Cornerback has the equivalent of defensive tackle for defensive line fantasy stats in most leagues. Known for defending the pass, and preventing completions, corners have very little value in most fantasy I.D.P. Leagues. Often overlooked and undervalued, those leagues that count passes defensed are going to want to take a serious look at these names. Don’t be the one in your league that doesn’t draft one of the top 10-15 names, as failing to draft at least one will leave you hurting for passes defensed and interceptions. For terms of fantasy 101, think of corners as hybrids between middling linebacker tackle totals (some CBs will post 100+ tackles) and safeties with a knack for knocking balls down. In other words, the production you could get from a top corner could be something of similar statistical value to that of a top 25-30 linebacker and a top 20 safety. Only a fool would be so blind as to not take the cornerback position seriously for fantasy.
1.) Charles Tillman – Rumored to possibly move to safety, it won’t matter what position he plays, as he will still net ya 75 tackles, 7 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 15 passes defensed, and 1-2 defensive touchdowns. Tillman doesn’t have the most upside at age 32, but he is easily a top cornerback (CB) option.
2.) Patrick Peterson – Bad news: The better Peterson gets at corner, the less he’ll be targeted. Good news: He doubles as punt returner so his value remains very high. Going into this season, Peterson could be due for an all out breakout season in Arizona. For Peterson, 69 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 10 interceptions (you heard me right!), and 20 passes defensed may not be out of reach. At only 23, the sky is the limit for the kid, until quarterbacks get tired of him disrupting plays. Worth consideration as the #1 CB.
3.) Richard Sherman – His physicality, leading to less targets on defense, may cap his fantasy upside, but he’ll still be one of the nastiest hitting corners in the game. As long as he doesn’t get suspended, expect 50 tackles, 7 interceptions, 20 passes defensed, and 1 sack. Lowering the boom is his specialty at the cornerback position. After the top 2 names, he is the 3rd best option.
4.) Jason McCourty – Tennessee is in the process of attempting to return to relevancy, and the process will be slow. This will only allow McCourty the chance to yet again provide fantasy owners 100 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 5 interceptions, 18 passes defensed, and possibly a pick. After the top 3 cornerbacks are taken, he is the next best bet to produce top 5 numbers.
5.) DeAngelo Hall – The talks of this guy being boom or bust are mythbusted. This guy is a stud at corner, and expect nothing less this season. He is a top 5 corner, and anything less than 95 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 5 interceptions, 15 passes defensed, and 5 stuffs would be a disappointment to fantasy owners, fans, and the Redskins alike.
6.) Janoris Jenkins – For as dominating and trustworthy big time college programs like Alabama, Georgia, USC, etc., are at producing defensive (and offensive) players, the same can be said of small schools, or schools people have barely heard of having football programs. Jenkins, out of North Alabama, burst onto the scene last season and led the league in defensive scores. While that is unlikely again this season, fantasy owners should look for 80 tackles, 5 picks, and 16 passes defensed. Jenkins is a true stud in the making.
7.) Devin McCourty- This ranking may be a slap in the face to McCourty, but, given the volatility of the position in terms of fluctuations at the top it shouldn’t be. McCourty will be one of the more consistent corners, but one who may not have the penchant for the big play like some other names above him. Continue to expect a solid stat line of 85 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 16 passes defensed as he gets more acclimated to the Patriots style of play in a year that could be odd for Patriots standards after all the noise in the offseason.
8.) Tim Jennings- Playing opposite Tillman, one of the best corners in the game, Jennings is a big play waiting to happen. Tillman’s relentless, aggressive style of play affords Jennings the opportunity to grab a healthy number of pick and tackles as teams shy away from Tillman more and more. A stat line of 60 tackles, 6 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 2 recovered fumbles, and 19 passes defensed should ensue this season.
9.) Cary Williams- Last season seemed like a semi-coming out party for Williams as it was the first time the Ravens let him be an everyday starter. Now in Philadelphia, the system will either make or break his name as he hasn’t reached his potential, but playing too quickly too soon could cap his upside somewhat. As long as he continues tapping into his potential, expect 80 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 20 passes defensed. The first few games in Philly will tell who the players who can play that style are.
10.) Casey Hayward- Casey Hayward could be over or undervalued, depending on how you look at him. He could be overvalued in the sense that owners will look at his 6 picks, 21 passes defensed and expect bigger things in 201, but he could also be undervalued for the reason that while teams may not throw his way as often, he’ll still rack up the picks and passes defensed. I’m of the camp in the middle, so expecting 60 tackles, 7 interceptions, and 18 passes defensed seems more than reasonable. A shut down corner in the making.
11.) Alterraun Verner- Verner’s appeal isn’t necessarily his ability to defend the pass, but moreso his consistency, and well-rounded stat line. As the Titans continue to improve, Verner will also. Verner could be on the verge of finding his true game, which would translate to 96 tackles, 4 picks, 12 passes defensed and 10 stuffs. He’s a corner who plays close to the line, enabling more shots at running backs and wideouts early in possessions.
