Punch Drunk Wonderland

Packers-Seahawks reminds us why elite cornerbacks are bad fantasy IDPs

Last night marked the start of the 2014 NFL season as the Green Bay Packers faced off against the Super Bowl Champ Seattle Seahawks. Seattle dominated the game and looked in true championship form in the 36-16 win. What jumped out immediately to me was the stark reminder about what it means to be an elite NFL cornerback and how that wildly differs from what it means to be an elite fantasy IDP. For as excellent as he is, Richard Sherman just isn’t a good IDP option.

Fantasy football is all about numbers. Any given player’s value is completely determined by the stat sheet at the end of day. This is where cornerbacks often are lost when it comes to fantasy potential. The most elite “shutdown” corners in the league have the responsibility to take elite receivers out of the game or shutdown entire parts of the field. The end result is passes don’t get thrown in their direction. It’s easy to see what that means in terms of fantasy worth. If a corner doesn’t get a chance to generate measurable statistical numbers such as tackles, interceptions, and passes defensed, then he’s not going to have fantasy value.  In the season opener last night Richard Sherman shutdown an entire section of the field and Aaron Rodgers didnt’ throw in his direction a single time. The end result on the stat sheet…..zero. Sherman tallied no stats of fantasy value.

Green Bay attempted 33 passes in the game and not a one of them were aimed at Sherman’s side of the field. The elite corner scored 0 fantasy points for the game. That’s rough for an IDP that was ranked #89 among all defensive players and who was generally a top 3 cornerback selected in drafts that require the cornerback position. So, who was the top cornerback last night? The guy on the other side of the field that was getting the ball thrown in his direction. Seattle’s Byron Maxwell (ADP Rank #319) piled up 5 tackles and an interception in a game where his coverage skills excelled on an incredibly high level as well. How about the corner that scored the second most fantasy points? That would be Jeremy Lane (ADP Rank: N/A), Seattle’s slot corner.

What we can take away from this is that we need to rethink our approach when putting cornerbacks on our fantasy rosters in leagues that require the position. It’s not about real-life NFL elite status. It’s about opportunity. An elite shutdown corner tends to get fewer opportunities, while the #2 CB playing across the field from the household name tends to get all of the opportunity. Beyond that, the slot corner may wind up with the most opportunity in many games. So, forget the name recognition and the elite status moniker. Choose wisely and look at the cornerback’s statistical potential.

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...