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Going Deep

Defensive Backs To Know For Fantasy Matchups

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: August 11, 2020, 7:35 pm ET

There’s debate within the fantasy football industry about how much defenses actually matter for weekly matchups. In my opinion, the main adjustment from week-to-week matchups revolves around Vegas lines and projected pace, not the particulars of the opposing defense. With that said, there are some exceptions when it comes to pressure and the game’s elite corners, hence this column. I’ve compiled a list of 15 corners and 6 safety duos who are considered the league’s best, and you’ll see how they fared against top competition. Most of the data is from PFF and Pro-Football-Reference.

 

Shadow and Outside CBs

 

Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 3rd out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 42nd

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 26th

Alignment: Shadow (outside on 82% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.40

Size: 6’1/202

Age: 30

Here’s how top receivers fared against Gilmore and the Patriots last season: JuJu Smith-Schuster (6-78-0), Odell Beckham (5-52-0), Amari Cooper (0-0-0), DeAndre Hopkins (5-64-0), and Tyreek Hill (6-62-0).

 

Bills CB Tre’Davious White

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 18th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 31st

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 28th

Alignment: Shadow (outside on 88% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.47

Size: 5’11/192

Age: 25

Here’s how top receivers fared against White and the Bills last season: Odell Beckham (5-57-0), DeVante Parker (7-135-0), Courtland Sutton (1-27-0), Amari Cooper (8-85-0), and DeAndre Hopkins (6-90-0).

 

Dolphins CB Byron Jones

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 21st out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 5th

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 18th

Alignment: Shadow (outside on 85% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.43

Size: 6’0/205

Age: 28

Here’s how top receivers fared against Jones and the Cowboys last season: DeVante Parker (3-56-0), Michael Thomas (9-95-0), Stefon Diggs (3-49-0), Allen Robinson (5-48-2), and Robert Woods (4-17-0).

 

Saints CB Marshon Lattimore

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 40th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 50th

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 54th

Alignment: Shadow (outside on 91% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.36

Size: 6’0/192

Age: 24

Here’s how top receivers fared against Lattimore and the Saints last season: DeAndre Hopkins (8-111-2), Robert Woods (2-33-0), Tyler Lockett (11-154-1), Amari Cooper (5-48-0), Mike Evans (0-0-0 and 4-69-0), Allen Robinson (10-87-1), Julio Jones (3-79-0), and T.Y. Hilton (4-25-0).

 

Rams CB Jalen Ramsey

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 40th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 61st

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 78th

Alignment: Shadow (outside on 82% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.41

Size: 6’1/208

Age: 25

Here’s how top receivers fared against Ramsey and the Rams last season: Julio Jones (6-93-0), Allen Robinson (4-15-0), Tyler Lockett (4-43-0), and Amari Cooper (1-19-0).

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Ravens CB Marcus Peters

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 4th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 21st

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 35th

Alignment: Shadow outside only (outside on 86% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.53

Size: 6’0195

Age: 27

Here’s how top receivers fared against Peters and the Rams/Ravens last season: D.J. Moore (7-76-0), Michael Thomas (10-89-0), Odell Beckham (6-56-0 and 4-41-1), Mike Evans (4-89-1), Tyler Lockett (4-51-1 and 5-61-1), DeAndre Hopkins (7-80-0), and Robert Woods (6-97-0).

 

Browns CB Denzel Ward

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 25th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 40th

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 16th

Alignment: Shadow (outside on 83% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.32

Size: 5’11/190

Age: 23

Here’s how top receivers fared against Ward and the Browns last season: Courtland Sutton (5-56-1) and DeVante Parker (6-91-0).

 

Eagles CB Darius Slay

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 84th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 90th

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 75th

Alignment: Shadow (outside on 79% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.40

Size: 6’0/190

Age: 29

Here’s how top receivers fared against Slay and the Lions last season: Stefon Diggs (7-143-0 and 6-92-0), Allen Robinson (6-86-0 and 8-86-1), Amari Cooper (3-38-0), Chris Godwin (5-121-0), Courtland Sutton (5-41-0), and Davante Adams (7-93-1).

