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FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT GUIDE

2007 Player Rankings: Defenses
Updated: September 3, 2007
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Tier 1
Chicago Bears YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 5%
Auction 12: 5%
2004 109 17 12 32 3 1 6
2005 104 24 10 40   1 4
2006 138 24 20 40   5 4
Avg 117 22 14 37 1 2 5
Proj 175 27 20 41 2 3 3

The #1 fantasy defense last year, and there’s no reason to think they shouldn’t be ranked #1 coming into this season. Edge rusher Mark Anderson is a year older and wiser. They added the speedy Dan Bazuin for even more pass rushing power. The addition of veteran DB Adam Archuleta should stabilize the sometimes-shaky backfield. And don’t forget the playmakers in Nathan Vasher and Devin Hester.

Baltimore Ravens YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 3%
2004 127 21 13 39   2 7
2005 91 12 14 41   1 3
2006 136 28 12 60     6
Avg 118 20 13 47 0 1 5
Proj 172 28 14 56 1 1 4

The Ravens started 2006 off hot but then had a four-game cold stretch that forced frustrated owners to dump them to seek other options. Many owners will be weary again this year, especially with the departure of LB Adelius Thomas. Well, the Ravens still have Ray Lewis, an improving Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed should start the season healthy.

Tier 2
New England Patriots YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 2%
Auction 12: 2%
2004 112 20 16 46   1 4
2005 63 10 8 33     2
2006 85 22 13 44   1  
Avg 87 17 12 41 0 1 2
Proj 134 25 12 48     2

The Pats added Adelius Thomas to an already steady linebacking corps and several young defensive linemen and backs. They started the 2006 season off rather rough, but had several big games down the stretch. Look for them to have plenty of big games this season.

Jacksonville Jaguars YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 69 16 12 37 2    
2005 93 19 9 47   1 2
2006 71 20 4 35   1 1
Avg 78 18 8 40 1 1 1
Proj 132 24 11 38   1 3

Everyone knows that the Jags have a solid defense, but some under-rate them as a solid fantasy defense. The addition of FS Reggie Nelson will improve the defensive backfield. The Jags face the Texans twice and both Buffalo and Oakland, teams that may struggle in 2007. The possible downside is the fact that they do face the Colts twice and New Orleans once, teams that will put up plenty of points. Fortunately the Jags play the Colts very tough.

Dallas Cowboys YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
Movement:
2004 57 13 9 33 1    
2005 75 15 11 37     2
2006 95 18 13 34   1 4
Avg 76 15 11 35 0 0 2
Proj 124 23 13 40     2

The Cowboys have slowly built themselves a pretty fearsome defense. This may be the year they put it all together and have a solid fantasy season too. They now have the hardest-hitting secondary with Roy Williams and Ken Hamlin and they have a terrific pass-rushing corps. Their schedule isn’t the best, in terms of possible fantasy output from a defensive standpoint, but they have the playmakers to put up stats regardless of opponent.

San Diego Chargers YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 76 23 10 29 1 1 1
2005 78 10 10 46     2
2006 107 16 12 61     3
Avg 87 16 11 45 0 0 2
Proj 129 16 14 49 1   3

The heart and soul (and fantasy importance) of this team lies with LB Shawne Merriman. With Donnie Edwards departed, Merriman will have to step up his game on the field and improve his locker room presence. The Bolts started 2006 off with a big fantasy game but didn’t really put up huge numbers for the rest of the season. They were, however, very steady and have a very favorable 2007 schedule.

Pittsburgh Steelers YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 106 19 13 42 1   5
2005 85 15 15 47 1   1
2006 86 20 9 39   1 2
Avg 92 18 12 43 1 0 3
Proj 128 22 9 42   2 2

The Steelers have a pretty tough 2007 schedule but have reloaded their defense with young studs like Lawrence Timmons and Lamarr Woodley. SS Troy Polamalu is one of the best playmakers in the NFL and could propel the Steelers into the top-5 this season.

Carolina Panthers YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 90 26 12 34     3
2005 105 23 19 45     3
2006 75 14 8 41     2
Avg 90 21 13 40 0 0 3
Proj 128 18 9 46 2 1 3

The Panthers were another fantasy defense that may have been overrated coming in to the 2006 season. They have a pretty good 2007 schedule and any team with Julius Peppers on it has the chance to put up huge fantasy stats. Rookie LB Jon Beason should provide depth and insurance for Dan Morgan. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Panthers were a top-5 fantasy defense yet again.

