News, Analysis & UpdatesNovember 4, 2004

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The Top Ten Defenders of Week 8

By Arlo Vander

What a week it was for IDPs! Seldom have so many players posted such spectacular production. Seven scores off turnovers, six players with two or more sacks, two DBs with a pair of picks … Hopefully, you had a few of these players in your lineup and were able to reap the defensive bounty!

1. Joey Porter – LB, Pit
Porter was a one-man wrecking crew on Sunday, and a key factor in Pittsburgh’s victory over New England. Three sacks, two forced fumbles, five tackles, a pass defense … small wonder Porter was named AFC Player of the Week. Don’t go running to the waiver wire just yet, though – before this week’s huge effort, Porter’s numbers were disappointing. Unless you’re in a deep league, take a wait-and-see approach.

2. Rodney Harrison – S, NE
For some reason, Harrison is consistently undervalued by fantasy owners in spite of his fantastic numbers at the shallow DB position. This week, he once again showed just how valuable he can be, recording 13 tackles and eight assists in a losing cause. Maybe next year he’ll get a bit more respect…

3. DeMarcus Faggins – CB, Hou
Faggins played the best game of his career on Sunday, making five stops and returning an interception 43 yards for the score in Houston’s 20-6 victory over Jacksonville. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, he scored about as many fantasy points this weekend as he normally does in a month. Look elsewhere if you need DB help.

4. Bryant Young – DT, SF
Young not only made more tackles this week (10) than he had during the first seven weeks (8), he also added two sacks and a fumble recovery. Nice to see such a solid game from the 11-year veteran.

5. Mike Doss – S, Ind
Doss stripped the ball twice in last week’s wild 35-45 slugfest in Kansas City, and also picked up nine tackles and a sack. Unfortunately, he also strained his groin and is listed as doubtful for Monday’s matchup with Minnesota. As if the Colts’ struggling secondary needed any more bad news with Daunte Culpepper coming to town…

6. Kevin Mathis – CB, Atl
Maybe all the talk about rookie DeAngelo Hall lit a fire under Mathis last Sunday. The crafty veteran grabbed a Jake Plummer mistake and ran it all the way back for his second TD of the year. Oh yeah, he also added a handful of tackles and pass defenses in an excellent overall effort. Nonetheless, keep a close eye on Mathis’ playing time in upcoming weeks.

7. Dre Bly – CB, Det
One of two players with two interceptions this week (the other being Washington’s Shawn Springs), Bly retrurned one of those picks for a score, giving him seven TDs in five and a half seasons with St. Louis and Detroit. If your league requires you to start CBs, he’s a good option again; if cornerbacks and safeties are lumped together as DBs, stick with the safeties.

8. Jon McGraw – S, NYJ
Speaking of safeties, Jon McGraw is one whose stock is on the rise. The Jets’ coaching staff plans on increasing his playing time, and his ten-tackle day (with an interception thrown in for good measure) did absolutely nothing to change their minds.

9. Earl Holmes – LB, Det
With nothing on his stat line except tackles, Holmes wasn’t as spectacular as many of the other players on this list. But fantasy owners don’t care where their numbers come from; if Holmes continues to put up impressive tackle numbers (11 stops and four assists on Sunday, 26 and ten in the last three weeks), you won’t hear any complaints.

10. Jamie Sharper – LB, Hou
Sharper rises from #9 on the season list all the way to #4 following an impressive game in which he gave the Jaguars nearly as many fits as teammate Faggins. A forced fumble, nine tackles and four assists equal yet another impressive day for one of the top defenders in the game.

Just missed: Keith Bulluck (LB, Ten), James Darling (LB, Ari), Brian Dawkins (S, Phi), Deshea Townsend (CB, Pit), Chris Gamble (CB, Car), Donovin Darius (S, Jax)

Top Defenders of the Season to Date

1. Zach Thomas – LB, Mia
2. Rodney Harrison – S, NE
3. London Fletcher – LB, Buf
4. Jamie Sharper – LB, Hou
5. Mike Peterson – LB, Jax
6. Nick Barnett – LB, GB
7. Terrence McGee – CB, Buf
8. Adrian Wilson – S, Ari
9. Dan Morgan – LB, Car
10. Kevin Mathis – CB, Atl

With Jake Plummer, Priest Holmes and Tony Gonzalez on his side, Arlo Vander didn’t need much help from his defense in week 8.

Who were your top defenders of week 8?

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