The Kansas City Chiefs have been happy with safety Eric Berry’s performance since taking him fifth overall in 2010, as he has earned a trip to the Pro Bowl three times with the only outlier coming in 2011, when he suffered a torn ACL in the season opener and of course missed the rest of the season. Fantasy football owners have surely appreciated Berry’s big play ability to this point, with two interception returns for touchdowns in 2013 and three such returns among his eight career interceptions.
The Chiefs lost starting free safety Kendrick Lewis in free agency, with Husain Abdullah and 2013 draft pick Sanders Commings in line to replace him right now. Berry could be asked to take on more responsibility in pass coverage next season, after playing primarily in the box as a safety or linebacker last season, and after a bad showing against the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs last year he reportedly focused on improving his technique in that area during the offseason.
Berry had 3.5 sacks last season to further bolster his value in IDP leagues, but if he’s asked to play more in coverage that total looks sure to drop a bit in 2014. More opportunities as a pass defender would bring upside potential that would help easily offset a drop in sacks though, and Berry offers a stable tackle total (more than 80 total tackles in 2010, 2012 and 2013) along with big play potential even if his role does not change substantially.
The case for Berry to be the first defensive back drafted in IDP leagues this year would be fairly easy to make, regardless of any buzz surrounding a change in how he’ll be used. But now he is looking like the clear-cut top option, with a very high ceiling and virtually no downside as long as he is healthy.