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Mining your way to fantasy gold - NFC East DEF/Ks edition

Wrapping up the NFC East, I take a look at the team defenses and kickers in the division.  This may get dry and boring, so bear with me fellas.  I like discussing fantasy kickers about as much as I like getting my wisdom teeth pulled.  Actually, I'd prefer to get my wisdom teeth pulled.  I think it would be much more challenging if we had to use fantasy punters instead of fantasy kickers.  Ok, enough shenanigans, let's roll to the rankings.

NFC East Team DEF

  1. New York Giants
  2. Dallas Cowboys
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Washington Redskins

NFC East Kickers

  1. David Akers
  2. Nick Folk
  3. Lawrence Tynes
  4. Shaun Suisham

After the jump, Brendan Scolari berates my decisions...

The Giants

Team DEF

New York's team defense was second in fantasy scoring in the NFC East last season (Philadelphia was first), and I expect them to take the reigns as the number unit this season.  An injury to Osi Umenyiora dampered the Giants pass rush a bit, as did the retirement of Michael Strahan.  The team still totalled 42 sacks, but they had 11 more in 2007.  Additions like Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard add some great depth the Giants defensive line, and Umenyiora appears to be fully recovered from last season's knee injury.  The Giants secondary is a very solid unit as well, and I see great things from this defense in 2009.    Fantasy Forecast: 50 sacks, 19 INTs, 10 FR, 4 TDs, 2 Blk Kicks

Lawrence Tynes

Tynes missed a large chunk of 2008 with an injury, and was battling a groin issue earlier in the preseason.  In 2007, Tynes didn't hit a single 50+ yard FG (nor did he attempt one), but was 8 for 8 from 40-49 yards.  I actually still thought Jay Feely was kicking for the Giants, so that shows how much I really pay attention to kickers not named Nedney.  Side Note: Tynes has missed 6 extra points in his career.  Fantasy Forecast: 23 FGM, 42 XPM

The Cowboys

Team DEF

Dallas' team defense was very impressive in 2008 as they sacked the opposing team's QB 59 times.  The debbie downer of the situation was that Dallas only swiped 8 interceptions.  I guess the pass rush was getting to the QB a bit too soon, and not enough passes were being forced into coverage.  The Cowboys still have a very solid defense, especially with additions like Igor Olshanksy.  DeMarcus Ware is a man-beast, and Jay Ratliff might be the best pass-rushing 3-4 NT in the game (7.5 sacks in '08).  In the secondary, the Cowboys boast a pretty good unit, with Terrance Newman and Ken Hamlin leading the way.  With a higher INT total in 2009, the Cowboys nudge past the Eagles in the NFC East rankings.  Fantasy Forecast:  52 sacks, 17 INTs, 11 FR, 3 TDs, 1 Blk Kick

Nick Folk

Folk did not put up huge fantasy numbers in 2008, but he was quite accurate hitting 20 of 22 field goals.  On top of that, he was 12-13 from 40+ yards (2-2 from 50+).  The Cowboys offense should get Folk in plenty of FG situations in 2009, and he should prove to be a very good fantasy kicker.  I expect Folk's numbers to look more like 2007, than 2008; he finished 21st in fantasy scoring amongst kickers in 2008, and in 2007 he was 3rd.  Fantasy Forecast: 25 FGM 46 XPM

The Eagles

Team DEF

It's hard to rank the Eagles third, because they had a very productive 2008, finishing 3rd amongst defensive units in fantasy scoring.  In 2009, it will be hard to guage just how much of an impact the loss of Jim Johnson (bless his soul) will be in the scheme of things.  The unit is typical a heavy-blitzing team that really causes opposing QBs headaches.  Philadelphia had 48 sacks and 5 defensive TDs, to go along with 17 INTs and 14 fumble recoveries.  The linebacking crew is a mixed bag of "who"s, but that's typical Philadelphia fashion.  The secondary is impressive, to say the least, and I expect the Eagles to be a very product, very consistent defense in 2009.  They rank 3rd in the NFC East, only because this division is loaded.  Fantasy Forecast: 44 sacks, 20 INTs, 10 FR, 4 TDs, 1 Blk Kick

David Akers

Akers finished 2nd in fantasy scoring in 2008, and was the top NFC kicker from a fantasy standpoint.  The Philadelphia kicker drilled home a career high 33 field goals and had just one contest without a FG.  Akers struggled from beyond 50 yards, hit just 2 of 5 attempts, but was 8 of 10 from 40-49.  Of all the kickers in the East, Akers is the guy to target.  Fantasy Forecast: 27 FGM 48 XPM

The Redskins

Team DEF

Simply put, the Redskins unit was not very productive in 2008, as they finished 26th in fantasy scoring.  The team went out and signed Albert Haynesworth to a massive contract to help bolster their attack.  Washington drafted Brian Orakpo to provide some reliability at the OLB position, and re-signed DeAngelo Fall Hall to a mega-contract.  The Redskins had a minute 24 sacks, just 5 fumble recoveries and no defensive TDs.  On the bright side, if there is one, the team netted 13 INTs (puny numbers, but I was looking for something positive).  Washington was considerably better in 2007, but I wouldn't recommend drafting the unit.  Fantasy Forecast: 30 sacks, 15 INTs, 8 FR, 1 TD

Shaun Suisham

The kicker for the Redskins finished 22nd in fantasy scoring amongst kickers, but drilled 26 FGs having just three games without a FG.  The downer was the Redskins inability to get into the end zone, as Suisham had to hit just 25 extra points.  Another unfortunate stat:  Suisham was 12 of 20 from 40+ yards.  Like the team's defensive unit, you're better off elsewhere finding a fantasy kicker, because extra points do make the difference.  Fantasy Forecast: 27 FGM, 33 XPM