Derwin James is looking to bounce-back as an elite fantasy DB after an injury-plagued 2019 season
Linebackers not only are the priority when it comes to fantasy football leagues that include Individual Defensive Players (IDPs), but it also helps to apply a similar mindset in selecting your defensive backs. Coverage skills are certainly important but for fantasy, the most valuable DBs are those that fill up the stat sheet because they are making plays all over the field.
There are those DBs that specialize in shutting down a team's top wide receiver, like reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. But a lockdown corner's value for their team doesn't always show up in the counting stats, which is what really matters in fantasy.
Take Budda Baker, for example. He didn't record a single interception last season but still finished among the top fantasy scorers because of his 147 total tackles (most by a DB, fourth overall in the league). Not surprisingly, other defensive backs that fall into this category — Derwin James, Jamal Adams, Landon Collins, Jordan Poyer, and last year's surprise performer, Tracy Walker — join Baker at the top of the rankings for 2020.
There's some risk when it comes to James, the No. 1 DB in our rankings, as he played in just five games last season because of a foot fracture, but he flashed his immense fantasy potential as a rookie in 2018 when he collected 105 tackles, three interceptions, 3.5 sacks, and passes defended. If healthy, James will resume his jack-of-all-trades role for the Chargers and that's music to the ears of those in IDP leagues.
2020 Defensive Back (DB) Rankings
ADP - Average Draft Position