News, Analysis & UpdatesNovember 17, 2004

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The Top Ten Defenders of Week 10

By Arlo Vander

Last Sunday, the Colts were the model of efficiency. In trouncing Houston by a score of 49-14, Indianapolis ran just 48 plays, leaving the Texans’ offense on the field for 83 plays. Needless to say, with so many opportunities to rack up stats, it was a great week for the Colts’ defenders, four of whom managed to crack this week’s top ten. Which other teams were represented in the latest IDP ranking? Read on!

1. Bob Sanders – S, Ind
Second-round pick Bob Sanders has only started two games this season, but what an impact he’s made. Filling in for injured Mike Doss, Sanders has averaged eight solo stops in his last three games. This week, he added a touchdown off a fumble recovery as Indianapolis trounced Houston. It’s looking more and more likely that Sanders will hold on to the starting job even after Doss’ return – if you need a boost at DB, Sanders might be your man.

2. Kevin Carter – DT, Ten
Kevin Carter, weeks 4-9: five solo tackles, one sack. Kevin Carter, week 10: seven tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble. If you had Carter in your lineup this week, congratulations. Just don’t be too disappointed when he returns to his previous level of play.

3. Robert Mathis – DE, Ind
The second lineman and the second of four Colts in this week’s top ten, Mathis feasted on Houston’s sloppiness, forcing three fumbles and recording three sacks, giving him eight on the season. With five tackles thrown in for good measure, the words career day seem fitting.

4.Will Witherspoon – LB, Car
Different week, same tune. For the second week in a row, Witherspoon picked off a pass and defended three others. His tackles (six) were down by one, but he more than compensated by adding a sack and a forced fumble to his impressive stat line.

5. Von Hutchins – CB, Ind
Who cares if Hutchins’ 77-yard interception return came late in the fourth quarter with the game’s outcome long since decided? With a career-high five tackles to go with his first NFL touchdown, the sixth-round draft pick put up tremendous fantasy numbers. Unfortunately, not many owners benfited from Hutchins’ performance: while his progress is worth following, he isn’t a viable fantasy starter yet.

6. Lance Briggs – LB, Chi
This week’s leading tackler with 12 solo stops and a pair of assists, Briggs was a key factor in Chicago’s hard-fought 19-17 victory over Tennessee. Unfortunately, consistency remains a problem.

7. Shelton Quarles – LB, TB
Talk about a comeback. After missing time with a leg injury and posting lowly numbers when he did play, Quarles racked up 12 tackles and a pair of sacks in Atlanta on Sunday. He still has to be considered a risky player at this point, but might not be a bad gamble in deeper formats.

8. Bertrand Berry – DE, Ari
Poor Kurt Warner. Sacked seven times by the Bears a week ago, and six times in this week’s matchup with Arizona. Bertrand Berry did most of that damage, notching four of those sacks. His seven tackles would already have qualified as an excellent day for any defensive end; add four sacks to that and you have a phenomenal performance.

9. Cato June – LB, Ind
What a revelation June has been. Largely ignored heading into the season, the Michigan product has been nothing short of phenomenal. His 11 solo tackles this week give him 40 in his last five games. Not bad for a player who went undrafted in virtually every league. If for some reason your league still hasn’t dicovered his talents, pick him up now.

10. Alex Brown – DE, Chi
Last week, Brown racked up four sacks and stood on top of these rankings as the top fantasy defender. So what’s a guy supposed to do for an encore? How about a little bit of everything? Two forced fumbles, a recovery, a sack, four tackles, three assists … not a bad encore at all.

Just missed: Jay Bellamy (S, NO), Lito Sheppard (CB, Phi), Ray Lewis (LB, Bal), Lawyer Milloy (S, Buf), Darren Howard (DE, NO)

Top Defenders of the Season to Date

1. Zach Thomas – LB, Mia
2. London Fletcher – LB, Buf
3. Jamie Sharper – LB, Hou
4. Rodney Harrison – S, NE
5. Ray Lewis – LB, Bal
6. Antoine Winfield – CB, Min
7. Ronde Barber – CB, TB
8. Terrence McGee – CB, Buf
9. Adrian Wilson – S, Ari
10. Ed Reed – S, Bal
11. Mike Peterson – LB, Jax
12. Derrick Brooks – LB, TB
13. Mike Green – S, Chi
14. Madieu Williams – CB, Cin
15. Troy Polamalu – S, Pit
16. Keith Bulluck – LB, Ten
17. James Farrior – LB, Pit
18. Nick Barnett – LB, GB
19. Gibril Wilson – S, NYG
20. Lance Briggs – LB, Chi

Letdowns by Derek Smith and Brian Simmons played a key role in Arlo Vander’s week 10 loss. So did Peyton Manning’s presence in the opposing lineup.

Who were your top defenders of week 10?

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