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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Team Defenses Report - Week 14
Darin Tietgen
December 8, 2005

First Tier – Must Starts

  1. NY Giants – After watching what the somewhat-average Seahawk defense did to the Eagles on Monday Night Football last week, you have to assume the Giants will have their way with their NFC East rivals. The G-men posted a very solid 22 fantasy points last week; you could expect about the same this week.
  2. Denver The Broncos have been ultra-hot recently, ignoring their bland 6-point outing last week. This week, the Ravens come to the Mile High City and the Broncos should dominate them defensively.
  3. Chicago The #1 fantasy defense slips a bit due to the tough matchup at hand here in Week 14. The host Steelers will control the ball on the ground, and Big Ben will lead their sound offense. Keep in mind, though, that Big Ben’s still nursing an injured thumb on his throwing hand and has some rickety knees after recent injuries. So the Bears would be smart to attack him regularly.
  4. Cincinnati The NFL leaders in turnover margin (by a ton) face a rookie QB ( Cleveland’s Charlie Frye) at home. That’s about all you need to know. Oh, and Cleveland’s given the ball up 23 times this season.

Second Tier – Solid Starts

  1. Seattle Perhaps it wasn’t as much Seattle’s throttling defense as much as it was Philly’s ineptitude on offense that led to that Monday night debacle in Week 13. Either way, the Hawks put up 48 whopping fantasy points. This week, the ever-struggling 49ers come to town. Expect the Seahawks to control this game, but you’d be foolish to think they’ll score three defensive TDs again.
  2. Minnesota They’ve come around in recent weeks, and face a rookie QB-led St. Louis team at home here in Week 14. Before last week’s boring 3-point outing, they posted fantasy scores of 12 and 17 points. Figure they’ll be closer to those numbers this week.
  3. Carolina They’re playing sound team defense, and have two weeks in a row of double-digit fantasy scoring. The Bucs’ QBs have thrown on average about one INT per game, and Carolina is 5 th in the NFL in turnover margin.
  4. Pittsburgh Sunday’s matchup against the Bears should be one of the better defensive battles in recent memory. The Steelers have been rather quiet in terms of fantasy defense scoring, but they will have to bring their “A-game” in this one to compete with the Bears, even at home. Expect the Steelers to pressure Bear QB Kyle Orton with regularity.

Third Tier - Best of the Rest

  1. Indianapolis The Colts are rising again, fantasy defense wise. They’ve posted scores of 14 and 23 fantasy points over the past two weeks. The matchup against the Jags might not be the most cherry, but expect Jag QB David Garrard to take some downfield chances against the Colts, who will most likely be protecting a lead.
  2. Tampa Bay The matchup against the surging Panthers isn’t the greatest, but you can expect a pretty tough defensive battle for NFC South supremacy on Sunday. The Panthers have given the ball up 21 times, which is pretty average for NFL standards.
  3. Tennessee You pretty much HAVE to include whoever’s playing the Texans on this list. They give up sacks like they’re going out of style. The Titans feature a sack master in Kyle Vanden Bosch, and he’ll be busy come Sunday.
  4. Atlanta – They rank near the bottom in overall fantasy defense scoring, but ignoring the fact they face the New Orleans Saints at home on Monday Night Football would be foolish. They sacked QB Aaron Brooks three times a few weeks back, and should get to him plenty on Monday night.

Note: League scoring used for this column is 2 points for safety, fumble recovery, blocked punt or FG, 1 point for blocked PAT or sack, 6 points for defensive or special team TDs, and anywhere from 10 to 2 points based on points allowed.