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How to evaluate "bad" CBs (1 Viewer)

Jason Wood

Zoo York
I'm an admitted IDP newbie, and like anything worth doing I somehow agreed to jump head first into a full IDP league with some of the best minds in the business (our staff IDP league with the Doc, John, Aaron, Bob, etc...). To that end, I have Antonio Cromartie on my bench and he looked downright awful yesterday, but actually had a decent fantasy day thanks to his INT.

My question isn't about Cromartie specifically (e.g., Assistant Coach stuff) but more about how IDPers evaluate the skills of a CB in leagues where you must start them. It strikes me as kind of an oddity that you're in essence rewarded as a fantasy owner with starting a less-than-excellent cornerback over his excellent counterpart. You want guys that rack up stats, which means you need a CB that teams will throw against. But you also can't have him be TOO terrible because then he won't stay on the field and will be benched. So it seems you basically want the 2nd best CB on a team, that can tackle, but isn't terrible enough to be replaced. Just seems counter intuitive in a way.

How do you all evaluate the CB position? I know there's the "rookie CB" rule which argues that teams pick on rookie CBs which means lots of big play opportunities (thank you Kareem Jackson in Week One), but how does that extend broadly into the veteran CB pool?

 

Nightly Mistake

Footballguy
I'm an admitted IDP newbie, and like anything worth doing I somehow agreed to jump head first into a full IDP league with some of the best minds in the business (our staff IDP league with the Doc, John, Aaron, Bob, etc...). To that end, I have Antonio Cromartie on my bench and he looked downright awful yesterday, but actually had a decent fantasy day thanks to his INT. My question isn't about Cromartie specifically (e.g., Assistant Coach stuff) but more about how IDPers evaluate the skills of a CB in leagues where you must start them. It strikes me as kind of an oddity that you're in essence rewarded as a fantasy owner with starting a less-than-excellent cornerback over his excellent counterpart. You want guys that rack up stats, which means you need a CB that teams will throw against. But you also can't have him be TOO terrible because then he won't stay on the field and will be benched. So it seems you basically want the 2nd best CB on a team, that can tackle, but isn't terrible enough to be replaced. Just seems counter intuitive in a way.How do you all evaluate the CB position? I know there's the "rookie CB" rule which argues that teams pick on rookie CBs which means lots of big play opportunities (thank you Kareem Jackson in Week One), but how does that extend broadly into the veteran CB pool?
There are some guys who simply make plays regardless of the fact that they are the best CB's on the team. Champ Bailey was like that for years. I think in reality there are few CB's who offenses really avoid. Revis is one, which is why Cromartie is a great guy to have. Generally though, you look for several factors IMHO, in no particular order:- is the CB a good tackler? Tackles are like a bread and butter stat, getting you at least a few points each game which is important. (Ronde Barber is like this, and the Cover-2 lends itself to CB tackles; Brandon Flowers also); - similar to the last one, is the defensive front 7 relatively porous such that there are a lot of tackle opportunities on running plays? (this is particularly a good thing to look at for safeties, even more than CB's BTW)- is the team's offense good, such that the opposition needs to throw the ball? (e.g. Kelvin Hayden; Tramon Williams)- is the CB relatively poor such that he'll just get targeted in his own right regardless of who else is on the field? (rookies are often good IDP's because of this)- does the schedule have a lot of passing teams on it? (NFC East looks pretty good here; so does NFC North)- is the DB a risk-taking playmaker? (DeAngelo Hall is a classic example of this, getting a lot of big IDP plays)- does the d-line tend to get pass pressure such that opposing QB's will make poor throws that can be picked off? (Green Bay's a good example here, as is Pittsburgh)- is the CB also a return man such that you can get special teams stats? Overall, the CB is a "disposable" position to me in dynasty. Some guys are worth keeping - Rashean Mathis was for years a mainstay of mine; Flowers is more recently; Ronde Barber would be another good one - but often you can find cheap, no-name starting CB's off of the waiver wire during the first couple of weeks that will serve you well all season. My dynasty league has an 8-round rookie draft so often I'll take a flier on a CB late in the draft (I drafted Flowers because he was known as a tackler and would start right away, for example), but in most IDP leagues you shouldn't even bother with drafting a CB as you can readily pick up good ones as FA's (Mathis was an example for me of this in 2004, and I kept him until I cut him this August). It's a strange position, and perverse for the reasons you stated.
 

