As we rapidly approach the start of the NFL season, we are being inundated with reports out of camp. Leonard Fournette released. Fred Warner with COVID. Derwin James with a knee injury. Yannick Ngakoue traded to the Vikings. My typing skills are trying to keep up. This is the last of the rankings updates, top 50 defensive backs for 2020 IDP leagues, with just a week or so before opening day.  

If you’ve followed my series on strategies and early-season rankings, you’ll know that defensive back rankings are dominated by strong safeties at the top of the board.  Corner is the most easily streamed position in IDP leagues and that has been my recommendation with this position. There weren’t a ton of changes in the rankings, but two big names have been affected by trade, Jamal Adams, and by injury, Derwin James


Derwin James is the major player here. His knee injury, which is reportedly a tear of his meniscus, has not been updated.  If the injury is one where the cartilage cannot be repaired, and it’s just a “clean up”, he could return in 3 to 4 weeks (similar to Joe Mixon in 2018). If it’s a tear that can be repaired, he could miss most of the season. For this reason, I am dropping him off my top 50 list.  He’ll be a good waiver pick up later in the season, but with the expectation of missing a good portion of the season, he’s undraftable now ( and dropable in the leagues you and I already have him in).

EDIT: Updated expectation is that James will be out 6-8 MONTHS. This will turn out to be either a meniscus repair or an articular cartilage clean-up/repair. (articular cartilage is the cartilage that covers the bone. Once that is “torn”, it is considered arthritis with bare bone showing).  If articular, this is not good for his long term outlook.

Xavier McKinney of the Giants broke the 5th Metacarpal in his foot.  These injuries can vary in the amount of time it will take to return. McKinney falls off the radar for this reason just like James. This is the same injury as Deebo Samuel who is supposedly nearing a return after surgery in mid-June. That’s 9+ weeks already…

Marcus Maye moves up the draft board as he is expected to take on Jamal Adams’ role in the Jets defense. If Maye can step in and perform, he could end up in the top 25 when the year is over. The player the Jets acquired in the Adams trade, Bradley McDougald, will man the deep safety position for the Jets. With the Jets’ poor offensive expectations, McDougald will see plenty of action. He’s a low-end safety at this point. 

Jamal Adams moves down slightly on my board from 1 to 5 (now 4 with James’ injury). I wrote my thoughts about his value after the trade here

Logan Ryan signed with the Giants while I was editing this piece. I plugged him in at 48 since it sounds like he may be playing safety to fill in for McKinney. Ryan’s season last year was off the charts and is not repeatable. He’s worth a flier in deeper leagues but don’t draft him too early expecting last year’s numbers. If he were that good, why did it take so long for him to sign? It could have been the money, but teams paid up for other defensive backs in the off-season. 

2020 has been a crazy year. Keep an eye on the news and expect the unexpected.

  Name Team Position
1 Budda Baker ARI S
2 Landon Collins WAS S
3 John Johnson LAR S
4 Jamal Adams SEA S
5 Harrison Smith MIN S
6 Jabrill Peppers NYG S
7 Jordan Poyer BUF S
8 Tracy Walker DET S
9 Justin Simmons DEN S
10 Tyrann Mathieu KC S
11 Jessie Bates III CIN S
12 Keanu Neal ATL S
13 Shawn Williams CIN S
14 Minkah Fitzpatrick PIT S
15 Kyle Fuller CHI CB
16 Taylor Rapp LAR S
17 Terrell Edmunds PIT S
18 Vonn Bell CIN S
19 Stephon Gilmore NE CB
20 Marcus Peters BAL CB
21 Johnathan Abram LV S
22 Malcolm Jenkins NO S
23 Marshon Lattimore NO CB
24 Tre’Davious White BUF CB
25 Adrian Amos GB S
26 Kevin Byard TEN S
27 Marcus Maye NYJ S
28 Hasean Clinton-Dix DAL S
29 Denzel Ward CLE CB
30 Damarious Randall LV S
31 Justin Reid HOU S
32 Patrick Peterson ARI CB
33 Kareem Jackson DEN S
34 Ronnie Harrison JAC S
35 Eddie Jackson CHI S
36 Karl Joseph CLE S
37 Tre Boston CAR S
38 Marlon Humphrey BAL CB
39 Jalen Mills PHI S
40 Adrian Phillips NE S
41 James Bradberry NYG CB
42 Micah Hyde BUF S
43 Antoine Winfield Jr. TB S
44 Sean Davis WAS S
45 Janoris Jenkins NO CB
46 Chris Harris Jr. LAC CB
47 Juan Thornhill KC S
48 Logan Ryan NYG CB
49 Jordan Whitehead TB S
50 Jeff Odukah DET CB
51 Jeremy Chinn CAR S
52 Jaquiski Tartt SF S
53 Anthony Harris MIN S
54 Chuck Clark BAL S
55 Jalen Ramsey LAR CB


