Fantasy Football: Week 7 Team Defense Recap

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In a week where 9 teams did not score a TD on offense, you’d expect more excitement around DEF/ST. Unfortunately, we also went from a Week 6 with the most defensive TDs scored all season to a Week 7 with the least. It wasn’t exactly a boring week, but compared to last week, we just don’t have a lot to talk about. Our # 1 defense was owned in less than 3% of leagues so most didn’t benefit from their amazing week and we saw 8 DEF/ST score negative fantasy points. Bottom line: it wasn’t a banner week but there were some special performances, let’s look at them.

Before I jump in, and I know the fantasy gods will make me regret this, I just want to note that I hit on all of my predictions last week. Every recommended start finished top 12 in ESPN standard scoring, and every sit finished outside of the top 12. Let’s see if I can pull off 2 in a row…

Week 7 Top Performances

Chicago Bears: vs CAR
Certainly didn’t see this coming. The Bears were unowned in 97% of fantasy leagues so I’m guessing that was a common thought here. Chicago overcame it’s own terrible offense and scored 2 defensive TDs on 3 total turnovers. Oddly enough, they were both scored by the same guy, safety Eddie Jackson. Cam Newton could get absolutely nothing going. He was sacked 5 times and never found the end zone. Chicago took a page out of Jacksonville’s book and kept the ball out of their rookie QBs hands, they ran the ball on 26 of 33 plays and were content to let their defense do its thing. The result was a Bears’ win to make Jay Griz proud and a spot on top of the DEF/ST rankings.

Week 8 Matchup: @ NO
Much like the Saints defense from a week ago, the Bears go from #1 to not recommended to start, not even in stream-mode. Besides that insane game from Week 6, the Saints haven’t given up more than 2 fantasy points to defenses in a game this year. Sorry, Jay Griz, this was a one week wonder.

Los Angeles Chargers: vs DEN
I don’t want to take anything away from the Chargers’ defense but it would seem that the Broncos are coming out their bye week trending the wrong direction. Last week they were wrecked by the Giants for a top 5 performance and this week they put Los Angeles in the top 3. The Chargers played an excellent game, keeping the Broncos off of the scoreboard, sacking Trevor Siemian 5 times, and forcing 3 turnovers. They also benefited from a Travis Benjamin punt return for a TD. Unfortunately, they were owned in less than 10% of leagues so, again, very few had a rooting interest.

Week 8 Matchup: @ NE
The Chargers defense has not been great this season but has gotten on track lately. The perfect way to derail that is a date with Tom Brady in Foxboro. Stay away.

Jacksonville Jaguars: @ IND
Finally, a game we saw coming. Jacksonville was my #1 start last week and they did not disappoint. In fact, they were amazing, racking up 10 sacks for the 2nd time this season. No team in the NFL has more than 7 sacks in a game this year, except Jacksonville who has now gotten 10 twice. These guys are the real deal. They didn’t fill up the stat sheet but they kept Indy from scoring and that, plus 10 sacks, was enough to make the top 3.

Week 8 Matchup: BYE

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Just wanted to give quick kudos to the Rams, Titans, Browns, and Panthers. Not one of them allowed a TD this week but didn’t do enough anywhere else to make the top 3.

Week 8 Starts

Minnesota Vikings: @ CLE (in London)
This is basically a gimme. Cleveland is just terrible and the Vikings defense has finished top 12 in each of the last 5 weeks. Somehow, Minnesota is not owned in 12% of leagues, if you are that lucky, go sign them NOW!

New Orleans Saints: vs CHI
Two weeks removed from owning the fantasy DEF/ST crown, the Saints are coming off of a mediocre outing against Green Bay. Chicago is as one-dimensional as they come, having only thrown 7 passes last week and scoring 0 (that’s ZERO) offensive TDs. Should be a field day for the New Orleans defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ DET
I hate telling you to start defenses against a high scoring offense so let me just give you my thought process. Detroit has allowed the 4th most sacks in the league, Pittsburgh’s defense has gotten the 2nd most sacks in the league. Detroit has no run game and should be without Golden Tate. Pittsburgh is coming off of a week where they shut down AJ Green so I think they handle Marvin Jones.

Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire

Stream of the Week

Oakland Raiders: @ BUF
With so many teams on bye this week, this was a tough call. Oakland’s defense hasn’t been great this season but neither has Buffalo’s offense. I see a game where Derek Carr is able to build a lead and the Raiders are able to pin their ears back and get after Tyrod Taylor. Bold prediction: 3 sacks by Khalil Mack in a return to his college stomping grounds. Oakland is only owned in 12% of leagues.

Week 8 Sits

Houston Texans: @ SEA
Houston’s defense was a roller coaster coming into their bye. They had two top 3 performances against Tennessee and Cleveland, and the worst performance in the league against Kansas City. I feel like Seattle is finally finding a rhythm on offense and is more Kansas City than Cleveland.

Denver Broncos: @ KC
Speaking of the Chiefs, they have been wreaking havoc on fantasy DEF/ST all season long and you cannot start Denver here. Kansas City has allowed the fewest fantasy points to DEF/ST and Denver seems to be in shambles as a team.

New England Patriots: vs LAC
I know that New England looked pretty solid in shutting down the Falcons last week but they are still not worth starting in fantasy. Even their “dominant performance” wasn’t all that dominant. While they held Atlanta without a TD til late in the game, they forced no turnovers and only registered one sack. If they hadn’t blocked a kick they wouldn’t have even been a top 15 fantasy defense. The Chargers’ offense looks way more functional than the Falcons and I expect a big game from Philip Rivers.

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Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

The table is arranged by YTD fantasy points but all categories are sortable. Also, I have ranked teams on a Yards-per-Game basis in Passing/Rushing.

Team Fantasy Points Weeks in Top 12 Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Jaguars 102 5 110 33 10 6 4 0 0 2 30
2 Rams 80 4 138 23 9 3 4 1 1 11 24
3 Lions 75 5 125 13 9 5 5 0 0 22 8
3 Steelers 75 5 104 24 7 3 1 1 1 1 15
5 Bears 70 3 145 21 4 5 3 1 1 9 11
6 Ravens 68 4 142 16 10 5 3 0 0 7 32
7 Texans 59 4 135 15 7 3 3 1 0 10 13
8 Saints 54 3 127 17 8 2 3 0 0 21 20
8 Seahawks 54 4 92 12 5 4 2 0 0 8 17
10 Vikings 52 5 117 21 7 1 0 0 0 12 3
10 Chargers 52 3 129 23 5 4 1 0 0 5 31
12 Bills 51 4 101 13 9 4 1 0 0 26 7
12 Broncos 51 3 112 16 4 0 1 0 2 6 2
12 Panthers 51 4 127 24 1 3 0 0 1 4 4

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