News, Analysis & UpdatesDecember 1, 2004

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The Top Ten Defenders of Week 12

By Arlo Vander

This week’s best individual defensive effort came early, in the week’s second game. In Dallas, Chicago’s RW McQuarters put on quite a show, harassing the Cowboys all afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. The weekend’s games featured quite a few impressive IDP performances as well, however. Which players made the top ten? Read on.

1. RW McQuarters – CB, Chi
It didn’t matter to McQuarters whether Drew Henson or Vinny Testaverde was slinging passes for Dallas: he intercepted them both, returning one of those picks 45 yards for a score. Unfortunately for Chicago, McQuarters outscored the entire Bears offense and the Bears fell to the Cowboys, 21-7. Chicago fans have one reason to smile, however: with six tackles and three pass defenses on top of his interceptions, McQuarters stands tall on top of this week’s IDP charts.

2. Keith Bulluck – LB, Ten
This week’s top tackler with 12 solo stops, Bulluck also added the fourth sack of his last five games. The fifth-year pro has now collected six or more tackles in his last six games, averaging eight over that span. Now that’s the kind of production you want to see from a starting fantasy linebacker.

3. Julius Peppers – DE, Car
Tackles might be the bread and butter of most IDP formats, but there are plenty of other ways to rack up impressive fantasy points. Peppers only recorded one tackle this week, but also had a blocked kick, three assists, a sack (for the fourth straight week), a pass defense and an interception returned for a touchdown. With across-the-board production like that, who needs tackles?

4. Derrick Pope – LB, Mia
With Zack Thomas on the shelf, Pope spent most of the day on the field instead of on the sideline. He certainly made the most of his opportunity, making five tackles and scoring his first career touchdown by recovering a Tim Rattay fumble to seal the Dolphins’ win. The coaching staff is bound to be impressed by the seventh-rounder’s performance. With Thomas expected to miss the next two games, Pope could be a nice fill-in. He might also be worth a look in deep keeper leagues.

5. Jason Taylor – DE, Mia
Pope wasn’t the only Miami defender having fun at San Francisco’s expense last week. Taylor broke through for a season-high three sacks, forced a fumble, and added a handful of tackles and pass defenses as the Dolphins made it a long afternoon for the 49ers offense.

6. Ahmad Carroll – CB, GB
Carroll set the tone for Monday night’s contest between Green Bay and St. Loius right from the start. With less than three minutes played, Marc Bulger hit Isaac Bruce on the right side for a short gain, but Bruce coughed the ball up, and Carroll sprinted 40 yards for the day’s first score. An hour later, the game ended as it began, with CB Michael Hawthorne returning a fumble by Bruce all the way into the end zone to seal a surprisingly clear 45-17 Packers victory.

7. Marcus Washington – LB, Washington
After a month of disappointing fantasy numbers, Washington came through with nine tackles this week along with two sacks, doubling his season total. This week, Washington faces the Giants, against whom he posted a season-high 11 tackles back in the second week of the season.

8. David Bowens – DE, Mia
It’s rare to see two DEs from one team anywhere near the top ten, but the Dolphins accomplished just that this week. Bowens joined Jason Taylor (#5) by forcing two fumbles, making five stops and recording one of Miami’s eight sacks. San Francisco’s passers have now been sacked 42 times this year, the third-highest mark in the league.

9. Michael Hawthorne – CB, GB
See Ahmad Carroll (#6); Hawthorne overcame ankle trouble to make plenty of key plays on Monday night, including five tackles and a fumble return to complete the day’s scoring.

10. Eric Ogbogu – DE, Dal
Ogbogu played his best game as a pro this week with a career-high 3.5 sacks, but Chicago’s offensive line should probably receive quite a bit of the credit. Prior to this game, he had a total of 5.5 sacks in 78 games as a pro with Dallas, Cincinnati and the Jets. Don’t expect a repeat anytime soon.

Just missed: Kevin Williams (DT, Min), Deltha O’Neal (CB, Cin), Terrence McGee (CB, Buf), Scott Fujita (LB, KC), Donnie Edwards (LB, SD), Jonathan Vilma (LB, NYJ), Kelly Herndon (CB, Den), Will Allen (CB, NYG)

Top Defenders of the Season to Date

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

Arlo Vander foolishly started Ryan Clark over Derek Smith this week.

Who were your top defenders of week 12?

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