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Team Defense Sleepers for the Fantasy Playoffs
Darin Tietgen
November 23, 2006

As the season winds down, most redraft league teams probably only have one team defense on their roster, leaving bench space for backup running backs or quarterbacks with great matchups down the road.  The following team defenses should be on your league’s waiver wire and represent decent sleepers that could help you progress through your league’s playoffs. 

Green Bay Packers:  @SF, DET, MIN, @CHI

The Packers end the season against the Niners, who have been playing well as of late, but will still turn the ball over and allow sacks.  Detroit, who may be without Kevin Jones, will be susceptible to turning the ball over quite a bit.  Minnesota won’t turn the ball over much, but probably won’t score much either.  And wrapping up at Chicago, who will probably be playing second stringers in much of the game.  The Packers showed some potential, fantasy defense wise, to begin the season.  And potentially, without a healthy Brett Favre, the defense will be on the field even more. 

Minnesota Vikings:  @DET, NYJ, @GB, STL

The Vikings round out their season against a (possibly) Kevin Jones-less Lion team, a rather average Jets offense, a Packer team led by a possibly injured Brett Favre (or better yet, Aaron Rodgers) and finally a St. Louis team that’ll be airing it out in the finale.  The Vikings team D got hot in the middle of the season before cooling off a bit.  They’ll still get you double digits, and against teams like Detroit and Green Bay, could do some real damage.

New England Patriots:  @MIA, HOU, @JAC, @TEN

Yeah, three out of the four are on the road, but Miami is certainly beatable and will succumb to pressure.  Houston gives up plenty of sacks and turnovers.  The Jags will present a difficult task in Jacksonville, but this’ll be a low-scoring affair and either Garrard or Leftwich could throw picks.  And to end the season against the Vince Young-led Titans could mean big defensive points for those that have their fantasy Super Bowl in Week 17. The Pats are probably not on your league’s waiver wire, given their top-10 status.  But if they are, scramble to get them.  If you’ve stashed them on your bench or have used them every week, you know they’ll be a great start down the stretch.           

New York Giants:  @CAR, PHI, NO, @WAS

Week 14’s game may not be the best matchup, but for those needing to get past a tough semi-final foe in Week 15, the Mc-Nabb-less Eagles could give up plenty of points to the Giant D.  The Giants represent one of those fringe defenses that have probably been picked up and dropped a few times this season.  If they are on the wire now, grab them and reap the benefits of two real good weeks to end the season.

New York Jets:  BUF, @MIN, @MIA, OAK

The Jets are an especially good pickup for those that play through Week 17.  J.P. Losman will certainly throw the ball up for grabs in Week 14, Minnesota won’t put up much of a fight in Week 15, and Miami won’t have much offensive punch in Week 16.  And the cherry on top would be a Week 17 meeting against the Raiders, who may have already sent most of their team home early.  The Jets have been a very average fantasy defense but have double-digit fantasy scoring potential and will surely get there in Week 17.           

St. Louis Rams:  CHI, @OAK, WAS, @MIN

The Rams’ D are a sneaky pick for the last four weeks of the season.  Who knows which Rex Grossman will show up in Week 14.  The opportunistic Rams’ secondary surely could pick him off more than once.  Traveling to Oakland won’t pose much of a threat to the Rams’ D in Week 15.  Jason Campbell will have a few weeks under his belt but certainly could be rustled up to turn the ball over.  And a finale against the Vikings, while it could be a high-scoring affair, could yield a few sacks and at least one turnover. The Rams have been somewhat of a disappointment but should offer enough potential with their fantasy D, especially since they’ve put up back-to-back double-digit weeks in Weeks 10 and 11.  

Tennessee Titans:  @HOU, JAC, @BUF, NE

For those that need to scrape the bottom of the barrel, the Titans could be a sleeper defense to round the season out.  First, they travel to Houston, who’ll give up plenty of sacks to Vanden Bosch and the rest of the Titan line.  Then, hosting the Jags could certainly be a low-scoring affair with some turnovers.  J.P. Losman will be gunning in Week 15 (or perhaps a snowstorm will affect both squads).  And finally, the Patriots, who may or may not have a playoff position wrapped up, may be sitting key players. After a 19-point affair in Week 11, they’ve actually moved into the top-20 using The Huddle Writers’ league scoring.