“James Addiction” 2016 Fantasy Football Safety Preview… 26-50
In Fantasy Football leagues with Individual Defensive Players safeties are the top choice for any Defensive Back positions. They consistently out perform corners due to having more opportunities for stats like tackles and sacks. Over the next two weeks I’ll be ranking the Top 50. This week I start with the safeties I ranked 26-50.
26) Shawn Williams (CIN) – Williams, a 4th year safety out of Georgia, was the reason the Bengals could let Reggie Nelson walk in free agency. He played well with limited playing time in 2015, and should get his share of tackles and turnovers this year.
27) T.J. Ward (DEN) – Ward’s numbers tailed off after his high ankle sprain in week 12 last season, and he wasn’t the same player afterwards. He doesn’t get many stats other than tackles, but he plays the run well and has ample opportunities.
28) Rodney McCleod (PHI) – McCleod signed a 5 year deal with the Eagles after a breakout year with the Rams last season. If this were the 2015 Eagles team he would be ranked a lot higher, but the defense should see the field far less this season. McCleod doesn’t get many INT’s but he has a knack for forcing fumbles, and is an above average tackler.
29) Cody Davis (LA) – Davis is the likely Rodney McCleod replacement for the Rams. Davis has primarily been a special teams player to this point in his career, but his last season at Texas Tech had 101 tackles and ran a 4.37 forty at the Regional Combine.
30) Brandon Browner (SEA) – Browner had perhaps his best Fantasy season in 2015 at cornerback, the likely result of Quarterbacks looking to throw to his side of the defense as much as possible. This year he is back with Seattle and could play the hybrid safety/linebacker role that brought Mark Barron and Deone Bucannon to the top of the safety list last season.
31) Harrison Smith (MIN) – Harrison Smith is one of the better safeties in the league, but his fantasy numbers are down. As Minnesota’s front seven has developed Smith’s opportunities have dwindled. He is drafted far higher than he should be.
32) Chris Conte (TB) – Conte was resigned to a one year deal in March after his only season in Tampa. Conte is a good all-around fantasy safety with tackles, interceptions, forced fumbles and passes defended.
33) Kam Chancellor (SEA) – Kam held out last year during training camp and missed the first two games before reporting. He had his worst year since his rookie campaign. Look for a bit of a bounce back this season. Tackles are his main stat and should return to normal.
34) Byron Jones (DAL) – Jones played mostly at corner in his rookie season, but this year safety should be his primary position. With the suspensions at Defensive End and Linebacker, Jones should see an increase in fantasy stat opportunities.
35) Isa Abdul-Quddus (MIA) – Isa got his chance last season with Detroit after taking over in week 10 for James Ihedigbo, and made the most of it by grading out as PFF’s # 1 safety over the final seven games. In the offseason he signed with Miami and will be playing along Reshad Jones.
36) Bradley McDougald (TB) – McDougald is an undrafted free agent out of Kansas and has started over the last two years. Although not a great NFL safety, McDougald does put up decent fantasy stats and should once again be a starter this season.
37) Marcus Gilchrist (NYJ) – Gilchrist is in his second season with the Jets and his strength is in pass coverage. With 3 INT’s and 8 Passes Defended in 2015, Gilchrist should once again be a top forty fantasy safety.
38) Eric Berry (KC) – Eric Berry, who is currently holding out for a new contract, is not the fantasy safety he once was. The emergence of Ron Parker and an improved front seven are largely to blame. Still a great NFL safety, Berry does not achieve enough fantasy stats to still be drafted in the top 25.
39) Glover Quin (DET) – Quin could outperform this slot in the ranking. He has a new counterpart at strong safety in Rafael Bush, but for the most part has put up the same stats year in and year out.
40) Patrick Chung (NE) – Chung has put up 85 tackles in each of the last two seasons. He rarely creates turnovers though – one forced fumble in seven seasons and only nine interceptions.
41) Sean Davis (PIT) – The Steelers would like Davis to play strong safety, and Will Allen last season in the same role finished among the top 15 safeties. If Davis remains at safety he will have opportunities for fantasy stats including sacks. However with recent injuries, he may be moved to slot corner.
42) Bradley Roby (DEN) – Bradley Roby will start the year at corner in place of Aqib Talib, if Talib is unable to go, but once Talib is healthy, look for Roby to get playing time at free safety. He is too valuable to take off of the field.
43) Ricardo Allen (ATL) – Allen is coming off a pretty good rookie season with 69 tackles, 1 sack and 3 INT’s. Look for him and his new running mate Keanu Neal to only make the Atlanta secondary better.
44) Andrew Sendejo (MIN) – Sendejo is battling veteran Michael Griffin and Antone Exum for this spot. It is believed it is his job to lose. That said, his fantasy stats are limited for the same reasons Harrison Smith’s are.
45) Earl Thomas (SEA) – Thomas is normally much higher on this list, but his tackle numbers dropped by over thirty last season, and with the addition of Browner at hybrid S/LB his tackle opportunities won’t increase.
46) Calvin Pryor (NYJ) – Pryor moved back to his natural strong safety position last season, and his numbers increased despite missing three games. Look for another small jump in tackles this season.
47) Eric Reid (SF) – Reid is one of three good safeties for the 49’ers. I think Jaquiski Tartt will take some of his playing time away this season though and most certainly some of his opportunities for fantasy stats.
48) Adrian Amos (CHI) – Amos is coming off of his rookie season, and has coaches excited about his game. He did not record an INT in 2015, but look for that to change this season.
49) Jahleel Addae (SD) – Addae doesn’t get many stats in the passing game, but his tackle opportunities could increase with the departure of Eric Weddle.
50) Darian Thompson (NYG) – Thompson has practiced with the first team throughout OTA’s and camp. The Giants have one of the weakest set of linebackers in the league, which should translate to tackles for their safeties.
I know, many big name safeties are ranked lower than they normally would be, but check back next week to see who made the Top 25.
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