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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Team Defenses Report - Week 7
Darin Tietgen
October 19, 2006

Tier One - Must Starts

  1. Philadelphia With the Bears and Ravens on bye, the surging Eagles grab the top spot this week.  Before last week’s stinker against the Saints, they looked fantastic, scoring no less than nine fantasy points per game and as many as 23.  Gotta think they will be putting tons of pressure on Buc rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski come Sunday.
  2. San Diego Alright, look.  Damon Huard is going to start acting like Damon Huard sooner or later.  Yeah, Arrowhead Stadium is one of the tougher places to play in the NFL, but I guarantee Shawne Merriman and the rest of the Bolt defenders could not care less.  They will apply pressure to Huard and force him into making costly errors.  Despite already having their bye week, the Bolts are a top-5 fantasy defense.  Good enough for #2 this week with the big boys (Bears and Ravens) enjoying family time this week.
  3. Jacksonville – The Jags have shown they can score big time points (games of 20 and 28 points this year) but also tend to disappear (single digits in their three other games).  Figure they will be putting up at least decent points against a Texan team known to give up sacks.
  4. DenverAs expected, they performed well against the hapless Raiders this past week.  This week, they face the somewhat inept Cleveland Browns.  They put up 19 fantasy points against the Ravens the week before, so figure they should perform well against the Brownies too. 

Tier Two - Solid Starts

  1. Atlanta – A tough matchup for sure, facing the defending champs.  But the stats never lie, and they say that the Falcons, in six games, have 70 fantasy points (tied for fourth best overall with the Eagles).  Big Ben has seven interceptions (to only two TDs) on the season.  Think DeAngelo Hall knows that stat?
  2. DallasThe Cowboys have gone for double-digit fantasy points in each of the past three weeks.  At home for Monday Night Football against the hated Giants.  Sounds like recipe for success.  QB Eli Manning has seven interceptions thus far this year.  Look for Roy Williams and company to pick him off at least once and Demarcus Ware and the underrated Cowboy line to get to him a few times, too.

Tier Three - Best of the Rest

  1. ArizonaAny time you face the Raiders, your defense is going to get highly recommended.  Surprisingly, they looked darn good against the Bears on Monday night.  And even more surprising, they’re a top-10 fantasy defense right now.   So perhaps they’d be a good recommendation no matter whom they are facing.
  2. IndianapolisThe Colts D hasn’t done much to deserve this ranking, but in a week where the Bears and Ravens are on bye (not to mention cupcakes Tennessee and San Francisco), you have to go with your gut.  My gut’s saying the Colts keep exposing the Redskins for what they are:  a bad football team.  The Giants put up 14 fantasy points against them two weeks ago, and the Titans beat them (in D.C.) last week. 
  3. Pittsburgh Tough draw against speedy Mike Vick and the Falcons in Atlanta, but the Steelers are a top-10 fantasy defense again this season and warrant mentioning.  The Giants managed 11 fantasy points against them last week, and surprisingly, Vick is quite sackable this season. 
  4. Cincinnati This is one of those “something’s gotta give” matchups.  The Panthers look like world-beaters with that Steve Smith guy on the field.  The Bengals got humiliated by the Bucs last week.  They need to come out and make a statement that they’re still part of the NFL elite, and that will be done with defense along with Carson Palmer’s offense.
  5. Miami They’ve had two bad weeks in a row, but you just know Brett Favre will be slingin’ the pigskin all over the field and will eventually get one (or two) picked off.   Again, rough week with the byes.  Gotta find the sleepers.
  6. NY Jets – Consider the Jets a mild/serviceable sleeper this week against the mistake-prone Detroit Lions.  They’ve done well (fantasy scoring wise) against good teams (8 points against the Colts) and bad teams (15 against the Bills). 

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.