News, Analysis & UpdatesDecember 10, 2004

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The Top Ten Defenders of Week 13

By Arlo Vander

Week 14 is almost here, but let’s take a quick look back at the defenders who made a big IDP impact last weekend. A trio of strong linebackers tops the rankings, which also feature the return of Brian Urlacher, but there were impressive games from every other position as well. Hopefully, your own defense also came through for you this week, and will carry you far into the fantasy playoffs with performances to rival those on this list.

1. Donnie Edwards – LB, SD
The Chargers put the clamps on Denver’s offense last week, and Edwards was one of the prime reasons they were able to do so. With a season-high 14 tackles and six assists, this blue-chipper is finding his groove right in time for the fantasy playoffs.

2. Derrick Brooks – LB, TB
Brooks was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his two-sack, eight-tackle effort against Atlanta. The veteran linebacker made his presence felt all over the field as the Falcons were held scoreless for the first time this season. Tampa Bay has now given up just three points in its last two home games.

3. Rob Morris – LB, Ind
After going without a solo tackle in weeks 9-11, Morris has now recorded seven stops and a sack in each of his last two games. Playing against Tennessee this week, he also grabbed hold of the ball after Montae Reagor blocked a field goal and ran it back 68 yards to put Indianapolis ahead for good in what would turn into a 51-24 rout.

4. Charles Woodson – CB, Oak
Oakland’s defense hasn’t held an opponent below 23 points for nine straight weeks, but it’s not Charles Woodson’s fault. The leader of the Raiders secondary made twelve tackles, including several key stops, and picked off a Trent Green pass to keep his team in the ballgame. Unfortunately for Woodson, it wasn’t enough, but his fantasy owners certainly appreciated the effort.

5. Will Demps – S, Bal
Demps racked up more tackles than any other defensive back, trailing only LB Donnie Edwards for the weekly lead. Demps has already posted career highs in tackles, assists and sacks this year, and while not yet among the elite fantasy safeties, is certainly worth keeping in mind for next year’s drafts.

6. John Lynch – S, Den
Lynch’s best days may be behind him, but he’s still good for an occasional outburst. This week, he forced two fumbles, picked up his first sack of the year and added a season-high seven tackles. He might be worth a look in deep leagues, but don’t expect any kind of consistency.

7. Terence Newman – CB, Dal
Monday night’s offensive fireworks, courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks, gave defenders plenty of opportunities to rack up big numbers, and Newman took full advantage. A week after picking up just one tackle against Chicago, he reached double digits for the second time this season and also forced a fumble as Dallas prevailed, 43-39.

8. Brian Urlacher – LB, Chi
Urlacher is back. After missing just two games following major repair to his calf muscle, the star linebacker looked stronger than ever. Six tackles, a sack, an interception, two pass defenses … all in a day’s work for one of the game’s most feared defenders. The Bears also picked up where they had left off, winning their fourth straight game with Urlacher in the lineup. Without him, they had dropped two in a row. Coincidence?

9. Kevin Williams – DT, Min
No sophomore slump for Williams. After a standout rookie campaign, he’s showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down in his second season. With two sacks against Chicago, his total now stands at nine, just two behind league leader Bertrand Berry. Williams also added six tackles and a fumble recovery to his stat line in his best performance of the season. After heading the Just Missed list last week, the former Oklahoma State standout stands tall as the top defensive lineman of week 13, and could well be among the best at his position for years to come.

10. Dwight Freeney – DE, Ind
Freeney went one better than Kevin Williams’ two sacks, recording three of the seven sacks suffered by Titans quarterback Billy Volek this week to top all defenders. Freeney also made four tackles and forced a fumble for the third week in a row. In fantasy formats that require defensive linemen, Freeney is golden.

Just missed: Kenard Lang (DE, Cle), Simeon Rice (DE, TB), Lewis Sanders (CB, Cle), Dunta Robinson (CB, Hou), Brian Simmons (LB, Cin)

Top Defenders of the Season to Date

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

Arlo Vander’s defense was dealt a huge blow when CB Antoine Winfield suffered an ankle sprain that will sideline him until at least week 15.

Who were your top defenders of week 13?

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