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Fantasy Football 2012: The Subpar Cornerback Effect

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The Subpar Cornerback Effect

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we have looked at the effects that the elite cornerbacks have on elite receivers, we will turn our focus to the contrary. For every cornerback that can be characterized as shutdown, there are several who can be referred to as turnstiles. This is a pretty self-explanatory term but it means that these subpar cornerbacks basically act as an obstacle that opposing receivers run through. In our first study, we saw that good defense often trumps good offense. We also learned which cornerbacks have established themselves as elite in 2012. Most of the names that appear on this list are far less recognizable and for good reason. The comparative results between lockdown corners and turnstile corners are remarkable, especially from a fantasy football perspective.

For fantasy football purposes, let’s compare, say Andre Johnson matched up against a top-four cornerback compared to Dwayne Bowe against a bottom-four corner. Johnson faced off against two of the top four and totaled four catches for 50 yards. In two games vs. bottom-four cornerbacks, Bowe accumulated 13 catches for 144 yards. This is just one comparative example but from in-depth research we have found that an elite receiver vs. an elite corner may not be as advantageous a fantasy play as a good receiver vs. a bad cornerback. Fantasy football is a talent-oriented game, but it’s also very important to play the matchups down the stretch.

We are now going to take a look at the worst four cornerbacks in the league in 2012 and the favorable effects that they have on the success of elite receivers.

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Jabari Greer, New Orleans Saints

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Jabari Greer: five catches, 104 yards per game – five TDs

1. Vincent Jackson: seven catches, 216 yards, one TD

2. Vincent Jackson: six catches, 81 yards

3. Demaryius Thomas: seven catches, 137 yards, one TD

4. Roddy White: seven catches, 114 yards

5. Roddy White: one catch, 20 yards

6. Hakeem Nicks: four catches, 67 yards, one TD

7. Desean Jackson: three catches, 100 yards, one TD

8. Jordy Nelson: eight catches, 93 yards, one TD

Greer has been toasted by epic proportions in 2012. Greer will line up against Dez Bryant in Week 16 and despite his finger injury, his matchup makes him a top-three play. Based on what we’ve seen against top receivers this year, Bryant should see at least 100 yards and/or a touchdown.

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Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nnamdi Asomugha: five catches, 88 yards per game – seven TDs

1. Calvin Johnson: six catches, 135 yards

2. A.J. Green: six catches, 57 yards, one TD

3. Larry Fitzgerald: nine catches, 114 yards, one TD

4. Vincent Jackson: six catches, 131 yards, one TD

5. Dez Bryant: three catches, 87 yards, one TD

6. Dez Bryant: six catches, 98 yards, two TD

7. Marques Colston: four catches, 46 yards, one TD

8. Roddy White: three catches, 38 yards

Asomugha used to be the least targeted cornerback in his days with the Oakland Raiders but now he is routinely picked on with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has not responded well to the change in systems and has given up seven touchdowns in eight games matched up against good receivers. Whether or not Robert Griffin III plays in Week 16, Pierre Garcon has the matchup to make him worthy of a wide receiver two play this week.

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Jason McCourty, Tennessee Titans

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Jason McCourty: six catches, 94 yards per game – seven TDs

1. Calvin Johnson: 10 catches, 164 yards, one TD

2. Brandon Marshall: nine catches, 122 yards, three TD

3. Andre Johnson: three catches, 56 yards

4. Andre Johnson: five catches, 56 yards

5. Percy Harvin: eight catches, 108 yards, one TD

6. Mike Wallace: two catches, 94 yards, one TD

7. Reggie Wayne: seven catches, 91 yards

8. Reggie Wayne: six catches, 64 yards, one TD

McCourty has also displayed minimal ability to function as a number one cornerback in the NFL. Opposing receivers have had a field day when matched up against him. Seven touchdowns in the eight documented games is a green light for fantasy owners. Greg Jennings gets the matchup in Week 16 and this should be a remedy to get him back on track.

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Michael Huff, Oakland Raiders

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Huff: four catches, 89 yards per game – five TDs

1. A.J. Green: three catches, 111 yards

2. Vincent Jackson: two catches, 84 yards, one TD

3. Demaryius Thomas: five catches, 103 yards

4. Demaryius Thomas: five catches, 83 yards

5. Roddy White: six catches, 72 yards, one TD

6. Mike Wallace: eight catches, 123 yards, one TD

7. Marques Colston: four catches, 69 yards

8. Torrey Smith: two catches, 67 yards, two TDs

The vacancy at cornerback for the Oakland Raiders has forced them to move Huff out of position. It’s safe to say that this has been a failed experiment as he rates as one of the worst number one cornerbacks. Steve Smith gets the call in Week 16 and should produce the way fantasy owners were hoping when they drafted him in 2012.

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Tramon Williams, Green Bay Packers

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tramon Williams: 7 catches, 108 yards per game – four TD

1. Calvin Johnson: five catches, 143 yards, one TD

2. Calvin Johnson: 10 catches, 118 yards

3. Brandon Marshall: six catches, 64

4. Brandon Marshall: two catches, 24 yards

5. Andre Johnson: eight catches, 75 yards

6. Larry Fitzgerald: six catches, 74 yards, one TD

7. Marques Colston: nine catches, 153 yards, one TD

8. Reggie Wayne: 13 catches, 212 yards, one TD

Williams contested Richard Sherman’s identity as Optimus Prime by calling himself the leader of the autobots. He hasn’t played up to his self-proclaimed title as he has routinely been beaten by opposing receivers. Aside from offensive line problems, the Green Bay Packers secondary has been a glaring weakness for these Super Bowl contenders. Kenny Britt will face Williams in Week 16 and it raises his value to a must-start despite the Tennessee Titans struggles.