 

Chargers CB Casey Hayward

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 5th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 9th

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 52nd

Alignment: Shadow outside only (outside on 94% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.57

Size: 5’11/192

Age: 31

Here’s how top receivers fared against Hayward and the Chargers last season: T.Y. Hilton (8-87-2), Kenny Golladay (8-117-1), DeAndre Hopkins (6-67-0), DeVante Parker (4-70-1), Courtland Sutton (4-92-1 and 4-74-2), Allen Robinson (5-62-0), Davante Adams (7-41-0), Stefon Diggs (4-76-0), and Tyreek Hill (4-61-0).

 

49ers CB Richard Sherman

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 1st out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 1st

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 2nd

Alignment: Left outside CB on 85% of his snaps

Forty Time: 4.54

Size: 6’3/195

Age: 32

Here’s how top receivers fared against Sherman and the 49ers last season: Mike Evans (2-28-0), Odell Beckham (2-27-0), Robert Woods (0-0-0 and 8-117-0), D.J. Moore (5-38-0), Tyler Lockett (3-26-0 and 6-51-1), Davante Adams (7-43-1 and 9-138-0), Michael Thomas (11-134-1), Stefon Diggs (2-57-1), and Tyreek Hill (9-105-0).

 

Packers CB Jaire Alexander

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 12th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 87th

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 70th

Alignment: Shadow (outside 82% of his snaps)

Forty Time: 4.38

Size: 5’10/196

Age: 23

Here’s how top receivers fared against Alexander and the Packers last season: Allen Robinson (7-102-0 and 7-125-0), Stefon Diggs (1-49-1 and 3-57-1), Courtland Sutton (5-87-0), Amari Cooper (11-226-1), Kenny Golladay (5-121-0), Tyreek Hill (6-76-0), D.J. Moore (9-120-0), and Tyler Lockett (9-136-1).

 

Slot CBs

 

Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 14th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 33rd

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 17th

Alignment: Slot on 72% of his snaps after the Peters trade

Forty Time: 4.41

Size: 6’0/197

Age: 24

Here’s how top slot receivers fared against Humphrey and the Ravens last season: Jarvis Landry (8-167-0 and 7-74-0), JuJu Smith-Schuster (7-75-1 and 2-6-0), Tyler Boyd (3-10-0 and 6-62-0), Julian Edelman (10-89-0), Cooper Kupp (6-35-0), and Jamison Crowder (6-90-2), 

 

Jets CB Brian Poole

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 8th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 2nd

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 3rd

Alignment: Slot on 84% of his snaps

Forty Time: 4.49

Size: 5’9/213

Age: 27

Here’s how top slot receivers fared against Poole and the Jets last season: Jarvis Landry (3-32-0), Julian Edelman (7-62-1 and 7-47-0), Golden Tate (4-95-2), Tyler Boyd (5-59-1), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (2-22-0).

 

49ers CB K’Wuan Williams

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 17th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 32nd

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 10th

Alignment: Slot on 90% of his snaps

Forty Time: 4.53

Size: 5’9/185

Age: 29

Here’s how top slot receivers fared against Williams and the 49ers last season: Chris Godwin (3-53-1), Tyler Boyd (10-122-0), JuJu Smith-Schuster (3-81-1), Jarvis Landry (4-75-0), Cooper Kupp (4-17-0 and 4-31-1), and Michael Thomas (11-134-1).

 

Chargers CB Desmond King

2019 PFF Coverage Grade: 36th out of 117 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap: 80th

2019 Yards Allowed Per Target: 107th

Alignment: Slot on 85% of his snaps

Forty Time: 4.60

Size: 5’10/200

Age: 25

Here’s how top slot receivers fared against King and the Chargers last season: JuJu Smith-Schuster (1-7-0) and Tyreek Hill (4-61-0).

 

Safety Duos

 

Vikings S Anthony Harris & Harrison Smith

2019 PFF Coverage Grades: Harris (1st) and Smith (2nd) out of 98 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed to Tight Ends: 2nd best out of 32 teams

2019 PPR Points Allowed to Tight Ends: 2nd

Here’s how top tight ends fared against the Vikings last season: Austin Hooper (9-77-0), Darren Waller (13-134-0), Evan Engram (6-42-0), Zach Ertz (4-54-0), Travis Kelce (7-62-0), Hunter Henry (2-29-0), Jared Cook (5-54-0), and George Kittle (3-16-0).

