One of the basic tenets of a successful dynasty IDP league is to know where to spend your resources. Clearly, in the early rounds of your rookie drafts, startups or auctions, you want to go after scarcity. Examples include a young top ten defensive end or a linebacker who is a tackle machine and great in coverage too. Top tier safeties can command a premium as well.
Down around the bottom of your priority list are cornerbacks.
It’s not hard to understand why. The best cornerbacks in the league in real-life football are essentially worthless for IDP leagues. If you’re a “shutdown corner,” you generate almost no stats at all. Rookie corners are likely to get picked on, but once they graduate to “shutdown corner” they become worthless. What you really want is a corner who will be targeted regularly, give up plenty of catches, and thereby tackle the receiver often. As an IDP owner, you seek this kind of corner. As an NFL coach, you’d bench or cut that guy.
Sure, the occasional pass defense or interception will goose the numbers of a CB, but those are very rare events that can’t be counted on for IDP.
All of this said, perhaps the best strategy for cornerback-required leagues is the “hot hand” approach or the corner who will be targeted often. And hopefully, you can acquire a guy like that as close to free as possible.
This is what I’ll be trying to help you with for the rest of the season. I’ll look for players who will have increased opportunity over the next few weeks who can be had for waiver wire pennies and can give you a short-term boost so you can use your dynasty assets elsewhere.
On to the recommendations!
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Donte Jackson or James Bradberry, CAR
Donte Jackson is a second-round rookie pick from LSU. Bradberry was a second-rounder two years prior. While Jackson may be thrown at a bit more often because he’s a rookie, both he and Bradberry have held their own on the Carolina defense.
In fact, Jackson ranks third on the team overall in tackles and Bradberry ranks fifth. A big reason for this is both have been solid while playing run defense. That’s a great way to have a high floor as a cornerback.
In pass defense, Bradberry has been targeted 42 times to Jackson’s 33. Of those, they yielded a catch 26 and 21 times, so both are around 60 percent completion against.
I like both Jackson and Bradberry over the next month, with pass-happy teams on the schedule. The Panthers play Baltimore in week eight, and Joe Flacco is second in the NFL this year in pass attempts so far. Weeks nine to 11 bring Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, which should yield plenty of opportunities for each cornerback.
One or both corners should be available on your waiver wire now, and I think both will be viable starting cornerbacks through the end of the season. Matchups against New Orleans, Atlanta and New Orleans in the final three weeks of the season should keep Jackson and Bradberry busy.
Gun to my head, I’d rather have Jackson than Bradberry because the rookie is also tied for the league lead in interceptions with three.
Kenny Moore, IND
Although teammates Pierre Desir and Nate Hairston have more snaps in coverage than cornerback Kenny Moore, it’s the 23-year-old who leads the team in interceptions (two) and is near the top of the team in tackles.
Moore has 24 solo tackles and five assists so far in 2018. The diminutive Moore checks in at 5’9”, 179 pounds, but plays much bigger with good instincts and a great motor.
I’m not going to lie. One of the reasons I like Moore (or any DB in Indy) for the next month is the schedule. Two games against a flailing Blake Bortles in a month’s time is pretty attractive. Not to mention Jacksonville has some questions right now with its running game, week ten and 13 matchups against the Jags look pretty good for an opposing corner.
Other opponents in the near future are Oakland this week (eight), the Titans in week 11 and the Dolphins in week 12. You will need to make other plans for week nine when the Colts go on bye.
Almost certainly available in your league, Moore has played himself into the top 20 in NPLB scoring, with a favorable schedule ahead.
Stephon Gilmore, NE
Chances are, Devin McCourty is already rostered in your IDP league. If he isn’t, by all means, grab him. If he’s taken, Stephon Gilmore isn’t a bad consolation prize.
Why? McCourty and Gilmore have been on the field for an eye-popping 479 and 475 snaps so far this year, respectively. Of those, 154 and 151 were spent in run defense, leaving 319 and 324 snaps in coverage. That’s, um, a lot. Gilmore is tenth in the league in snaps.
He’s recorded 22 solo tackles and two assists, against only one missed tackle all year.
Once again, it’s all about the upcoming schedule for Gilmore. He will face pass-happy offenses in weeks nine (Packers), 13 (Vikings) and 15 (Steelers.) Whether it’s Josh Allen, Derek Anderson or Nathan Peterman, Gilmore will face off against the Bills is weeks eight and 16. In between, he faces the Jets twice and the Titans.
There you go, folks. Remember, start your studs over streaming/sleeper options and start safeties over cornerbacks where you can, but refer to this list when your options are limited. Good luck!
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