Denver Broncos YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 9
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 70 12 8 38     2
2005 85 20 16 29 1   3
2006 79 17 13 35 1   2
Avg 78 16 12 34 1 0 2
Proj 123 24 13 31   1 2

Denver added the high-motor pass rusher Jarvis Moss, who will instantly improve the front line. Dre Bly comes over from Detroit to play opposite Champ Bailey. That could be a pretty fearsome and play-making cornerback duo. And the cherry on top may be the moving of D.J. Williams to MLB, where he’ll be making plenty of big plays for the defense. The Broncos play the Raiders and Chiefs twice each, games which could net plenty of fantasy defense stats.

Miami Dolphins YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 10
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 75 15 10 36 1 1 1
2005 92 14 17 49 3   1
2006 96 8 19 47 2   3
Avg 88 12 15 44 2 0 2
Proj 122 10 19 46     3

The Fins improved their linebacking corps with the addition of Joey Porter. Matt Roth could prove to be a solid pass-rusher opposite Jason Taylor. The interior of their line is old as dirt, but the linebacking corps and rush ends are difference makers.

Seattle Seahawks YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 11
Keeper: 11
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 89 23 12 36     3
2005 100 16 11 49   1 3
2006 85 12 14 41   1 2
Avg 91 17 12 42 0 1 3
Proj 120 16 14 42   1 2

The Hawks were middle-of-the-road in terms of fantasy defenses last season, but would have ended up higher if they didn’t close the season out so poorly. Three weeks, three fantasy points. Yuck. So, why the somewhat-high ranking? Well, Lofa Tatupu is solid in the middle, Julian Peterson proved to be a solid add on the edge of the line, and Patrick Kerney could be another good addition. And the secondary has playmakers, despite the loss of Ken Hamlin.

Philadelphia Eagles YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 12
Keeper: 12
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 87 17 11 47     2
2005 74 17 10 29   1 2
2006 99 19 10 40     5
Avg 87 18 10 39 0 0 3
Proj 119 20 10 41   1 2

If Takeo Spikes can stay healthy, he will form a solid 1-2 linebacker punch with Jeremiah Trotter. The pass rush will continue to improve with Darren Howard and a (hopefully) healthy Jevon Kearse. The interior of their line is underrated and the secondary features playmakers in Brian Dawkins, Sheldon Brown and an emerging Sean Considine.

Tier 3
Green Bay Packers YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 13
Keeper: 13
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 85 8 7 40     5
2005 68 10 11 35     2
2006 109 23 10 46     5
Avg 87 14 9 40 0 0 4
Proj 118 19 11 40     3

The Packers may not have the best defensive secondary, but they play as a team and do have a couple hard-hitters. And their linebacking group is second-to-none. Will that mean their defense will stop opposing offenses? Maybe, maybe not. Does it mean they could prove to be a solid fantasy defense? Absolutely.

Oakland Raiders YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 14
Keeper: 14
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 52 9 9 26 1   1
2005 61 5 14 36     1
2006 83 18 5 34 1   4
Avg 65 11 9 32 1 0 2
Proj 115 17 12 31 1 1 3

The Silver and Black has some playmakers on the defensive side of the football. I’ll say this now: they have the potential to be a top-10 fantasy defense, especially if their offense struggles. That D could be on the field a lot this year. The Raiders have two of the studliest young LBs in Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison. They have a solid pass rush led by Derrick Burgess. And their secondary will improve this year with Michael Huff prowling the defensive backfield. The corners will give up big plays, but that doesn’t really matter when you’re talking about fantasy defenses.

Minnesota Vikings YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 15
Keeper: 15
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 79 11 11 39   1 2
2005 86 24 11 33     3
2006 104 21 15 30 1 1 5
Avg 90 19 12 34 0 1 3
Proj 114 21 14 26     3

The Vikes somehow landed in the top five fantasy defenses (according to the scoring system used for these rankings). How, you ask? It’s a mystery to us all. So why aren’t they ranked higher? Well I believe their fantasy outburst last year was a bit of an anomaly and they certainly don’t have the talent to make up for the vast amount of time they will be on the field this coming year. Yes, their offense is going to be putrid.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 16
Keeper: 16
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 96 16 11 45   1 3
2005 92 17 13 36 1 1 3
2006 63 11 9 25     3
Avg 84 15 11 35 0 1 3
Proj 112 17 8 32   2 3

The Bucs used to be an elite fantasy defense, but no longer. They could, however, see dramatic improvement this year. They added Cato June, a solid playmaking linebacker. He and Derrick Brooks will wreak plenty of havoc. Ronde Barber is still one of the best defensive backs in the league, and the Bucs added the wildly talented Gaines Adams to their defensive line. Expect the Bucs’ D to be worthy of a fantasy start by mid-season, if not sooner.