 

Bills S Micah Hyde & Jordan Poyer

2019 PFF Coverage Grades: Hyde (14th) and Clark (37th) out of 98 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed to Tight Ends: 2nd best out of 32 teams

2019 PPR Points Allowed to Tight Ends: 3rd

Here’s how top tight ends fared against the Bills last season: Evan Engram (6-48-0), and Zach Ertz (2-20-0).

 

Seahawks S Jamal Adams & Quandre Diggs

2019 PFF Coverage Grades: Adams (7th) and Diggs (16th) out of 98 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed to Tight Ends (Jets): 8th best out of 32 teams

2019 PPR Points Allowed to Tight Ends (Jets): 4th best

Here’s how top tight ends fared against the Jets (Adams) last season: Zach Ertz (5-57-1) and Darren Waller (3-41-0).

 

Ravens S Earl Thomas & Chuck Clark

2019 PFF Coverage Grades: Thomas (9th) and Clark (11th) out of 98 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed to Tight Ends: 8th best out of 32 teams

2019 PPR Points Allowed to Tight Ends: 3rd

Here’s how top tight ends fared against the Ravens last season: Travis Kelce (7-89-0), Tyler Higbee (5-20-0), and George Kittle (2-17-0).

 

Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu & Juan Thornhill

2019 PFF Coverage Grades: Mathieu (12th) and Thornhill (20th) out of 98 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed to Tight Ends: 27th best out of 32 teams

2019 PPR Points Allowed to Tight Ends: 22nd

Here’s how top tight ends fared against the Chiefs last season: Darren Waller (6-63-0 and 7-100-0), Mark Andrews (3-15-0), Hunter Henry (6-69-0 and 5-42-1), and George Kittle (4-36-0).

 

Broncos S Justin Simmons & Kareem Jackson

2019 PFF Coverage Grades: Simmons (3rd) and Jackson (15th) out of 98 qualifiers

2019 Yards Allowed to Tight Ends: 28th best out of 32 teams

2019 PPR Points Allowed to Tight Ends: 13th

Here’s how top tight ends fared against the Broncos last season: Darren Waller (7-70-0 and 6-107-0), Hunter Henry (2-10-0), and Travis Kelce (6-44-0 and 11-142-0).

 

My Fantasy Football Content

1. 2019 Yards Per Carry Plus/Minus Rankings
2. 2019 Rushing Efficiency Rankings
3. 2019 Receiving Efficiency Rankings
4. 2019 Expected Passing TD Rankings
5. 2019 Expected Rushing TD Rankings
6. 2019 Expected Receiving TD Rankings
7. 2019 Big-Play Rushing Rankings
8. 2019 Expected Yards After The Catch Rankings
9. 2019 Deep Target Efficiency Rankings
10. 2019 Expected YPA Rankings
11. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (WR)
12. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (TE)
13. Reviewing Late-Season Production - QBs & TEs
14. Reviewing Late-Season Production - RBs & WRs
15. NFL Depth Charts - QB, RB, WR, TE
16. Free Agency Winners and Losers
17. Rookie RB Pass-Blocking Report
18. How Predictive Is Late-Season Production?
19. Insights After Analyzing Historical ADPs
20. Projecting NFL Pass/Run Splits in 2020
21. Projecting Plays Per Game and Offensive Pace
22. Win Rates: When Should We Draft WRs in Fantasy?
23. Touch Shares While Leading and Trailing
24. 2019 Fantasy Usage and 2020 Buy Lows
25. Should We Buy Efficient But Low-Volume WRs?

 

My Real Football Content

1. Stop Running It Up The Middle
2. Run From Shotgun, Not Under Center
3. Throw Beyond The First Down Marker
4. How Often Do Running Backs Block?
5. Should the NFL Run More in the End Zone?
6. Carries Aren't Created Equal