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Eyes of the Guru Preseason Part 2: NFC North

An overview of defenses in the NFC North with an emphasis on individual defensive players and their fantasy value.

Welcome to part two of this year's Eyes of the Guru series - the NFC North

For reference, when I mention where players finished in the rankings last season, my model will be the standard Footballguys scoring system. This is the standard stuff:

  • Tackles = 1.5
  • Assists = .75
  • Sacks = 4
  • Forced fumbles = 3
  • Fumble recoveries = 3
  • Interceptions = 4
  • Passes defended = 1.5
  • Touchdowns = 6

Minnesota Vikings

Defensive Linemen

The Vikings defense is on the verge of becoming one of the league's best. They were middle of the pack versus both the pass (12th) and the run (17th) in 2015 but Minnesota was number five in scoring and their 43 sacks ranked seventh. One big reason for their success and my optimism is the rock solid front four they have assembled. Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd are the foundation of the unit. Checking in at 329 and 311 pounds respectively they are a powerful tandem of big men with enough athleticism to be a factor against both the pass and run. Neither player will light up the box scores with a bunch of sacks but there is some fantasy production here. Joseph finished last season with a sack and a half while his 43 solo tackles were the third most in the league by an interior lineman. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider he missed four of the final five games with injury. It is hard to say if last year's big tackle totals were a fluke or a sign of great things to come. What we do know is since becoming a starter for the Giants in 2011 Joseph has averaged around 35 tackles, 19 assists and 3 sacks a season. Those numbers would make him a quality second starter or low end number one at a position that is always thin. He was on pace for 57 solo stops last season so the upside pushes his value into the top ten.

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