Let’s be honest, defensive backs, unless they get rewarded for return yardage, are like kickers because their value ties to their surrounding cast more than the real player. You want safeties that play with weaker linebackers so they can have more tackle opportunities and you want corner backs that play on teams either with good offenses or that have a stud cornerback on the other side. Every point counts on your fantasy teams, so make sure you get the best possible player you can.
1.Calvin Pryor, S, Jets
Not only is Pryor the hardest hitter in his class, he gets to play for Rex Ryan who will make sure the young safety gets himself in the best spot to make plays. Pryor won’t be asked to be in coverage much, so he can be an extra thumper near the line of scrimmage and might lead the Jets in tackles. He makes a great IDP from day one.
2. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Packers
This big play safety will get to work along another stud safety in Morgan Burnett. As a free safety, Clinton-Dix will cover, close, and be the designated ball hawk. Hopefully his aggression and instincts will help him find the ball quickly. Clinton-Dix has soft hands and can leap with any receiver, but he needs to be more disciplined to make an impact on your fantasy team.
3. Justin Gilbert, CB, Browns
Not only is he the most athletic defensive back in his class, now the rookie corner has all-pro Joe Haden playing on the other side of him. This will make Gilbert a heavily targeted man. It’s his light feet, fluidity, loose hips, and adjustment to the ball in the air that separates him from everyone else. Gilbert is also a dangerous returner, which makes him even more valuable in return yardage leagues. I do not see a rookie corner in a better situation for the next three to four years.
4. Deone Bucannon, S, Cardinals
I think he found the way to a great fit for him in Arizona. Bucannon will play beside free saftey Tyrann Mathieu who is better in coverage and is more of a ball hawk. Instead Buccannon gets to be a bully by being a big, physical hard hitter who forces fumbles with crushing hits and pries the pigskin away from ball carriers.
5. Bradley Roby, CB, Broncos
With Aqip Talib playing on the other side, Roby is going to see a lot of action with teams trying to keep up with the explosive Peyton Manning chucking the ball. The young, somewhat troubled corner is fast and fluid, but lacks consistency. Roby might not be the best citizen, but he has enough grit to take on all comers in a target rich environment.
6. Brock Vereen, S, Bears
The young brother of Patriots running back Shane Vereen, gets to step into a target rich environment with only journeyman Ryan Mundy in front of him. Vereen is solid in coverage and tackles well, but he isn’t a big play guy. He is versatile enough to play any defensive back position in a pinch.
7. Lamarcus Joyner, CB/S, Rams
It looks like Joyner will play at free safety which suits his crazy running back mentality. He has tremendous burst that helps him get to speed immediately, has great vision, and is a good returner who can help out a lot on special teams. I’m not sold on Trumaine Johnson lining up opposite Jenoris Jenkins, so Joyner might see some time at corner too.
8. Jason Verrett, CB, Chargers
He provides an immediate upgrade for the Chargers. Despite his small stature, 5′ 9″, Verrett has the smoothness and quicks to line up in the slot or on the outside. While he might not be a physical corner, its his great ball skills and flexibility to cover one on one that will keep him on the field the entire game, including special teams.
9. Jimmie Ward, S/CB, 49ers
This defensive back might be one of the most athletic and rawer prospects out there. Ward will start playing against the slot receiver. He is a hard hitter who possesses a lot of football intelligence. It’s his balance, lateral agility, good vision, and coverage skills that make him ideal against an opposing team’s quickest player. Ward tends to get dominated by more physical receivers, which he will hardly see playing as the nickel corner.
10. Kyle Fuller, CB, Bears
The entire NFC North is pass-happy which makes the younger Fuller brother excited about his surroundings. He will begin his career as a third corner back, but will see plenty of action against the likes of Devonte Adams, Eric Ebron, and Jerome Simpson. He has good instincts, quickness, and is always trying to create turnovers. Fuller should see targets early and often, making him a great guy to have in your fantasy lineup.
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