It’s now crunch time for those vying for a playoff slot. Most leagues only have 12 or 13 regular season games. Week 11 could make or break your season. IDP leagues give you the extra excitement (and stress) of getting healthy, productive players in a much deeper starting lineup. Injuries and Byes are adding up and sometimes you need that sleeper or under the radar waiver wire grab to get you a much-needed win. Sometimes you need help deciding who to play between two starters or if a backup has more upside than the average play. You have come to the right place as I will seek to provide you a few names to consider this week for your defensive back starting slots. Whether you are in simple IDP leagues that play two DBs (corners or safeties) or a deeper dynasty league with multiple S, CB slots, I have you covered.
Before we get to Week 11 matchups, let’s take a quick look back at last week…
BIG HIT — Ron Parker, Ryan Mundy
HIT — Robert Alford
AVG. PLAY — Aqib Talib, Dawan Landry
MISS — Tharold Simon, Rashad Johnson
WOW did I MISS — Marcus Burley, Isaiah Frey, Jimmy Wilson
|CB||Aqib Talib||DEN||5.5||6.5||2 tackles and one PD = pedestrian day for Talib|
|CB||Ron Parker||KC||20||29||Huge win here with 8 tackles, Forced Fumble and 3 PDs|
|CB||Robert Alford||ATL||16||13.5||9 tackles for a CB is a nice day and he added a PD to his total|
|CB||Isaiah Frey||TB||1.5||1||One tackle = bust|
|CB||Tharold Simon||SEA||5||2.5||Activating Byron Maxwell and 68 snaps for Jeron Johnson limits Simon to only 3 tackles and no impact plays|
|CB||Marcus Burley||SEA||1.5||1||Ditto to above…Burley only saw 13 defensive snaps in Week 10|
|S||Dawan Landry||NYJ||12||4||Solid in tackle heavy leagues but a Miss in impact play driven leagues|
|S||Rashad Johnson||ARI||4.5||3||Not much to see here. 3 tackles isn’t going to cut it.|
|S||Jimmy Wilson||MIA||0||0||Allegedly he played in Week 10 (45 snaps), but he had no stats of any kind. Ouch!!!|
|S||Ryan Mundy||CHI||21||12||11 Tackles made him a huge play in tackle heavy leagues + Fumble Recovery makes him a hit in all formats|
If you have a Top 10 Safety, you are going to play him. You don’t need to read an article to tell you this. Even if you don’t play in a tackle heavy scoring format, the steady tackles that top safeties routinely showcase will get you a decent cushion to start with and any impact plays can push you to a big week. That being said, we don’t all have consistent performing safeties to plug in every week and/or must start Cornerbacks in your league. CBs seem to be a crap- shoot, but I have had some of my biggest hits this year on sleeper CBs. Knowing which players have favorable matchups and perhaps increased opportunity (potential for defensive snaps) can help you plug and play your way to a win. This week, I am providing those hard-core IDP owners some deeper plays. No household names here. Only two of these guys are even owned in MLFF4 (the league I play in for this site) and one of them is a rookie that has only entered the radar due to three consecutive games of huge performances. I’m going to be dropping some knowledge on you that is sound in theory, and then you must determine whether or not you have the stomach (or desperate enough) to use them. So without further boring introduction…
Week 11 (Deep Cornerback) Targets
HOUSTON TEXANS at CLEVELAND BROWNS
Jumal Rolle & Andre Hal (HOU)
I’m going to start off with a pair of Texans for your consideration if you need a desperation play this week. Rolle and Hal will likely be on your waiver wire in even the deepest leagues. Jumal Rolle is deep on the depth chart at CB for Houston. This position, however, has been a revolving door for the Texans this season due to injuries piling up. Starting LCB, Kareem Jackson has already been ruled out for this week. RCB, Johnathan Joseph, is coming off a concussion and knee injury that limited him to only 10 snaps in Week 9. Even after the bye week, Joseph is not 100%, Daryl Morris has been limited and Rolle burst on the scene in Week 9 with 2 tackles, 2 PDs and 2 picks against the Eagles in 56 snaps. In the same game, Andre Hal had his first look at extensive snaps (79) and performed well with 7 tackles and 2 PDs. Now the snap count is a little misleading with the Eagles propensity for running a lot of plays, but the point is they both have performed well when given the chance. AJ Bouye will get the start in place of Jackson, but with the other guys banged up, I expect to see both Rolle and Hal getting plenty of snaps to possibly steal you 7-10 points this week in a desperation or deep league play.
