Fantasy football owners love it when their defense finds the end zone and creates multiple turnovers and sacks. But the true test of a player's value exists not in one performance but in his level of consistent production.

With that in mind, we've examined which players were the most consistent last season, and whose final numbers were deceptive overall. The parameters of our examination revolves around the final numbers of the position's top players based on a 12-team league that utilized NFL.com's standard scoring system. Since most fantasy leagues are over before the final regular-season week, we've use the numbers from the first 16 weeks. All the kickers listed started at least 10 contests, but time missed due to injuries counts against his final percentage.

The foundation for consistent production was based on the average points of the sixth-rated (or middle defense of the top 12) on NFL.com last season. That defense is Indianapolis, which averaged 13 points per game. Defenses that recorded 13 or more points in a week were rewarded for their numbers, but 12 or fewer points were rated as less than consistent based on the Colts' average.

Also remember that a consistent level is relative to the position's overall production, so 40-50 percent can be labeled as consistent in some cases.

More positions: Quarterbacks | Running backs | Wide receivers | Tight ends | Kickers

More consistent

Team Analysis

New England Patriots

(73 percent)
The Patriots showed that their immense success last season was not based on offensive firepower alone, as their defense rated as the most consistent unit in fantasy football based on our parameters. The Patriots hit our 13-point mark 11 times and scored 20 or more points on five different occasions in 2007. Their best performance came in Week 8, when the Pats defense recorded 27 points on one touchdown, three sacks and allowed a mere seven points in a win over the Washington Redskins.


Team Analysis

San Diego Chargers

(67 percent)
The Bolts entered last season rated as one of the top defenses in fantasy football, so it's no shock to see them listed as one of the most consistent units in the league. San Diego reached our 13-points mark 10 times, and that included eight performances with at least 20 points. The Chargers defense had its best stat line of the season in Week 8 against the Houston Texans, when it recorded 29 points on two touchdowns, four interceptions and allowed 10 points in a 35-10 win.


Team Analysis

Jacksonville Jaguars

(60 percent)
While the Jaguars weren't explosive from a defensive perspective (they hit the 20-point mark twice all season), this unit still hit our mark for consistent production nine different times in 2007. This defense was solid in the fantasy postseason, as it averaged 20 points in Weeks 14-16. Their top statistical performance of the season came in Week 14, when the Jaguars allowed a miniscule six points, 149 total yards and scored 27 fantasy points in a win over the Carolina Panthers.


Consistent

Team Analysis

Chicago Bears

(53 percent)
The Bears were rated as one of the top defensive units in fantasy football to start the 2007 season, so it was a disappointment to see them finish 12th among defenses on NFL.com. Still, thanks in large part to the contributions of return man Devin Hester, the Bears did score 13 or more points eight times this season. Their best performance came in Week 16, when the Bears scored 25 points on two touchdowns, two interceptions and allowed a mere seven points in a win over the Green Bay Packers.


Team Analysis

Dallas Cowboys

(53 percent)
It was a terrible finish to what was a potential Super Bowl season in Dallas. But in fantasy circles, the Cowboys did field one of the more consistent defenses in the NFL last season. It scored 13 or more points eight times, including two 27-point performances. Those contests came in Weeks 3 and 12, when they recorded one touchdown, three interceptions and three sacks in a win over the Chicago Bears and one touchdown, three sacks and three points allowed in a win over the New York Jets.


Team Analysis

Indianapolis Colts

(53 percent)
The Colts lost a ton on important defenders in the 2007 offseason, but this unit still remained a viable starting option in fantasy land. Their defense finished in the top 10 on NFL.com and hit the 13-point mark on eight different occasions. The Colts posted their best performance of the fantasy season in Week 14, as it scored 24 points on four sacks, three interceptions and a mere 145 total yards allowed in a Sunday night win over the Baltimore Ravens.


