Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha.
Their names have a way of making fantasy football owners run like they’ve just seen killer tomatoes.
The NFL’s top two cornerbacks are thought to be so effective at shutting down opposing wide receivers that they lead us to question the widely accepted “never sit your stars” rule.
But should you bench an elite wideout who’s facing the Jets’ Revis or the Eagles’ Asomugha? It’s a particularly timely question, as New England’s Wes Welker — the top-scoring fantasy wide receiver so far — prepares to face the Jets, and Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson — the seventh-best wideout to date — braces for Philadelphia.
As with most fantasy decisions, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
Much depends on your roster. But the evidence is fairly compelling that you should at least entertain the idea of sitting even the best of wide receivers against Revis or Asomugha.
Just ask Houston’s Andre Johnson and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson — arguably the NFL’s top two wide receivers — how good Revis is. Last year, Calvin Johnson was held to one catch for 13 yards against the Jets. Two weeks later, Andre Johnson managed just three receptions for 32 yards vs. Gang Green.
A year earlier, Andre Johnson had just 35 yards against Revis and the Jets, while Atlanta’s Roddy White and Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne produced 33 yards apiece.
A close look at the stats, however, shows that the Asomugha-led Raiders were not nearly as dominant in 2009 and 2010, as they yielded big games to Vincent Jackson, Miles Austin and Santonio Holmes, to name a few.
But Asomugha is now playing for an Eagles team that also includes fellow Pro Bowl cornerbacks Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. And so far, the Philly secondary has lived up to the hype, holding both Atlanta’s White and the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks to 25 yards or less this year.
No, it’s not impossible for a receiver to have success against the Jets or Eagles. Revis and Asomugha, after all, have their off days, too, and they can’t cover everybody. (Incidentally, Welker, with and without the presence of Randy Moss, has been a thorn in the Jets’ side — start him Sunday.)
But in general, you’d have better odds of being eaten by a killer tomato than predicting when a receiver will excel against Revis or Asomugha.
Here’s a look at how top-25 fantasy wide receivers fared against Revis’ and Asomugha’s teams since 2009:
REVIS Top-25 WRs faced Topped season avg. Avg. fantasy pts. Avg. yards
2009 9 2 5.8 48.7
2010 10 4 8.3 62.6
2011 1 0 15.0 90.0
NNAMDI ASOMUGHA Top-25 WRs faced Topped season avg. Avg. fantasy pts. Avg. yards fantasy pts.*
2009 11 6 12.1 87.9
2010 3 0 8.3 48.3
2011 1 0 2.0 24.0
* standard scoring leagues
Ryan Chatelain (firstname.lastname@example.org) is amNY’s fantasy football columnist.