So far in the Individual Defensive Player (IDP) Tutorial Series here at Fantasy Sharks, we've covered basic concepts such as knowing your scoring and general draft strategies. We've also examined the positional scarcity that gives defensive linemen much of their IDP value, as well as taking a look at why linebackers are the foundation of building a winning IDP roster.
Now, it's time to discuss the last of the "major" IDP positions, a group of players deeper than Lake Superior and about as reliable as that satellite TV installer that insures you he'll be there to hook up your Sunday Ticket sometime between 8 a.m. and never. They're a delightful bunch, a motley crew who are as likely to make your fantasy squad a joke as they are apt to turn it into a juggernaut.
They are the defensive backs.
So, what is it about defensive backs that make them such a pain in the ass?
That can be summed up in one tidy word. Inconsistency.
Defensive backs are maddeningly inconsistent from year to year, and even from week to week. Part of that is due to the fact that many of them (especially cornerbacks) depend on big plays for a significant part of their production. Part of it is due to the fact that anything that affects the front seven, from scheme switches to personnel changes, can have a big impact on how many tackle opportunities a defensive back sees. Same goes if they change teams. Or their underwear.
Defensive backs are streakier than Christina Aguilera's hairdo, and it can make it nearly impossible to rank them with any sort of accuracy.
To show just how difficult, let's take a look at one site's Top 10 defensive backs entering the 2012 season compared to where they finished the year in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
(NOTE: These aren't my rankings, and while I may not completely agree with them, they're certainly reasonable enough to demonstrate my point.)
Kam Chancellor, SS, Seattle
Tyvon Branch, SS, Oakland
George Wilson, SS, Buffalo
Charles Tillman, CB, Chicago
Eric Berry, SS, Kansas City
Roman Harper, SS, New Orleans
Eric Weddle, FS, San Diego
Mark Barron, SS, Tampa Bay
Charles Woodson, SS, Green Bay
Jason McCourty, CB, Tennessee
As you can see, only three of the Top 10 ranked defensive backs to start the year ended it that way, with one other coming close. Not only is that not an anomaly, but, if...