The Green Bay Packers were one of the more active teams in the NFL at last week’s trade deadline — but the Packers were somewhat surprisingly sellers and not buyers.
The bigger of the two deals the Packers made involved a defensive starter and former first-round pick. Just before the deadline the Packers dealt free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Washington for a fourth-round pick in next year’s draft. It was perceived as a curious move by some, as the Packers didn’t have an obvious in-house replacement.
As it turns out, there was a replacement, all right. He just wasn’t obvious.
As ESPN’s Rob Demovsky wrote, the Packers will move veteran Tramon Williams from corner to safety this week against New England. Williams played a little safety for Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine when the pair was both in Cleveland in 2016, and Pettine believes Williams will make a smooth and successful transition.
“This is a rangy player who can run, has a very high football IQ, and he can find the football,” Pettine said. “He plays with good vision and has a good sense when to break. Some guys can only play outside corner. … He doesn’t fall into that category. He’s played in the slot; he’s played outside. There’s no reason to think he can’t, at times, help us at safety.”
Now, the Packers haven’t committed to playing Williams at safety full-time — nor have they said the 35-year-old is entrenched as the starter at free safety for the rest of the season. And New England isn’t a great matchup for safeties in 2018 — 14th in fantasy points per game allowed to the position.
But Williams has shown time again over his 11-plus seasons in the NFL that he can be a productive IDP option. He played fairly well at safety during that short stint in Cleveland and there’s no denying that nine times out of 10 safeties see more tackle opportunities in a game than cornerbacks.
Williams could turn into much more than just a streamer, and he should absolutely be scooped up in IDP leagues that require his position.
If you miss out on Williams, here are some other streaming options available in a high percentage of IDP leagues.
It’s a really good week in that regard. I was legitimately surprised at some of the names available on waiver wires in the leagues I play in — especially with six teams on a bye.
Eli Apple, New Orleans (vs. Los Angeles Rams)
Apple made his New Orleans debut last week against Minnesota after coming over from the New York Giants via trade. Per Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans head coach Sean Payton indicated that debut presented mixed results.
“I thought there were some real good plays and then some plays obviously, that were not as good,” Payton said. “And so again focusing in on this week, the (defensive) calls and the technique — at times, his technique was off and I think he got himself into trouble.”
It may have been a mixed bag for Apple NFL-wise, but from an IDP perspective he was outstanding, piling up nine tackles and finishing inside the Top 5 among cornerbacks in many scoring systems. Heading into another tilt against a high-octane Rams offense and playing opposite Marshon Lattimore, the odds that Apple will be heavily targeted in Week 9 are approximately 192 percent.
James Bradberry, Carolina (vs. Tampa Bay)
As Bill Voth of the Panthers’ website reported, Bradberry is about as unlike former Carolina star Josh Norman as you can get — a quiet, soft-spoken player who isn’t prone to smack-talk or big celebrations. As defensive coordinator Eric Washington said, Bradberry prefers to let his play to the talking.
“You just don’t see any panic in James’ technique,” Washington said. “Obviously, when that receiver, especially a receiver with great speed and burst, when he starts to eat up the cushion of that corner, sometimes that will undo the fundamentals that you want that person to play with. James does not panic.”
Bradberry’s been on quite the rip of late — over the last month (Weeks 5-8) he’s been the fourth-highest scoring cornerback in fantasy football. However, despite that hot streak Bradberry’s still available in a sizable percentage of IDP leagues ahead of a Week 9 matchup with a Tampa Bay team that has surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to cornerbacks this year.
Quinton Dunbar, Washington (vs. Atlanta)
Over the first six weeks of the 2018 season, Quinton Dunbar was both the Washington’s best cornerback and a Top 10 fantasy option at his position. But then Dunbar got hurt, missed two games and was cut loose by teams who couldn’t afford to hold a roster spot at a wildly deep position.
However, as Scott Jennings reported for Hogs Haven, head coach Jay Gruden said that Dunbar should be back in Week 9.
“I have every indication in my mind that he’s going to play barring a setback,” Gruden said. “Again, we’ll keep close tabs with the trainer and talk to Quinton and see how he’s doing. Like I said, barring a setback, I’d imagine he’ll play. As far as how we matchup with the receivers, we’ll see how it goes. I think they have so many good weapons with [Calvin] Ridley on one side and Julio [Jones] on the other side. I don’t think it really matters. Both of them are pretty dang good. Ridley’s a first-rounder. Obviously, Julio is Julio. If we choose to match, we match. If we don’t, both of them are going to have to strap it up and cover one heck of a player.”
Assuming that Dunbar plays, he’s going to be a fine fantasy option given this week’s matchup with Atlanta’s potent passing attack. Only Minnesota and New Orleans have surrendered more fantasy points per game to cornerbacks this year than Atlanta.
Kendall Fuller, Kansas City (at Cleveland)
As Lynn Worthy reported for the Kansas City Star, Kansas City general manager Brett Veach isn’t at all surprised that Kendall Fuller has transitioned successfully to the outside after playing in the slot in Washington — a transition some thought he wouldn’t be able to make.
“I think you can probably get away with more of the physical traits on the outside, more of the mental traits on the inside,” Veach said. “I think that’s probably the best way to put it. Then you’ve got a guy like Kendall. He’s a sharp cat, and that’s why he’s been so successful. Not only does he have physical traits, but he has the instincts and the mental capacity to really analyze and process information very quickly.”
Maybe it’s because Kansas City has been so bad defensively this year. Or because prior to last week’s interception against Denver, Fuller had dropped outside the Top 20 fantasy corners in points per game due to a cold snap. But whatever the reason, Fuller’s available in far more IDP leagues ahead of this week’s tilt with Cleveland than he should be.