In IDP leagues, finding viable streaming options often requires a mixture of matchup and just the right amount of talent.
In Week 2, it can’t be argued that Chidobe Awuzie doesn’t have the former nailed down. Sunday night, Awuzie and the Cowboys will meet their NFC East rivals from the Big Apple. Last year, the Giants weren’t especially kind to opposing corners—New York was 21st in the league in fantasy points allowed to the position. However, the year before that the G-men were 11th.
The difference? Odell Cornelious Beckham Jr.
After missing most of last year with a fractured ankle, Beckham’s back for the Giants. And in Dallas it will fall to Awuzie (for the most part) to cover him. K.D. Drummond of Cowboys Wire feels the second-year pro has the chops to hang with anyone.
“Awuzie is clearly CB1,” he said, “and if he can use the experience added down the stretch of last season Dallas will be all the better. In the final five weeks of the season, Dallas’ yard-per-pass allowed shrunk from 7.7 to 5.2, the opposing passer rating fell from 106.3 to 81.0 and the team had five interceptions after just four from Week 2 through Week 12.”
With that said, while Awuzie may be talented Eli Manning isn’t about to avoid targeting him—or Beckham. Last week against Jacksonville’s NFL-best secondary, Manning threw at Beckham an eye-popping 15 times.
If that repeats Sunday (or comes close to it), Awuzie will be hard-pressed not to have a solid statistical outing for fantasy owners.
If Awuzie isn’t available in your fantasy league, here are some other cornerbacks who should be worth a look in Week 2.
Gareon Conley, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)
As Matt Kawahara wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, Conley thinks there may have been a silver lining to his injury-marred rookie season. “When I was out, you’ve got to, like, step up your mental game,” Conley said. “And just getting back out there, getting more experience, playing with all the veteran guys, it helped me out. All the coaches helped me out. I felt like I took a couple steps forward.”
Conley had a quiet 2018 debut in Oakland’s loss to the Rams, but there’s one number that stood out –his 57 snaps led all Raiders corners. Conley is essentially a second-year player who is also a “rookie corner rule” candidate. With the Raiders about to take on a Broncos team that led the NFL in fantasy points allowed to corners in 2017, the former first-round pick is an interesting deep-league flier.
Kendall Fuller, Kansas City Chiefs (at PIT)
In the opinion of Danny Heifetz of the Ringer, Fuller is one of the most undervalued cornerbacks in all of the NFL. “Fuller, a former third-round pick who would have been drafted much higher if he hadn’t gone down with a knee injury in college, was so good in his second NFL season that Kansas City felt comfortable trading All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams a day after acquiring the Virginia Tech product,” he said. “Fuller played primarily from the slot in 2017, and by the end of the year he graded out as the best slot cornerback in the NFL by Bleacher Report’s NFL 1000 scouting grades. He was third among all corners in Pro Football Focus’s grading system.”
Fuller’s more than just a slot corner in his new home—he was one of the four core members of Kansas City’s secondary who played every snap in last week’s win in Los Angeles. Fuller turned those snaps into a so-so six total tackles in Week 1, but Sunday we’re going to find out just how good this young man really is.
Sunday, you see, Fuller gets to take on Antonio Brown—the gold standard at wide receiver.
Jalen Mills, Philadelphia Eagles (at TBB)
Mills told Donald Hunt of the Philadelphia Tribune that the Eagles aren’t about to take any opponent lightly—including the Buccaneers. “We’re in the [NFC] East anyway,” Mills said. “The [NFC] East is hard. You see these games when a team might play another team and they may blow them out. We had last season where most of our games were tight. I think that just shows the characteristic of our team. We don’t panic when it’s a tight game we’re playing. Every opponent is the same. It doesn’t matter. If they have to come down to the fourth quarter on the last play, we’re ready for it.”
Unless the Eagles play top corner Ronald Darby out of position (which they generally don’t do), it will be Mills who will get the majority of the coverage snaps Sunday on Mike Evans. There’s also the not-so-small matter of a Tampa Bay offense that surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points per game to cornerbacks a season ago.
Tramon Williams, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
As Williams told Wes Hodkiewicz of the Packers website, his re-joining the team in 2018 is much more than just a symbolic end to a long and storied NFL career. “Not a lot of guys get a chance to come back and actually play,” Williams said. “Most guys get to come back and sign a one-day contract and call it quits. I get a chance to come back and play, and I’m really humbled by that. I don’t take it for granted. I’m going to try to do the best I can to get these guys back to the Super Bowl, where we belong.”
Williams was more than a just a mentor to a young Green Bay secondary in Week 1—the 35-year-old was one of two Green Bay corners who played every defensive snap in last week’s comeback win over the Chicago Bears, notching six total tackles (and five solos). Williams has long been a guy who will post numbers when afforded the opportunity. It looks like the veteran will have plenty Sunday against a potent Vikings offense.