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Reading the Defense: Rolle sparking Giants turnaround

After the first few weeks of the 2013 NFL season, there was one undeniable truth -- NFC East defenses stunk out loud. In the past month, however, things have improved.

It's certainly not always apparent on the field, but in fantasy circles, it's noticeable. In the past four weeks, the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles all rank among the top 10 scoring fantasy defensive units (yes, even with Dallas getting torched by the Saints last Sunday night), while Washington checks in at No. 14.

Certainly the Giants' defensive improvement has been a big part of the reason Big Blue has strung together three straight victories. And a big part of New York's improvement has had to do with Antrel Rolle's stellar play in the secondary.

Rolle has logged an interception in two of his past three games as well as a sack in each of the past two. He topped off the stretch with a 10-tackle performance in last week's win over the Raiders. Along the way, the veteran has scored 10-plus fantasy points in each of the past three weeks.

Maybe he took things personally after his early-season prediction of a 12-game winning streak for the Giants fell by the wayside as the team started 0-6. Regardless, the man from The U has notched a career-high in sacks and is on track to set a new career best in interceptions.

It's a trend that seems likely to continue this week against the Green Bay Packers and newly minted starter Scott Tolzien. Look for Rolle to be all over the place; he has a nice chance to post a fourth-straight double-digit outing.

Worrilow a name to know

Any time a player racks up 38 tackles in two weeks, it's bound to open some eyes. So when Paul Worrilow's name kept showing up high in the scoring lists over the past couple of games, I figured it was worth it to look into what was going on.

Turns out, Worrilow is an undrafted rookie free agent from Delaware who has been pressed into service because of injuries to the Atlanta Falcons linebacking corps. But in a relatively short time, he has already caught the eye of his coaches -- including defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

No one believes Worrilow is going to morph into Luke Kuechly and start racking up double-digit stops in each game. But it's worth watching him as a name to remember down the stretch. This week's game against a lukewarm Tampa Bay offense breaking in yet another new running back could be another week for him to perform.

If you're looking for a real litmus test, you might need to wait until the Week 12 Thursday night game against the Saints.

Four downs

» By now you've probabaly heard that Sean Lee is expected to be out for the next 3-4 weeks after suffering a hamstring strain in last week's loss to New Orleans. It's a devastating blow to a Cowboys defense that was already reeling, but it's an equally big loss for IDP owners. Lee has established himself as one of the game's best playmakers in the middle of the defense. His level of production won't be easy to replace.

» Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny missed Wednesday's practice as he deals with concussion issues. He currently sits as the highest-scoring defensive player in fantasy and has been in the top 15 in three of the past four seasons. All of this while toiling for a Jacksonville team that has been among the league's worst. Keep an eye on his status this week.

» Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paulremains uncertain for this week's game against the Green Bay Packers as he deals with a shoulder ailment. JPP has looked nothing like the dynamic pass rusher who came into the league several years ago. But against a Packers offense that is starting a new quarterback, this could be a chance to get untracked ... if he plays.

» Bears linebacker Lance Briggs reportedly won't play this week against the Baltimore Ravens. It was anticipated that Briggs would miss close to six weeks with a shoulder injury, but the linebacker vowed that he would return early. This would mark the third game that he's missed with the injury.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for Follow him on Twitter.

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