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2009 Redskins Defense: A Fantasy Sleeper Waiting to Happen

NFL: Redskins vs Browns OCT 19

It’s hard to explain to most people what a complete disappointment the Redskins defense has been in fantasy football over the years. No doubt any seasoned vet to fantasy has probably been duped (I know I have) into believing the hype of this organizations high profile moves in years past.

Washington’s defense is no doubt suffering from a case of, “the little boy that cried wolf syndrome” as they have become a team that no one listens to anymore in fantasy circles. While in some ways this is unfortunate, I also believe keen fantasy owners can profit from this squad and at a cheep price on draft day.

2009 Washington Redskins Projected Starting Defense

2008 Strengths and Weaknesses of Redskins Defense

Last season the Redskins defense finished with very strong numbers in yards given up as a whole.

In in the passing game they gave up the 7th fewest amount of yards on defense (193.4 per game) in the league and are very deep in talent in the back field.

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins

The defense also fared well in the running game finishing 8th overall (95.4 yards per game) in the NFL.

With these numbers above it is no surprise that the team finish as the 4th best defense for total yards given up per game at 288.8.

What I like even more about this defense is that they were also good at holding their opponents down in scoring as they only gave up 18.5 points per game. That total was good enough for the 6th lowest points against in football.

These numbers are impressive but what this defense needs in order to be a fantasy power house is to turn the ball over more and score touchdowns.

This has been the downfall of many a Redskin fantasy defenses in the past and last season the team only had 24 sacks, 5 recovered fumbles and 11 interceptions for the season. While those numbers aren’t good they also had zero defensive touchdowns and zero safety’s on the season.

If Washington is to become a fantasy relevant defense then they will need to improve on those numbers in 2009.

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins

Changes in the Off-Season

Shawn Springs was used mostly as a third of fourth sting corner back last season on the team but his absence from the organization will be missed. Shawn was a very good leader and one of the true pros in the game of football.

While seasoned veteran is now with the New England Patriots, I believe the Skins secondary will still produce at a high level. Not only does this secondary have the best talent in football collectively but they are also deep at corner as well.

With a very strong secondary and an ability to stop the run, one piece needs to be put into place to make this defense fully operational and that is the applying the pressure.

I believe the Redskins now have that piece of the puzzle with free agent acquisition in defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and first round pick Brian Orakpo.

Washington Redskins Minicamp

No doubt Haynesworth is the more valuable pickup and is a truly great player in this league. In my personal opinion being a great player is not defined by just a players stats but how much better they make others around them better as well.

Albert has the rare ability to not only get it done on his own but set the table for the rest of his teammates as well. With a big powerful player like this in the middle of the defensive line, offensives have to put two and sometimes three men on him to stop his attack to the football.

With this type of pressure in the middle it will leave the offense susceptible to pass rushers coming from the outside like specialist Brian Orakpo. This pass rush specialist came to the Redskins as a true gift when he fell from being a projected top five pick in this years draft and fell into the middle of the first round. With a talent like this it is just a matter of time before he figures things out and makes a big impact.

Orakpo is starting to make news already in training camp for the way he at times is looking flat out dominant and overwhelming his fellow teammates in practice.

This has been noted as Brian has made Skins top lineman left tackle Chris Sammuels look silly when he rushes the passer from the weak side linebacker formation. The Skins do have some issues on the offensive line but Sammuels is not one of them and for this youngster to be impacting a vet like this is worth paying attention too.

Fantasy Football Information for the Redskins Defense

What sets this seasons hype on the Redskins defense apart from the other years they disappointed is that this time around you won’t have to draft them as a top fantasy defense.

Look to snag this defense up as a late round stash and see if they can deliver on the promise they could produce. We will probably get and idea what this defense is made of very early in the season as they play the Rams and Lions in weeks two and three of the season.

If they display an ability to sack the quarterback and score touchdowns in those games then this defense will be a very hot commodity for the rest of the season.

Fantasy Football Information Writer Sean E. Douglas:

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