Listed below are defensive players who have a possibility to return either kicks, punts, or both this season. A lot of these players are backups in 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. Overall, the picking is quite slim.
Feel free to call out any omissions or necessary changes to the list in the comments section below.
This list will be updated periodically throughout the regular season.
*Signifies a rotational/part-time starter
Defensive Starters That Are Full-Time Returners
S Quintin Demps (KR)
Return Stats: 7 kick returns for 157 yards, 0 TDs
Defensive Playing Time: 100% of snaps (for the time being)
Demps has been one of the better kick returners in the NFL so far this season, but was receiving virtually no playing time on defense. However that changed in Week 3 after Stevie Brown was benched for getting burned on multiple long plays. Demps came in to replace him and played every snap in Week 4 against the Redskins. There's a chance that changes down the road but for the time being Demps is worth owning as a DB3+/DB2- in return yardage leagues.
Defensive Starters That Are Part-Time Returners
S Jairus Byrd (PR)
Return Stats: None (2 fair catches)
Defensive Playing Time: 100% of snaps
Byrd is by far the most valuable IDP mentioned here (top 30 DB). The Saints gave him a couple shots at returning punts last week, but both resulted in fair catches. He's likely already owned in the majority of leagues and any return production he provides is just going to be a bonus for owners in leagues that reward for that.
Defensive Rotational/Part-Time Starters That Are Full-Time Returners
S Micah Hyde (KR/PR)*
Return Stats: 2 kick returns for 49 yards, 0 TDs, 1 punt return for 8 yards
Defensive Playing Time: 60-75% of snaps (currently a starter, but coming off an injury and could potentially be losing time to Ha Ha Clinton Dix moving forward)
Of all players listed within this article, Hyde presents the best VALUE. He returns both kicks and punts at a fairly regular click and is currently playing in 2/3rds of the team's snaps as Green Bay's nickel corner. For owners desperate for sneaky DB3/DB4 value in return yardage leagues, Hyde is your best option. Keep in mind however that there is some concern that he will lose playing time to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix moving forward.
S Patrick Chung (KR)*
Return Stats: 2 kick returns for 50 yards, 0 TDs
Defensive Playing Time: 60% of snaps (starting but sharing snaps with Duron Harmon)
In somewhat of a surprise, Chung has been the starter over Duron Harmon to start the season. He's still rotating a good deal however and I would expect Harmon to wind up taking over the starter responsibilities at some point during the season given Chung's propensity to get injured.
Full-Time Returners Who Aren't Defensive Starters
CB Leodis McKelvin (PR)
Return Stats: 3 punt returns for 30 yards, 0 TDs
Defensive Playing Time: 40-50% of snaps (currently the team's 4th cornerback)
McKelvin exploded for 13 solo tackles in Week 1 against the Bears and was shaping up to be the clear cut #1 IDP Returner option. However, he was sent to the bench in Week 2 upon the return of Stephen Gilmore from injury. That said, he's not currently seeing enough snaps to be owned even in return yardage leagues, but he's definitely worth keeping an eye on and snapping up if he sees an increased role again on defense.
CB Adam Jones (PR)
Return Stats: 4 punt returns for 71 yards, 0 TDs
Defensive Playing Time: 75% of snaps (slot corner)
Jones has been in a slot corner/punt returner role for the Bengals the last couple of seasons. He hasn't put up more than 44 solo tackles in a season since arriving in Cincinnati. We know what he is at this point and that's an IDP best left on the waiver wire.
CB Nolan Carroll (KR)
Return Stats:2 kick returns for 45 yards, 0 TDs
Defensive Playing Time: 10-20% of snaps (only plays during blowouts or when a slew of injuries occur)
Carroll has been returning kicks for the Eagles, but is buried on the defensive depth chart. No matter how you slice it, he's not a viable fantasy option.
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Last Updated: September 28, 2014