There’s a general rule of thumb in IDP leagues that “shutdown” cornerbacks are best avoided. The reason is simple – more often than not opposing quarterbacks do the same. Why target Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks when Jeremy Lane is on the other side of the field?
However, for every rule there’s an exception. And in Week 4, Janoris Jenkins of the New York Giants is that exception.
As Paul Schwartz reported for the New York Post, Jenkins lauded the receiving corps of the of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while also pointing out that quarterback Jameis Winston has been known to force passes into tight windows that result in interceptions.
“He can be prone to it, but you can’t hold a guy to what he did last week,’’ Jenkins said. “They’re explosive on the outside, they got some big threats as receivers, and Jameis is gonna try to force the ball and get it up any way he can.”
Last week, Winston threw three interceptions in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but you know the third-year gunslinger will be right back at it. Just as you know that Mike Evans, who was the NFL’s most targeted wideout in 2016, will see a big share of those looks regardless of who is covering him.
For most of the game, that person covering him will be Jenkins.
If the “Jackrabbit” isn’t available in your IDP league, here are some other streaming options for Week 4.
James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers (at NEP)
Bradberry wrote for the team’s website that he’s much more comfortable in his second NFL season. “When I walked onto the field against San Francisco in our season opener this year, things felt different, he said. “I was calmer. I didn’t have the same anxieties. I’m more comfortable with everyone now, in the locker room and on the field. Even if I’m wrong, I’m still going to speak. I’m going to call out everything I see, even if it’s wrong. Of course, I know the defense more now and I feel like I’m right more often than not now.”
With fellow second-year pro Daryl Worley already ruled out for Week 4 with a shoulder injury. Bradberry will serve as Carolina’s No. 1 cornerback in a plus matchup with a Patriots offense that leads the NFL at 340 passing yards a game and has given up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to the cornerback position.
Brent Grimes, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NYG)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves gave Giants wideout Odell Beckham props while speaking with Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s probably the best I’ve ever seen,” Hargreaves said of Beckham, who he first faced as a Gators freshman when Beckham was at LSU. “Coop (Raiders star Amari Cooper) is my guy, but them two, it don’t get any better. … What a challenge. What an opportunity. This is what you want, and what you should want as a corner. I’m excited.”
Hargreaves may be excited, but after practicing fully all week it will more likely be veteran Brent Grimes covering Beckham – especially after Hargreaves was torched by the Vikings last week with Grimes on the sidelines. Much like Janoris Jenkins Grimes usually isn’t the best IDP option, but you can bet the rent that whoever is covering Beckham is going to be targeted 10 or more times.
Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins (vs. NOS)
Before the season began, head coach Adam Gase told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that he was impressed by the progress he’s seen in young cornerback Xavien Howard. “As coaches, you are never going to get ahead of yourself,” Gase said. “You don’t try to jump the gun and say this is where he’s compared to the rest of the guys. I like how he’s worked. I like how he’s developed. We want to keep him healthy and keep him rolling.”
Howard hasn’t made a ton of IDP noise this year – partly because the Dolphins have only played two games and partly because one of those games was against the New York Jets. Sunday sets up well to be his best stat line of the young season – the Saints have long been a favorable IDP matchup for cornerbacks, even if they’ve only been middle of the pack through three games in 2017.
Jalen Mills, Philadelphia Eagles (at LAC)
Mills spent Week 3 shadowing Odell Beckham in an Eagles win, and while Beckham caught nine passes for 79 yards and two scores Mills drew praise from Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. “I was proud of Jalen. He did a very good job of limiting big plays,” Schwartz said via Turron Davenport of Eagles Wire. “Most of them were short. He was targeted 20-something times. I think the average was five yards per attempt. The biggest part of it is he shadowed one of the best receivers in the NFL.”
Through three games, no cornerback in the NFL has more fantasy points in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring than Mills. No cornerback has been thrown at more than Mills, who has been targeted an average of 13 times per game. And yet headed into a matchup with a Los Angeles Chargers team that’s allowing the third-most fantasy points to the position Mills is still sitting on the waiver wire in more than a few IDP leagues.