Team Analysis

Minnesota Vikings

(53 percent)
The Vikings defense did have some down weeks in the fantasy football season (it scored single digits on five different occasions), but when it scored, it scored a ton of points. Minnesota hit our 13-point mark eight times, and that includes three performances with at least 27 points. Their best stat line came in Week 12, when the Vikes scored an impressive three defensive touchdowns with three sacks and four interceptions in a 41-17 win over the New York Giants.


Team Analysis

Pittsburgh Steelers

(53 percent)
The Steelers opened the 2007 regular season with three 20-plus point performances in the first five weeks, but this unit did falter a bit down the stretch. Still, the Steel Curtain hit our 13-point mark eight times and scored 20 or more points on five different occasions. Their best stat line of the fantasy season came in Week 9, when the Steelers scored an impressive 28 points on six sacks with seven points and 104 total yards allowed in a monster win over the Baltimore Ravens.


Inconsistent

Team Analysis

Baltimore Ravens

(27 percent)
When we talk about busts from the 2007 season, we think about Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson and Rudi Johnson. We should also include the Ravens defense, which was awful in fantasy land. Baltimore finished with a mere four performances of 13 or more points, and that includes single-digit performances in seven of its final eight contests. Despite these porous totals, the Ravens defense has talent and will be selected as a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy unit in 2008.


Team Analysis

Philadelphia Eagles

(27 percent)
The Eagles opened the 2007 regular season with solid performances in two of their first three contests, but this unit was less of a factor down the stretch. In fact, Philadelphia reached our 13-point mark a mere four times, and that included no such performances in eight of its final nine weeks. The Eagles did make some solid improvement in the offseason, but their defense will be considered a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy unit in leagues with 12-plus teams.


Team Analysis

Green Bay Packers

(40 percent)
The Pack Attack did finish as one of the better units in fantasy football on NFL.com (ranked 11th among defenses) last season, but it failed to reach our 13-point mark nine times. Green Bay did score 12 or more points on nine different occasions, but our parameters for consistency didn't include weeks with 12 points. The Packers do have a lot of talent on that side of the football, however, so expect this unit to remain one of the more attractive defenses in all fantasy drafts this season.


Team Analysis

New York Giants

(47 points)
The Giants are one of several defenses to reach our 13-point mark in seven of 15 weeks. That isn't overly inconsistent, but for our purposes the G-Men fell into this list. New York started the season with single-digit performances in the first two weeks, scored 13 or more points in the next four consecutive weeks, and then finished with inconsistent numbers the remainder of the season. Overall, the Giants will remain a solid No. 1 fantasy defense in all 2008 drafts.


Team Analysis

Seattle Seahawks

(47 percent)
Despite the fact that the Seahawks finished third in points among defenses on NFL.com in the 2007 fantasy season, this unit still failed to hit our 13-point mark more often than not. Seattle did have some monster performances (it scored 19 or more points seven times), but it also score single-digit points on six different occasions. Much like the Packers and Giants, however, the Seahawks will still be an attractive late-round option for fantasy footballers this season.


Team Analysis

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(47 percent)
The Buccaneers finished last season on fire with double-digit performances in five of their final six contents of the fantasy season, but it started slow and thus made our list of inconsistent units. Tampa Bay scored 10 or fewer points in five or their first eight games and didn't turn it around until after the midseason point. Despite these aforementioned poor performances, their hot overall finish will make the Buccaneers a much more valuable No. 1 fantasy defense this season.


Team Analysis

Tennessee Titans

(47 percent)
Tennessee did score 19 or more points on five different occasions last season, but this unit also failed to reach our 13-point mark nine times. It also scored 10 or fewer points in seven contests, so it's apparent how inconsistent the Titans were in fantasy circles. This defense was also far better with DT Albert Haynesworth on the field, especially in limiting the opponent's rushing yards. But overall the Titans will be seen as more of a high-end No. 2 fantasy defense in 2008.


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