Fantasy football, in many ways, essentially boils down to just a roll of the dice. There is perhaps no better example of this than projecting week-to-week fantasy numbers for cornerbacks, the biggest headaches in all of fantasy projections. The adage of “More Targets = More Chances for Fantasy Points” reigns true, though this list shows that there is something to be said for corners who make the most on a few amount of chances.
Half of this list also displays players who destroyed their opposition with pick-sixes, a jackpot of sorts that earns fantasy owners 12 points on one play. Because of the similarities among these stat lines, only 4.5 points separate the top performance from the 10th best, making it all the more difficult to find a corner on a weekly basis who can truly set himself apart from the pack. As bunched as that pack may be, these 10 managed to do that and more. The scoring for this list, like the others, is based on the Pro Football Focus IDP scoring settings in the table below:
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10. Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears: Week 10 @ Detroit Lions (24 PFF Fantasy Points)
It’s only fitting that Charles Tillman made this list, given that he was the top-scoring cornerback in fantasy leagues during the 2011 NFL season. Tillman ultimately made his fantasy owners money with his 99 total tackles on the season, but he also contributed plenty in coverage points. He put his coverage ability on display during their 37-13 thrashing of the Lions, as his team recorded two pick-sixes off of Matthew Stafford. Tillman had one of these, and also logged five solo tackles and three defensed passes to give him a great one-game total.
8t. Terence Newman , Dallas Cowboys: Week 10 vs. Buffalo Bills (24.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
The Cowboys surely gave the Bills nightmares after a 37-point blowout victory, and Terence Newman was a big part of that, earning his highest coverage grade of the season (+2.5). His impressive fantasy point output was also a season-high, as he picked-off Ryan Fitzpatrick twice and took one all the way back for a touchdown. Newman added six more points to his total with three total tackles and two defensed passes.
8t. Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers: Week 2 @ Carolina Panthers (24.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
The wily veteran had some struggles in coverage as the season progressed, but still posted the second-highest fantasy total of the season among cornerbacks despite that. The longtime staple of defensive backfields in IDP leagues had his best game early on, making life very difficult for Cam Newton in his second career start. Woodson picked-off the rookie twice and defensed two of his passes in addition to recording a fumble recovery and five solo tackles.
6t. Nate Clements, Cincinnati Bengals: Week 6 vs. Indianapolis Colts (25.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
It’s a bit abnormal for a cornerback to make this list after a performance where he did not record an interception, but somehow, Nate Clements managed. Clements more than made up for his low interception total by forcing a fumble, and blocking the potential tying field goal attempt by Adam Vinatieri late in the fourth quarter. In addition, Clements also tacked-on seven solo tackles and batted away three of Curtis Painters pass attempts.
6t. Brandon Browner, Seattle Seahawks: Week 5 @ New York Giants (25.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
The New York Giants hadn’t quite hit a stride yet early in the season, but that’s not a knock on Brandon Browner. In fact, it’s a compliment, because Browner played such a well-rounded game that it would have been difficult for even a potent passing offense to get into any sort of rhythm with him continually challenging them snap after snap. Though Eli Manning ultimately had a big day yardage wise, Browner was not exactly to blame for this. Only 46 of Manning’s 420 yards were surrendered by Browner, who was challenged with eight targets and allowed just four yards coming after the catch. Browner put an exclamation point on his day with a pick-six, three defensed passes, and six solo tackles to make his owners very happy.
5. Tramon Williams, Green Bay Packers: Week 11 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
Tramon Williams was thrown at 13 times by Josh Freeman, who completed 10 of those passes for 106 yards, with exactly half of those coming after the catch. That isn’t exactly a great line for Williams, but he did show his fantasy owners how being victimized with an abundance of targets can translate into fantasy points. Two of Freeman’s incomplete passes were ones that Williams picked-off, and his nine total tackles accounted for his highest total of the season, as were his two defensed passes.
3t. Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Week 7 vs. Chicago Bears (27 PFF Fantasy Points)
Like Clements, Ronde Barber enjoyed a monster of a game despite failing to tally an interception. Interestingly enough, Barber recorded his lowest-graded game of the season, totaling a dismal -5.7 grade, but it would not have disappointed his fantasy owners. Barber’s great fantasy day is vastly attributed to a great play he made in the first quarter, stuffing Matt Forte in the end zone for a safety, which accounted for half of his game’s total. Barber tacked-on more points with three defensed passes, a sack and five solo tackles.
3t. Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs: Week 7 @ Oakland Raiders (27 PFF Fantasy Points)
When a team throws six interceptions like the Oakland Raiders did against the Chiefs in Week 7, you better believe there’s going to be a few IDP’s to break the scoreboard. Brandon Flowers was the biggest beneficiary of the Raiders’ mistakes, batting away three passes, intercepting two and returning one 58 yards for a touchdown. His three solo tackles weren’t much, but they were enough to put him near the top of the pack of single-game fantasy totals for cornerbacks.
2. Tim Jennings, Chicago Bears: Week 10 vs. Detroit Lions (27.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
Charles Tillman wasn’t the only corner to capitalize against the Lions during their blowout in Week 10, as Tim Jennings had his fair share of stat boosters as well. Tillman was far superior in coverage grades that afternoon, but Jennings’ fantasy numbers benefited from being beat in coverage ten times. Jennings logged 10 total tackles, forced and recovered a fumble, picked off a pass and defended one as well to give him a very impressive total.
1. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets: Week 6 vs. Miami Dolphins (28.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
It’s becoming clearer and clearer that if there’s a list of cornerbacks to be compiled in a positive manner, Darrelle Revis is going to top just about every single one. With that, the top spot of single-game fantasy performances of 2011 can be added to his already impressive résumé. What’s unique in this situation is that Revis is not “supposed” to garner many fantasy points, because he is not thrown at very often. For the most part, this is true, as Revis was barely a top-25 scoring cornerback over the course of the entire season. However, in Week 6, Matt Moore and the Dolphins neglected conventional wisdom and targeted Revis 14 times, gaining just 63 yards and averaging of 4.6 yards per attempt. Insultingly enough, Moore netted an atrocious quarterback rating of 11.0 when throwing his way. Revis responded by intercepting Moore twice, returning one 100 yards to the end zone, and defending four passes.