If you have been keeping up with us at Pro Football Focus, you have undoubtedly noticed Khaled Elsayed‘s recent pieces that rank the best individual performances of the 2011 season. For the next few days, I will be recounting the best performances by defensive players, and will give a fantasy slant to Khaled’s list.
In a perfect world, fantasy points would mirror on-field performance. To an extent they do, but it is not quite perfect yet. However, with a new scoring system in place for IDP leagues put together by Jeff Ratcliffe and Ross Miles, we are getting closer to doing so. I’ve used these settings to rank the single-game fantasy performances of 4-3 defensive ends. But before we get into that list, let’s review the new settings put in place.
Pro Football Focus IDP Scoring Settings
|Tackles for Loss||2|
9t. Jason Pierre-Paul , New York Giants: Week 15 vs. Washington Redskins (24 PFF Fantasy Points)
It was a losing effort for the Giants, but Pierre-Paul likely made winners out of fantasy owners in what was likely a playoff matchup for them. The Redskins’ offensive line did a better job containing him than in their Week 1 matchup, however it didn’t stop JPP from having very fantasy-friendly numbers. At the end of the day, Pierre-Paul logged one sack, a tackle for loss, and a season-high 16 total tackles with 11 of those being solo efforts.
9t. Chris Clemons, Seattle Seahawks: Week 11 vs. St. Louis Rams (24 PFF Fantasy Points)
Clemons has had monstrous grades across the spectrum over the past two seasons, and in a Week 11 affair with the Rams he showed just how monstrous he could be on the stat sheet. Clemons sacked quarterback Sam Bradford three times, forced two fumbles and batted a pass en route to his 24-point performance.
9t. Red Bryant, Seattle Seahawks: Week 7 vs. Cleveland Browns (24 PFF Fantasy Points)
The third 24-point performance of the season belonged to Clemons’ teammate, Red Bryant, just a few weeks earlier. Bryant proved that there is more than one way to skin a cat by putting up tons of points, but recorded just four total tackles and half a sack. So where did the other points come from? Blocks. Two-thirds of Bryant’s fantasy output in that game came from setting a franchise record with two blocked field goals in a game which, appropriately enough, had no touchdowns.
8. Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens: Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (24.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
A 35-7 victory over their biggest rivals in Week 1 showed the world that the Ravens were ready for the Steelers. Evidently, so was Terrell Suggs. The Ravens defense forced seven turnovers in that game, and Suggs’ two forced fumbles were a big part of that lopsided differential. Suggs also chimed-in with three sacks and two more solo tackles to comprise his whopping single-game total.
6t. Da’Quan Bowers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Week 13 vs. Carolina Panthers (25 PFF Fantasy Points)
There wasn’t much to like about the second half of the Buccaneers’ 2011 season, but Tampa Bay got a gem of a performance from rookie Da’Quan Bowers late in the season. Bowers not only earned a great individual grade of +5.1 for the game, but he also tallied his entire season’s sack total with 1.5. What really put him on top of the weekly fantasy ranks, however, was his impressive four tackles for loss. Bowers also added a defensed pass for good measure.
6t. John Abraham, Atlanta Falcons: Week 15 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (25 PFF Fantasy Points)
He’s still got plenty of fuel left in the tank. The 34-year-old Abraham netted over a third of his season sack total by putting Blaine Gabbert to the turf 3.5 times in their matchup, and forced two fumbles in the process. It was also a game where Abraham logged his highest overall individual game grade (+ 7.1) as well as his highest individual game pass-rush grade (+6.5).
5. Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings: Week 13 vs. Denver Broncos (25.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
Our second-highest overall scoring defensive end had his biggest game of the season when Tim Tebow and company came to The Metrodome. Allen started off his performance with a quick 10 points after tackling Willis McGahee in the end zone for his fourth career safety, a shared NFL record. From there, Allen did a little of everything to add to an already high individual point total including a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an additional tackle for loss.
4. Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions: Week 8 vs. Denver Broncos (26.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
Jared Allen wasn’t the only defensive end to dismantle the Denver Broncos’ offense. Cliff Avril had a game to remember in Week 8 after sacking Tim Tebow twice and forcing two fumbles in addition to that. Impressively, Avril also reached the mecca of individual plays for pass-rushers in the second quarter of the game, getting a strip-sack, recovery and touchdown all on the same play.
3. Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions: Week 14 vs. Minnesota Vikings (27 PFF Fantasy Points)
It’s almost absurd to think that Avril’s destruction of the Broncos was not his best statistical game of the season, but it’s true. What’s different in this case, is that Avril had a more consistent effort throughout the game instead of having the majority of his fantasy points lumped together on a single play. Avril recorded seven solo tackles, two sacks, two more tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a tremendous individual performance.
2. Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens: Week 14 vs. Indianapolis Colts (30.5 PFF Fantasy Points)
The Colts’ Dan Orlovsky fumbled the ball three times in their debacle against the Ravens. Guess who forced all three of those? That’s right. In addition to his three forced fumbles, Suggs matched his previous game-high of three sacks that he recorded in Week 1 versus the Steelers. Factor-in another tackle for loss and two additional solo tackles, and you have a formula for a 30-plus point output. Suggs was one of just two people who were able to reach that mark in 2011.
1. Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants: Week 14 vs. Dallas Cowboys (38 PFF Fantasy Points)
It’s no shock to us that the highest-scoring defensive lineman of 2011 also recorded the highest scoring individual game. The best part is, the entire country got to be treated to one of the most dominant fantasy performances on prime-time when the Giants traveled to Dallas to take-on the Cowboys. A first-quarter safety logged him 10 points from the get-go, and six more came from a blocked field goal with less than a minute left in the game. In between, Pierre-Paul racked-up points in just about every way imaginable. At the end of the day, JPP recorded eight total tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, a blocked kick and a safety to earn him the most fantasy points from a single game in the 2011 season.