“I always believed in my ability, but I think in any sport you need that little bit of luck.” — Gareth Bale
Like Mr. Bale (a soccer player for Real Madrid, if you were wondering), I’d like to think I’ve demonstrated some modicum of ability at fantasy football and IDP. If my player recommendations weren’t occasionally right, I’m pretty sure that folks would both stop following my advice and reading my articles. (unless, of course, they’ve been reading them this whole time to see what not to do.)
But whether we want to admit it or not, our favorite little pastime involves more than a little luck. I had plenty of it in Week 1 where my suggestions in the inaugural version of this column are concerned — and it was all bad.
Assuming that CB-required IDP leagues call for two starters at the position, and as such the top 24 is the minimal benchmark for a moderately successful call in a given week, I sucked. None of the four players I recommended cracked the top 20, and only one (Green Bay’s Damarious Randall) landed inside the top 24.
Now, were I the type who was prone to excuses, I might mention that this is an exercise in volatility — that the variance inherent to the cornerback position can make it very easy to “miss” on streaming options. And another of my picks (New England’s Malcolm Butler) came a single fantasy point in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring from the cutoff.
However, excuses are like you-know-what-holes. Everyone has one, and they all stink.
So there’s not much to do but shake off that stink and get back after it, with some streaming options for Week 2.
Nolan Carroll, Philadelphia Eagles (at CHI)
Carroll allowed to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com that he’s going to have his hands full with Bears wideout Alshon Jeffery Monday night. “He’s a big, physical type receiver,” Carroll said. “He’s a guy that’s like a basketball-type guy. Jay Cutler kind of likes to just launch the ball up and let him play rebound basketball against a corner because he has that much faith in him. His catch radius is amazing. He has a big wing-span which gives him the ability to just go up over corners and get the ball.”
Carroll’s Week 1 stat line (3 solos) wasn’t anything to get excited about. But this isn’t the JV NFL team that is the Browns. The Bears aren’t Super Bowl contenders either, but there’s no denying that Alshon Jeffery is one of the league’s better young wide receivers. And with Leodis McKelvin looking likely to miss the game it will be Carroll who draws the duty of covering Jeffery most of the evening.
Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati Bengals (at PIT)
As Josh Kirkendall of SB Nation wrote, Kirkpatrick had an up-and-down Week 1 against the New York Jets. “According to Pro Football Focus,” he said, “Kirkpatrick covered receivers that were targeted six times, allowing three receptions for 36 yards receiving and a touchdown. Against Brandon Marshall, he allowed just one catch for 4 yards on three targets. Kirkpatrick was targeted equally in both halves, three times each.”
Well, all Kirkpatrick has to do this Sunday is climb the Mt. Impossible of the NFL that is covering Antonio Brown of the Steelers. Last week that “duty” fell to Bashaud Breeland of the Washington Redskins, because apparently Washington is paying Josh Norman $15 million to slowly crush Breeland’s soul under the weight of a constant onslaught of passes thrown in his direction. Breeland finished that game with (in addition to his flattened soul) nine total tackles and an interception.
Mr. Kirkpatrick — you’re next through the meat-grinder.
Keith McGill, Oakland Raiders (vs. ATL)
In 2015, many IDP owners reveled in the Mark Barron loophole. Despite playing a three-down role as the weakside linebacker for the (then) St. Louis Rams, Barron maintained his DB eligibility in IDP leagues. That eligibility — the ability to play a linebacker in a defensive back’s slot in IDP lineups — afforded a significant edge to the teams who had Barron on their rosters.
In 2016, we’ve seen a similar (albeit smaller) loophole develop in the Bay Area, where converted cornerback Keith McGill surprised by opening the season as the starting strong safety for the Oakland Raiders. Despite this new position, in IDP leagues on both Yahoo and ESPN McGill is still listed as a cornerback.
Granted, this particular loophole has an expiration date named Karl Joseph, who the Raiders took in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. But for now McGill is the starter, and while it lasts it should afford a level of consistency hard to find at CB.
Damarious Randall, Green Bay Packers (at MIN)
There’s no better friend to the streamer than the cornerback who goes from waiver fodder to weekly starter. Even if it only lasts for a few weeks, it feels good to eschew pouring over the available options in your IDP league in favor of not fixing that which is not broken. And while he didn’t light the world on fire in Week 1 (6 solos, 2 PD) Randall had a decent outing — and Week 2 sets up even better.
With Sam Shields set to miss Week 2 with a concussion, Randall is easily Green Bay’s top corner as they travel to face the Vikings. And Total Packers believes that could mean an evening spent shadowing Stefon Diggs, which in turn means being thrown at. “To sum up,” they said, “the Vikings don’t have a star receiver, and they don’t have any depth at the position either. Whichever quarterback is out there, the Packers should christen the new stadium by throttling the Vikings’ anemic pass attack.”
If that is indeed the plan, it sets the stage for Randall to make IDP owners smile Sunday night.