2016 fantasy football profiles (DB 1-15)

Auction...............$8

Bye Week.............8

Jones might seem like a surprise as the top-scoring defensive back in 2015, as he likely slipped in fantasy drafts because his 2014 numbers were depressed thanks to a four-game suspension. However, those who remembered to draft on the player and not the stats were able to roster one of the top statistical safeties in the league. Jones plays the position extremely well both as a run-stuffer and in coverage, as indicated by his 135 combined tackles -- fourth-most in the league. While the Dolphins 2015 season was one to forget, Jones shined as one of the few bright spots. He should be among the first names called on draft day among defensive backs.

Auction...............$8

Bye Week.............4

For the second time in three years, injuries derailed what was likely to be another top-10 fantasy campaign for Burnett. The playmaking safety from Green Bay was dogged by a calf injury that kept him shelved for five of the first six games of the season, limiting his fantasy output. If you were to take his production playing through his injury over a full 16 games, Burnett would have finished inside the top-10 scoring defensive backs. Leading a young, but improving secondary should help Burnett get back on track in 2016, especially with the furthered development of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Burnett remains a DB1 in fantasy.

Auction...............$8

Bye Week.............6

Smith only missed three games officially with injury, but he was very clearly limited in others, eroding his fantasy production. Smith is one of the more underrated safeties in the league, as head coach Mike Zimmer's scheme doesn't call for him to make the eye-popping plays some associate with the higher profile safeties. Still, the scheme allows for Smith to make an impact in the stat sheets, as he's notched 4.5 sacks and seven interceptions in two seasons under Zimmer. Smith plays in one of the league's better young defenses, and his natural talent makes him a high-upside option among defensive backs. While his ceiling might be lowered a bit operating in Zimmer's scheme, he's still worthy of being selected as a DB1 in 2016.

Auction...............$8

Bye Week.............9

When healthy, Mathieu is one of the most dominant IDP defensive backs in the league. Case in point, he suffered a torn ACL last season but still finished as the fifth-highest scoring defensive back. Mathieu's savvy and ability allows him to impact the game all over the field, and despite his smaller frame he's a sure tackler and expert at breaking up passes (22 in 2015). Mathieu is taking this ACL recovery slower than his last one (during his rookie season in 2013), but he hasn't set an exact timetable on his return. He'll be worth taking as a low-end DB1 however as once he does get his legs back under him he should be able to bounce back to his playmaking ways in short order.

Auction...............$7

Bye Week.............7

Church has quietly turned into a consistent IDP producer over the last three years with a top-15 finish in each season (and a first-place finish in 2013). While Church didn't quite stuff the stat sheet in 2015 (no interceptions or passes defensed), he did notch over 100 combined tackles for the second time in three years. At this point, this is who Church is: a sure-tackling safety who might occasionally make a play in the passing game. His consistency in the tackle department (averaging 87.3 solo tackles/year since 2013) makes him worthy of being drafted as a low-end DB1 for 2016.

Auction...............$7

Bye Week.............5

Injuries appear to be all that is limiting Cyprien from truly cementing himself among the upper echelon of fantasy defensive backs. After finishing his rookie season in 2013 as the fifth-highest scoring defensive back in fantasy, he notched a 12th and 10th place scoring finish in 2014 and 2015, respectively, despite missing multiple games with injury each year. Cyprien is as consistent of a scoring defensive back as one can find (even if his play as an actual safety is quite the opposite), notching five or more fantasy points in eight of his 13 games in the 2015 fantasy regular season. The Jaguars defense got a bit of a facelift this offseason with Todd Wash promoted to defensive coordinator joining the squad, the addition of Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack through the draft, and the return of 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler, who tore his ACL last offseason. If Cyprien can remain healthy all season, he'll push to return to the top of the defensive back field, as he's also playing for a new contract.

Auction...............$7

Bye Week.............7

Kurt Coleman enjoyed a breakout year in 2015 for the Panthers, snagging an impressive seven interceptions while leading the Panthers secondary. He'll be called on again to lead a much younger secondary in 2016, as Josh Norman left in free agency to join Washington. Coleman might not have as high of a ceiling as some of the names above him on this list, but with a growing role in the talented Carolina defense he merits consideration as a low-end DB1.

