In Week 1, the New England Patriots defense allowed just 3 points while also notching a sack, an interception and a forced fumble in a dominant victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In my own fantasy football league, the performance was worth a solid 11.00 fantasy points. I decided to pick up the Patriots defense/special teams, and what they’ve done since has made me look like a fantasy genius (which I assure you, I am not).
The Ringer’s Riley McAtee recently declared that the best player in fantasy football so far this season isn’t actually a player at all—it’s the Patriots defense/special teams unit. From McAtee:
The Pats D/ST now has 14 interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and 25 sacks on the season while allowing 14 points or fewer in every single game. Oh, and they have five defensive touchdowns—just one fewer than the vaunted Bears D/ST had in all of 2018. The Pats D/ST’s per-game fantasy points average now stands at 20.3 in standard-scoring ESPN leagues. To put that number in perspective, the 2018 Bears, the top D/ST last year, averaged 11.8 fantasy points per game.
Those are absolutely ridiculous numbers. The Patriots’ defense is currently allowing a meager 8.0 points per game. Dating back to 1966, no NFL team has ever allowed fewer than 9.2 points per game in a season.
Now, it’s nearly impossible to think the Patriots’ defense will continue to be so impregnable.
Their first six games were against, in order: the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Miami Dolphins, the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills, the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants. Those teams rank 22nd, 32nd, 31st, 26th, 30th and 24th in offensive points per game, respectively.
That’s more cupcakes than a Hostess factory.
The Patriots’ schedule will pick up during the second half of the season, including a five-game stretch against Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston and Kansas City, all of whom currently rank among the league’s top 10 offenses.
But if the Patriots defense can manage to continue anywhere near their current level of play against those more formidable foes, then it’s time to start talking about them as potentially one of the greatest defenses not just in fantasy football history, but in football history period.
In the meantime, their fantasy owners will continue to revel in their good fortune and talk smack in the group chat.
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