Buster Skrine (CLE)
This is the one guy on this list that is probably already owned in your league if you have 14+ teams or deep rosters. He is the starting RCB for the Browns and sees a ton of targets as QBs like to avoid throwing at Joe Haden. He has performed well over the course of the season with 43 tackles, 4 INTs and 10 PDs. If you have him as depth on your roster, this is the week to start him. Houston is giving Ryan Mallett his first start and I expect him to make a few mistakes this week. Skrine is primed to take advantage as he will be covering either Andre Johnson or Deandre Hopkins most of the day. He is a solid play in all IDP scoring formats this week.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at WASHINGTON NFL FOOTBALL TEAM
Johnthan Banks (TB)
Now that Banks has fully recovered from his MRSA infection, he has strung together back to back impressive games totaling 9 tackles, 1 pick and 5 PDs over that two game span. I would expect nothing less than for Washington to try to exploit Tampa’s 31st ranked yards per game defense (277.1). The Bucs also give up over 2 passing TDs a game. RG3 has got some game time in and now a bye week to practice. He should be ready to go and Banks will be ready to take advantage of his mistakes as the unquestioned starter at RCB. Playing nearly every defensive snap, Banks is a great play this week in all leagues that require a CB slot as well as deeper leagues with more than two DB starting slots.
Bashaud Breeland (WAS)
I’ll be honest. Other than being a draft junkie and knowing he was a 4th round pick out of Clemson, I didn’t know much about Breeland and he was not on my radar until the primetime Dallas game where he broke out with 4 PDs. Each one seemed to be a huge play and I was intrigued. He hadn’t been productive early in the season despite getting heavy snaps starting in Week 3. He gets his first pick in Week 7 against TEN but no one outside Washington DC and Nashville probably noticed. Since the Dallas game, he had another productive game in Week 9 against Minnesota with 5 tackles and two more PDs. Breeland emerges from the bye as the starting LCB. With 7 PDs in the last 3 games, Breeland has become a reliable cover corner and a safe start in nearly all IDP formats, especially those that require starting a CB. Josh McCown will likely give him some targets and is a great matchup for a productive fantasy CB.
OAKLAND RAIDERS at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
DJ Hayden (OAK)
After laughing at the Raiders for taking Hayden 12th overall in the 2013 draft, it appears that Oakland was beginning to see some of what they had scouted. Since being activated from IR, he saw only 5 snaps in Week 8 but he had 126 combined snaps in the last two games against Seattle and Denver. In those two games, he had a pick (should have had two more), 10 tackles and 5 PDs. He did leave last week’s game with a strained groin, but all indications is that he will play against the Chargers. I expect San Diego to come out aggressive with guns blazing this week. They are coming off their bye which they had to stew over a 37-0 shutout against the Dolphins and a three game losing streak. They are going to want to beat up on the Raiders (who usually play them tough), and they get Ryan Mathews back. If Hayden can go (check inactive reports Sunday morning), he should be in line for another productive day. He is a risk due to his groin injury, but sometimes the boom or bust players are the most rewarding when they hit.
