Fantasy football player analysis: Defensive backs

by Cory J. Bonini on September 3, 2011 @ 00:01:20 PDT

 


Rk
Player Tm
Height
Weight
Year
Analysis
1
Yeremiah Bell Miami Dolphins
6-0
205
8
Bell has been a very productive IDP performer the past three years. He contributes a little bit of everything but is a big-time tackler. He has at least 101 total stops in each of the past three seasons. Bell, 33, showed little signs of slowing down last year and is a safe bet to lead fantasy defensive backs in 2011.
2
Eric Weddle San Diego Chargers
5-11
200
5
The California native has been a dynamic playmaker the past three seasons, when healthy. He missed three games in 2009 but was still on his way to another fine season. In 2010, Weddle posted 96 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 10 passes defensed and two INTs, one of which he took to the house (for the second straight year). You can make the argument for Weddle as the top fantasy IDP.
3
Patrick Chung New England Patriots
5-11
212
3
Chung started 13 games last year in his first year as a full-time first-teamer and he was amazing. The Oregon product recorded 96 tackles, nine passes defensed and three interceptions, taking one in for a score. His style of play leaves him a bit susceptible to injuries, but when healthy, few DBs are better for fantasy purposes.
4
T.J. Ward Cleveland Browns
5-10
210
2
The youngster starred in the Browns' defensive backfield as a rookie in 2010. He tallied a massive 123 tackles, 10 passes defensed, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Ward has dealt with a hamstring injury of late, but he is expected to be ready for Week 1 and may slide in your draft because of this.
5
Tyvon Branch Oakland Raiders
6-0
205
4
Branch has been a fantasy force the past two years, by registering 104 tackles in 2010 and 124 stops in '09, starting all 32 games. He has 5.0 sacks, 11 passes defensed and three forced fumbles in this time. Casual fans may not be familiar with Branch, which could work in your favor on draft day.
6
LaRon Landry Washington Redskins
6-0
217
5
Landry has missed all of the offseason with an Achilles' injury but says he will play in Week 1. The veteran was on pace for one of the finest seasons in IDP history, having racked up 85 tackles through nine games last year before falling to injury. Landy contributes a little bit across the board but isn't particularly strong against the pass. Beware of his injury concerns and draft accordingly.
7
Michael Griffin Tennessee Titans
6-0
203
5
In his fourth year, Griffin put it all together and broke out to the tune of 108 tackles, 12 passes defensed, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. He had been respectable the prior two seasons, so it isn't likely a fluke. Consider him a strong No. 1 that you can often land as a second defensive back.
8
Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs
6-0
211
2
Berry's rookie season couldn't have gone much better. He logged 92 tackles, 2.0 sacks, nine passes defensed, four interceptions (one TD) and forced a fumble in 16 starts. He is a playmaker in all phases of defense and always seems to be around the ball. It is scary to think that he could actually improve this year.
9
Louis Delmas Detroit Lions
5-11
202
3
Delmas has been proficient in just about everything that fantasy owners care about. He is a sound tackler (at least 84 the last two years), can blitz the passer (3.0 career sacks) and is dangerous with the ball in his hands (101-yard INT return in '09). He should be fine after having a pin put in his finger this offseason, but he has missed one game each of the last two years.
10
Bernard Pollard Baltimore Ravens
6-1
224
6
Pollard has won the starting strong safety job and may be flying under the radar. He has compiled at least 100 tackles each of the last two years (missing four total games in that time) and is a contributor in all major categories. His career bests include 2.5 sacks (2010), four INTs (2009) and four forced fumbles (2010).
11
Craig Dahl St. Louis Rams
6-1
209
5
Dahl stepped into the starting lineup on a limited basis in 2009 and showed enough to earn a job in 2010. He played in 15 games (13 starts) and posted 98 tackles, a sack, six passes defense, two picks and a forced fumble. He is a sneaky candidate to enter No. 1 DB territory and should be considered a sleeper.
12
Donte Whitner San Francisco 49ers
5-10
208
6
Whitner comes to the Niners after a monster 2010 season with the Buffalo Bills. He posted 140 tackles, a figure destined to come down in '11. He will start at strong safety and is just OK against the pass (five INTs and 18 PDs in his career). He may be overvalued because of last year's lofty play.
