In a move that’s been discussed for weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquired cornerback Darrelle Revis in a trade with the New York Jets on Sunday in exchange for a 2013 first-rounder and a conditional third- or fourth-round pick in 2014. The Buccaneers also have signed Revis to a new six-year, $96 million contract — the deal averages $16 million annually. Typically, trades that involve a defensive player as it’s centerpiece don’t have a major impact on fantasy football leagues.
This is one of those rare cases when it does.
In the past, facing Revis was a statistical death sentence for the opposing team’s No. 1 wide receiver — even an elite player like Andre Johnson became somewhat of a risk in fantasy starting lineups when he was going up against the NFL’s best cover cornerback.
Of course, whether or not Revis will be as dominant in his first season back from major knee reconstruction remains to be seen. Regardless, he’ll have his work cut out for him — just look at the list of wide receivers Revis will face twice a year in the NFC South — the Atlanta’s Falcons Roddy White and Julio Jones, the New Orleans Saints’ Marques Colston and the Carolina Panthers’ Steve Smith.
The best non-division opponents Revis will go up against are a virtual who’s who among fantasy football’s best wideouts and includes New England’s Danny Amendola (Week 3), Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (Week 4), Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson (Week 6), Seattle’s Percy Harvin (Week 9), Miami’s Mike Wallace (Week 10), Detroit’s Calvin Johnson (Week 12), Buffalo’s Steve Johnson (Week 14) and San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree (Week 15).
Add them all up, and you have 11 different wideouts ranked among the top 25 at their position in fantasy football (heading into the 2013 season) who will be slated to make a visit to Revis Island.
So, should owners now look to avoid most of these receivers in drafts? Of course not, but keep in mind that the Buccaneers are a virtual lock to drastically improve a pass defense that gave up the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers just one season ago. That makes what would have been a favorable matchup on paper for wideouts now far less attractive.
In New York, Revis’ departure isn’t a reason to downgrade the Jets’ pass defense. Remember that he missed all but 14 games with the anterior cruciate ligament tear last season, and the Men in Green still allowed just 11 touchdowns and the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. That had much to do with the emergence of cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who is now the best player on the team’s roster. So, instead of having two of the best cover corners on the same team, NFL wide receivers will now have to face Revis and Cromartie much more often.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or via Facebook!