Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 9

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To start: Week 8 was weird. The weather changed the face of quite a few games and, in turn, really shook up D/ST rankings. The Raiders ended up in the top-12 for the first time this season and the Ravens missed for the first time also. Also a first, if my memory serves me correctly, my Stream of the Week, the Tennessee Titans, finished with negative fantasy points. My apologies if it cost you a win. I feel a lot better about Week 9’s picks, so let’s move on.

Week 8 Top Performances

Philadelphia Eagles vs DAL
In the world of fantasy DEF, you prey on backup QBs. Even better when it’s the backup to the backup. The Eagles sacked Ben DiNucci four times, once for a safety, twice he fumbled, and one of those fumbles was taken to the house for a TD. It was ugly–plain and simple. Dallas managed just three FGs scored and Philadelphia ends the week as the DEF2.

Week 9 Matchup: BYE

Pittsburgh Steelers @ BAL
I called this one wrong. I thought neither DEF could be played here as I expected a high-scoring shootout. While the Ravens managed 24 points scored, they also turned the ball over four times and allowed four QB sacks. To make matters worse, or better if you had the Steelers DEF, they took an interception back for a TD in the first minute of the game. It was another great game for the Steelers D/ST and the last time I advise against them this season.

Week 9 Matchup: @ DAL
The Cowboys have weapons all over…except at QB. It will either be Ben DiNucci… or Cooper Rush… or Garrett Gilbert this week. Either way, the Steelers will eat them alive. Easily one of the best starts this week.

Miami Dolphins vs LAR
Do you know what happens when you score two DEF/ST touchdowns? You finish in 1st place. At least that has been true this season, where we have seen a lot fewer TDs on the defensive side of the ball. One of the Dolphins TDs was a punt return, the 1st punt return TD of the season, and the other was a fumble recovered on a Jared Goff sack. The Dolphins sacked Goff twice on the day, forced two INTs, two forced fumbles, and those two TDs. All those twos equaled a big “1” next to their name in the weekly ranks.

Week 9 Matchup: @ ARZ
The Dolphins have been a surprise for fantasy managers this season but they are hard to trust this week. The Cardinals will turn the ball over but will also score a ton of points. If this were in Miami, I’d say you could cautiously start them. In Arizona, you need to look elsewhere.

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Week 9 Starts

New England Patriots @ NYJ
Despite the immense woes of their offense, the Patriots DEF has been pretty good this season. They are still in the season’s top-10 and have finished in the top-12 in four of their six games. Plus, you know, they’re playing the Jets so…START OF THE WEEK!

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Both Teams: Baltimore Ravens vs Indianapolis Colts
These are two teams that will run the ball a ton, keeping the clock moving and the score low. These are also two QBs that will turn the ball over and two defenses that will take advantage of any mistake. I’m guessing this will be one of the best games of the week and great for both DEFs. Might see a TD from both.

Los Angeles Chargers @ LV
The Chargers have not a truly bad week at all this season. They have scored at least three fantasy points in every game and the Raiders have allowed 3+ in five of seven games. The Raiders would prefer to run the ball and that is what the Chargers have done a great job at slowing this year. Not to mention, the Chargers’ own offense should run up the score. If they can put Derek Carr in bad spots, they will capitalize.

Stream of the Week

New York Giants @ WAS
Before you scoff, look at what the Giants fantasy DEF has done recently. They have scored at least four fantasy points in each of their last five games with 12 QB sacks and seven takeaways during that span. They are actually a top-10 fantasy DEF on the season. Not to mention that they were a top-5 play against this same Washington team three weeks ago. The Giants D/ST is available in 87% of fantasy leagues.
Other Options: Texans, Washington, Packers, Titans

Week 9 Sits

Buffalo Bills vs SEA
I shouldn’t even have to mention this but the Bills are rostered in 87% of fantasy leagues so here we are. Russ is cooking and you don’t start DEF against the Seahawks. Because this is in Buffalo, we may not see four TDs from Russell Wilson, but it still won’t be a game that you’ll any part of a defense.

San Francisco 49ers vs GB
It’s a short week. The 49ers have lost a ton of talent on defense, including trading Kwon Alexander at the trade deadline. Now, on offense, they’ve lost Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle, on top of most of their RBs being hurt. In other words, this team is decimated. The Packers offense, even without Aaron Jones, or any healthy RBs, is humming along behind Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. This could be an ugly game and not in favor of San Francisco.

Chicago Bears @ TEN
The Bears have been pretty solid this season but they did not do much against New Orleans last week and Tennessee’s offense is not a joke. The Titans actually give up the 2nd fewest points to fantasy defenses and don’t allow many sacks or turnovers, which is where the Bears make their money. This might be a low-scoring game but there won’t be much action for the Bears D/ST either.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

*All Stats and Scores from, your league scoring may differ. Rank vs Pass/Run based on yards allowed.

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Rank Team Fantasy
Weeks in
Sacks INTs Fumbles
Safety Block
Rank vs
Rank vs
1 Ravens 82 6 126 24 3 10 3 0 0 7 10
1 Colts 82 5 128 18 11 1 4 2 0 2 6
3 Buccaneers 74 6 153 28 11 3 1 1 1 1 14
3 Chiefs 74 6 152 17 9 6 3 0 1 29 3
3 Steelers 74 6 142 30 10 3 2 1 0 5 7
6 Dolphins 69 4 130 19 7 5 2 0 0 21 20
7 Eagles 60 4 205 28 3 8 2 1 1 24 5
8 Rams 58 5 140 25 6 4 0 0 0 4 2
9 Giants 50 4 193 20 5 5 2 0 0 8 23
9 Patriots 50 4 161 10 9 4 2 0 1 27 9
11 Bears 48 3 166 17 5 4 1 0 1 16 13
12 Washington 47 2 159 22 8 1 0 1 0 17 1
12 Cardinals 47 4 146 19 6 4 0 0 1 25 18
12 Browns 47 4 231 20 7 7 1 1 0 11 26

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