Auction...............$6

Bye Week.............8

When the Giants drafted Collins in the second round in 2015, it was clear they had him booked for a big role as a rookie. They likely didn't envision him playing 95 percent of the defensive snaps though, most on the team. It was a trial by fire for the Alabama product, who came out of the crucible enduring plenty of mistakes, but emerging as a better player overall. Erstwhile head coach Tom Coughlin was impressed by Collins' development as the season progressed, and that was clear in his improved aggression and understanding of the defensive scheme. Now in Year 2, Collins will look to build on a solid rookie campaign where he notched 112 combined tackles, nine passes defended and an interception. If Collins takes the next step in his development as a professional, he'll likely become a fixture among the top 10 fantasy defensive backs for years to come.

Auction...............$5

Bye Week.............4

After a solid first season with the Eagles, Jenkins turned in a career year in 2015, netting him a Pro Bowl nod, a fat new five-year contract and a top-five IDP fantasy finish among defensive backs. At 28 years old, Jenkins is still very much in the prime of his career and looks to be a DB1 now in fantasy. He was one of just 10 backs to record over 100 combined tackles (109), and he'll look to keep up his pace with turnover plays, as he was involved in five of them last year (including a 99-yard pick six of Tom Brady).

Auction...............$5

Bye Week.............4

With Morgan Burnett sidelined for five games in 2015 with injuries, the onus to lead the Packers' young secondary fell on the shoulders of Clinton-Dix, and he delivered. He notched 100 combined tackles on the dot, and improved his sack and interception totals from his rookie season. Most importantly, Clinton-Dix showed more tenacity and conviction as a run-stopper, which was lacking from his rookie tape. The coming season could be a big one for the Alabama product as he looks to do even more damage in Dom Capers' scheme, hopefully with a healthy Burnett alongside him. Clinton-Dix is a nice low-end DB1 option with plenty of upside if he continues his current path of development.

Auction...............$5

Bye Week.............11

When he was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Vaccaro carried big real (and fantasy) expectations as the future leader of the Saints defense. Unfortunately, injuries and subpar play kept Vaccaro from reaching his full potential ... until 2015. The Saints overall dismal defense didn't prevent Vaccaro from becoming a more physical presence in the box and a tackling machine. New defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will likely look for more ways to deploy Vaccaro after he showed he was capable of a larger role, adding in three sacks in 2015. Hopefully his interception numbers can rebound, but even if they don't Vaccaro seems poised to continue his rise and nab another top-10 IDP finish.

Auction...............$4

Bye Week.............5

Parker responded nicely after a breakout 2014 campaign where he finished seventh in fantasy scoring with a solid 13th place finish in 2015, and we weren't the only ones to notice. The Chiefs locked Parker up to a new five-year, $30 million contract this offseason, ensuring the emerging saftey will remain in the Chiefs Kingdom for awhile. As for his 2016 fantasy value, Parker figures to remain in the lower half of the DB1 tier, and is an excellent value for those who wait on the position.

Auction...............$4

Bye Week.............10

Nelson earned the first Pro Bowl apperance of his nine-year career in 2015, thanks in large part to his eight interceptions, which tied for the most in the league. Nelson is making the move to the Bay Area for 2016, though, as he signed a two-year deal with the Oakland Raiders to fill the void left by Charles Woodson's retirement. While Nelson has never been an IDP stud, his move to Oakland could set him up for more success. If he can maintain his ball-hawking ways from Cincinnati and become a more stable tackling presence in the box, he could push for DB1 numbers.

Auction...............$4

Bye Week.............10

Graham found new life in Rex Ryan's system in Buffalo, as the nine-year veteran posted career highs in solo (96) and assisted (31) tackles en route to a top-five IDP finish. Graham restructured his contract this offseason, and figures to once again be a fixture of the Bills defense in 2016. While not one of the hottest IDP names out there, Graham offers a safe floor for those looking to grab their first defensive back later in the draft.

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