2013 Season Review: Safeties

Eric_Weddle

Safeties are very similar to Cornerbacks in fantasy football, though if I was forced at knifepoint to say which was more important i’d likely say “oh my god, I don’t wanna die…. Um, Safety?” Such is the saturation at the position. Like Cornerback there are plenty of serviceable Safeties and streaming is certainly an option. Here are the top 5 scoring fantasy football Safeties from last year.

Top 5s:

Antrel Rolle, NYG 180

Eric Berry, KC 167

Barry Church, DAL 158

T.J. Ward, CLE 156

Earl Thomas SEA 153.5

Almost made it: Eric Weddle (SD), Tashaun Gipson (CLE), Michael Mitchell (CAR)

#

Name

T

TFL

As

Hit

Sck

FF(R)

PD

INT

TD

FPT

FPPG

1

Antrel Rolle

80

4

18

2

1(1)

12

6

0

180

11.3

2

Eric Berry

66

11

7

3.5

1(2)

10

3

2

167

11.1

3

Barry Church

107

3

28

0

3(1)

6

1

1

158

9.9

4

T.J. Ward

76

10

36

2

2

7

2

2

156

9.8

5

Earl Thomas

78

0

27

0

2

8

5

0

153.5

9.6

6

Eric Weddle

88

5

27

1

1(2)

10

2

0

151.5

9.5

7

Tashaun Gipson

63

2

31

0

0

11

5

1

148.5

9.3

8

Michael Mitchell

50

4

17

4

2

9

4

0

148.5

9.8

9

Bernard Pollard

78

3

22

1.5

0

10

3

0

147.5

9.2

10

Troy Polamalu

50

7

19

2

5(1)

11

2

1

141.5

8.8

Stats Breakdown:

T: Tackle, TFL: Tackle For Loss, As: Assisted tackle, Hit: Hit on the QB, Sck: Sacked the QB, FF(R): Forced Fumbles (Recovered), PD: Pass Defended, INT:  Interceptions, TD: Any defensive touchdown, FPT: Fantasy Points in Total, FPPG: Fantasy Points per Game (On Average)

Antrel Rolle topped the bill this year with a hefty 180 points, largely down to his 6 INTs, the most at Safety last year. Rolle’s INTs came spread throughout the season though, so this wasn’t just a couple of games where he got lucky – he is no doubt a ball hawk. Fortunately, his solid tackle numbers mean he is likely to have reasonable value going into next season, though teams may not throw against the Giants quite so much if they improve that defence in the offseason. A standout for me is Barry Church’s 107 solo tackles – an incredible stat for a safety, and looking at his lowly INT and Sck scores, he is definitely a consistent performer with a high floor. This is the kind of safety you should covet in a draft more than say, Earl Thomas, who’s 5 INTs account for almost 1/3 of his total points. INT’s are much more difficult to predict than tackles and it’s clear that Church may not be an awesome safety, but he has plenty of opportunities to bring down opposing receivers. I would have expected better FF numbers from him though. Some familiar names in Eric Weddle, Bernard Pollard and Troy Polamalu exist in the top 10 but Mike Mitchell and Tashaun Gipson both came out of nowhere to race into that top 10 spot. Gipson was helped on his way with a 38.50 haul in week 15, and Mitchell had an incredible 3 week spell, scoring 75.5 points (over half of his total r the season) in the three games following Carolina’s week 4 bye. These guys will have earned you big scores in the season, but their erratic scoring means they could just as easily featured outside the top 30.

Disappointments:

Devin McCourty had a real down year this time, after a few solid years, few could have expected McCourty to slip down in tackles numbers (he had 5 tackles or less in 13 games), though his INT rate was always a precarious thing to use to garner a value for him in IDP. In his previous 3 seasons, McCourty had 12 INTs, but this year only managed one. The major issue was people throwing away from McCourty. He had just 27 passes thrown his way, almost half of the passes thrown to the top 10 Safeties. McCourty was the highest rated Safety by PFF, but people will continue to throw away from him whilst he dominates the secondary. Another player who had a down year was Atlanta’s Thomas DeCoud but he can’t blame a lack of opportunity for his disappointing season (fantasy and real). He allowed 6TDs to be thrown in his coverage and made 0 INTs on the season, as well as giving the opposing QB an average QB Rating of 147.0.

Overachievers:

Aside from Mitchell and Gipson, a few other players are worthy of a mention here. Charles Woodson, thought to be in his twilight years, managed 75 solo tackles (his career best is 76) last year, he also set a career best for combined tackles with 97. The impressive thing about Woodson was his lone INT and TD, making his performances very consistent throughout the year. Woodson had 3 games of less than 5 points – a very nice floor for a Safety in IDP. Overall Woodson was a player you could rely on each week. Woodson was thrown a 38 times, 30th fewest in the league (min 25% of snaps). Woodson had the tied 8th most snaps on the year at Safety (1098) but outperformed most of those who had more. At 37, Woodson’s best years may be behind him, but he was a great draft choice last year.

Summary:

Like Cornerback, the Safety position can be a minefield, and more often than not your draft picks won’t last you the season. By focusing on trends like snaps and the number of times a player is thrown at you can discover what opportunities a player might have. Don’t overestimate the power of INTs though, sometimes an average safety can become an elite fantasy player by sheer volume of opportunities – see Tashaun Gipson.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Find Matt on Twitter @FFMattLane or leave comments on the article below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>