Last week I gave you three plug and play defenses, and looking back it looks like I got two of three right. The Saints gave up over twice as many points as I expected, but I did warn readers that the Detroit Lions scored more points on the road than at home last season. Fortunately, the Saints made up some ground with three interceptions and a sack. Seattle performed even better than predicted, mainly due to the complete ineptitude of the St. Louis offense, which put a big fat donut on the scoreboard. Green Bay also gave up more points than expected but notched four interceptions and two sacks to compensate. I had also predicted a score by the Packer’s defense, and although the Bears gave them several golden opportunities, they didn’t come through. Now we get to look at Week 2:
Plug and Play Defenses – Week 2
1. Oakland – For as much flack as the Kansas City Chiefs took in the off-season and preseason, they seemed to do fairly well offensively against arguably one of the three best defenses in the NFL, putting up 24 points on the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. Upon closer inspection however, the Chiefs managed only 206 total yards, and one touchdown came on a blocked punt. Oakland’s defense looked sharp against the Chargers on Monday night save that final drive, which can probably be attributed to Philip Rivers’ talent and not the Raiders’ lack of it. Kansas City shouldn’t put up as much of a fight. Projection: 6 points allowed, 3 sacks, 2 INT, 1 Forced Fumble.
2. Cleveland – Although Adrian Peterson torched the Browns for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns last week, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Browns are licking their wounds after getting flat out abused by the phenom Minnesota RB and will want to take out their frustration on somebody. Cue the Denver Broncos, the team that put up only 6 points on the Cincinnati Bengals before Brandon Stokley’s miracle tipped 87-yard touchdown reception. Denver doesn’t have a running back anywhere near as talented as Peterson (although very few teams do). Additionally, Cleveland held its own against the Minnesota passing attack, limiting Brett Favre to 110 yards and sacking him 4 times. Projection: 13 points allowed, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Forced Fumble.
3. Atlanta - The Falcons defense played surprisingly well in Week 1, holding Ronnie Brown to 53 yards and, more importantly, holding the Dolphins to single digit points. Carolina is coming off an ugly 38-10 loss to the Eagles in which Jake Delhomme threw four interceptions, prompting head coach John Fox to yank him from the game. Delhomme looked completely out of sync with his receivers, and even DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart couldn’t overcome his poor play. Unfortunately for Carolina (and fortunately for Atlanta), they don’t have any viable options at backup quarterback; Josh McCown is on injured reserve after injuring his knee in relief of Delhomme, and Matt Moore didn’t dazzle in relief of him. I expect these two teams to play another close game similar to last year, but it shouldn’t be high in scoring and I give the advantage to Atlanta. Projection: 13 points allowed, 2 sacks, 2 INT.
There were already some significant injuries in IDP land in Week 1. Troy Palamalu is out 4–6 weeks with a sprained knee. Polamalu owners will feel the pain as he was off to a terrific start to the 2009 season before an ugly hit while trying to recover a blocked field goal. Then, of course, there’s Brian Urlacher, who will miss the rest of the season with a dislocated wrist. 2008 Defensive Rookie of the Year Jerod Mayo also went down with a knee injury and could be out for at least a few weeks, although no official prognosis has come yet. If you own one of those players, here are some potential waiver wire pickups you can make to fill the newly vacated roster spot on your team.
1. James Laurinaitis, LB – St. Louis: I told you to watch him last week. Don’t watch too much longer or he’ll be on somebody else’s roster. 10 solo tackles and 4 assists in your first NFL start isn’t bad. This guy has defensive ROY written all over him.
2. Stephen Cooper, LB – San Diego: Cooper had 72 solo tackles in only 12 games last season. He’s off to a great start with 13 tackles and a forced fumble. Acquire him without fear.
3. Justin Durant, LB – Jacksonville: The third-year outside linebacker racked up 10 solo tackles and one assist. Not bad at all. Add him to your watch list.
4. Larry Foote, LB – Detroit: The eighth-year pro out of Michigan always had to compete with fellow inside linebacker James Farrior in Pittsburgh and only posted one 100-tackle season. He is now the starting middle linebacker on the Lions and should have plentiful tackle opportunities on a defense that should be on the field often. He finished Week 1 with 9 solo tackles. With his time on Pittsburgh’s elite defense working for him, I’m not afraid to add Foote to my roster.
Eli Ricke knows absolutely nothing about Fantasy Football that everyone else doesn’t already know. All of his success in Fantasy Football can be attributed entirely to dumb luck. He has been playing Fantasy Football since 1999 and is a habitual liar. You will occasionally run across him in the café forums under the name 204BC, a name that has no particular meaning whatsoever. He just made it up, the same thing he does with most of the advice he gives.
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