  1. Roie needs Bs says:

    Appreciate all the IDP info I can find. Often hard to come by. Drop Kevin King or Rock Ya-Sin for Marcus Maye? Or stay?

    Thank you.

    • GasDoc

      GasDoc says:

      Sprint, run, knock people over to make that move

      • Roie needs Bs says:

        Got it. But do I keep King or Ya-Sin? Or just flip a coin?
        20 team league starting 3 DB’s. (Also have McDougald and Humphrey)

        • GasDoc

          GasDoc says:

          Coin flip but I’d keep Sin as GB can be run on. Teams may throw more against Colts

  2. Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:

    in a medium big play league (TO’s worth 4 solo’s, but sacks 2/3 of TO), these settings:
    solo: .75
    assist: .45
    fumble forced: 3
    F recov: 2
    pick: 3
    sack: 2
    TD: 6
    PD: 1
    blocked kick/X pt returned: 2
    safety: 3

    4 IDP flexes. i have b.martinez/cunningham/j.hicks (easy keeps there) and j.adams. last year i just kept keeping j.adams even though he’s a safety (it’s almost never a good idea to ever start a DL guy here, usually only the tackle hog LB’s are best). i can drop j.adams for any of: j.johnson LAR (obv from above) or one of these LB: r.smith (the good one, CHI now has 2 r.smith LB’s), LVE, kwon A, d.davis, kirksey (your LB ranks say to drop cunningham for kirksey too). guessing this is adams dropped for r.smith (the good one on CHI).

    • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:

      this is with the last pick of a 3 round dynasty slow draft. i already dropped j.ross and watkins for dobbins (own ingram) and p-will. it appears i can’t improve dropping michel for anybody or watkins for anybody. 2 QB dynasty (have these already: rodgers, mahomes, tannehill, haskins) half PPR.

    • GasDoc

      GasDoc says:

      I’m not a big dynasty player so my focus is usually on redraft. Roquan Smith is a great LB who will get you a lot of tackles. Your scoring system does reward turnovers more than sacks and Adams isn’t a huge turnover guy and they are very variable anyway. The other issue is we don’t know how they will use Adams in Seattle. For a floor I get Smith. For upside i keep Adams. In a dynasty you will be hard pressed to find talent like Adams. There will always be LBs available. Kirksey is an injury risk long term. Yes he may be better for this year but you are talking dynasty. Up to you on that one

      • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:

        good point on the age and j.adams up side. mcdougald had decent but not great tackle seasons over there (not really 12 team ownable though unless a lot of DB slots). i had mcdougald numerous times in 16’ers with only 2 DB’s though and fit there perfectly. issue here is if adams gets even close to that though that’s yuck here as a good DB 2 in 16 teamer is far cry from 48 total IDP’s started like here (those would’ve started 96 across the 3 basic positions)

        – numerous times last year i was close to dropping him, then noticed all those big plays kept him in top 10 or so.

