Has there ever been a more apt name for a weekly series of articles than this one? Lockdown, how appropriate. Almost like I preempted this whole Covid-19 crap bucket a year early. It’s almost time to spend countless hours setting lineups, making trades and getting those waiver claims in. So with the season screaming towards us faster than ever, I thought it time to have a look into my first Wide Receiver to worry about for the upcoming season.
In a different twist to my usual weekly article of who to be wary of/avoid, this won’t state the player’s name until as late as I possibly can. That way I’ll try and come from a neutral footing when giving you the stats and thoughts on this dude.
For those die-hard Football fans and those savvy Fantasy players knowing teams schedules is second nature. Not the whole schedule but perhaps the first couple of games. Maybe even their playoff run when grabbing a late-round guy who could pop off when it matters most. There are also some Fantasy Managers who only look at bye weeks and past seasons scoring. This is flawed because last year’s schedule was different. The home and away teams rosters will be different and their schedule will also be varied from last year. It’s this schedule miss which could catch you out or lead you to a slow start. That slow start could hamper your team on getting the dubs, meaning you’re chasing the pack to get into playoff contention. This chasing will mean you’ll have to be very careful on trades looking towards the playoffs. If you’re out in front you can avoid bye week hell bye winning these byes back in a trade. Trading a player who’s bye is coming up for someone who’s bye has gone means no loss of the week for your team scoring. Not having a locked-in starter could potentially hurt that record of yours.
Today’s player is the sort of guy who is the perfect second half of season trade target because of his schedule. Of his first 9 games, I would consider only two that he won’t be paired up with an elite secondary or lockdown Corner. Of the team’s he will face in the first nine weeks, only two were in the bottom 16 in Points Per Game allowed to Wide Receivers. One of those ranked 2nd worst but was without their top Corner for A period and was in a state of transition as a team. The other ranked 16th so right on the bubble of being a top 16 team. Of the seven ranked top 16 teams in PPG allowed to Wide Receivers two of them were top three. Elite against the position.
The Corners he will be facing are elite. DVOA is a term used to rank defenders in real life against offences. You can find out more about DVOA here. Of the 9 teams the player will be facing, 5 of his opponents will have a Shadowing, Lockdown Corner to use against our guy. There are also two more corners throughout the honourable mention list. Seven of his first nine games will see a ridiculous amount of talent lined up opposite him. This does not bode well at all! Oh and the other two Corners he will face that didn’t make the list are AJ Bouye and Patrick Peterson, just saying.
It Starts off Rough
Week 1 Vs The Patriots – Stephon Gilmore
The absolute GOAT of the Secondary when it comes to Lockdown Corners. Gilmore was part of the elite Patriots Secondary group who ranked 1st in DVOA against WR1s, WR2s, other Wes and 1st against passer rating. They were so good in fact, that they almost had double interceptions to touchdowns allowed. 25 INTs to 13 touchdowns given up. Gilmore was the lynchpin of this group. Even though all three corners we’re asked to shadow offensive players, Gilmore shut down everyone he followed. He only gave up one touchdown to John Brown all year. The Patriots were devastating against opposing Wide Receivers for Fantasy Football purposes. They only gave up 25.9 Fantasy PPG to opposing Wideout corps. Only once did a player blow up against them
That player? Our guy! However, this was at home and now he travels to Foxborough. An anomaly I feel.
Week 2 Vs The Bills – Tre’Davious White
This guy is the epitome of Lockdown. He was second in the league in Quarterback rating allowed into his coverage behind Week one’s adversary for our player, Stephon Gilmore. The Bills were also second in DVOA against Wide Receivers to only the Patriots. White didn’t tend to shadow players into the slot but did when called upon to do so. The Bills D is legit good and will be even better this year I think. This will allow the 25 year old white even more room to improve. Not sure how he does this though as he allowed 0, yes 0 Touchdowns last year. White only allowed 8.8 Fantasy Points Per Game on average to opposing wideouts and a tiny 1.22 Fantasy Points Per Target. The one blemish against him was he allowed our player to make seven receptions for 135 yards. Otherwise, his season was flawless against Fantasy Wideouts. After week one this is no cakewalk for our guy.
Week 3 Vs The Jaguars – D.J. Hayden
I know. A jaguars player that isn’t Ramsey or Bouye. Unless you’re a fan of the Jags or are deep into your IDP players Hayden might not be a name you’re familiar with. Whilst he was a fringe player whilst the aforementioned studs played, Hayden was quietly productive. He ranked in the top ten for Cornerbacks in both coverage snaps per reception (10th) and yards allowed per snap (3rd). Now having Rookie Corner C.J. Henderson opposite him will help to gain recognition as part of a decent Corners room once again. Jacksonville finished 10th against Fantasy Wide Receivers last year and while you could run on the Jags passing was tricky. They gave up 31 FPPG to opposing wideouts corps and maybe even tighter this year.