New York Jets YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 17
Keeper: 17
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 93 19 14 36   1 3
2005 77 21 7 31     3
2006 78 16 9 35   2 1
Avg 83 19 10 34 0 1 2
Proj 108 19 10 32   1 2

The names don't jump off the screen (minus Jonathan Vilma, perhaps), but as a team, the Jets get it done. Their linebackers have proven to be solid team defenders and the secondary improved as Kerry Rhodes stepped his game up. Add in the fact that they added a big-time playmaker in CB Darrelle Revis in the draft. Could be a nice year to take a stab at the Jets' team defense.

San Francisco 49ers YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 18
Keeper: 18
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 70 9 12 29 1 1 2
2005 84 16 10 28     5
2006 73 14 13 34     2
Avg 76 13 12 30 0 0 3
Proj 106 17 12 34 1   2

Another defense I could have easily ranked higher based on their off-season additions. The big names include Nate Clements, one of the best fantasy defenders in the game, and Patrick Willis, probably the biggest defensive name in this year’s draft. The problem is that they were in the bottom-5 of fantasy defenses last year, and the schedule is deadly in ’07. They’ll be better this season, but without a solid pass rush, they will most likely end up as a fantasy backup at best.

Buffalo Bills YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 19
Keeper: 19
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 146 24 15 45 1 5 5
2005 82 17 13 38 1 1 1
2006 96 13 11 40 1 1 4
Avg 108 18 13 41 1 2 3
Proj 105 12 12 39   1 2

The Bills' defense lost a bunch over the off-season. Most notably, Takeo Spikes bolted for the Eagles and Nate Clements headed west to the Niners. They're left with a pretty young secondary (minus stalwart Terrence McGee) and what could be a very green linebacking corps (should Angelo Crowell miss any time).

Indianapolis Colts YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 20
Keeper: 20
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 111 19 17 45   1 4
2005 106 18 13 45   1 4
2006 63 15 11 25   1 1
Avg 93 17 14 38 0 1 3
Proj 102 14 12 30 1 2 1

Remember when the Colts' D was a solid option in fantasy leagues? Well, not so much anymore. Dwight Freeney can't escape double-teams, and their linebacking corps took a huge hit with the loss of the playmaking Cato June. The Colts will have to see a young LB step up. If the interior line and defensive backfield improves, so could the Colts fantasy significance from a team defense perspective.

Arizona Cardinals YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 21
Keeper: 21
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 81 15 15 37 1   2
2005 105 15 11 37   4 3
2006 95 16 17 38   1 3
Avg 94 15 14 37 0 2 3
Proj 100 16 13 36     1

The Cards managed 138 fantasy points last season, using the scoring system detailed below, but didn’t do much to improve their defense. The new coaching regime should help but the change will take time and the success will have to be seen to be believed. But know this: they face the Rams, Seahawks and the improved Niner team twice each, and more superb offenses in New Orleans and Cincinnati. Buyer beware.

New Orleans Saints YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 22
Keeper: 22
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 95 13 19 37 1 2 2
2005 45 10 9 26      
2006 69 11 8 38   1 1
Avg 70 11 12 34 0 1 1
Proj 99 12 10 35 1 1 2

Can Reggie Bush play DB? The Saint defensive backfield is going to be a sieve this season. Their rush ends have shown flashes of excellence, but have been disappointments. And the linebacking corps - very, very average at best.

Atlanta Falcons YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 23
Keeper: 23
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 116 19 13 48   1 5
2005 80 16 13 37 1   2
2006 77 12 14 37 1   2
Avg 91 16 13 41 1 0 3
Proj 97 12 10 35   1 2

Yes, the Falcons were a top-15 fantasy defense in many formats last year, but don’t expect consistent scoring this coming year. They’re faced with a tough schedule and while their linebackers and defensive backs are solid NFL players, they lack a solid pass rush (could improve with the drafting of Jamaal Anderson and a resurgent John Abraham, but don’t hold your breath) and show lack of teamwork defensively.

