As more and more fantasy football enthusiasts take the plunge and partake in the additional strategy and excitement of individual defensive player (IDP) leagues, we’re seeing another phenomenon develop, as many of these leagues are eschewing the more “traditional” defensive lineman/linebacker/defensive back setup in favor of separating defensive ends and defensive tackles as well as safeties and cornerbacks.
I tackled the beefeaters with Defensive Tackle rankings in my last article here at FantasySharks, so now it’s time to focus on the players trying their best to stop the passing onslaught that is today’s National Football League … the cornerbacks.
As is the case with defensive tackles, cornerbacks are with a very few exceptions, incredibly inconsistent, and the waiver wire in most IDP leagues usually features several viable options on a weekly basis.
So, unless you really want a Charles Tillman or Charles Woodson or you play in a league that rewards highly for interceptions and passes defended, you can wait until the later rounds of your IDP draft to select your corners. And if they don’t work out simply cut them loose and move on with another player. Turn ‘em and burn ‘em.
These rankings are based off the scoring used in the WALL IDP-only showcase league here at FantasySharks, which requires that teams start at least two cornerbacks. You can view that scoring by clicking here.
1) Charles Tillman, Chicago: Tillman missed being the top overall defensive back in this scoring by all of one point after racking up a career-high 99 stops in 2011, and the 31-year-old has posted four straight Top 25 IDP defensive back finishes.
2) Charles Woodson, Green Bay: At 35-years-old, Charles Woodson is certainly no spring chicken, but it’s awfully hard to argue with his fantasy production after four straight Top 10 IDP finishes among defensive backs.
3) Jason McCourty, Tennessee: Jason McCourty exploded into fantasy prominence after topping 100 tackles in 2011, and while there’s a risk that he’s a “one-year wonder” Titans cornerbacks have been viable fantasy options for several seasons.
4) Terrell Thomas, New York Giants: A torn ACL wiped out Thomas’ 2011 season, and while that injury is reason for a measure of concern, Thomas put up IDP DB1 numbers in both 2009 and 2010.
5) Antoine Winfield, Minnesota: The 14-year veteran seemed to be well on his way to another solid season before a broken collarbone ended his 2011 campaign, but Winfield is reportedly fully recovered and remains one of the surest-tackling cornerbacks in the NFL.
6) DeAngelo Hall, Washington: The fact that Hall is mediocre in coverage is actually a benefit to his fantasy value, as opposing quarterbacks have no qualms about throwing in the ninth-year pro’s direction.
7) Kyle Arrington, New England: The fourth-year pro tied for the NFL lead in interceptions last season with seven, and while Arrington may be hard-pressed to match that number this year, he also chipped in nearly 90 tackles in 2011.
8) Patrick Peterson, Arizona: Peterson racked up 64 stops, a sack, and two interceptions as a rookie, and his considerable talents in the return game increases his IDP value considerably in fantasy leagues that award points for return yards.
9) Richard Marshall, Miami: After one year in the desert, Marshall took his talents to South Beach, but the seventh-year veteran has yet to record less than 70 tackles in a season and has been productive no matter his team or role.
10) Devin McCourty, New England: McCourty’s interception total dropped from seven in 2010 to two a season ago, but the Patriots should find themselves in plenty of shootouts in the upcoming season.
11) Tramon Williams, Green Bay: Even with a bum shoulder, Williams was still able to post IDP DB2 numbers for the Packers last year, and a healthy Williams represents one of the more interesting upside selections on this list.
12) Lardarius Webb, Baltimore: After a torrid start to the 2011 season, Webb cooled off considerably later in the year, but the fact remains that at the end of the season Webb still managed a Top 30 finish on the heels of 67 tackles and five interceptions.