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Team Defenses Report - Week 9
Darin Tietgen
November 2, 2006

Tier One - Must Starts

  1. Chicago No reason to think they won’t score in double digits yet again. 
  2. New York Giants – The G-men have been on fire since Week 3, and shouldn’t slow down this week against the mistake-prone Houston Texans.  
  3. Jacksonville They’re either feast (28 fantasy points vs. NYJ) or famine (1 fantasy point vs. HOU) but this week’s matchup (vs. TEN) suggests at least a three-course meal. 

Tier Two - Solid Starts

  1. SeattleYes, the Oakland Raiders have won two straight, but they’re still the Oakland Raiders.  The Seabirds have been only mediocre this season, but did put up 13 fantasy points last week.  Expect those kinds of numbers, if not better, at home on Monday Night Football against a weak Oakland team.
  2. AtlantaThree straight weeks with single digits leaves something to be desiredBut this week’s opponent, the Detroit Lions, tends to give the ball away (15 turnovers) and allow sacks (23 sacks allowed).  Look for the Dirty Birds to get back on track with double-digit fantasy points this week.
  3. San DiegoTheir heavy-hitting playmaker, Shawne Merriman, will sit this one out (and the following three games), but the fact remains:  Cleveland’s offense is not good (18 turnovers, 24 sacks allowed). 
  4. Baltimore – The Ravens got back to their scoring ways last week, putting up 24 fantasy points against a very solid Saint team.  This week presents another big challenge, hosting the solid offense of the Cincinnati Bengals.  I would not expect another 24-point effort, but certainly in the double digits. 

Tier Three - Best of the Rest

  1. Pittsburgh The Steelers are yet again a top-10 fantasy defense, and yet they are 2-5.  This is a make-or-break game for the defending champs at home against a very solid Denver Bronco team.  Figure the Steelers will be all over QB Jake Plummer, forcing him into costly mistakes.
  2. MinnesotaApparently they’re ranked higher in some other league scoring formats, but they’re #13 based on the scoring system used for this list.  They deserve mention this week, however, based on three straight games in double digits and a solid 13 fantasy points against the Patriots (keep in mind, though, that 6 of those fantasy points came on a punt return for TD).  And based on the fact they face the Niners.
  3. Denver The Broncos put up a goose egg last week, but this was against the high-flying Indianapolis Colts.  This week, they travel to Pittsburgh.  A tough draw, despite the defending champs being 2-5.  If nothing else, the Broncos will continue playing pressure defense, allowing their speedy linebackers and solid secondary to make plays. 
  4. Oakland – Well they have a few things going for them:  one, they’re the second-hottest fantasy defense over the past three weeks; two, they face a Seneca-Wallace led Seattle team on national TV; and three, their offense usually doesn’t spend much time on the field, so their defense should have plenty of time to make things happen fantasy-wise.
  5. Dallas – Not the best of matchups, on the road against their bitter rivals, the Washington Redskins.  The Skins have taken good care of the ball this season (6 turnovers, 11 sacks allowed) but the Cowboy defense has been rather good this season.

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.