The parity in fantasy DEF/ST continued in Week 8. As we cross the halfway point of the season, 3 new teams enter the overall top 12…and it just happens to be the 3 teams that finished at the top in Week 8. The Patriots jumped from being ranked outside of the top 12 all the way up to #4, a huge jump with 8 games already played in the season. The Bengals have only finished in the top 12 in half of their games this season but do have two top 3 finishes under their belt. Interestingly, no team in the league has more than 5 top 12 finishes so far this season. With Week 8 wrapped up, we can dig into these top performers and take a guess at who we’ll be talking about next week.

Week 8 Top Performances

New England Patriots: @ Buffalo Bills
While it wasn’t quite the beatdown I expected, the end result was the same. The Patriots took advantage of the worst offense in the NFL to the tune of 6 points allowed, 3 sacks, a forced fumble and recovery, and a late pick-6. Kudos to the Bills for holding Brady and Co to 6 FGs and zero TDs until the last 10 minutes of this game. But even those 6 kicks would have been enough to beat the inept Buffalo offense.

Week 9 Matchup: vs Green Bay Packers
I said it last week against the Rams and I’ll say it again…you don’t start fantasy DEF/ST against Aaron Rodgers. The Patriots do have a great Week 10 game against Tennessee so hang on to them if you have the roster spot but look elsewhere in Week 9.

Cincinnati Bengals: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bengals took advantage of Jameis Winston throwing his career away and intercepted everything else he threw in Week 8. Winston was benched after 4 interceptions in 3 quarters and has likely taken his last snaps as a starter in 2018. The Bengals took one of those picks back for a TD and added 6 sacks to their total. It would have been the top performance of the week if not for Fitz-magic entering the game and scoring 18 points in the 4th quarter.

Week 9 Matchup: Bye Week

Washington Redskins: @ New York Giants
Washington got after Eli Manning early and often in this one, finishing the game with league-leading 7 QB sacks. They added 2 interceptions and only allowed 13 points to a struggling Giants offense. Outside of their Week 5 beating at the hands of New Orleans, Washington hasn’t given up more than 21 points in any game this season.

Week 9 Matchup: vs Atlanta Falcons
The Redskins defense has been solid this season but the Falcons give up bottom 10 fantasy points and there are better streaming options (see below).

Week 9 Starts

Chicago Bears: @ Buffalo Bills
Easiest Start of the Week we’ve had in a while. Buffalo just gave up the top score the Patriots in Week 8 and the Bears are a top DEF/ST in desperate need of a “get right” game. Let’s hope Khalil Mack can suit up and reward owners that held onto the Bears thru this stretch of mediocrity.

Kansas City Chiefs: @ Cleveland Browns
The Browns are in turmoil and they are either going to come out and prove the world wrong or crumble…my bet is on the latter. The last thing your rookie QB needs after seeing his coach and OC get fired is to look across the field and see the hottest offense in the league ready to drop 40 points in a moments notice. I’m guessing the Browns are behind early in this one and the Chiefs will be able to attack Baker Mayfield.

David Eulitt/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins: vs New York Jets
The Dolphins are going to be a solid option for those streaming DEF/ST in Week 9, just not quite Stream of the Week. They are owned in fewer than 20% of leagues and get a Jets team that gives up the 12th most points to fantasy defenses. Miami started the season surprisingly hot, with multiple takeaways in 5 of their first 6 games. They have cooled as of late but will have 10 days to prep for a rookie QB and an offense that doesn’t pack much punch. The Jets have managed 17 or fewer points scored 5 times this season.

Stream of the Week

Dallas Cowboys: vs Tennessee Titans
Dallas only has 2 top 12 finishes on the year so I can understand their low ownership percentage. But a matchup with the Titans, who give up the 7th most points to fantasy DEF/ST and who have only scored more than 20 points once this season is the perfect streaming situation. Dallas is owned in fewer than 15% of leagues on both Yahoo and ESPN.

Week 9 Sits

Los Angeles Rams: @ New Orleans Saints
The Rams are in a stretch of tough opposing QBs. Even if they are the #1 fantasy defense, I’m not starting them against Drew Brees.  The Saints give up the 3rd fewest points to fantasy defenses and that is not a gamble worth taking as we head into the home stretch for the fantasy playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens: vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The Ravens fall from grace continued in Week 8, when they fell out of the overall top 12. They’ve allowed 60 points and only have one sack in total over their last 2 games. A matchup with a surging Steelers offense is not any type of “get right” game.

Los Angles Chargers: @ Seattle Seahawks
When I see that over half of you held onto the Chargers thru their Week 8 bye it worries me. They are ranked outside of the top 20 for fantasy defenses and have a road game with the Seahawks, who haven’t given up a top 12 performance since Week 2. Do not start the Chargers…cut them.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Ranks vs Pass/Run are based on Yards per Game allowed.

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 Rams 81 5 155 22 7 6 2 2 2 10 12
2 Bears 71 4 144 20 11 6 2 0 0 16 3
3 Texans 70 3 167 21 7 7 2 0 1 12 7
4 Patriots 68 3 185 12 11 5 3 0 1 27 14
5 Cardinals 65 4 185 24 6 6 2 0 0 8 29
5 Jets 65 4 192 17 10 5 3 0 0 19 21
7 Seahawks 64 4 135 19 10 6 0 0 0 4 17
8 Bengals 63 4 231 21 10 4 4 0 0 32 26
8 Broncos 63 3 194 24 8 4 2 0 3 11 27
8 Redskins 63 4 134 21 6 7 1 0 0 13 2
11 Browns 62 5 202 20 12 10 0 1 1 26 28
11 Chiefs 62 5 203 24 8 4 3 0 0 29 25

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