Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 10
Just two weeks ago, the Las Vegas Raiders did not have a single top-12 finish in the fantasy D/ST category. Now, they’ve reeled off back-to-back top-12s, and every D/ST but one has two or more top-12 finishes. The Carolina Panthers had a solid Week 3 but haven’t scored over five fantasy points in any other week this season. Meanwhile, the top-6 DEF on the season are separated by just 15 total fantasy points and each of them has finished in the top-12 five or more times this year. As long as you play the matchups correctly, and avoid the Panthers, it’s been a good year for fantasy D/ST.
Week 9 Top Performance
New Orleans Saints @ TB
Three points. Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski, all this offensive “firepower” and the only points scored were by Ryan Succop. The Saints sacked Brady three times and picked him off a further three times. All those 3s left New Orleans as DEF1 for Week 9.
Week 10 Matchup: vs SF
The 49ers offense is as depleted as any in the NFL and is far less of a threat than Tampa Bay. Expect a top-3 repeat from New Orleans. The Saints are available in 51% of Yahoo leagues and would have been my Stream of the Week if they weren’t already a top performer.
Baltimore Ravens @ IND
This had all the makings of a low-scoring defensive game and that is what we got, for the most part. The Ravens won the game 24-10 and scored their first TD on the defensive side of the ball off of a Jonathan Taylor fumble. They actually didn’t record any sacks in the game but added an interception to that fumble return and that was good enough to finish top-3 this week.
Week 10 Matchup: @ NE
Cam Newton looks awful, outside of his ability to score rushing TDs, and overall this offense does not have the talent to beat the Ravens. It might not be a top-3 finish again, though that is not out of the question, but Baltimore is still good for a top-10 finish against this offense.
Tennessee Titans vs CHI
The Bears offense has been bad no matter who is playing QB in 2020 and Week 9 was no exception. The Titans sacked Nick Foles three times and forced two fumbles in the game. They took one of those fumbles back for a TD in the 3rd quarter. While they won the game by just a TD, it was still a solid performance by the Tennessee D/ST, and good enough to tie for 2nd place in Week 9.
Week 10 Matchup: vs IND
While the Colts have a better running game than Chicago, they aren’t much better at anything else. Philip Rivers has thrown seven INTs in eight games and Tennessee should capitalize on the takeaways. Not to mention the Colts just gave up a top-3 week to Baltimore.
Week 10 Starts
Pittsburgh Steelers vs CIN
Outside of a mediocre game against Tennessee, the Steelers haven’t let you down yet this season. As I’ve pointed out before, even with the excellent play of Joe Burrow, the Bengals still give up the 8th most points to fantasy DEF. A top-3 DEF vs a team that gives up top-10 points sounds like a recipe for success.
Indianapolis Colts @ TEN
Much like last week for the Colts, both DEFs are playable this week. This should be a low-scoring game with both of these teams preferring to run the ball. The Titans actually allow the 3rd fewest fantasy points to D/ST but have given up top-12 weeks in three of their last four games.
Chicago Bears vs MIN
Another game where I like both D/ST. Both QBs will turn the ball over and have allowed plenty of DEF fantasy points this season. Dalvin Cook is a worry but Chicago has played pretty well against RBs so far this season.
Stream of the Week
Green Bay Packers vs JAX
Jake Luton caught the Texans by surprise last week but the Packers will present problems in his 2nd start. The Jags give up the 11th most fantasy points to DEF, even Houston was a top-12 play last week, and the Packers have been a better fantasy DEF than Houston this season. The Packers have finished top-10 in two of their last three games and are available in 62% of Yahoo leagues.
Other Options: Saints, Vikings, Dolphins, Eagles
Week 10 Sits
San Francisco 49ers @ NO
I’m sure you are thinking “Who is still starting the 49ers?” Well, according to Yahoo, they are rostered in 58% of Yahoo leagues, so the answer is far too many people. San Fran has no offense to lean on and a very injury-depleted DEF. Please just cut them and stream from now on.
Los Angeles Rams vs SEA
Again, I should have to say not to start a DEF against Russell Wilson, despite what Buffalo did last week, but here we are. Two quick issues: 1. This game is in Seattle, not Buffalo like last week. Seattle plays better at home. 2. The Rams are still rostered in 52% of leagues after a Week 9 bye…were you waiting on this? You shouldn’t be.
Buffalo Bills @ ARZ
I alluded to this just a moment ago but last week was a fluke. The Bills D/ST has been barely mediocre this season and will find the going much tougher on the road in Arizona than they did at home against Seattle. The Cardinals give up the 7th fewest fantasy points to D/ST.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
*All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Rank vs Pass/Run based on yards allowed.