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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Team Defense Rankings - Week 14
Darin Tietgen
December 6, 2007

Tier One - Must Starts

  1. Minnesota – No fantasy D is hotter over the past three weeks, and you gotta like the draw against the Niners, who aside from a 37-point explosion two weeks back, have been abysmal on offense. 
  2. DallasFor the first half of the season, the Cowboy D was one of fantasy football’s best.  Or at very least, most consistent.  They dropped off for a few weeks, but then showed signs of life yet again.  Look for them to be very lively against a struggling Lion offense that’ll be missing their #1 wideout.

Tier Two - Good Starts

  1. New Orleans – The Saints D is not an elite fantasy D by any stretch of the imagination, but they have averaged 15 fantasy points over their past two games and face an Atlanta Falcon team that simply stinks.   
  2. Chicago – A few things in the Bears’ favor:  the Redskins will probably be emotionally (and perhaps physically) spent after a short week and dealing with the team tragedy.  And to boot, the Bear D has showed signs of life in the past month.  Look for the Bear D to put up double-digit fantasy points.
  3. San Diego – As an esteemed colleague noted, you never really know what Bolt defense is going to show up week to week.  Which D will it be this week?  The D that posted a goose egg, fantasy-wise, against the Jags?  The D that only put up 8 fantasy points against the Ravens?  Or the one that went off for 20 fantasy points against the Chiefs?  Against a pretty decent Titan offense, you gotta think it’ll be somewhere in the middle.
  4. Green Bay – The Packers’ D has slowed down fantasy-wise over the past couple weeks but should rebound at home against the Raiders.  Don’t let Oakland’s offensive explosion last week scare you off. 
  5. Miami – One must think that this D is getting things together after three weeks’ worth of solid fantasy stats. And you gotta think they’ll put up decent stats against the Bills.  After all, this might be their best chance at their first win of the ’07 season.

Tier Three – Average Starts

  1. Seattle – They’re probably better than an “average” start this week, but they’ve alternated “good to very good” outings with “very average” outings over the past two months.  If history is our guide, they’re due for a bigger week.  But who knows; the Browns only managed two fantasy points against the Cards last week.
  2. New England – Pittsburgh represents probably the toughest matchup next to the Cowboys and Colts for the Patriots.  This game is in Foxboro and the Pats will look to dispel the rumor that they’ve been “exposed”.  
  3. Cincinnati – They’ve been somewhat consistent over the past three weeks and could do damage against the Rams, who have given up fantasy scoring to opposing team defenses.
  4. Tampa Bay – The Houston offense isn’t terrible, but it’s not great either.  The Buc defense has teased us a bit here lately, which makes them a borderline start this week.  They’ve shown potential in the past three weeks to put up big stats, and could certainly do it again.
  5. Indianapolis –They would rank higher here based on matchup (facing a deflated Baltimore Raven team) but the Colts have only put up an average of 8 fantasy points over their last three.  Look for solid but unspectacular numbers here this week.
Track Record – Week 13
(Last week’s rank/Actual rank)
  1. New England (26) – Interesting.  Maybe the Eagles did present a blueprint as to how to attack the Patriots on both sides of the ball.  Look for the Patsies’ D to get back on track, but it will probably be Week 15 and 16 that you start them (vs. Jets, vs. Dolphins). 
  2. San Diego (3) – Eight sacks and four turnovers.  Now that’s the Bolt D we know and love.  Only allowing 10 points will help, too.
  3. Tampa Bay (21) – Gonna need to cause more than one turnover to score big.  The three sacks are telling of an improving defense, but the Buc D could be turning into Jacksonville, fantasy-wise.  They have some decent matchups remaining, so if you’re hurting to field a decent fantasy D, you could do worse. 
  4. Denver (29) – Raise your hand if you thought the Oakland Raiders would put up 34 points against the Bronco D.  Yeah, right.  Chalk this one up to an anomaly, as the Bronco D had been playing solid fantasy-wise.
  5. Detroit (28) – The Lion team is reeling, and it’s showing on both sides of the ball.  No one could have guessed the return of “AD” for the Vikes would cause such a spark.  Until further notice, Detroit is only worthy of starting in the largest of leagues, especially since their schedule doesn’t soften until the very last week of the season.
  6. Seattle (12) – Not a horrible outing for the Hawks (9 fantasy points) but you’d like to see them a bit more aggressive (only one sack).  Look for them to put up top-10 fantasy numbers this week against the Cards.
  7. Minnesota (6) – Guess they’re getting hot again.  And with the offense rolling behind an improving young QB and the return of “AD”, the defense could get its mojo back big time.  They have one of the softest remaining schedules, so start ‘em if you got ‘em.
  8. Chicago (8) – Hit the nail on the head here and they didn’t even need a Devin Hester TD to get their points.  Four total turnovers will get it done.  Look for the Bear defense to bear down this week against a spent Redskin offense. 
  9. Pittsburgh (16) – The Steeler D ended up having little trouble with the Bengal offense (10 points allowed) but only managed one sack and one turnover.  Tough go this week against the Patriot juggernaut, then a bit better of a matchup against the Jags and then a nice Week 16 matchup against the Rams.
  10. Cleveland (30) – So much for the sleeper fantasy D.  No sacks?  Against Kurt Warner?  Come on.  I will, however, stick to my guns and say they may prove useful yet this season.  They play the Jets, Bills and Bengals to close the season.
  11. St. Louis (9) – At least one “sleeper-esque” fantasy D came through.  Gotta love that “vs. ATL” on the schedule.  However, they’re only a one-week Band-Aid, as their remaining schedule is ugly (@CIN, vs. GB, vs. PIT).
  12. Miami (4) – Guess they deserved to be a bit higher on this list.  Was it the fact they faced a bad Jet team (no, the Jets put up 40 points) or is this defense just putting up good fantasy stats (maybe, 6 sacks, a TD and 2 turnovers is pretty good).  Look for them to prove startable for the next two weeks (@BUF, vs. BAL).
  1. (tie)  San Francisco (17) – Threw them on this list only because they were facing a Panther team with QB questions.  They ended up grabbing a couple picks and sacking the QB twice, but aside from that, nada.  Their remaining schedule does not lend itself to fantasy starts.

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