Tier One - Must Starts
- Baltimore – The Ravens D is heating up. 27 big fantasy points last week and a very respectable 12 points the week previous. The Bill offense is a bit of a mess and the Ravens could easily post 15 fantasy points this week.
- New York Giants – Talk about hot! The Giants are steamrolling opposing offenses and will do the same this week against San Francisco, regardless of who’s taking snaps for the Niners.
- Dallas – They’re the 2nd-best fantasy D over the past three weeks and host a very one-dimensional Viking squad. If they’re able to contain super-rookie Adrian Peterson, expect them to hold the Vikes under 14 points and get a few turnovers.
- New England – They’ve slipped to #8 on the season but they’ll probably shoot up the rankings after facing Cleo Lemon and the now Chambers-less Dolphins.
Tier Two - Good Starts
- Washington – The Skin D is solid, no doubt about that. But they’re more of a “solid NFL defense” rather than a “solid fantasy defense”. You can’t ignore, however, an average of 19 fantasy points in the past two weeks. Nor can you ignore the matchup against the Cardinals, who will probably have Tim Ratty under center. That gulp you hear is from all the Cardinal fans out there. Yeah, all four of them.
- Pittsburgh – The Steelers’ D, despite already having their bye, have a whopping 79 fantasy points. They’ll look to improve on that total against the Broncos. If the resurgent Chargers were able to post big fantasy D numbers at Mile High, why not the Steelers?
Tier Three – Average Starts
- Chicago – Until they prove they can put up fantasy points on defense (not just special teams, Mr. Hester), they will remain as an average fantasy start. Especially against the Eagles on the road.
- Houston – Despite several poor weeks, they’re still a top-10 ranked fantasy D on the season. They’ll look to improve against (most likely) Kerry Collins and the Titans. If VY is able to go, I’d bump the Texan D a few notches, putting them in “barely startable” land.
- Detroit – The Bucs looked pretty solid last week, but the Lions will pressure QB Jeff Garcia in his return to Detroit.
- Tampa Bay – One thing’s for certain: the Lions will test the Cover 2 on Sunday. Expect plenty of passing from Jon Kitna, and he won’t be perfect. The Bucs could grab a couple of INTs and will most likely log 2+ sacks. Just don’t expect a shutout or a low-scoring affair.
- New Orleans – This is just one of those “gut” picks. The Falcons are just SO bad on offense, you can really just throw any fantasy D (even the Saints) against them. Bear in mind, though, the Saints did put up 15 fantasy points against the Seahawks last week. Could be a big week for the Saints on both sides of the ball.
- Jacksonville – Tough to peg them as a solid fantasy start, especially when they have traditionally been a “good NFL defense but average fantasy defense”. And especially against the Colts, too. But they performed well last week, fantasy-wise, and they’ve played Peyton Manning and the Colts well over the past couple of seasons.
Track Record – Week 6
(Last week’s rank/Actual rank)
- San Diego (2) - So the Bolts look like a top-tier fantasy D, regardless of opponent. They had a rough patch but look to be back on track. They’re on bye this week and then face a Texan D that doesn’t yield many fantasy points to defenses, but if the Bolts put up numbers again, you will definitely start them for the rest of the season (barring a start at the Colts).
- Chicago (16) - Well the Bear D showed its worth (by way of special teams), but could only muster one defensive fantasy point, for a total of 7. That’s not top-tier worthy at all. We’ll see what this D is made of when they face the Eagles and Lions in the next two weeks.
- New York Giants (11) – Time to peg them as close to a must-start. As you can get 10 fantasy points isn’t mind-blowing but certainly solid. And looking at their upcoming schedule (vs. SF, @MIA), you want them on your squad.
- Seattle (26) – Well so much for picking fantasy defenses going against the Saints. Looks like the Gold and Black may be back, which meant the Seahawk D was next to worthless this past week. Things may change, though, when they face the hapless Rams.
- Tennessee (24) – The Titans had been playing solid defense but could only muster up 3 fantasy points against the Bucs. With VY possibly shelved this week, their D may be on the field a bit more against the Texans, but I’d still be hesitant to start them.
- Baltimore (1) - Hmm, are they back? Well, you certainly run them out there against very weak opponents, that’s for sure. A whopping 27 fantasy points against the weak Ram offense is just what the fantasy doctor ordered. We’ll see if this trend is for real as they face another pretty weak offense in the Buffalo Bills here this week.
- Minnesota (14) – The Vikes started the season off hot but have cooled off. I’d leave them on the bench this week against the Boys.
- Dallas (8) – The defensive TD was enough to vault the Cowboy D into “startable” status this past week and they will once again be very startable against the Vikes this next week.
- New England (22) – They came, they saw, they kicked butt. And they didn’t really need their high-scoring fantasy defense to do anything, either. They put up only 4 fantasy points (on a couple sacks and an INT) against Dallas. They’ll shoot back up the rankings this next week, though, as they face a pathetic Fin squad.
- Arizona (25) – A measly 2 fantasy points is not what we expected against the Panthers and whoever they threw out there at QB. This was an ugly game and you can expect more ugliness in Week 7 against the Skins.
- Tampa Bay (7) – The Bucs have been somewhat impressive this season – on both sides of the ball. They allowed a respectable 10 points to the Titans and sacked/intercepted the QB as well as grabbed a couple of fumbles. They’ll be a solid choice again in Week 7 as they face the Lions, who’ll certainly be airing it out against the Buc Cover 2.
- Houston (18) – Scoring 7 fantasy points isn’t horrible, especially for a lower-tiered fantasy D. They did, however, allow 30 points to a weak offense. That’s an issue. They may score well Week 7, though, as they may face a Kerry Collins led Titan squad.