Welcome to the second of our three IDP over and under articles. If you play in leagues that use Individual Defensive Players (IDP) then you already know that the Defensive Back position position has the highest rate of fluctuation from one season to the next so finding avoiding trendy picks and finding value are essential to a solid IDP line up.
With defensive linemen, the "sack" is the holy grail, and hardest to predict. For defensive backs it is the "interception." Luck plays as large a part as skill does.
In the last five seasons, only 5 players have had 10 interceptions in a season, and none in the last two seasons. All 5 were different players. So this leaves two areas of focus when assessing a players potential each season. The first, which some leagues do not count (so check yours) is the Pass Defended (PD). Last season the New York Jets Darrelle Revis led the league with 31. They generally count the same as a solo tackle. The standard is one point.
The constant at all three IDP positions is the solo tackle. This provides consistency from week to week. With all this in mind, let's look at 5 DBs being taken too soon, and 5 who are going at a value price tag.
Antoine Winfield, MIN - Win has been one of the league's most consistent fantasy DBs when he's healthy. In 2009 he only started 9 games, but still managed 53 solo tackles. In 2008 he was the league's 3rd best fantasy DB, and 12th in 2006. In 2007, he missed a half dozen games as well. All signs point to a full and productive season in 2010. At this point in his career he may not get back to 3rd place again, but he could get inside the top 15, and with an ADP of 33, he's definitely a bargain.
Tanard Jackson, TB - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have another season ahead where the defense will be on the field more than the offense. This is only a good thing for Jackson who finished 2009 as the 15th best scoring fantasy DB. However, he missed a quarter of the season. His per game fantasy production was good for 5th best among DBs. I have him ranked 10th, and his current ADP is 16th. Last week it was 20th, so people are taking notice of the potential and he may not remain undervalued much longer.
Jordan Babineaux, SEA - Babs started all 16 games last season for the first time in his 4-years in the NFL. He only had 2 interceptions which makes his 21st overall fantasy finish pretty amazing. Chock it up in part to ranking 10th in solo tackles with 75. Those are nice solo numbers. he had 105 total tackles. This season he'll have rookie Earl Thomas lining up across from him. I have Jordan ranked 28th. His current ADP is 39th. Adding insult to injury, is that Thomas is being selected 20 DBs ahead of him.
Bob Sanders, IND - The last few season Sanders has been overvalued, but heading into 2010 he seems a bit under the value margin. It's not hard to see why. He's never played a full 16-game season in his 6-year career. Last season he managed only 2 games, and 6 in 2008. But when he played 15 in 2007, and 14 in 2005 he was a fantasy gem. Sanders has had plenty of time to get himself back into game shape, and he's due for a full (or almost full season) in which he can once again put up top 25-30 numbers. Right now he's going 44th overall, which could be a nice bargain for a guy who can put up Pro Bowl numbers.
Brandon Flowers, KC - Flowers enters his third season for the Chiefs, having shown solid progression from his rookie season to his sophomore campaign. There's no reason to believe he won't do as well or better in that magic third season. Last year he ended with 58 solo tackles, 5 interceptions and 23 PDs in 15 games, good for 13th best overall in fantasy scoring. His current ADP is 22nd among DBs.
Eric Berry, KC - You usually don't like to see Safeties being drafted high in the real draft, and you certainly don't want to see a rookie safety going as the 4th DB off the fantasy boards, but that's exactly where the much hyped future stud is going, in re-draft leagues. While he will likely perform somewhere in the top 10-25 range, grabbing him in the top 10 is simply overvaluing him. Bonus Bust: Joe Haden, CLE, is not ranked in the top 50, but he's being grabbed at 38th, one pick ahead of Jordan Babineaux, above.
Louis Delmas, DET - Delmas is the recipient of many a fantasy man-crush. While I like his long term ability, I'm not as high on him as others who have him ranked in the top 10. I have him at 13th, but his ADP is 6th. He ended 2009 ranked 17th overall.
Darrelle Revis, NYJ - I like Revis in real football better than fantasy simply because he's so damn good. People avoid throwing to him, and while that might improve a bit this year it won't be enough to justify his #12 ADP spot. He did rank 18th in fantasy points at DB in 2009 based on a league that counts Pass Defenses. He led the league with 31. He also managed 6 interceptions last season, but only 47 solo tackles. He only had 45 solo tackles the year before that as well. If your league doesn't count PDs, he takes a serious hit, but even with PDs in the mix he's not likely to earn his draft position. Add to all of that his current stand off with the Jets hierarchy.
Taylor Mays, SF - Mays is a rookie which is reason enough to be wary. I have him ranked just inside my top 50 going into 2010. He has the skills, and should have ample opportunity to be productive with the 49ers but he's not likely top 30 productive in 2010. He still has to earn the starting job away from Michael Lewis just to make some fantasy bling.
Earl Thomas, SEA - Thomas is another rookie, like Haden and Mays above. Unlike those two, he does have more opportunity in Seattle in 2010 because he already has a starting gig. This makes him more fantasy viable, but not enough to warrant a top 20 pick. His current ADP is a ridiculous 18th.
Bonus Bust: Troy Polamalu, PIT
ADP Rankings taken from myfantasyleague.com