Last season, Charles Tillman showed that at age 31, he is still one of the most dominating DB’s in the NFL. He took home a Pro Bowl roster spot, All-NFL First Team honors, and was voted the 34th best player in the entire league by his own peers, in addition to a few off the field awards.
Finishing as the top point getting DB in fantasy last season, Tillman was a beast all season, racking up three picks, three TD’s, 10 forced fumbles, two fumbles recovered, factoring in on 85 tackles and defending 16 passes. He shut down Calvin Johnson to the tune of three catches and 34 yards in a game last October, earning his second NFC defensive player of the week award that month alone.
In 2013 Tillman will continue his dominant ways. While I always prefer to grab a high-end linebacker with my first defensive selection, (due to high tackle totals, and not relying on the big play which can be inconsistent) Tillman deserves to be at least one of the top-10 defensive players to go this season.
The Chicago Bears schedule this season contains juicy matchups for Tillman to take advantage of. Week two features a division match against the Minnesota Vikings (who they play again in week 13) and interception prone Christian Ponder. In addition to playing division rivals Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers twice (both obviously pass happy teams), the Bears also have the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams. Every single one of those teams has plenty of potential for interception city. Drew Brees and Tony Romo led the league with 19 interceptions in 2012, Matt Stafford and Brandon Weeden had 17, and the season opener features Andy Dalton (16 picks with the Cincinnati Benglas in 2012). It’s never too early to look to the fantasy playoffs, and weeks 14-16 have Chicago against Dallas, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. If that doesn’t get you excited about Tillman, check your pulse.
Tillman is entering the final year of his contract, which means he could view it as one last chance to cash in on a big paycheck for his family. How many players have you seen take their game to another level on a contract year? Somehow, players seem to elevate their game when that contract year comes up … funny how that works out.
I’m not sure if Tillman can match the forced fumbles numbers from last year, but the potential for interceptions and tackles can certainly be met or exceeded. The aforementioned teams on the schedule for the most part have offenses that can move the ball, which lends itself to Tillman having the opportunity to make not just the interceptions, but tackles as well. 90 tackles is perfectly attainable. I would think the forced fumbles numbers drop to the five to seven range, with recovery on two or three of the fumbles. I think the advantageous schedule bodes well for his interception numbers, as four to six INT’s seem within reach (and that could be a low ball estimate). The man has shown he can consistently be a prime time player. Take him ahead of big name Darrelle Revis, as opposing offenses typically throw to the opposite side of Revis. I think Tillman has more value than Richard Sherman this season, as the majority the Seattle Seahawks schedule features run first teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You will be hard pressed to find a better fit for your fantasy secondary. Draft the Peanut Punch and he just might help you punch your way to fantasy glory.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.