McGarnicle

Footballguy
I'm an admitted IDP newbie, and like anything worth doing I somehow agreed to jump head first into a full IDP league with some of the best minds in the business (our staff IDP league with the Doc, John, Aaron, Bob, etc...). To that end, I have Antonio Cromartie on my bench and he looked downright awful yesterday, but actually had a decent fantasy day thanks to his INT. My question isn't about Cromartie specifically (e.g., Assistant Coach stuff) but more about how IDPers evaluate the skills of a CB in leagues where you must start them. It strikes me as kind of an oddity that you're in essence rewarded as a fantasy owner with starting a less-than-excellent cornerback over his excellent counterpart. You want guys that rack up stats, which means you need a CB that teams will throw against. But you also can't have him be TOO terrible because then he won't stay on the field and will be benched. So it seems you basically want the 2nd best CB on a team, that can tackle, but isn't terrible enough to be replaced. Just seems counter intuitive in a way.How do you all evaluate the CB position? I know there's the "rookie CB" rule which argues that teams pick on rookie CBs which means lots of big play opportunities (thank you Kareem Jackson in Week One), but how does that extend broadly into the veteran CB pool?
You nailed two aspects of it -- rookie corners get picked on, and guys across from "lockdown" corners see a lot of action too. There are also corners that have a history of putting up respectable numbers year after year, like Charles Tillman, Ronde Barber, Charles Woodson, Cedric Griffin, etc. With the position being such a crapshoot on a week to week basis, your best bet is to target those names in your draft -- the guys who historically have been consistent performers. Then play the WW aggressively, targeting guys based on their upcoming matchups. A good strategy is to have one or two stud every-week options, combined with guys you just picked up who face a juicy matchup.
 

Dirty Hairy

Footballguy
My priority list:

1) know the teams who have cover-2 defenses or aspects where the CB has more run support responsibilities - CHI, MIN, TBB, IND - teams will have 1 or 2 guys who are my targets, but primarily because of tackle opportunities - Tillman, Bowman, Winfield, Griffin, Barber, Taliq, Lacey, Jacobs, Hayden.

2) good but not great CBs who can make plays (non-cover 2) offer the next opportunity but only in certain circumstances. These guys will often be automatic starts but not always. They can't be so good where offenses look the other way (Revis, Asumgmuh) but good enough to defend the other teams #1 WR. Teams usually throw most to their best WR. Its nice to know if the CB plays one side of the field or if they match up with the number 1 WR.

The circumstances that would cause you to not start this CB would be the quality of the QB - inexperienced or below-average passing QBs seem to shy away from the top CB - and the other options at WR. The point is - ask yourself the question - will this QB be throwing to the #1 WR going against the #1 CB? There's probably 10 yes's, 10 no's and 10 I don't know's. The perfect example in Week 1 is Champ Bailey. He has been a stud CB, but not because teams avoid him but because he is challenged and he's made plays. If he lines up against a #1 WR who has a less than average QB, he may not see many balls. Week 1 vs Garrard is a perfect example - he defended Sims-Walker who had 2 targets and thus very few opportunities for fantasy points. When he plays the Dolphins, start him because Henne will target Marshall 12 times.

3) the weak links - rest assured, offensive coordinators are looking for the weak spots of a defense to exploit. This is where the rookie corner rule comes from but is not just for rookies. The weak link will often be lined up against the #2 or #3 WR. Unfortunately many teams do not have the WR talent to employ this strategy. First, look for teams that have good run defenses because those offenses will be looking to exploit the weak link. Second look for offenses that have decent talent at WR2&3 and have a propensity to target something other than the WR#1 (that means don't start the weak link when they play Carolina).

So give yourself some options at CB and then play the matchups.

 

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