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Team Defenses Report - Week 4
Darin Tietgen
September 28, 2006

Tier One - Must Starts

  1. Baltimore The Bears and the Ravens are way out in front in terms of fantasy production from a team defense.  Bears have a very tough draw against the Seahawks, so the Ravens take the top spot for this week.  Look for them to improve on their league-leading 11 takeaways in disrupting green Bolt QB Philip Rivers. 
  2. Chicago As noted above, the Bears have a tough draw this week against the Seahawks.  Fortunately, super stud RB Shaun Alexander will not play, so the Bears can key on stopping the passing attack.  “Bear” in mind, though, that the Bears’ D/ST fantasy production has decreased over the course of the first three weeks of the season.
  3. Philadelphia – They’ve put up double-digit fantasy points each of the first three weeks of the season and face an INT-prone Brett Favre and the Packers at home on Monday Night Football.

Tier Two - Solid Starts

  1. AtlantaWeek 4 opponent, the Arizona Cardinals have announced HC Denny Green has already pulled the plug on Kurt Warner, naming rookie Matt Leinart as the starter.  If this is simply a ploy to get Warner to focus, a ticked-off Falcon team will be sure to harass Warner.  If they get to face the rookie, well you know what should happen. 
  2. St. Louis – Yeah, you’re reading that right.  The Rams.  They’re 1st in the NFC in takeaways (6 INTs, 4 fumble recoveries) and their Week 4 opponent, the Detroit Lions, have given the ball away 5 times so far this season.
  3. BuffaloThey’ve played the Patriots and Dolphins tough defensively, scoring 13 and 17 fantasy points.  It was at home against the Jets, though, that they only scored one measly point.  They’re at home again, but should fare better against a Minnesota Viking squad that may have trouble moving the ball come Sunday.

Tier Three - Best of the Rest

  1. San DiegoThey’ve had a week to nurse minor injuries and game-plan for the Ravens, who have allowed QB Steve McNair to get hurried and hit plenty of times so far this season. 
  2. Miami Any time you face the Houston Texans, you’re almost guaranteed a few sacks.  That’s a start.  Add in the fact that David Carr has been airing it out big time (actually with some success), and you have the opportunity for INTs as well.  Houston has given the ball up 4 times in 3 games.  Look for a turnover or two from the Dolphin D.
  3. Dallas Like San Diego, they’ve had a week off to properly game-plan and rest up for a somewhat weak opponent.  The Titans have given the ball up 8 times this season.  However, in 2 games, the Cowboys only have a pair of takeaways.  Look for that number to increase (maybe double) come Sunday.
  4. SeattleTraveling to Chicago isn’t the best of circumstances for a defense.  But the Hawks do have 7 takeaways so far this season and Bear QB Rex Grossman did toss a pair of picks against Minnesota last week.
  5. Indianapolis The Colts are off to a pretty average start, fantasy defense-wise.  But they have increased their fantasy production in each of the past three weeks.  The Jets have been playing way above their heads this season, and the Colts should expose them.
  6. New OrleansTake away Monday night’s huge game, and they still average 8.5 fantasy points per game.  The Panthers have given up the ball two times per game thus far, and the Saints D will need to be stellar yet again for them to escape with their fourth win.

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.