Fantasy Fools: Defenses can score, too

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Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has thrown for five touchdowns and no interceptions in his first three NFL games. He’s worth stashing on your roster. | Winslow Townson/AP

They say defense wins championships.

“They” obviously don’t play fantasy football.

By definition, the game we love so much is almost exclusively driven by offense — sorta like the Lions — with just one of eight or nine slots typically reserved for a team defense. Often selected in the last round or two of the draft, many players tend to view defenses as interchangeable on a weekly basis, based on matchups and which units are trending up.

Case in point: Just watch the scramble for the Chiefs’ defense on the waiver wire this week.

Indeed, for one weekend, at least, several defenses demanded their due. At the top of the heap were the ball-hawking Chiefs, whose eight-turnover, two-touchdown, three-point-yielding pummeling of the Jets produced enough points to offset a career day by the top fantasy wideout of the week, Marvin Jones.

The Vikings continued their early-season dominance by sacking Cam Newton an incredible eight times — one of which resulted in a safety — picking him off thrice, taking a punt return to the house and holding one of the NFL’s top offenses to 10 stinking points. Kelvin Benjamin might as well have stayed home for the day.

The Patriots’ defense shut out, and embarrassed, the Texans on Thursday night. The Bills picked off Carson Palmer four times, sacked him five times and returned a botched field goal for a score.

Defenses don’t win fantasy titles. But in any given week, they sure can propel you to victory.

Catch ’em while you can

Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles: Two rookie quarterbacks are raising eyebrows across the league, but only Wentz looks like someone you can count on for consistent fantasy production. Like Dak Prescott, he has yet to throw an interception. But unlike the Cowboys rookie, Wentz has thrown touchdown passes in each game (five so far) and he’s looking downfield frequently. He’s not yet ready for fantasy prime time, but the Eagles’ future is worth stashing now for a rainy day.

Trevor Siemian, QB, Broncos: Once considered simply a placeholder until rookie Paxton Lynch is ready to roll, Siemian is making his case for a longer look. His four-touchdown, turnover-free performance on the road against a solid Bengals defense catapulted him onto the fantasy radar. With the Bucs and other subpar defenses on tap, QB-challenged owners should give him a call.

Jordan Howard, RB, Bears: Jeremy Langford was carted off the field Sunday night with an ankle injury, leaving the backfield in the promising rookie’s hands. The Bears were in catch-up mode most of the night, so Howard’s carries were limited. But he made the most of his opportunities, including as a receiver. This should accelerate Howard’s expected ascension into the starting role.

Don’t be fooled

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Browns. It certainly sounds intriguing to have a receiver who also lines up as a wildcat QB and a rusher. But Pryor has done precious little in his previous four years to suggest that his outing Sunday was more than an aberration. The Dolphins’ defense has a way of making -mediocre talents look great.

Follow me at the Fantasy Fools blog (, on Facebook and on Twitter (@ladd_biro).

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