News, Analysis & UpdatesSeptember 22, 2004

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The Top Ten Defenders of Week 2

By Arlo Vander

None of last week’s top defenders made this week’s list, although Chicago’s Brian Urlacher came close. Instead, we have ten new names, including both blue-chippers and flashes in the pan.

1. Eric Warfield – CB, KC
For the second week in a row, a cornerback led all defenders in fantasy production. Warfield was nothing less than spectacular on Sunday, picking off Carolina’s Jake Delhomme twice and returning one of those interceptions 43 yards for a score. Warfield also added five tackles and two pass defenses, seemingly appearing everywhere there was a play to be made. Nonetheless, fantasy owners in shallower IDP leagues shouldn’t rush to add him to their lineups. Interceptions, and those returned for touchdowns in particular, are too volatile a stat to build your secondary around, and Warfield’s tackles will most likely once again wind up in the 60-70 range.

2. Jay Bellamy – S, NO
Safeties like Bellamy tend to be better options than CBs, and Bellamy showed just how important a solid safety can be to his team. Eleven tackles and an assist are usually enough to make any fantasy owner happy; forcing a fumble and recovering a ball dropped by Jamal Robertson were icing on the cake.

3. Brian Simmons – LB, Cin
The week’s top linebacker, Simmons scored Cincinnati’s only touchdown when he grabbed an errant AJ Feeley toss and ran it all the way to the end zone. Add four tackles and four assists to that 50-yard return, and you have yourself an excellent fantasy performance.

4. Rodney Harrison – S, NE
Harrison emphatically underscored his standing as one of the top fantasy DBs in New England’s 23-12 victory in Arizona. Seven tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defense reminded his owners why they used a relatively high pick to add him to their teams.

5. Chris McAllister – CB, Bal
McAllister will only be found on rosters in very deep IDP leagues. His three tackles, two assists and two pass defenses against Cleveland are about what can be expected of the six-year vet; this week, he added a 51-yard interception return for a touchdown.

6. James Hall – DE, Det
One of two defensive ends on this list, Hall gave the Texans fits this week, recording 2.5 sacks against David Carr and forcing a fumble for the second week in a row. Like practically all linemen, Hall probably isn’t worth a roster spot if your league lumps DLs together with LBs, but if linemen are a separate position, he’s well worth a look.

7. Zach Thomas – LB, Mia
Thomas has broken the century mark in tackles for three straight years, and with 18 in his first two games of 2004, seems well on his way to doing so again. Barring injury, when the dust (or, more likely, snow) settles in January, his name should once again be on the lists of the season’s top defenders.

8. Brady Smith – DE, Atl
Smith made this week’s top ten by sacking Marc Bulger and recovering the ensuing fumble in the end zone. But before you even think of heading off to the waiver wire to pick him up, keep in mind that he has never broken the 30-tackle mark in his eight full seasons in the league.

9. Mike Green – S, Chi
Mike Green is back! After a frustrating, injury-riddled 2003 season, Green once again looks like the player who racked up 105 tackles the year before. This week, he added nine tackles to his tally and intercepted Brett Favre. Note that with Mike Brown out, Green now moves from strong safety to free safety.

10. Barrett Green – LB, NYG
Green put new York ahead this week by scooping up a Clinton Portis fumble and running it back for a score; he probably won’t be a regular fantasy contributor, however.

With each of his defenders recording six solo tackles or more this week, Arlo Vander has no reason to complain.

Who were your top defenders of week 2?

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