out of Weddle, it’s just a matter of how well he adapts to the new city and team.
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