It’s a good year to be Indianapolis Colts’ cornerback Rashaan Melvin.
Heading into his contract year, Melvin was a little-known seventh-year journeyman with 11 career starts for four teams. But Melvin has blossomed this season as a rare bright spot on a terrible Colts team. It’s not a stretch at all to call Melvin Indy’s defensive MVP to this point in the season, and after Melvin fared well against Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last week he drew praise from Brett Whitefield of Pro Football Focus.
“Tasked with covering DeAndre Hopkins for most of the game,” Whitefield wrote, “Melvin only gave up one reception on five targets into his coverage totaling a passer rating against of just 39.6. On top of his sticky coverage, Melvin also contributed a pass deflection and a stop. Through nine regular season games, Melvin has been one of the best cornerbacks this season. His 8.8 overall grade ranks fifth among corners. His ability to make plays on the ball has been topped by only one other corner as he’s produced a playmaker index of 24.5 percent.”
The argument can be made (at least from an IDP perspective) that Melvin played a little too well against the Texans – his tight coverage produced just two total tackles and a pass defensed. But there’s also the Savage factor to consider. Hopkins (and conversely Melvin) might both have had better statistical outings if the Texans had an actual quarterback.
This week’s opponent (the Pittsburgh Steelers) has one in Ben Roethlisberger. They also have the NFL’s most targeted wideout in Antonio Brown. And with the release of Vontae Davis, Melvin is now the top cornerback for the Colts in name as well as in deed.
And that matchup should make IDP owners who start Melvin Sunday very happy.
If you miss out on the Melvin movement, here are some other streaming options to consider in Week 10.
Anthony Brown, Dallas Cowboys (at Atlanta Falcons)
Back in the summer, Brown told Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News that he welcomed the competition from incoming rookies and the added responsibility of an increased role in the Dallas defense. “OTAs from last year to this year were much different,” Brown said. “It slowed down so much for me. I went from rookie to veteran overnight. It brings more competition. It brings more depth. It brings everything we need to the game. You need competition to get better, so I embrace it.”
However, it’s been a different story since the season started. Brown has been repeatedly picked on by opposing quarterbacks, and with good reason – his passer rating against this season is over 100. With rookie Chidobie Awuzie back at practice there’s a chance he could start eating into some of Brown’s reps if his struggles continue, but for one more week at least, Brown should be a decent matchup play.
Malcolm Butler, New England Patriots (at Denver)
Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Butler credited his recent uptick in play to remembering one of the most important qualities a good cornerback has – the ability to quickly forget a lapse in coverage. “It happens to all of us, which we don’t want to happen,” Butler said. “It’s just how the game goes. Just got to keep going forward. You can’t make other plays if you’re still thinking about that play in the past. I noticed that, too. It’s just that one play that has been throwing my whole game off. I guess it’s just my life and my season going the way it’s been playing. I’ve just got to keep grinding and keep working. I’m into it. Those guys get paid, too. You still don’t want to give up something that you could have avoided or done better. We could all do better, and all have plays that we wish we could have back, but I’ve just got to keep moving, man. Take your L like you take your W’s.”
Butler was quiet on the stat sheet two weeks ago against the Los Angeles Chargers, but in the two weeks prior, the hero of Super Bowl XLIX racked up 10 solo tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. I’d like this week’s Sunday night matchup with the Broncos better if Denver’s quarterback play wasn’t so rotten right now, but the Broncos are second in fantasy points surrendered to cornerbacks at least in part because of it.