2012 Fantasy Football Week 4: Team Defense Rankings and Projections

Sean E. DouglasSenior Writer IIISeptember 24, 2012

Sep 16, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) runs the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE


Getting after the quarterback is an essential part of success on defense and it just so happens that sacking them helps a fantasy team. One of the top defenses in this category through three games is the Arizona Cardinals as they’ve accumulated 12 through three weeks.

Clearly building on the momentum from late last season, this defense started to turn the corner when Patrick Peterson proved he was ready to take on an opponents’ top receiver in single coverage. By doing so the Cardinals then had the luxury to roll coverage to the other side of the field which also translated into up-and-coming young outside linebackers making an impact off the edge.

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton comes from Pittsburgh and when watching this defense you can see the Steelers' blue print stamped on their style of play. Only difference is, Arizona actually has stud linemen up front in their prime.

With three big wins under their belt, the Cardinals will be a factor for a playoff birth, especially if the offense continues to play the way they did against the Eagles.

Staying at home against the Dolphins this week, the Cardinals should make quick work of Ryan Tannehill and Miami’s offense that may have Reggie Bush out of the lineup.

What Did We Learn From Week Three?

- The Buffalo Bills have some tough opponents coming, but they proved once again to be a trustworthy defense when the matchup calls for them to start. After a Week 1 meltdown, the Bills defense has nine sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in the last two weeks.

What impressed me the most is their play on the road against the Browns in holding Cleveland to 33 yards on the ground and 207 through the air. While the Browns are likely to be one of the worst offenses in football this year, it was important to see the Bills get it done on the road, something that has been a problem in the past.

- We knew Atlanta was going to be a good offense, but first-year defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has done it again, turning a floundering defense into a potential top ten unit. Nolan wasn’t a great head coach in San Francisco but the man clearly understands defense, and he’s flexible enough to switch between different base defenses based on the personnel he has to work with.

Still in a difficult division, the Falcons will be a worthy pickup off the waiver wire when matchups dictate their use this season.

Sean’s Week Four Watch List

- Sixth against the run, sixth against the pass, 14 sacks, six interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a defensive score have the Bears defense off to one of their best starts in years. All this and Brian Urlacher is clearly not at 100 percent.

Playing in a Tampa Two system, it is essential that this group pressures the quarterback with only its front four. That is happening at an alarming rate and they have another tasty matchup against the Cowboys this week.

- Don’t look to the Chiefs or the Chargers defenses as starts this week, but they have an interesting matchup this week. The Chiefs defense’s play at times against the Saints suggests they are ready to break out of their early-season funk.

San Diego, on the other hand, was horrible on offense against the Falcons last week, and will now travel on the road to play in Arrowhead.

Kansas City’s offense also looks like it’s ready to break out after Jamaal Charles went Beast Mode (well, maybe more like Flash Mode) as Saints’ defenders are still catching their breath after trying to catch up to him on Sunday.

Can the Chargers bounce back on both sides of the football? If not, this could be a rout for the Chiefs.

1 Ravens Browns
2 Cardinals Dolphins
3 Bears @ Cowboys
4 Seahawks @ Rams
5 Texans Titans
6 49ers @ Jets
7 Cowboys Bears
8 Giants @ Eagles
9 Jets 49ers
10 Falcons Panthers
11 Lions Vikings
12 Eagles Giants
13 Rams Seahawks
14 Chargers @ Chiefs
15 Redskins @ Bucs
16 Dolphins @ Cardinals

Week 4 Standard Rankings – QB | RB | WR | TE | K |