Welcome to the last installment of my 2024 IDP Top 10 Dynasty Rankings, this time for the Defensive Back position. I will be going through each position breaking down my early top-10. If you missed the others follow the links below.
The investment in DBs, much like RBs and WRs, tends to yield a consistently high success rate throughout their careers, spanning from ages 22 to 31, particularly for Safeties. It remains one of the safest positions on defense in terms of bust rates, and players give teams a long-lasting shelf life.
Opting for a DB in an NFL rookie draft is a wise move, as it has proven to be a smart sound investment. It's a common sight to witness a Safety drafted by a team promptly making a significant impact, with a relatively smaller bust rate window. A DB is usually determined good his first few seasons or not, then gives relatively good work with the peak ages of 23-27. After 28 we see a steady decline from the masses, but the elite ones will still generate attention and still be able to maintain volume work.
Keeping in mind understanding how age cliffs will help us identify players and peak performance. GMs realize this too and get maximum usage out of this position and long-lasting shelf life. Here is our ranking of the top Dynasty candidates.
2024 IDP Dynasty Football Top 10 Defensive Back Rankings
Become an All-Access Member to get access to our Award-Winning Rankings, Projections, DFS/Betting Advice, Personalized Advice via Discord and more.
If you are already a member, sign in.
No. 10: Jordan Battle, Cincinnati Bengals
In Battle's rookie season, it took until Week 11 to get to start. Despite the lateness, still finished as the highest-rated Saftey per PFF. He achieved top-10 rankings at his position, boasting an overall grade of 82.5 and an 81.3 grade in run defense. Now fully entrenched in the job, expect Battle and teammate Dax Hill to be one of the league's top team-ups for years.
Captain Insano (Jordan Battle's version) pic.twitter.com/nwMHLYBW6P
— mike (@bengals_sans) January 11, 2024
No. 9: Brian Branch, Detroit Lions
Branch has started since day one in Detroit's exciting new revamped defense. Playing several key roles in his rookie season in the secondary as a cornerback, nickelback, and safety this season he particularly excelled as a big nickel. His effectiveness as a cornerback has been remarkable, earning him a top 20 grade per PFF and positioning him as the second-highest-ranked rookie corner according to PFF metrics.
In terms of his 2023 statistics, Branch's impact is reflected in his impressive numbers: 74 combined tackles, seven tackles for loss, three interceptions (including one touchdown), 13 passes defended, one forced fumble, and one sack. This rookie has a solid future in the NFL.
Remember when Brian Branch welcomed Cole Beasley back from retirement in a preseason game? 😂☠️
I bought his jersey after this. Going to be a dawg on this defense for years to come. pic.twitter.com/3OXt9vuYUY
— President of the LaPorta Supporta’s (@bradholmes4prez) February 3, 2024
No. 8: Xavier McKinney, New York Giants
At 25 years old, Xavier McKinney is looking to test Free Agency this off-season. He will be highly sought after, and rightfully so, now finally putting together his best seasonal performance yet. Mckinney produced 115 tackles (78 were solos), two FFs, 0.5 sacks, and three interceptions.
Playing all 100 percent of snaps this season and having an outstanding coverage grade of 91.2 helped revolutionize his breakthrough. McKinney could play both free and strong safety and could adapt to any team that would pay for his services.
Texans need more versatility at the safety position. Enter Xavier McKinney pic.twitter.com/6GsVJQzsET
— big ounce (Texans script writer) (@_bigounce) January 23, 2024
No. 7: Jevon Holland, Miami Dolphins
Throughout his young career, The 23-year-old Holland has shown great versatility as a player. He excels as a tackler, TFL specialist, pass deflections, and overall passing coverage. He turned a few heads this year making some big plays as well, including a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown vs Jets.
For those that may not remember he was one of the league's leaders in tackles earlier in the season, until an injury took him out in Week 12 against that same aforementioned Jets team. Sometimes we have to look beyond the stats to evaluate players, and his tape shows how talented he is on many levels.
Build your defense only w/ players you’ve watched from your favorite NFL team. Note your defensive captain.
Who ya got? 👀
— The Kevin Harlan Effect (@KevHarlanEffect) January 31, 2024
No. 6: Jessie Bates, Atlanta Falcons
In his first season with the Falcons, this 26-year-old player appears to improve each season. Playing in all 17 games. Bates is earning recognition with a Pro Bowl trip and a second-team All-Pro invitation.
