With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror it’s time to start planning for 2019 Fantasy Drafts. Today I’ll be giving first impressions on the defensive backfield players who could make big impacts this fantasy season. This list will undoubtedly change with training camp news and updates, but assuming these players turn out to be the players GM’s thought they were drafting, these players at the safety and corner positions have the best chance to positively affect your IDP teams this season.
Johnathan Abram – Oakland Raiders – One of three first round picks by Mike Mayock and John Gruden, Abram will have a good opportunity to be an opening day starter. Former first round pick, Karl Joseph, has disappointed in his three seasons in Oakland at the strong safety position, and is the most likely spot for Abram to step into. Free agent, Lamarcus Joyner, is likely to start at free safety. Abram excels against the run and should play in or near the box and provide great fantasy stats at safety this year.
Darnell Savage – Green Bay Packers – Savage was the first safety selected this year in the draft, and unlike Abram, most of his potential fantasy impact will come form big play potential i.e. pass breakups and interceptions. He has the speed to play slot corner, 4.36 combine forty time, and will excel in coverage. These skills are much harder to predict from game to game, but depending on your scoring setup, and with only Josh Jones to beat out, Savage may be the perfect safety for you to target in later rounds.
Juan Thornhill – Kansas City Chiefs – It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs plan to use Thornhill. Tyrann Mathieu was added in free agency and would seemingly play the same position as Thornhill at Free Safety. Both are former corners with big play ability. Thornhill did lead UVA in tackles his senior season and may start out at strong safety, or be in the nickel package which will be on the field the majority of the time anyway. He should see plenty of snaps, but if preseason doesn’t make this obvious he may be better suited as an early season waiver add.
Marquise Blair – Seattle Seahawks – Blair is Seattle’s second round pick, before D.K. Metcalf. He will be battling for the free safety position, with Bradley McDougald the likely starter at strong safety. Blair has nice speed and even with a smaller frame is not afraid to throw his body around. He’ll be battling with Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill, third year players, for the right to start. However, even if he is not named the starter coming into the season he should see plenty of playing time, but I would venture he won’t make a big fantasy impact this season unless there is an injury ahead of him.
Nasir Adderley – Los Angeles Chargers – The Chargers already have a couple of good safeties in Derwin James and Adrian Phillips, but Adderley should also see plenty of playing time. I imagine he may see time at corner or play a hybrid safety/corner. Adderley is also a safety who won’t be a consistent tackler, but will have good games with pass breakups and an interception. He has a reputation of being a ball hawk, finishing with nine interceptions over his final two years of college.
The next highest rated Safety would be Taylor Rapp of the Los Angeles Rams, but I see little playing time to start his first season playing behind John Johnson and Eric Weddle. The Rams also seem to be set at corner too, so Rapp will likely need an injury ahead of him to gain significant playing time this season.
Byron Murphy – Arizona Cardinals – Murphy was considered the top corner available by most draft analysts. He is the latest corner out of the recent line of corners from the University of Washington. When drafted Arizona most likely planned to slowly work him into the lineup, possibly giving him time at slot corner. Robert Alford was brought in as a free agent in the offseason to play opposite Patrick Peterson. However, with the recent news of Peterson’s suspension for six games to start the season for a PED violation, Murphy may be relied upon earlier than planned. If he plays well he will have a chance to stick in the starting lineup and take over for Robert Alford who is coming off a down season. Murphy has great ball skills and was the best cover corner in this year’s draft.
Rock Ya-Sin – Indianapolis Colts – Rock Ya-Sin is a physical corner out of Temple who should earn immediate playing time in the Colts secondary. Can you name the Colts corners without Google? Their names are Pierre Desir, who was their most consistent corner last season, but an afterthought for his first five years in the league, and Kenny Moore. Rock Ya-Sin will earn one of these spots or play in sub packages to start the season. By the end of the season, he will surely be playing the majority of minutes at one of the starting corner positions.
Deandre Baker – New York Giants – Baker was the first corner selected in the 2019 NFL Draft and the only corner selected in the first round. He will compete with Sam Beal, a 2018 Supplemental Draft selection who missed the 2018 season with an injury, for the starting corner job opposite Janoris Jenkins. I’d wait until seeing both Baker and Beal in action during preseason before selecting either to my fantasy team, but the winner of the starting job should have plenty of opportunities as opposing quarterbacks try to welcome them to the league early in the season.
My next three favorites for playing time at corner would be Sean Bunting drafted by the cornerback needy Tampa Bay Bucs, Trayvon Mullen drafted by the cornerback needy Raiders and Joejuan Williams who the Patriots will find plenty of ways to use on defense.
Check back next week as Ben Wardi takes us through the defensive line and the all important linebacker position.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday May 12th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #159 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. We will discuss spot starters for the coming week, plus a weekend update, and look ahead to next week.
Our guest this week is Kevin Bzdek. Kevin is a writer, editor, league owner, and frequent guest on majorleaguefantasysports.com shows.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 16th, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #160 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Cole and Kyle will discuss the latest happenings in the world of MLB and fantasy. They will take a look back on the previous few days and a preview of the coming weekend. Including spot starts, bullpens, offense, and minor league players.