2011 IDP Return Men

In IDP leagues that reward points for return yardage, fantasy owners can get a little more creative with their defensive back selections. Often times relatively unknown secondary players can produce at a rate much higher than expected because of their role as return men. Even defensive backs who are limited to 3rd down nickel packages can have nice value in these leagues due to their return yardage production.

Listed below are defensive players who have a possibility to return either kicks, punts, or both this season. Most of these players are backups on most defensive packages; however, there are a few who actually start on defense as well. I've notated which players are starters and which players are bench players.

This list will continually be updated throughout the season.

S Danieal Manning (KR)*
CB Patrick Peterson (PR)*
CB Lardarius Webb (PR/KR)*
CB Aaron Ross (PR)*
CB Antonio Cromartie (KR)*
CB Javier Arenas (KR/PR)
S Joe Lefeged (KR)
CB Marcus Sherels (PR)

*Signifies a defensive starter

The two players that have the most value on this list are Patrick Peterson and Lardarius Webb. So far this season, Webb has put up outstanding tackle numbers and has been a part of both kick and punt returns. Peterson has posted solid numbers through the first three games and has a punt return for a touchdown to boot.

Danieal Manning
has been the primary kick returner for Houston but hasn't put up the tackle numbers we expected after watching him in the preseason. With all of the injury problems the Giants have had on the defensive side of the ball, Aaron Ross was pushed into the starting lineup and has been handling some punt return duties as well.

Antonio Cromartie
has put up better than expected fantasy numbers so far this season and has also been the Jets primary kick returner.

Chiefs CB Javier Arenas remains unrosterable in most leagues as he has remained on the bench in most defensive packages thereby limiting his tackle opportunity. He is however heavily involved in both the kick and punt return packages and may therefore be worth a look in deep IDP leagues that reward heavily for return yardage.

The season-ending injury to Colts starting strong safety Melvin Bullitt, may open up the door to rookie Joe Lefeged to some more playing time. He's currently handling the kickoff return duties and is a guy to keep your eye on.

Marcus Sherels
has really done nothing for the Vikings outside of returning punts. He probably isn't worth a pickup even in leagues that reward for return yards.

I've had quite a few requests via email and through the forums for further information on this topic. I hope this article helped all of you owners that are in these types of leagues.

Last Updated: October 2, 2011
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Done Drank Too Much said...

Drafted Peterson, picked up manning on the wire. Both because we are a return yardage league. I figure id roll with them off the bat instead of more tackle guys like bethea or wilson. We'll see if it pans out, especially with the new kickoff rules might pull back the fantasy points a bit. Nice Article, keep up the good work. thank you

http://www.youtube.com/user/earcher5?feature=mhum said...

Long time listener first time caller.
Jacoby Jones handles the return duties for the Texans. Why would they want a lesser athlete in Manning to take over? At any rate, Manning is not listed on yahoo's special teams.
I would think Leodis McKelvin would be on this list as well.

Ryan Sitzmann said...

From what I've read, Jones will be returning punts and Manning returning kicks. As mentioned in my writeup, Manning has a ton of experience as a kick returner and has had success there historically.

In Buffalo, I've read that the returners will be as follows: KICKOFFS: RB C.J. Spiller and QB Brad Smith PUNTS: WR Roscoe Parrish and RB C.J. Spiller.

It's always hard to tell who is going to get the return duties. It's somewhat of a guessing game as the responsibilities change from game to game in many situations.

ReadyMan said...

Great article!
I didnt know about Peterson, and someone already picked him up in our draft. I drafted Arenas though.
Any prediction how the new KR rule will impact return yardage leagues?

Also, I noted in a news blurb that Turk McBride (who is listed as a DT in ESPN leagues) is going to be starting at Left Defensive End, and the Saints Depth chart shows this as well. Since he's listed as a DT, but will be playing as a DE, do you think his production will be more than Israel Idonije? He's my starting DT, but seems like a DE would do much better...what do you think, Drop Idonije for McBride?

Thanks Ryan!

Ryan Sitzmann said...

I don't think the new rule will affect kick returns much.

McBride could be a sneaky play, but I would still rather have Idonije. Cameron Jordan has started slow but he will push McBride for the starting job sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

How could you not think the new rule will effect kickoff returns much? By moving the kickoffs up there will be far fewer kickoff returns and many more touchbacks, thats a big effect, drastically limits the value of kickoff guys. It has been very evident in the preseason.

Magic mike said...

Hello Ryan, good to be back looking at your website! I wasn't sure if I was going to play on Idp league this year until last minute. Helped me tremendously last year! My first questions of the year are, I drafted Manning in return yard league, but Peterson is available. If you had to pick one, which guy would you take? Also had a LB ? I have Ray Lewis and Bishop. Hawthorne is available, out of the three who would be your top two in standard scoring espn league? Like usual, definitely putting you on the spot:)

Ryan Sitzmann said...

Considering most scoring systems reward only 1 point per twenty return yards, I don't think you will see a big difference in total points scored by the end of the year :).

Ryan Sitzmann said...

@Magic mike
I'd rather have Peterson. He's been climbing up my rankings after the season-ending injury to Toler. I think Lewis and Bishop slightly outrank Hawthorne at this point.

K-Factor said...

Hi Ryan, How do you know that Marcus Gilchrist (rookie CB) will return both kicks and punts? He has not done any returns in the pre season. Just wondering. Thanks.

Ryan Sitzmann said...

Just a predication based on the reports I have read as of late. Could be wrong. It's just me going out on a limb a bit.

K-Factor said...

@Ryan Sitzmann

just curious where you read these reports Ryan. I am unable to find information on return guys in my searches. can you reveal your sources to me? thanks.

Ryan Sitzmann said...

I mainly read various forums and also Mike Herman does a fantastic write-up on this subject for Footballguys. It's part of their paid subscription though.

Anonymous said...

I picked up Patrick Peterson, but everywhere I look he is listed behind Stephens-Howling and Andre Roberts for KR and PR, respectively. Is there newer information that I'm missing here?

Ryan Sitzmann said...

I think Peterson is likely to start the season behind those two as a returner. However, he's too talented not to see some returns and therefore is worth grabbing up in return leagues since he will likely be starting at CB and will have value from that perspective alone.

Anonymous said...

The league I'm in is new to returns. We only have 1 defense player spot on the roster and I've always went w a linebacker for tackle points. I was looking at your post and a lot of good info. I have dez bryant, leon washington, amendola, reggie bush, cj spiller and darren sproles, I was looking at manning also, but I didn't see jim leaonard on th list. Is he doing punts again this year? And who does KR on jets now that's b smith is gone? Thanks 4 the help guys!

K-Factor said...


Sorry Ryan for hijacking your post. I hope you don't mind.

Jeremy Kerley is the primary KR for the Jets. I doubt they would use Jim to return punts especially coming back from a devastating injury. So it could be Kerley doing both KR and PR.

Ryan Sitzmann said...

No problem. I actually appreciate the help. It's a TON of work to respond to all the comments, forum posts, emails, etc.

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