By Ryan Sitzmann.
I know it's super early for 2010 IDP rankings. However, I always like to start them early and get a foundation built. I will continue to update these rankings throughout the offseason to reflect changes in free agency, defensive schemes, defensive playing time, rookie draft picks, etc.
I would also love to get feedback from my readers. Oftentimes we get stuck in our own philosophies and tendencies, so it's nice to get a different perspective on my rankings. Your comments will definitely influence my rankings.
Well, enough chitchat. Here are the preliminary 2010 IDP defensive back rankings.
FA = 2010 Free Agent
DSC = Possible 2010 Defensive Scheme Change
S = Possible Sleeper/Undervalued Player
B = Possible Bust/Overvalued Player
R = Injury Risk
Solo Tackle = 2 points
Assist = 1 point
Sack = 7 points
Interception = 12 points
Fumble Recovery = 5 points
Defensive backs have the most variability in point production from year to year. In other words, your top 20 defensive backs in 2010 could be quite different from your top 20 defensive backs in 2009 (especially in "big play leagues").
Much of this variability is because, many times, a defensive back's production is heavily tied to the performance of that specific team's front seven. Their production is also heavily tied to how they are used in the defensive scheme (especially safeties).
For example, Roman Harper started off the 2009 season very well. However, after both of New Orleans' cornerbacks got injured, they started playing Harper in coverage more as opposed to bringing him up close to the line of scrimmage to stop the run. Consequently, his tackle numbers severely dipped.
In addition, the defensive back position, more than any other position, has the most substantial number of fantasy producers on the waiver wire because many unexpected fantasy performers emerge from the defensive back ranks throughout the season (e.g. Bernard Pollard).
With this being said, I find it hard to use one of my first defensive picks on a defensive back. In reality, there aren't as many "locks" at this position as there are at the linebacker position (e.g. Patrick Willis, Jon Beason, London Fletcher, etc.).
Therefore, I usually try to grab a solid veteran fantasy producer like LCB Antoine Winfield or SS Brian Dawkins and get riskier at this position with my other picks. Not only does this free me up to use higher draft picks on other defensive positions, but it also allows me to more easily drop players during the season to pick up potential defensive back studs off the waiver wire...