My final installment of IDP advice before Week 1 Rankings will be the briefest. Simply put, DBs are the least predictable IDP position, and no matter what strategy you employ, you’ll likely see weeks with huge point totals, and weeks of near shut-outs. Even the top players aren’t models of consistency (Morgan Burnett had a week with 2 points, Charles Tillman and Antoine Winfield were both shut out), something that isn’t seen with any other position other than maybe kicker. Which is oddly the best comparison to DBs for fantasy purposes. So despite what you are about to read, don’t overthink things with your D-Backs, and for the love of God…
DON’T TAKE A DB BEFORE EVERY OTHER POSITION IS SET
I ranked Burnett as my #1 DB, and I absolutely love the potential of Harrison Smith, but there is not a chance in hell that either of them ends up on one of my teams this year. There is just too much value at too many other positions to sacrifice anything other than a very late round pick on a DB. It can be very hard to resist jumping in on a DB position run somewhere around the 12th round, especially as you see your top 10 guys all gone, but relax Sidney, have a cream soda. And instead spend that pick on someone like Jon Bostic or Da’Quan Bowers, who are much more likely to contribute consistent production to your squad. If you remember one thing I said about DBs this preseason, remember that Joe Haden wears purple pants to parties. But if you remember anything else, remember to wait on DBs.
Much like you would choose a DE over a DL and a MLB over an OLB, when in doubt choose Safeties over Cornerbacks. Tackles are the name of the game, even in the secondary, and Safeties just get many more chances at them in the middle of the field than CBs that are often glued to the sideline. For big play leagues, Safeties are also typically more likely to rush the passer, and get to play center field on deep passes, upping the odds of an interception or at least a pass defended. Lastly, the best cornerbacks often make terrible IDP options because QBs simply won’t throw the ball their way. It’s much more difficult to avoid throwing the ball anywhere near Bernard Pollard than it is to avoid Darrelle Revis.
Jail Bait Won’t Get You In Trouble
The younger the better, that’s what I say. If there’s grass on the field, play ball. If there’s turf on the field, don’t wear long cleats. While these words of wisdom should not be applied around high schools (other than the cleats thing; seriously, you’ll fall on your ass and end up with a rug burn.), they absolutely apply to defensive backs. The smartest QBs, and even some of the dumb ones, know how experienced each member of a secondary is. If they see Dee Milliner on one side of the field and Antonio Cromartie on the other, they are much more likely to target the rookie than the 2- time Pro- Bowler. Unless of course Cro is near the cheerleaders, in which case the QB will audible in his direction (I believe Tom Brady refers to this as Baby Makin’ Time). But in general, it holds that younger DBs, especially corners, rack up more points than their more experienced counterparts.
No Such Thing As Injury-Prone
It’s probably not smart to draft Hakeem Nicks, Danny Amendola and Jordy Nelson as your top 3 receivers, as all are known to miss time due to injuries. There is always the chance that you get 16 games out of all three, but it’s not worth three early picks to find out. For Defensive Backs there is no need to avoid players like this. Every NFL team has at least 4 DBs on the field on every single play, meaning that the waiver wire is guaranteed to have startable replacements if your guys get hurt. And if they do get hurt, there’s no reason to waste a roster spot for a month like you would for someone like Nicks. You just drop the DB and move on to the next one. Fantasy owners are always too loyal to players they draft, but if you can break that habit, it makes drafting guys like William Moore and Pollard a lot easier to palate. If they stay healthy, great. You just got a DB1 for a discount. If they get hurt, oh well. On to the next one.
That’s it for me this preseason. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in Week 1 for some actual, real-life football.