Having learnt a little about projecting players based on their college production in my ranking linebackers posts, it was time apply this to projecting defensive backs.
The short answer for defensive backs is – draft Strong Safeties.
Here’s the long answer.
Without going in to the nitty-gritty of our league scoring system, scoring Cornerbacks is almost impossible. We use Sleeper for our dynasty league and there just isn’t a reasonable way of scoring the defensive backs in a way that mirrors their real life play. I went in to detail on this back when we set up the league – check that post out here!
To demonstrate this, here’s a breakdown of points by position from the 2017-19 draft classes including my ‘Score’.
There’s an obvious trend here – the closer to the line of scrimmage a guy plays, the more fantasy points they rack up – with only 3 ‘Safeties’ the sample is too small to really read into at all.
Almost unbelievably, from this, albeit smallish sample size, players that play at Strong Safety in the league average more fantasy points per game in the NFL than they did at the college level!
If we trim the data a little to remove those with a score less than 6 or more than 12, we can see how the average player projects to the NFL.
It’s interesting to see the productivity of the Cornerbacks and Free Safeties at the college level being around 20% higher than that of their NFL fantasy production – this may well point to playing against more pass-happy and error-prone Quarterbacks at the college level allowing for more PD’s, INT’s and even turnover touchdowns.
There still seems to be a trend of ‘draft backs that will play close to the LoS’.
So here’s the list of the Defensive Backs with a score of over 8 from the 2017-2019 draft classes with a few additions of note to see how they stacked up.
I’m pretty happy with how the score correlates with fantasy production which means it’s time to move on to the 2020 class.
Well that isn’t very exciting is it.
Winfield is the clear Fantasy winner from this class given the stats I can get.. which is the key bit. Neither Chinn nor Dugger played in schools that were covered by the brilliant Sports Reference.com site (which is where all the exciting raw data came from) and so I had to do a bit of fudging to get them near the top. I would have Chinn as the No 1 overall DB for fantasy in the 2020 class with Dugger lurking somewhere nearby in second but it was too big a stretch to just give them a score that high.
Dugger is a tricky guy to project. Weighing the small school against landing with the patriots is really interesting. That defence works like no other and Dugger is a unique prospect. I think the chances of him ending up with a pretty average career are slim – he’s either disappearing off the face of the Earth or dominating for a few years before being traded for a second. Classic Patriots.
I drafted him at the top of the 4th and immediately nicknamed him ‘Outta Lenoir Rhyne!’ which you’ll be sick of hearing soon enough. Classic Giants.
Overall, not an exciting class for fantasy. I recommend checking your waiver wire for starting Strong Safeties!
On to the Defensive Lineman..
Head Coach of the Jotunheim Giants