Things are getting pretty “Cleveland” for the Cleveland Browns.
After a solid start to the season, the Cleveland defense has fallen way off — largely because of injuries that have swept through the unit. Cleveland has fallen to 30th in the NFL in total defense, 27th in pass defense and 30th in scoring defense.
None of those numbers are at all encouraging heading into a matchup with red-hot Atlanta and its second-ranked passing game.
“We didn’t have enough energy or enough focus,” he said, “and defensively, we have to be a lot more effective in those types of situations. A lot of those type of plays, we had had a feeling that they were going to happen, and we have to go out there and make plays. There’s not much you can say about making plays in this league, because that is what it is about. Whether you’re rushing or in coverage, we need to work together, and that wasn’t something that we did effectively.”
Carrie hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency himself. His level of play — and playing time — have bounced around quite a bit. But thanks in no small part to injuries to E.J. Gaines and Denzel Ward, Carrie was on the field for all 64 of Cleveland’s defensive snaps in Week 9 against Kansas City.
Carrie managed just four tackles last week, but for the season he ranks inside CB1 territory in 12-team Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues even with that vacillating snap count. The hope is that Ward will be able to play through his hip injury, but with Gaines on Injured Reserve Carrie’s just about guaranteed a heavy snap count against Atlanta.
The same Atlanta who ranks first in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to cornerbacks this season.
If you can’t get your hands on the fifth-year veteran, here are some other cornerbacks to consider in Week 10 in IDP leagues that require the position.
Chidobe Awuzie, Dallas (at Philadelphia)
Per KD Drummond of Cowboys Wire, it’s been an up-and-down year for Awuzie.
“Awuzie started the first five games of the season at left cornerback for Dallas,” he said. “He had an outstanding summer and entered the year as CB1. Awuzie showed pretty sticky coverage before his injury, but that didn’t dissuade opposing quarterbacks from targeting him relentlessly. On the opposite side, Byron Jones had been shutting down everything and causing (quarterbacks) to look in the other direction.”
Before getting hurt, Awuzie was both one of the most targeted cornerbacks in the NFL and a productive IDP option as a result. The second-year pro was back in a full-time role last week against Tennessee, tallying seven total tackles and six solos. With a plus matchup looming with Philadelphia on Sunday night, Awuzie should keep the good times rolling in Week 10.
Bashaud Breeland, Green Bay (vs. Miami)
Although Breeland just played his first game for Green Bay, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine told Zach Kruse of Packets Wire that the team has big plans for the veteran moving forward.
“The thing you appreciate about Bree is his passion. He wants to be out there,” Pettine said. “If he’s going to make a mistake, he’s going to make it full speed. He’s done a real good job diving into it schematically because he wasn’t here in the spring, he wasn’t here in training camp. He’s done a good job absorbing it. He’s a professional. He knows what to do, and he goes out there and brings it for us.”
Thanks to a combination of injuries and Tramon Williams moving to safety, Breeland was essentially an every-down player in last week’s loss to New England, piling up eight total tackles in his Green Bay debut. This one has more to do with the player than the matchup — from an IDP perspective Breeland’s been one of the more consistently productive corners in the NFL over his four-plus years in the league.
Tre Flowers, Seattle (at Los Angeles Rams)
As Mike Vorel reported for the Seattle Times, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll thinks Flowers has weathered the storm of being a rookie starter in the NFL well.
“The risks are, anytime you start a young guy early, that it doesn’t go well and they have negative experiences and it weighs on them more heavily than an experienced guy might,” Carroll said. “Fortunately, you hope to get through some games and he gets going and all. He’s through that now. He’s really on his way to being a real legit starter and trying to solidify himself in that way.”
Flowers has been relatively quiet of late, with just seven total tackles and a forced fumble over his last three games. However, Flowers ranks just outside the Top 25 corners in the NFL in fantasy points per game, and he should be able to better that this week against the high-flying Rams, against whom he had five stops and a pass defensed back in Week 5. Both he and Shaquill Griffin are on the streaming radar this week.
Logan Ryan, Tennessee (vs. New England)
New England safety Devin McCourty told Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports that encountering Ryan (among others) as a foe instead of a teammate won’t be all that unusual given how long he’s been in New England.
“Those guys don’t know me this week,” McCourty said. “So, it’s rough in our friendship. We all talk a good amount during the season but there hasn’t been much interaction during this week. I’m one of the longer tenured guys here, so it seems like between coaches and players, each week there’s a guy or two.”
Ryan’s actually been with Tennessee since the start of the 2017 season, and he faced his old team in the playoffs last year. But that was a Ryan whose numbers were way off relative to the year before. In Mike Vrabel’s defense this year (a scheme similar to New England’s) Ryan’s back on a pace that would see him top 80 total tackles and finish inside the Top 20 fantasy cornerbacks. As with the Seattle corners, both Ryan and Malcolm Butler are viable starts in IDP leagues against New England.