Undervalued defensive teams: fantasy football sleepers

by Cory J. Bonini on September 7, 2009 @ 03:42:14 PDT


KFFL.com's analysis of fantasy football sleepers and undervalued players for the 2009 season will be updated weekly this season. We have released the evaluations earlier than ever before!

Our friends at MockDraftCentral.com can be thanked for the average draft placement (ADP), and each of these figures will also be current to provide you the most accurate information available. According to Mock Draft Central, the following information is from performance leagues without point-per-reception scoring and has been updated weekly.

QB | RB | WR | TE | PK

Chicago Bears | Average draft placement: 175.8 | Last week: 175.9

Has everyone so soon forgotten the once-mighty Bears defense? Fantasy owners are all about the "what have you done for me lately" mantra, which is probably why Chicago is being drafted as the 12th unit, on average. The Bears have been overvalued in recent years, but this year owners seem to be overlooking a few key reasons why the defense should bounce back.

Three of the team's top defensive ends are entering contract years, which should help motivate them. The offense should be better with quarterback Jay Cutler at the helm, meaning the defense won't be as tired as they have been after so many sputtering offensive drives of recent years. Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa figures to be the starting strongside linebacker, and he is an upgrade over anyone the Bears could play at the position. A recovering secondary: The Bears experienced a lot of bad luck by way of the injury bug in 2008.

Fantasy value: We never recommend counting on a special teams unit to propel your fantasy defense, because of what happened to the Bears last year through Devin Hester's inability to score, but we have to at least give Hester acknowledgment as a lethal return man. Chicago is a midtier No. 1 defense this year, and they are being drafted at the bottom of the barrel for starting units.

New Orleans Saints | Average draft placement: 217.1 | Last week: 209.1

The Saints defense is rarely considered for fantasy ownership, and there has been little reason owners should have considered them in the past. The re-signing of middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, a second year for defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, the addition of cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Malcolm Jenkins - all of these moves should only strengthen the Saints on this side of the ball.

Oh, we almost forgot the hiring of aggressive defensive coordinator Gregg Williams! There is fear of a four-game suspension for defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith due to the ongoing legal battle over tainted supplements. Even if they are suspended, the Saints have depth with Bobby McCray.

Fantasy value: As expected, no one is drafting the Saints, on average, for their fantasy squads. If you play in a league with two defenses, roll the dice on this unit as your backup. If you are feeling bold and don't like your options after holding off on drafting your No. 1 defense, the Saints merit some consideration as the last defense or two off the board.

QB | RB | WR | TE | PK

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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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