News, Analysis & UpdatesOctober 19, 2004

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The Top Ten Defenders of Week 6

By Arlo Vander

Marques Anderson and Kevin Kaesvihan, two safeties who can’t be found on many IDP rosters, top the defensive rankings this week, but it’s linebackers who now dominate the season chart, holding nine of the top ten spots. The only exception? Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber.

1. Marques Anderson – S, Oak
Maybe this guy should keep getting more playing time… Given the opportunity to play a key role in Oakland’s defense, Anderson did just that, making a league-high fourteen tackles. Oh yeah, he also intercepted a Jake Plummer pass. We can’t be sure how Oakland will use him for the rest of the season, but if you have an available roster spot, Anderson is an intriguing pickup this week.

2. Kevin Kaesviharn – S, Cin
Good thing he was able to play. After missing the Bengals’ last game and being listed as questionable for this week’s game in Cleveland, Kaesviharn not only came through with eight tackles, but also scooped up a Lee Suggs fumble to score his first career touchdown. It will be interesting to see whether he can keep this momentum going; he isn’t worth a fantasy roster spot yet, but bears watching.

3. James Farrior – LB, Pit
Farrior had been a bit of a fantasy disappointment so far this season, never topping five solo tackles in the first five weeks. He made up for that this Sunday, however, adding two sacks and three fumble recoveries to half a dozen stops in leading Pittsburgh to a 24-20 victory in Dallas.

4. Jerametrius Butler – CB, StL
Butler clearly enjoyed the Monday night spotlight, recording two key turnovers – including the fumble recovery that sealed the Rams’ win – and adding eight tackles and three pass defenses. His fantasy value isn’t up there with the top safeties, but if you need to start a CB, Butler is turning into a very solid option.

5. Lito Sheppard – CB, Phi
Sheppard was dominant against Carolina, intercepting Jake Delhomme twice and running one of those picks back 64 yards for a score. Unfortunately, Sheppard is one of many CBs far more valuable to his NFL team than to your fantasy squad.

6. Aaron Schobel – DE, Buf
Schobel’s 2.5 sacks led the league this week, and he also racked up five tackles and a forced fumble. After a slow start that may have caused some owners to give up on him, he seems to be turning the corner.

7. Akin Ayodele – DE, Jax
As a linebacker, Ayodele could always be counted on to get his share of tackles, but sacks were few and far between for the 25-year-old Jaguar. After only earning one during the entire 2003 season, he posted a pair on Sunday following a shift to DE, vaulting him into this week’s top ten for the first time. Unfortunately, while he could turn into a good source for sacks, his tackle numbers will probably take a hit. How this affects his fantasy value will vary widely depending on the scoring system used, but if you’re required to start defensive linemen, he could be a very nice find.

8. Adam Archuleta – S, StL
Healthy again, Archuleta made his presence felt on Monday night, returning a fumble 93 yards for the Rams’ third touchdown of the contest. Archuleta always seems to find a way to impact the game, and should be an every-week fantasy starter.

9. Takeo Spikes – LB, Buf
His tackles have declined since leaving Cincinnati, but fantasy owners have no reason to complain this week. After promising a victory against struggling Miami, Spikes came through by running an interception back into the end zone to open the day’s scoring.

10. Darren Sharper – S, GB
Sharper picked off his third pass of the year on Sunday, returning this one for his first TD of the season, the fifth in his career. If you have Sharper starting at DB, your secondary is in excellent hands.

Just missed: Brian Urlacher (LB, Chi), Cornelius Griffin (DT, Was), Kim Herring (S, Cin), Marcus Stroud (DT, Jax), Jamie Winborn (LB, SF), Eugene Wilson (CB, NE)

Top Defenders of the Season to Date

1. Zach Thomas – LB, Mia
2. Jamie Sharper – LB, Hou
3. Nick Barnett – LB, GB
4. James Farrior – LB, Pit
5. Derrick Brooks – LB, TB
6. Mike Peterson – LB, Jax
7. Ronde Barber – CB, TB
8. Steve Foley – LB, SD
9. Dan Morgan – LB, Car
10. London Fletcher – LB, Buf

A solid performance by waiver wire pickup Brandon Moore helped Arlo Vander’s team to a victory this week.

Who were your top defenders of week 6?

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