Fantasy football undervalued players: Defensive team/special teams

by Cory J. Bonini on September 10, 2010 @ 10:55:00 PDT's analysis of fantasy football undervalued players for the 2010 season will be updated weekly throughout the offseason. We have separated our sleepers and undervalued players this year, so be sure not to confuse the two.

Sleepers are also undervalued players in some cases, but the latter usually comes in the way of a proven player that isn't being shown the appropriate amount of love in drafts. No one likes doing the dirty work, so let do it for you! Be sure to check for weekly updates.

Note: All average draft position (ADP) figures are based on 12-team, non-PPR leagues unless specified otherwise.

Defensive team/special teams

Chicago Bears | ADP: 25th round

The Bears tied multi-way for the 13th most sacks (34) in the league last year, and that was before they added defensive end Julius Peppers. Chicago gets a healthy Brian Urlacher (calf) back, while rookie fourth-round defensive end Corey Wootton (illness) is a capable pass rusher and should see time in their rotation. New defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has plenty of experience working the Cover 2 defense and should be able to fine-tune the system.

As a bonus, return specialists Johnny Knox and Devin Hester are each capable of going the distance every time they touch the ball.

Fantasy value: Chicago should be selected in standard 16-round drafts, but their average placement of the 25th round suggests the Bears aren't more often than they are. They finished tied for fourth in fantasy points (standard scoring) last year and could actually improve in 2010.

New England Patriots | ADP: N/A

Bill Belichick's group endured injuries up front, and the loss of Richard Seymour showed. With plenty of young depth, the front rotation could be very good in 2010. If nose tackle Vince Wilfork can remain healthy, the veteran lineman can dominate. Defensive end Ron Brace (ankle), a second-rounder in 2009, and nose tackle Myron Pryor (knee) should step up their respective games in their second seasons. Veteran end Gerard Warren is also in the mix.

The Pats spent a pair of second-round selections on linebackers in Florida's Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham (ankle) to help bolster one of their weakest areas on defense.

New England beefed up their secondary by adding first-round cornerback Devin McCourty. Last year's second-rounders, strong safety Patrick Chung and cornerback Darius Butler, have high expectations placed on them. Also, New England's offense should put the D a good position to gamble on sacks and picks.

Fantasy value: Despite recording only 31 sacks last year, New England picked off 18 passes (tied for 11th). Not great, but all of their defensive improvements should lend a helping hand in 2010. Fantasy owners haven't been giving them much attention. Consider New England an undervalued sleeper group. 

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Also See:
Sleepers: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Busts: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Undervalued players: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Overvalued players: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT

About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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