Week 4 Vs The Seahawks – Shaquill Griffin
Big Shaq is an athletic freak. Whilst the Seahawks very rarely ask their Cornerbacks to shadow players across the field, Griffin Locked down the right side of the field. He Ranked top ten in passes broken up (2nd) and penalties given up (7th). Griffin helped the Seahawks to be top 12 in DVOA against WR1s (12th). They also ranked inside the top 12 for DVOA on the right side of the field (12th) and fifth against the deep pass down the right. Griffin balled out when protecting his side of the gridiron. Seattle allowed 33 FPPG to opposing Wide Receiver corps and I can see this number coming down this year. The Hawks have added Quinton Dunbar to the secondary which, if you ask me, is helping them to build the legion of boom 2.0, maybe.
Week 5 Vs The 49ers – Richard Sherman
Speaking of a player who only patrols one side of the field, Sherman was back to his best last year. PFF graded Sherman as the number one Cornerback in the 2019 regular season. Even though during the playoffs he was exposed, Sherman looked elite at times last year. He ranked top three in QB rating allowed (3rd), coverage snaps per reception (2nd) and yards allowed per coverage snap (1st). What Sherman doesn’t do in San Fran and hasn’t done in his career is shadow opposing WR1s. Whilst this is an argument for him not being Lockdown, he does shut down his side of the field. It most certainly helps that he is playing in one of the better defences in the League. The 9ers pass rush means Sherman can patrol his side with the knowledge that the Quarterback will be under pressure more times than not. The 49ers allowed 31.4 FPPG to Wide Receiver corps playing against them last year. Not many points when spread around a team.
Week 6 Vs The Broncos – AJ Bouye
A former member of Saxonville, Bouye was part of the formidable Secondary of that team, playing with Jalen Ramsey. Bouye has replaced Chris Harris Jr in Denver. Harris was predominantly a Slot Corner and was elite at what he did. What he didn’t do was shadow players to the outside often. This is where Bouye excels. He travels with the opposing WR1 and can play all along the line. Again like the Jags, Denver has a strong pass rush with Miller and Chubb. They also added a good rookie in Michael Ojemudia. The no-fly zone is firing up once more. Denver ranked 12th in FPPG given up to opposing Wide Receiving Corps. They gave up 31.9 FPPG and I think this number goes down with the addition of two new Corners to go with Bryce Callahan.
Week 7 Vs The Chargers – Casey Hayward
A veteran of the League now at this point, Hayward still excels at being Lockdown. Whilst he doesn’t shadow as much as he used to he still prowls his side with dominance. The Chargers ranked third in FPPG last season to opposing Wide Receivers. They gave up just 28.4 points and have just added Rookie Linebacker Keneth Murray to the already stacked defence. In addition to Murray, they also brought in Chris Harris Jr from Denver. Having an elite Slot Corner will allow Hayward to stay exclusively on the outside and keep his numbers in the Lockdown category. The Chargers with Taylor under centre will want to manage the clock more and this helps Hayward and Co to dominate opposing WRs.
Week 8 Vs The Rams – Jalen Ramsey
The Rams were on the bubble for being a top 16 team in FPPG against Wide Receivers. They finished 16th. They gave up 34.7 FPPG with Ramsey only playing ten games last season for the Rams. Ramsey is a top-five corner on the League and Shadows the opposing team Alpha wherever he goes. It doesn’t need to be a Wide Receiver that he follows. In the AFC Championship game against the Patriots, he followed Gronk and even shut him down despite the size mismatch. In a contract year, Ramsey has everything to prove and will want to chase the cheddar.
Week 9 Vs The Cardinals – Patrick Peterson
I’ll keep this one short. Peterson missed games last year due to PED suspension. Due to his age, his shadow skills have deteriorated but he improved as the season went on. Can’t Guard Mike made a mockery of Peterson but other than that he didn’t give up too many points to Receivers. The Cardinals were the second-worst team in the FPPG to opposing Wide Receivers. They allowed 41.7 Fantasy Points Per Game. That’s a load. A boatload. As stated though Peterson missed games due to suspension and was learning a new playbook with Kliff Kingsbury in town. If Peterson is fit he is no slouch still and can cause trouble for stud Wideouts.
Who am I?
If you haven’t deciphered yet, the player I’ve been talking about is Devante Parker. Whilst he balled out last year and blew up in big games against the best Corners, there is trouble ahead. The likelihood of this happening again is slim. Who will be his Quarterback? Fitzmagic will start the season but if they start to lose will we see Tua? When will we see Tua? Will the chemistry be there still after no offseason and limited practice.
Parker’s ADP is currently 6.09 in PPR drafts. There are players around him I would rather draft die to this hard schedule. Parker is the type of guy who I love to trade for late in the season. He gets the now Adams-less Jets back to back in weeks 10 and 11 which may well be the bounce-back games. He could be the playoff winner for your fantasy side. Trade for Parker, don’t draft him.