He achieved these accolades by notching a career-high 132 tackles and six interceptions. showcasing his impact with three forced fumbles. It appears Bates is a solid trade buy in the prime of his NFL life.
Jessie Bates is now 2nd in the NFL in Interceptions what a signing pic.twitter.com/m0MmUpsr5D
— Kai (@SznPltts) December 24, 2023
No. 5: Jaquan Brisker, Chicago Bears
Eddie Jackson (At the time of this publishing it was my speculation that he would not return in free agency, this came true on 02/15/2024) that theory would assuredly leave Brisker as the leader of a young secondary group of Tyrique Stevenson, and Kyler Gordan to emerge for Chicago or seasons to come.
This ranking assumes that the 24-year-old Brisker's, impressive production rise, will allow him to take a step further in an enhanced leadership role,
Unfortunately, for the second consecutive year, Brisker faced a concussion that led to a two-game absence in the middle of the season. Despite this challenge, he consistently contributed double-digit points in all but one game throughout the 2023 season.
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) October 14, 2022
No. 4: Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals
Approaching the final year of his contract, this 28-year-old defensive back gathered national attention last season when he asked his team to trade him last season. Baker has established himself as a top safety over his seven-year NFL career.
Unfortunately, he faced setbacks in the 2023 season, missing five of the first six games due to injuries, but still made his sixth Pro Bowl in seven seasons. A model of consistency for players like this is franchise fixtures and will be leaders for their team regardless of where they play.
Arizona Cardinals fans want to see the team extend Budda Baker https://t.co/Nx9KuaxY6D
— Cardinals on Scoreboard Page (@CARDINALSonSP) February 2, 2024
No. 3: Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers
Believe it or not, this was a down year for Derwin James in terms of coverages he gave up 300+ more yards than his worst season. It's worth mentioning that it is true he may be slowing down lucky for IDP Managers production is still king. James's superior abilities landed him 106 tackles, five passes defensed, two fumble recoveries, and an interception in 2023.
He is a threat to be a top player on this list and is IDP consistent as they come.
#FFIDP - S, Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers
For as much variance as there is at the safety/DB position, Derwin is the ONLY safety to finish among the top-5 in TKLs vs Expected in each of the past three seasons.
A down year for his PFF grades, but no drop-off in production🐐 pic.twitter.com/xEEfddGMCZ
— Jon Macri (@PFF_Macri) January 17, 2024
No. 2: Kyle Hamilton, Baltimore Ravens
Remarkably, he earned the distinction of being the youngest defensive starter selected for the Pro Bowl at the age of 22. He was also honored with first-team All-Pro recognition as well. Players like this just don't come around often.
In two NFL seasons, we have seen Hamilton as a blizer, cornerback, and run-defending safety. Getting the opportunity as a full-time starter this season we got to see the stats pan out as a coverage defender too.
Functioning as the main defender in coverage, he was a proven lockdown player and limited opposing quarterbacks to a completion rate of only 56.1% and an impressive 41.1 passer rating. Hamilton, as the primary defender, has permitted just one touchdown while securing four interceptions. Simply put, there is nothing this player can't do and he possesses upper-elite versatility.
No. 1: Antoine Winfield Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winfield's outstanding productive output at 25 years old puts him at the top of our list as we expect amazing seasons to come. In this fourth year, Winfield marked his best season yet playing in 16 games and logging 98% of the defensive snaps, which helped his fantasy owners achieve 12 pass breakups, three interceptions, five forced fumbles, five sacks, and a total of 117 tackles. All of which was a personal career best.
There is always the chance that he could leave in free agency, but as history has shown teams don't normally let young talented defensive backs in their prime walk out the door. At any rate, he will produce at a high rate wherever he goes.
- Camryn Bynum, Minnesota Vikings: A season of huge tackle numbers will get him on most lists.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers: Coming off injury but the interceptions and big plays are there.
- Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks As a rookie he made the Pro Bowl and was a defensive rookie of the year finalist.
- Reed Blankenship, Philadelphia Eagles Led the Eagles in tackles (113 combined) despite missing two games earning his Pro-Bowl spot.
Check out more Fantasy Baseball content from the F6P Staff!