2022 Fantasy Football outlook: Lions safety Tracy Walker
Tracy Walker had a productive rebound season for the Lions last year, but could he be a better IDP asset in fantasy football this year?
After being misused by Matt Patricia in 2020, Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker had a rebound campaign in 2021. He led the team in tackles with 108, along with one interception, one sack and six pass breakups over 15 games.
Fantasy Pros statistics don’t match what’s elsewhere for Walker last year, to the low end. But with that, and two missed games, he finished as DB22 with 158.6 fantasy points based on their scoring settings.
When it comes to fantasy IDP assets at defensive back, safeties rule the roost. In Pro Football Focus’ 2022 rankings, Walker lands in the top-25 of safeties, in Tier “2C”.
Fantasy Football: The key to Tracy Walker raising his IDP profile is clear
Walker has two 100-plus tackle campaigns on his resume, and he has topped 60 solo tackles in three straight seasons. Over those same three seasons has has 18 pass breakups and 14 tackles for loss. So he’s around the ball plenty.
But in 59 career games, Walker has just three interceptions. His lone interception in 2021 did not come until Week 18. He has also has just one career forced fumble, and zero fumble recoveries.
During mandatory minicamp, Walker talked about getting his hands on the ball more this year.
"I just gotta continue to capitalize on the opportunities that I have.“My approach is to get the ball as much as possible. I got my hands on a few of them since I’ve been here, but now I got to just continue to take them away.”"
If Walker had maintained his average fantasy points per game over the two games he missed last year, Walker would have finished as a top-10 defensive back over a full 17 contests. And that was with generating only one takeaway.
Walker’s tackle total may fall a bit if the players are better in front of him this year. But if he can corral another interception or two and maybe recover a fumble, also somewhat a product of the players being better around him, that drop would be offset to a large degree.
For those who play with IDP in fantasy, Walker should not be forgotten as a defensive back with a solid floor and a hint of nice upside.
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