Houston Texans YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 24
Keeper: 24
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 84 22 8 24     5
2005 59 7 9 37   1  
2006 68 11 11 28     3
Avg 70 13 9 30 0 0 3
Proj 96 14 12 32     2

The Texans have two of the most exciting young defenders in the game in DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams, but two men cannot do everything. If it weren’t for one big game against the Raiders, they’d be one of the two or three worst fantasy defenses last year. Don’t expect much more this year, although they could improve with Ryans and Williams leading the way.

New York Giants YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 25
Keeper: 25
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
Movement:
2004 93 14 14 41   2 2
2005 102 17 20 41   2 2
2006 72 17 11 32     2
Avg 89 16 15 38 0 1 2
Proj 98 16 10 34     2

Their safeties are solid, but the corners are soft. Their defensive icon, Michael Strahan, is oft-injured, and even their backups have injury concerns. Add in to the mix a very difficult schedule, and you have a recipe for fantasy insignificance from a team perspective.

Cincinnati Bengals YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 26
Keeper: 26
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 103 20 16 37     5
2005 84 31 13 28   1 1
2006 72 19 12 35     1
Avg 86 23 14 33 0 0 2
Proj 95 19 11 29     1

Oh the poor Bengals. At this rate, Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer may have to play defense, too. Ed Hartwell could help at linebacker, if he’s healthy. But will that make much difference? Probably not.

Washington Redskins YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 27
Keeper: 27
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
Movement:
2004 77 18 8 39     2
2005 75 16 12 35     2
2006 47 6 6 19 2 2  
Avg 66 13 9 31 1 1 1
Proj 88 10 14 26 1 1 1

The Skins were dead last in many leagues last season. No games in double-digits, fantasy wise. Ugly. But things got prettier in the off-season with the addition of London Fletcher-Baker and the drafting of LaRon Landry. They could move into the backup fantasy defense range (or perhaps more) if the secondary makes the plays they should with the talent that’s back there.

St. Louis Rams YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 28
Keeper: 28
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 69 6 9 36     3
2005 88 13 14 41 1 1 2
2006 78 17 15 34     2
Avg 78 12 13 37 0 0 2
Proj 94 15 14 30     1

The Rams’ D is going to be pretty bad, again. And their defense, fantasy-wise, won’t be much better. Will Witherspoon is solid in the middle but after that, you’re looking at a very average defensive backfield and only one solid pass-rusher.

Tennessee Titans YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 29
Keeper: 29
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 74 18 12 32     2
2005 87 9 11 41 1   4
2006 104 17 11 26 1 3 5
Avg 88 15 11 33 1 1 4
Proj 90 16 10 26     2

The Titans are in for a long year. Their defense features two of the better fantasy defenders out there (Keith Bulluck and Chris Hope) but as a team, they stink. They have absolutely no pass rush and their defensive secondary is spotty at best. They did put up top-20 numbers (based on scoring system used for these rankings) but they showed no consistency.

Kansas City Chiefs YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 30
Keeper: 30
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 86 13 8 41   2 2
2005 77 16 15 28   1 2
2006 74 15 15 32   1 1
Avg 79 15 13 34 0 1 2
Proj 89 14 14 27     1

If it wasn’t for a big final week and a huge game against the Niners last year, the Chiefs D would have been near the bottom, fantasy-wise. Well, they’ll be without pass rusher Jared Allen to start the season. Will that spell certain doom? Probably not, as the pieces they’ve added over the past couple seasons (Donnie Edwards, Ty Law, Patrick Surtain) could help the fantasy output here.

Detroit Lions YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 31
Keeper: 31
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 100 14 10 38 1 4 2
2005 100 19 12 31 1 3 3
2006 68 12 18 30 1   1
Avg 89 15 13 33 1 2 2
Proj 87 12 14 23   1 1

The Lions offense made major strides in the draft, but their defense wasn't as lucky. Their secondary is going to look like Swiss cheese and the front seven really only has one major playmaker. The addition of Ikaika Alama-Francis was solid, but he's a project at best. It's gonna be a long year for Lion fans, and their team defense should not be drafted.

Cleveland Browns YEAR FF PTS INT FUM SACK SF STTD DFTD
Huddle Rank: 32
Keeper: 32
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2004 72 15 13 32   1 1
2005 46 15 8 23      
2006 75 18 9 28 1 1 2
Avg 64 16 10 28 0 1 1
Proj 85 15 7 29     2

Using the scoring system listed below, the Browns were the #26 fantasy defense. So why do they slip down to the doormat? Well, they didn’t really improve on defense by way of the draft and/or free agency. Yes, their young linebackers (D’Qwell Jackson and Kamerion Wimbley) are a year older and wiser, but have no other playmakers.

   
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