Many fantasy football players tend to pay less attention to the team defense position, but a fantasy defense can often be the difference between a win or a loss in some weeks. While I do not value defenses very highly in fantasy drafts, I think it is important to look at trends throughout the year and keep track of free agent defenses who could help my teams. Also, with team defenses, weekly matchups can be the key to making a decision.
Below is a look at the top fantasy defenses from Week Four of the 2012 season.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco crushed the New York Jets 34-0, and the defense scored more than most fantasy players for the week. The 49ers grabbed three sacks, one interception, one blocked kick and three fumble recoveries. One of the fumbles was returned for a 51-yard touchdown. Factor in a bonus for pitching a shutout, and the 49ers had a huge fantasy day. The defense was selected high in offseason drafts and has been a top five defense so far. San Francisco is owned in 99% of Yahoo leagues.
The Bears defense benefited from quarterback Jay Cutler's ability to move the ball and keep the offense on the field against the Dallas Cowboys. Also, the Cowboys offense had communication issues, leading to five interceptions for the Bears, including two returned for scores. The Bears are the top defense in most fantasy formats this year and are owned in 99% of leagues.
Houston defeated the Tennessee Titans 38-14 and knocked Titans quarterback Jake Locker out of the game with an injury. The Texans dominated backup Matt Hasselbeck, returning two interceptions for touchdowns. Houston also added four sacks and a fumble recovery for a big fantasy day. The Texans are a top five defense this season and are available in only 3% of leagues.
The Vikings used two return touchdowns to defeat the Detroit Lions 20-13, accounting for a big fantasy performance by the defense/special teams unit. Minnesota also got five sacks and recovered a fumble. The Vikings are also a top five defense so far this year, yet they are available in 50% of leagues.
Mike Patton is a co-host on the Deep Sleeper Fantasy Football Podcast. He has been a fantasy enthusiast since 1997 and has won championships in baseball, football, basketball, hockey and pick 'em leagues.
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