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Fantasy Fix: For The Defense

If you play in a fantasy football league that uses team defenses, picking up a good defense is usually the last thing on your mind during your preseason draft. Most team owners probably don't even bother to study defense ranking, and simply go on reputations of defenses from the previous year.

However, as the Bears defense demonstrated in Week 4, your fantasy defense can contribute significant points. Five INTs, two TDs and a sack may be a once-a-season type of performance, but a huge number of fantasy league match-ups probably were won and lost late Monday night because of it.

Year-in and year-out, the Lovie Smith-coached Bears have tended to have very strong fantasy defense performances, even in years where the real defense gave up significant points. That's because Lovie's defense are famous for creating turnovers, and turnovers mean fantasy points, whether it's Charles Tillman doing one of his patented forced fumbles or Tim Jennings nabbing an INT.

The Bears defense has scored more fantasy points than any other defense this season on the strength of 11 INTs, three forced fumbles, three TDs and 15 sacks. The lead comes despite the fact that three other defenses have allowed fewer total points than the Bears.

So, the Bears D probably is not available in your fantasy league at this point, but if you're looking to pick up a fantasy point-scoring defense off the waiver wire, you might try one of these:

Minnesota: Available in 85% of Yahoo! leagues. The Vikings D has always been a sack machine, but this year has also recovered four fumbles in four games, blocked two kicks and has two TDs.

St. Louis: Available in 91% of Yahoo! leagues. The Rams D is not currently among overall league leaders, but is second to the Bears with 8 INTs in four games.

New England: Available in 32% of Yahoo! leagues. The Pats D has been criticized for giving up an average of 24 points per game this year, but is second overall in fumble recoveries with five, and has averaged better than one INT per game.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report says hit-and-miss Packers WR James Jones could strike gold two weeks straight.

* Yahoo! Roto Arcade analyzes whether to pick up Dolphins WR Brian Hartline after a 253-yard week.

* Sporting News wonders why Raiders RB Darren McFadden has failed twice in four weeks.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

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