12.) Antoine Winfield- Winfield is like the Redskins London Fletcher: age is just a moot point. While he may not play every down in Seattle at age 36, he’ll be used enough to continue to put up borderline-elite cornerback numbers. This motor is showing no signs of slowing, and as a consequence, there is no reason to believe this motor won’t post 85 tackles, 3 interceptions, 8 passes defense, and a likely sack. Teams may shy away from Sherman, meaning Winfield should be there to clan up the play.
13.) Cortland Finnegan- Finnegan is a mosquito to wideouts. No matter how hard they try, they just can’t shake Finnegan tackling them. Finnegan is oft targeted due to his poor coverage skills leading to more tackles, a handful of picks. In his 2nd season under Fisher in St. Louis, expect nothing short of a borderline CB1 production line of 100 tackles, 3 interceptions, 10 passes defense, and a sack.
14.) Chris Harris- With Bailey likely moving to safety, the training wheels will be taken off of Harris, and the going could get good quickly. Harris splashed some of his upside last season, and with the Broncos giving him the full-time starter position, Harris could provide a top 7 CB stat line at a discounted price. Don’t bet against this kid posting 70 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 15 passes defensed.
15.) Stephon Gilmore- Entering his sophomore season, Gilmore could put his name with the top names at the position if he’s able to maintain his level of production. Given the Bills are moving to a new defensive scheme, things will be interesting, but not as interesting to fantasy owners as Gilmore’s 75 tackle, 4 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interception, 19 passes defensed season. Big things are a-coming from the Gamecock product.
16.) Keenan Lewis- Don’t be the one who gets sucked into Lewis’ breakout season from last season and over drafts him. He is going to regress for 2 main reasons. First, he went from 6 passes defensed in 2011 to 23 in 2012, which means a regression is imminent. While Lewis may continue to get a healthy dose of tackles now in New Orleans, the picks could be few as he had only 1 pick in 4 seasons in the Steel City. Second, offenses in the NFC South are pass heavy, elite, and the signal callers don’t make errand throws (even Freeman is getting better at reads). These factors considered, draft lewis as a CB2, but only expect a one-trick pony production-wise. 70 tackles, 1 interception, 18 passes defensed is likely his ceiling while adjusting to the NFC South.
17.) Josh Wilson- Wilson is probably undervalued in fantasy circles, and while he may not be elite, what he’ll net you (and the Redskins) is consistency. Opposing teams may shy away from targeting Hall too often, creating more opportunities for Wilson. The Redskins are building a powerhouse team, and Wilson looks to be one of the many reliable pieces in the cog. Expect another solid 69 tackle, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recovery, 2 interception, and 12 passes defensed effort from Wilson.
18.) Dunta Robinson- The Eagles are glad this guy is out of the NFC as Robinson became known for hurting the Eagles receivers. Just ask DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Kansas City is in rebuild mode, and Robinson will serve as a crucial piece defensively. The Reid style of play in K.C. should afford Robinson the opportunity to net fantasy owners85 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 picks, and 10 passes defensed. There’s a reason QBs shy away from throwing at him; he’s a ballhawk.
19.) Patrick Robinson- Robinson finally played a full 16 game season, but not the question, can he stay healthy? If so, he will be a force in the Saints secondary and have another season similar to last season with room to mature some. Draft him as a CB2 and expect 60 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 16 passes defensed.
20.) Dee Milliner- The Rex theory of football is defense first. This philosophy, combined with playing opposite a shutdown corner (Cromartie) will enable Milliner to showcase his talents in his rookie season. Nothing short of 60 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a healthy dose of defended passes should be expected.
21.) Tramon Williams- Williams is an artist at racking up the passes defensed, and he’ll also chip in other areas. Green Bay uses Williams as a kick returner as well because he has great hands, and is very quick. He is a solid bet to net ya CB2 numbers, and should be drafted as such. After factoring in that he’ll also help you tremendously in the return game, a line of 60 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 18 passes defensed seems great for fantasy owners. He, like Patrick Peterson, is the complete package at CB.
22.) Corey Webster- Likely more valuable to the Giants in real life than to fantasy owners, the consistent Webster should be drafted to fill out any fantasy secondary as he’ll be consistent, but also a risk to miss a game or 2 to injuries. Webster will contribute 51 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 15 passes defensed.
23.) Kyle Arrington- Afforded to draft Arrington at a discount this season, do so as he will rebound. The Patriots corner had a down season last year, making for a prime time to draft him at a discount, and reap the rewards of 80 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 16 passes defensed.
24.) Brent Grimes- Grimes is on a “prove your healthy” 1 year contract. In Miami, that may be all Grimes needs to prove he can replicate his numbers from in Atlanta on the new look Dolphins. Expect there to be a little residual rust from his Achilles injury sustained last season in week 1, but the final product should be at 70 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 21 passes defensed.
25.) Asante Samuel- Samuel will be relied upon to usher in the rookie corners the Falcons drafted, and as a consequence he’ll be blood-hungry this season. Being the only true experienced corner on Atlanta, the entire downfield is his to roam. The ballhawk should easily post 7 interceptions, 20 passes defensed, but only 45 tackles as quarterbacks won’t wanna challenge him too often. Any emergence of the rookie (Desmond Trufant) starting opposite him could boost Samuel’s tackle total a little.