Repeat after me: The NFL's lowest ranked defense does not mean the NFL's worst defense. The Washington Redskins defense is suddenly the hot fantasy football play.
The Redskins are the fifth-best fantasy defense according to ESPN.com's fantasy scoring rank. Washington's D has 71 fantasy points after seven weeks. Washington was the second-best fantasy defense for week seven, thanks to DeAngelo Hall's heroics in Chicago. The Redskins scored 23 fantasy points, trailing the top ranked Cleveland Browns by a single point.
Only Chris Cooley approaches that achievement for the offense. Cooley is the seventh best scoring tight end on ESPN's fantasy ranking.
What a change for the defense from the Gregg Williams-Greg Blache (especially Greg Blache) 4-3 approach that suppressed yards and scoring, but rarely delivered a killing blow. Their schemes delivered a top ten performance most years in the real game. Fantasy owners took scant notice because those units rarely delivered points off turnovers.
We knew there would be issues when Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett converted from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defensive alignment. Questions ranged from talent fit to coverage skills. We knew it would take most of the season before the players really "got it." There is a transition cost for change that must be paid.
That was before all the Albert Haynesworth stuff.
The coaching staff believed they could squeeze more turnovers out of the defense, though I doubt they expected to be cellar-dwellers in yards defended. The squad has to get better. However, trends are headed in the right direction.
This coaching staff uses the 3-4 to make better use of its talent. Lorenzo Alexander, Chris Wilson, LaRon Landry, Rocky McIntosh, Kareem Moore and Hall are playmakers in this scheme.
Some things haven't changed. Washington relies on the defense to keep them in the game until the offense catches fire. It is odd that the Redskins 31st-ranked defense is propping up its 18th ranked offense.
Which do you prefer Redskins fans, a defense that suffocates or one that gashes for points? As a retired fantasy baller, I'll go for the gash every time. If your fellow owners are sleeping on the Redskins defense and the unit is a free agent pick-up, jump on that bad boy now.
Point after: DC Sports Bog - DeAngelo Hall, Sammy Baugh and four interceptions