Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season has finally arrived. On Thursday night we saw the first big matchup of the opening weekend—a rematch of last year’s wild Divisional Round matchup between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs.
It was a game won in emphatic fashion by the defending Super Bowl champions—and a contest that produced one decent IDP spot-start for managers who stream the cornerback position. Bradley Roby‘s six solos and a tackle for loss wasn’t a stat line that will win fantasy teams a weekly matchup. But it’s a solid number given that Roby was sitting on the waiver wire in nearly every IDP league entering the season.
As has been the case the past several seasons, that’s the whole point of Cornering the Market—to pint out some matchup plays available on many waiver wires who are set up well to have a good week. Mostly, it’s intended mainly for IDP managers in leagues that require cornerbacks, but if you play in a standard IDP league and need a desperation play at defensive back, you could do worse.
For the record, I really hope you don’t need a desperation play in Week 1. That would be, um, not good.
Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New Orleans Saints)
The new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the most-hyped teams of the 2020 offseason, but Tom and the Brady Bucs face a stiff test out of the gate—on the road against one of the NFC’s leading Super Bowl contenders in the New Orleans Saints. Per Scott Smith of the team’s website, cornerback Carlton Davis is ready to show that the Buccaneers are legit—and that he’s one of the best young cover men in the game.
“I definitely feel like I’m one of the top 10 corners in this league,” Davis said. “Yeah, I’m young, but I’ve got a lot of experience over these last two years. We have a young group, but if I have to fill that [leadership] role, that’s something I’m willing to do and think I’m prepared to do. If our coaching staff trusts me to do a job, then I’m going to do it to the best of my ability every time.”
The Saints were a favorable IDP matchup for cornerbacks last year, and this game has some shootout potential. With Davis also likely to draw the great Michael Thomas much of the day in coverage, there’s little doubt that Davis will be targeted early and often.
Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys (at Los Angeles Rams)
The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2020 season with a high-powered offense, a new head coach in Mike McCarthy and lofty expectations for the season to come. If the team is going to meet those expectations, rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs is going to need to grow up in a hurry and help fill the void created by the departure of Byron Jones.
Per Jon Machota of The Athletic, Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper thinks that Diggs is up to that task. “Real impressive rookie,” Cooper said. “Especially for a cornerback because that’s one of the hardest positions to transition to from college. He has made that transition look real easy.”
The younger brother of Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs, Diggs took advantage of some injuries in the Dallas secondary in camp and so impressed the coaching staff that he was named a starter on the team’s first depth chart over Chidobe Awuzie. That makes the former Alabama standout a very intriguing “rookie corner rule” candidate in Week 1 when Dallas travels to Los Angeles to face a Rams team that gave up the most fantasy points to cornerbacks in the NFC last season.
Tre Flowers, Seattle Seahawks (at Atlanta Falcons)
When the Seahawks first signed veteran corner Quinton Dunbar, it appeared that Flowers’ days as a starter in Seattle were numbered. But thanks in part to Dunbar’s offseason legal issues, Flowers is still at least technically the starter opposite Shaq Griffin—and he said he’s not given up that spot without a fight,
“I’m hungry, hungry, more hungry as ever. I worked out with Shaq [Griffin] all offseason and we talked a lot, personal level, and football level. So I’m just ready to get the year started,” Flowers said, via Thomas Hall of Seahawks Maven. “I’m competing for everything and the whole organization is all about competing. So, I’m just glad I got the opportunity.”
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has been coy about the status of Flowers and Dunbar for Sunday’s season opener, which admittedly adds a measure of risk to trusting either in IDP leagues. But whichever cornerback opens the game opposite Griffin will probably see a hefty target load against a Falcons team that was eighth in fantasy points given up to cornerbacks in 2019.