13
William Moore Atlanta Falcons
6-0
221
3
Last year was his first season as a starter, and Moore was very respectable for fantasy owners. He was never known for his pass defense skills, but five interceptions later, perhaps we should reconsider this notion. He forced a fumble and notched 72 tackles. Expect improvement in the tackle department in 2011 as he gains comfort within the system.
14
Antoine Bethea Indianapolis Colts
5-11
203
6
Bethea offers enough against the pass to make a difference fantasy-wise, but his real value is in his tackling ability. He racked up 106 last year, 95 the year before and 101 in 2008, not missing a start in this time. He is a reliable midrange No. 2 IDP defensive back.
15
Dawan Landry Jacksonville Jaguars
6-0
210
6
After starting his career with the Baltimore Ravens, Landry moves to the Jags and brings the versatility of being able to play either safety position with him. He posted 111 stops in 2010 and has three career interception return touchdowns. He isn't much of a blitzer and may have been helped considerably by the presence of Ed Reed. Cautiously consider him as your second DB.
16
Cortland Finnegan Tennessee Titans
5-10
188
6
Finnegan has developed into a strong play for fantasy owners. He has ball hawk skills but isn't often challenged, so his interceptions came down last year. He has 12 picks in the last three years, including one TD each season. Last year, Finnegan posted 100 stops in 16 starts.
17
Roman Harper (INJ) New Orleans Saints
6-1
200
6
A fractured finger shouldn't keep Harper off the field in Week 1. He has recorded no fewer than 89 total tackles in any of his four seasons as a starter and is an awesome blitzer. He isn't much of a pass defender but makes up for it in the FF column (six last year).
18
Oshiomogho Atogwe Washington Redskins
5-11
205
7
Atogwe comes to the Redskins after several productive seasons with the St. Louis Rams. He contributes in all major categories as a versatile playmaker. A hamstring injury has limited him in the preseason, but Atogwe should start in Week 1. He makes for a nice value pick.
19
Dashon Goldson San Francisco 49ers
6-2
200
5
Goldson returned on a one-year deal, so he is playing for a new contract. He posted 94 tackles in 2009 and 80 in '10. He has five interceptions (one TD) in the last two seasons and three forced fumbles. He makes for a solid, steady option for your second DB.
20
Charles Tillman Chicago Bears
6-2
198
9
A fiesty defender, Tillman isn't afraid to stick his nose in to make a tackle or jar the ball free. He has 17 forced fumbles in the last four seasons and at least 75 tackles in each of the last six seasons. Tillman also has picked off 10 passes over the past three years. Draft him as a value pick.
21
Kerry Rhodes Arizona Cardinals
6-3
212
7
Rhodes has yet to miss a game in the NFL and is coming off a rebound season. He recorded 90 stops and four interceptions. He has generally been a good source of tackles and INTs in his career but doesn't offer many forced fumbles or sacks.
22
Charles Woodson Green Bay Packers
6-1
202
14
The veteran playmaker posted a career-high 92 tackles last year. He has at least 2.0 sacks in each of the last three years and is a healthy source for passes defensed. Woodson has 18 interceptions the last three years and is very dangerous with the ball in his hands (six INT TDs over last three years). Age (almost 35) may catch up to him soon, but he has remained healthy the past three seasons.
23
Brian Dawkins Denver Broncos
6-0
210
16
Dawkins missed five games last year but is healthy and ready to contribute again. He does a little bit of everything and is a strong tackler (116 stops in 2009). The wily veteran is a very good blitzer and creates turnovers because of it. He is an injury risk, though, so draft with care.
24
Quintin Mikell St. Louis Rams
5-10
203
9
Mikell comes to the Rams after spending his whole career in Philly. He is a strong tackler (at least 88 stops the last three years) and has decent ball skills (eight picks since 2007). He has 28 passes defensed in the past two seasons and may fly under the radar in your draft.
25
Alterraun Verner Tennessee Titans
5-10
187
2
Verner was picked on a lot last year as a rookie, but he often held his own. This led to a lot of tackles (101) and he managed three picks on the season. He doesn't contribute much otherwise but is a value pick late in your draft.
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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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