Chris Davis & Steve Williams (SD)
Looking for some another desperation play? I have you covered. San Diego should have their starting Corners healthy this week, but their nickel and dime backs likely will not play (Varrett and Addae). This means there will be snaps available for other Corners, especially on passing downs. Enter Chris Davis and Steve Williams. Everywhere I search, Williams is listed higher on the depth chart so he might get first crack. That being said, Williams only saw 17 snaps in the last game against Miami to Davis’ 66 snaps. Perhaps they were giving the rookie a longer look due to the blowout, but in limited play, Williams has only managed 5 tackles and no impact plays this season. Even if the playing time were split evenly, I prefer Chris Davis this week as he is their top Kick Returner and can earn you points on special teams if your league counts return yards. Last week he had over 22 fantasy points in MLFF leagues due to his 116 return yards and 5 tackles. Again, this is a desperation play, but one that could pay off huge and steal you a win.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS at TENNESSEE TITANS
Brice McCain (PIT)
I live in Northeastern, PA, and it seems like half the town I live in are Pittsburgh transplants or somehow became Steeler fans despite being only an hour north of Philly. As a result, I get to have regular conversations with Steeler fans that like to give me a hard time about my analysis of their team. These said fans were bragging of their offense and Big Ben’s record setting performances. Last week in “Alluhring Strategy.” I predicted that Rex Ryan would dial-up a game plan to slow down this explosive offense and Dawan Landry would be the beneficiary. Well, I missed the DB pick (Jaiquawn Jarrett was the winner here), but I was correct on the end result much to my friends’ dismay. That being said, I expect a bounce back week for the Steelers. On the defensive side, Brice McCain is seeing a lot of snaps due to the injury of Ike Taylor. He has not really taken advantage of it with a limited amount of impact plays. My gut feeling is that the six year veteran has a big day against the Rookie Titans QB, Zach Mettenberger. He has the matchup, he has the opportunity with snap count potential, and the Steelers will be hungry to gain back respectability after last week’s debacle.
Coty Sensabaugh (TEN)
I’m going to continue with my Steelers’ dissertation. Has anyone noticed that despite a respectable 6-4 record, all their losses have been pretty bad? They are the only team to lose to Tampa and the only team other than the Raiders to lose to the Jets. Furthermore, their other losses, were ugly games against division opponents which they were not even competitive. So which Steelers team shows up Monday Night? The Dr. Jykel, 6 TD per game, offense against BAL and IND? Or the Mr Hyde version that showed up against Jacksonville, Week 2 against BAL and last week against the Jets? Its seems that the lowly Titans should be a game that Pittsburgh tries to run up the score to get back on track, however, they seem to always play down to the level of their opponent this season. Either way, I expect Big Ben to be throwing the ball all over the field looking for Antonio Brown and his stable of young, talented receivers. Sensabaugh earned the starting LCB on opening week, but due to injury and the performance of Blidi Wreh-Wilson, he has been an afterthought. He appears to now be healthy and is looking to retain his starting role or at least regular snaps. This is a great week to do it as Pittsburgh averages 38.4 pass attempts per game and 43 over the last three games. Even if Coty is regulated to the Nickel slot, he should be on the field quite a bit with opportunity to make some impact plays. Most owners have picked up Blidi, but Coty should be available in your league for a nice plug and play this week. Plus, its fun to have a rooting interest in the Monday Night game that isn’t a marquee matchup.
Bryan Luhrs Real Deal Dynasty Sports, Creator & Executive Commissioner MajorLeagueFantasySports.com, Fantasy Baseball and Football Writer http://www.realdealdynasty.com @realdealdynasty ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Click the link below to listen live) Major League Fantasy Football Radio: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts this Sunday November 16th from 11am-12pm EST for this week’s live episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. Call in to ask questions live at 646.915.8596. This weeks guests are Bryan Robinson and Matt Barkman. Both Bryan and Matt write for MLFS. Bryan publishes a piece every Thursday called “FLEXual Tension” in which he focuses on the WR/RB position from week to week. Matt publishes a piece every Sunday morning at 9am EST called “Off the Matt” in which he focuses on key players either “out”, “questionable”, or “doubtful” to play Sunday or Monday. He then provides you with alternatives.We love taking live callers so don’t feel bashful, we will make you part of the conversation.