  3. Better Call Limehouse says:

    how’s this one look, redraft 20 teamer with medium IDP depth (for a 20). PPR. drafted out of the 14th slot in odds:
    QB (1): AAron (5th, right around ADP), fitzmagic (AAron’s bye early week 5 so i only need fitz to keep job that long, 13)
    RB: (2): chubb (1), d-mont (max IR’s, 4), duke (7), mattison (8), gio B (17)
    WR (3): golladay (2), mclaurin (3), shenault (9), renfrow (10), arcegawhiteside (19)
    TE (1): hurst (6), everett (20)
    1 flex
    kicker: (1): slow-man (24)
    LB (2): d.bush (12), j.baker (18), pratt (22)
    DE (1): hunter (11)
    DT (1): heyward (14)
    S (1): neal (16), m.jenkins (21)
    CB (1): (23)
    1 IDP flex

    went off IDP guru’s rankings, which clearly align with your “draft the DL’s earlier since position depth at LB and CB just plain last”. hunter here i got as the 23rd IDP of the board and about the 4th DL guy.

    • Better Call Limehouse says:

      and team D: (1) LAC (15)

    • GasDoc

      GasDoc says:

      Like what you did except at RB. I would be curious to see what it would have looked like with an RB at 3 and WR at 4. Nice job with the IDP. The IDP Guru and I should team up. His rankings and my game theory. Glad it went well for you.

      • Better Call Limehouse says:

        he doesn’t actually write up his ranking methods, but does blurbs in every player till a certain depth. and stays active in preseason for sure and most weeks has numerous updates like “every down LB’s” (cause that stuff changes all the time), tackles by home crews, sleepers of the week etc. and clearly from his rankings he’s using similar methods, as DE/DT’s are pretty highly ranked and he i don’t think makes assumptions for his rankings being for super big play leagues. i’ll be back in here later (last draft shortly) showing what would’ve happened had say i not went mclaurin in the 3rd and improved on d-mont. in a league of this size some teams are worse off than me easily at RB though (one dude went WR/WR/WR and is f’d at RB, henderson is probably his most reps starter). others have somebody like at best duke johnson ALL year at RB #2. when d-mont’s back starting he’s boring but a startable starter in 20’s.

      • Better Call Limehouse says:

        had i not gone mclaurin in 3rd round i could’ve had singletary or j.white instead of d-mont (and i don’t think i’d have gone white anyway) who i got in the 4th.

  4. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:

    16 teamer start 2 DL’s dynasty. i have campbell and j.allen (WAS). your this year rankings say to stick with campbell and dump j.allen for m.crosby or armstead. also your rankings have odenigbo not much lower and THAT was when hunter was playing (but he sounds back in a few weeks anyway). plus for dynasty campbell is older than any of these other names.
    1. drop j.allen clearly for one of those 3,

    2. drop campbell for another of those 3?

    • GasDoc

      GasDoc says:

      From a Dynasty standpoint I would first dump Campbell for Crosby. Not sure of your scoring but if you are looking for sacks, Odenigbo could have some upside with Hunter’s injury. If more tackle oriented, I like Armstead over Allen.

    • GasDoc

      GasDoc says:

      From a Dynasty standpoint I would first dump Campbell for Crosby. Not sure of your scoring but if you are looking for sacks, Odenigbo could have some upside with Hunter’s injury. If more tackle oriented, I like Armstead over Allen.

    • GasDoc

      GasDoc says:

      see below

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:

        i’m now seeing a.smith (ranked not even top 100 LB’s at IDP guru either, this probably a result of LVE but ourlads had a.smith in there anyway at 1 of 3 LB spots before LVE went out), dude looked sick good AND counts as a DL but at LB? hokey smokes. i was able to drop campbell for f.clark already and am trying to waiver a.smith over either of armstead or crosby. and this MIN D literally got me -18 and probably why i’ll lose. so trying to drop the other armstead/crosby for WAS team D, those 5 1st rounders (most of them top 12 pretty sure) on the line guys finally destroyed one o-line and pretty much won a game by themselves (and really, other than o-line starting a rebuild around a psychotically destructive DL line is really way to go)

        – i don’t think in a league of this size dropping MIN D is a thing…. yet, we’re too deep for streaming. these others out there: LAR (them maybe), ARI, CIN, MIA, NYJ, DET, CLE, HOU, LV.

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