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Fantasy Football Rankings 2024: IDP defensive back tiers

2WC0KW2 Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James Jr. (3) takes his stance during an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

• Deployment and consistency provide the most confidence at the top of the rankings: These traits can be hard to find at such a volatile position, but there are a select few who hold the edge above all others.

• Allowing alignment projections and past production history to fuel the ranks: Projecting ideal IDP usage and incorporating tackles versus expected helps guide these 2024 rankings.

• Get a head start on fantasy football: Use PFF's fantasy football mock draft simulator to create real live mock draft simulations to get ready for your live draft!

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

Breaking fantasy football rankings down into tiers helps fantasy managers better understand what separates each group and how to value each player at the position for this coming season.

Referenced scoring uses the settings below, with a link to all point leaders for 2022 and 2023 (min. 100 defensive snaps) here.

PFF-preferred IDP scoring:
DL 2.5 1.25 5 1 2
LB 1.5 0.75 4 1 2
DB 2 1 4 1 2

Tier 1: Ideal IDP defensive backs

Rank Position Player Team
1 S1 Derwin James Jr. LAC
2 S2 Jaquan Brisker CHI
3 S3 Antoine Winfield Jr. TB
4 S4 Kyle Dugger NE
5 CB1 Brian Branch DET
6 S5 Kyle Hamilton BLT
7 S6 Budda Baker ARZ
8 S7 Kamren Curl LAR
9 S8 Grant Delpit CLV

Leading the defensive backs in 2024, once again, is the most consistent and reliable producer at the position in Derwin James, who is coming off three straight seasons as a top-five IDP safety. He is also the league's only safety to finish top-five in tackles versus expected in each of the past three seasons, and even with a new coaching staff coming in, there are no concerns about his potential path to production as a player that can and will see high-efficiency alignments for IDP and doesn’t disappoint when given those opportunities. 

Jaquan Brisker has also emerged over the past two years as a high-end tackler for the position with IDP-friendly alignments to bank on for consistent IDP production. The Chicago Bears also project as one of the more ideal IDP safety deployments heading into this season, which is good news for Brisker who has thrived around the line of scrimmage, playing 44% of his defensive snaps in the box last season.

Antoine Winfield Jr. will be a lot of IDP managers' first defensive back off the board, and understandably so after he finished as the top-scoring overall player at his position in 2023. Winfield doesn’t necessarily project for the same ideal usage as James or Brisker, or even a lot of the other names in this top tier, but his ability to be productive in different ways keeps him in this range, even if he shouldn’t be expected to repeat as S1 this season.

Brian Branch is coming off a rookie season where he wasn’t fully unleashed from a snaps perspective but still produced CB3 numbers overall and was CB2 in points per game. Branch should be expected to see a larger workload this season while also potentially filling in with some safety snaps, according to some early offseason reports. A true full-time role playing nickel corner and strong safety is exactly what Branch needs to be in contention for a repeat DB1-type season for IDP.


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