News, Analysis & UpdatesOctober 13, 2004

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The Top Ten Defenders of Week 5

By Arlo Vander

Quite a few defenders enjoyed spectacular games this week, none more so than Buffalo’s London Fletcher, who stands on top of the heap with 15 tackles. Hopefully, a few of the players below added their numbers to your fantasy team’s tally.

1. London Fletcher – LB, Buf
Sunday was no day of rest for Fletcher, who was kept busy all afternoon by the New York Jets offense. When the dust finally settled, the linebacker had racked up a superlative 15 solo tackles and six assists. It may not have been enough to save the Bills from a loss, but those numbers helped quite a few IDP leaguers win their matchups this week.

2. Ed Reed – S, Bal
Whereas Fletcher was a single-minded tackle machine, Reed gained points for his owners in a variety of categories in Baltimore’s 17-10 win in Washington. With six tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a recovery returned 22 yards for the Ravens’ first score, Reed was week 5’s top defensive back.

3. Ronde Barber – CB, TB
Barber also found the end zone on Sunday, running a deuce McAllister fumble back for a touchdown. The veteran corner also added seven tackles and an assist, reaching that mark for the third straight week.

4. Bertrand Berry – DE, Ari
The former Bronco enjoyed his first game by far since joining arizona from Denver, contributing two sacks, five tackles, two forced fumbles, a recovery and a pass defense against San Francisco, fantastic numbers from a defensive end. Unfortunately, he shouldn’t be expected to repeat those stats on a regular basis.

5. Rodney Harrison – S, NE
Unspectacular in week 1, brilliant in week 2. Just average in his third game, fantastic this Sunday. Harrison is making a habit of following pedestrian performances with amazing efforts, and this week was his best yet. Eight tackles from a defensive back are usually enough to bring a smile to any fantasy owner’s face; Harrison provided those who had him in their lineups with even more joy by adding a sack, a forced fumble and a pass defense.

6. Donnie Edwards – LB, SD
Tackles are about all you’ll get from Edwards, but that’s usually enough to rack up solid fantasy points. This week, he picked up twelve stops and three assists, second only to Fletcher, a solid improvement over last Sunday’s disappointing five-and-three effort.

7. Lamont Thompson – S, Ten
Thompson came through with his finest game as a pro on Monday night, picking off Brett Favre twice while contributing six tackles. He also added two key pass defenses and forced a fumble. He may not warrant a fantasy roster spot yet, but he bears watching. The third-year safety has a chance to be one of this season’s most improved defenders.

8. Marcus Trufant – CB, Sea
Cornerback might be the position where fantasy numbers least accurately reflect a player’s true value. Until Passes Not Thrown to Your Side of the Field (PNTYSF) becomes an official NFL stat, the top cover corners will continue to be undervalued. Trufant came through with a nine-tackle game in which he also picked off a Marc Bulger pass, but such numbers will continue to be the exception rather than the rule: Trufant is far more valuable to Seattle than to your fantasy lineup.

9. Greg Ellis – DE, Dal
Two sacks, a season-high seven tackles, and even two passes defended. Looks like the week off did Ellis good.

10. Cato June – LB, Ind
Like Lamont Thompson, June also played his best game since joining the league this week, leading the Colts in tackles and also recording the first interception of his career. He just might be a player worth keeping an eye on for the second half of the season.

Just missed: Robert Mathis (DE, Ind), John Abraham (DE, NYJ), Na’il Diggs (LB, GB), Chris Crocker (S, Cle), Jeff Ulbrich (LB, SF)

Top Defenders of the Season to Date

1. Adrian Wilson – S, Ari
2. Jamie Sharper – LB, Hou
3. Zach Thomas – LB, Mia
4. Nick Barnett – LB, GB
5. Ronde Barber – CB, TB
6. Patrick Kerney – DE, Atl
7. Donnie Edwards – LB, SD
8. Ray Lewis – LB, Bal
9. Terrence McGee – CB, Buf
10. Ed Reed – S, Bal

Arlo Vander was lucky to have Donnie Edwards in his lineup this week. Unfortunately, he also started Larry Foote.

Who were your top defenders of week 5?

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