Sleepless in Seattle

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Published: September 28, 2012

Fantasy Football Defense

We don’t talk a lot of defense in the world of fantasy football, but there is a new defense to avoid when looking at your weekly match ups. They were unveiled for all to see Monday night. Lost in the controversy of the replacement officials and the “touchdown” on the last play of the game was the dominating performance of one of the National Football League’s best defenses. Pete Carroll and company are making opposing offenses sleepless in Seattle.

We should have seen this coming. First of all, Carroll is known as a defensive coach. When he took over in Seattle they were ranked 25th in total defense. After year one of putting in his system, Carroll’s team was still 25th, but then they made the big jump. Last year they ranked in the top ten in points allowed per game, yards allowed per game and interceptions.

They have slowly built their defense through the draft and in free agency, but not with many high profile picks. Only one starter on defense – free safety Earl Thomas – was a first round pick. This defense snuck up on people because they don’t have any marquee names on the two deep defensive roster. They did add rookie Bruce Irvin in the first round this year and he has made an impact early, but right now is mostly a situational pass rusher.

Speaking of pass rush, the Seahawks pass rush was nearly unstoppable – especially in the first half – against the Packers. They sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers eight times. Four sacks alone for defensive end Chris Clemons, two for Irvin and two for defensive tackle Brandon Mebane.

The Packer game was not a fluke. In Week Two they shut down a Dallas offense that on opening night put up 24 points on the defending champion New York Giants. The Seattle defense limited the Cowboys’ offense to just seven points. What makes that game – and the Packer game – so impressive is the lack of turnovers the Seahawks generated. Turnovers are a big way to gauge defenses, but I look at it a different way. The Hawks’ defense shut down two of the league’s best offenses with only one turnover caused by the defense. That means the 12th Man and their defense are simply lining up and physically and schematically beating the team in front of them.

The realization that the defense in the Pacific Northwest is not shutting teams down because of a lucky bounce or two like the Chicago Bears’ defense a few years ago, should put fear in any fantasy owners’ heart if their star player is facing this squad. They held two of the top fantasy quarterbacks to a total of one touchdown over the last two games. They have given up only two rushing touchdowns in three games.

This all adds up to one thing – fantasy owners beware. You might want to start treating the defense from the Land of Starbucks with some respect. If you have better options on your bench, get ahead of the curb. Avoid the Seahawks’ defense with your offensive players and if they are available, consider picking them up as your fantasy defense.

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