2013 fantasy football profiles and projections (DBs 1-15)

Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports/NFL.com

  • Player
  • Analysis

Burnett opened some eyes in fantasy land this season. The young safety finished second among all defensive backs - his second straight year in the top five - in fantasy points by filling the stat sheet in nearly every way possible. With Charles Woodson's departure, there should be more opportunities for Burnett to make plays in Green Bay's defensive backfield. He's the top defensive back in all IDP drafts.

Smith made quite a splash in his rookie season by getting his hands on the football (11 pass deflections, three interceptions) and knowing what to do with it afterward (two touchdowns). The Vikings struggled in pass defense in 2012, providing Smith with plenty of opportunities. Unless there are major upgrades in the secondary, those opportunities should exist again in 2013.

2012 was a big season for Weddle, who ended the year as the fourth-highest scoring fantasy defensive back. The veteran didn't come close to the career-high seven interceptions he snagged in 2011, but his tackle numbers increased. In the past three seasons, he's consistently been a top 25 fantasy defensive back, but it could be a stretch to expect another top five finish.

Tillman was the highest-scoring fantasy defensive back for the second consecutive season. In 2012, he snagged thre picks and scored three touchdowns. For all the talk of Darrelle Revis, few have been as consistent as Tillman, who has two or more interceptions for eight straight years. There's little reason to think things won't change in 2013.

Berry was one of the biggest disappointments for IDP leaguers last season. Despite his pedigree, he finished out of the top 40 in fantasy points among defensive backs and finished on the waiver wire in countless formats. He did makes some strides in the second half of the season, though, as he seemed to gain confidence in his surgically-repaired knee with two double-digit solo tackle performances. He'll be a player to watch during training camp to be certain and has the sort of potential to be a top-five fantasy player at his position.

Harper's numbers in 2012 more closely resembled those of a defensive back, as opposed to his 2011 stats ... which were linebackerish. At age 30, Harper can still make plays on the football and it appears that Steve Spagnuolo's defensive scheme agrees with him. Look for the veteran to be a viable defensive back option in many fantasy leagues again in 2013.

Branch hasn't been able to duplicate the big season he had back in 2010, but he has shown that he can still be a contributor in fantasy football. Last season, a foot injury late in the year hindered him. He should be 100 percent by the time the season kicks off. If first-round draft pick D.J. Hayden pans out as expected, it should free up Branch to make more plays throughout the secondary.

Barron had a nice rookie season, posting 89 total tackles with 10 passes defensed and one forced fumble. His numbers did drop down the stretch, which can happen to some first-year players, but starting a full 16 games at the NFL level will do nothing but make him a better player this season. In a pass defense that should be drastically improved with the additions of CB Darrelle Revis and FS Dashon Goldson, look for Barron to make a bigger impact in 2013.

Much of the attention surrounding the Jets secondary focused on the absence of Darrelle Revis. That discounted the big season Landry put together. The rock-solid safety picked up the slack (and then some), contributing just about every way possible. Now he moves to Indianapolis, where he'll try to shore up a young secondary that had its issues in 2012. Look for him to continue to menace opposing passing games.

Chancellor was a fantasy football machine as a rookie, finishing eighth in points at his position. Unfortunately, he was unable to re-produce such impressive totals as an NFL sophomore - Chancellor still made his fair share of tackles, but his stats were down everywhere else - esspecially in passes defensed. He's a good candidate to bounce back, though, and remain worth a look as a No. 2 defensive back in IDP formats for 2013. He could be even more valuable in those leagues where tackles are more heavily rewarded in scoring systems.

As a group, the Falcons secondary had its issues in 2012. Individually, Moore was one of the standouts, doing a little bit of everything for the Dirty Birds defense. Atlanta hopes to be stronger against the pass with the addition of a pair of cornerbacks in this year's draft. If things go as planned, it could mean Moore has ample opportunity to play centerfield with occasionals forays toward attacking the quarterback.

Brown, a former journeyman defender, seems to have found a home with the Giants. He started 11 games last season, finishing with career bests across the board including an impressive eight interceptions, which was second in the NFL behind Tim Jennings (9). All told, he ranked 17th in fantasy points among defensive backs. With Kenny Phillips now in Philadelphia, Brown is locked into a starting role opposite Antrel Rolle and is clearly an IDP asset. Consider him a nice No. 2 defender in drafts and worth a late-round look in all IDP leagues.

Finnegan continued his run as a quality IDP option in 2012. He has snagged mutiple interceptions and scored a pick six in four of his past five seasons. Beyond that, Finnegan is a tackling machine, averaging 82 tackles a season and is usually good for at least one sack per year. Chances are he'll be overlooked in drafts, but should draw interest on the waiver wire.

In his fourth season, McCourty came into his own, tying for the team lead in interceptions while ranking tops in passes defended. It added up to make him a top 15 fantasy defensive back in 2012. He doesn't get the attention of his twin brother, Devin, but Tennessee's McCourty is every bit his brother's equal and should continue to improve.

2012 was a breakout season for Jones. The third-year man posted career highs in tackles, interceptions and pass deflections while trying to hold things down in a secondary that allowed a lot of passing yards. The ball-hawking safety appears to be entering his prime and should be poised to produce yet again in 2013.

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