There’s an old maxim — for every rule, there is an exception.
It’s a maxim that holds true in many aspects of life, including the most important ones — like IDP leagues. Generally speaking, it’s wise to avoid “shutdown” cornerbacks in fantasy football. Once cornerbacks achieve a certain level of notoriety and success, opposing teams just don’t target them as much. And it’s awfully hard to rack up stats if the ball isn’t headed in your direction.
However, that rule of thumb should be tossed out the proverbial window this week when Aqib Talib makes his first return to Tampa Bay since the Buccaneers traded him back in 2012.
At the time, Talib was a talented but tempestuous young defender. Now, as he told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported, Talib considers himself both older and wiser. “The biggest thing that changed is I’m 30 years old now,” Talib said. “A lot older. A lot more mature. A lot more professional, I would say. It’s simply football. It means a lot to just be accomplishing goals and in football to be a Super Bowl champ, to tie Deion Sanders for interceptions for touchdowns. Man, it’s a blessing to be successful in the game that I love.”
Talib is considered one of the best in the NFL at what he does, and most weeks he belongs on the IDP waiver wire. This is not most weeks, however. In Week 4 Talib will be squaring off against Mike Evans of the Buccaneers, who entered Week 4 the second-most targeted wideout in the National Football League.
Add in that Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston has already thrown six interceptions in three games in 2016, and it isn’t hard to see why the Bucs have allowed the most fantasy points in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring to cornerbacks this season — or why Talib should be in starting lineups in IDP leagues that require his position.
If you can’t get your hands on the Pro Bowler, here are a few other streaming options to consider in Week 4 in CB-required IDP leagues.
James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL)
No one is going to confuse Bradberry with Josh Norman any time soon, but as he told Max Henson of the team’s website, Ron Rivera and the coaching staff have had enough confidence in the rookie to task Bradberry with shadowing the opposition’s No. 1 receiver.
“When we played Denver I matched up against Demaryius Thomas. This past game I matched up with Diggs,” Bradberry said. “Whatever the coaching staff asks me to do, I am willing to do it. I just do whatever they tell me.”
Next up for Bradberry is Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons, and he said he thinks he’s up to the task of shadowing one of the NFL’s most prolific pass-catchers. “I’m looking forward to that matchup,” Bradberry said. “I always look forward to competing with the best talent. It will be a good measuring stick for me.”
Bradberry hasn’t been a worldbeater from a fantasy perspective, but before a slow week against the Vikings Bradberry was among the top 20 fantasy producers at his position so far this year. So long as Bradberry’s tasked with covering No. 1 wideouts, he’s the personification of the “rookie corner rule” — a young player whose going to be thrown at all day long.
Perrish Cox, Tennessee Titans (at HOU)
As Cox told Jim Wyatt of the team’s website, he enters every game with a specific goal in mind — notching an interception. “I always tell everybody I’m going to get an interception,” Cox said. “You have to believe it, and that’s my main goal.”
Cox also admitted, however, that sometimes he (and all cornerbacks) come up short. “If you’re a corner,” he said, “things are going to happen. You can’t be perfect every play. It’s a tough position when you’re going up against world-class athletes.”
The sixth-year veteran will most assuredly be facing a world-class athlete this Sunday in the person of Houtson’s DeAndre Hopkins. So far this season Cox ranks sixth in targets against among cornerbacks, and over the past two weeks Cox has posted CB1 fantasy production in 12-team leagues. Both of those trends should continue at Reliant Stadium.
Lamarcus Joyner, Los Angeles Rams (at AZ)
As Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News wrote, Joyner isn’t about to let a broken toe keep him off the playing field. ”It’s all mental,” Joyner said after practice earlier this week. “Once the game starts, the adrenaline starts rushing, so if you’re mentally prepared, your body will follow you.”
That’s good for the first-place Rams, because with Janoris Jenkins no longer in town Joyner’s been counted on for a much larger role in the Los Angeles defense. “The coaches said I was going to have a big role, Joyner said, “and so far they have fulfilled their words. I’ve been put in positions to help this defense out a lot, so I’ve really been enjoying that this year.”
Joyner’s larger role hasn’t escaped the Rams’ foes this year. Playing opposite Trumaine Johnson, Joyner has been thrown at more than all but one cornerback in the National Football League through three games. Not suprisingly, those targets have equated to a top-15 ranking in fantasy points so far in 2016 — and plenty of value for IDP owners this week against a desperate Arizona Cardinals squad.