Fantasy Football: Week 9 Team Defense Recap

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A few weeks back I asked the question “Is the New Orleans Saints defense for real?” After Week 9, it is clear that answer is a resounding: Yes! After this week, the Saints have had more weeks as the top DEF/ST than any other team in the league. They are top 12 in takeaways, top 10 in points allowed and QB sacks, and top 5 in DEF/ST touchdowns. If not for the emergence of the Jacksonville Jaguars defense, the Saints would be the talk of the fantasy world…and they were the 2nd to last ranked fantasy defense in 2016. Further illustration of how hard it is predicting these things. Though I was 9-2 in my predictions last week, the 2 that I got wrong, Start the Bills, Sit the Saints, were very wrong. I hope to do better in Week 10 so let’s take a look at who had a great Week 9 and who I think I’ll be writing about after Week 10.

Week 9 Top Performances

New Orleans Saints: vs TB
Last week, I called this a trap game for a fantasy defense. It turns out it was only a trap for those that doubt the Saints. New Orleans owned this game from start to finish. They only gave up 10 points on 2 scores, a FG late in the 1st half and a TD late in the 4th quarter. They blocked a punt and took it back for a TD. They sacked the QB 4 times, including 1 that ended Jameis Winston‘s day early. All in all, it was another dominant performance by the Saints, who have been the top fantasy defense 3 times this season.

Week 10 Matchup: @ BUF
As you’ll read in the next paragraph, Buffalo just gave the 2nd most fantasy points to the Jets defense last week and New Orleans made a statement in their own Week 9 tilt. Even with the addition of Kelvin Benjamin, the Buffalo offense doesn’t match up well to what the Saints put on the field. New Orleans is only owned in half of fantasy leagues, go sign them and start them in Week 10.

New York Jets: vs BUF
For the 2nd straight week, we got a dominant defensive performance on the Thursday night game. It just didn’t come from the team we expected it to.  This performance could have been so much better for the Jets but they allowed Buffalo to score, recover an onside kick, and score again in the games final 4 minutes. The Jets finished the game with 21 points allowed but led the league in sacks and fumble recoveries with 7 and 3 respectively.

Week 10 Matchup: @ TB
Tampa Bay’s offense has been terrible, and that was before they decided to shut Jameis Winston down to recover. Ryan Fitzpatrick takes the helm of an offense that will be missing it’s best WR with Mike Evans suspended and just gave up the most fantasy points to DEF/ST in Week 9. Start the Jets.

Arizona Cardinals: @ SF
The Cardinals have been impossible to trust this year but bad offense makes for good defense sometimes. The 49ers can’t seem to get out of their own way and it propelled the Cardinals to a fantasy top performance. Arizona didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet but they held the Niners to only 10 points. They added 5 sacks and 2 takeaways and that was enough to crack the top 3 this week.

Week 10 Matchup: vs SEA
Well, that was fun while it lasted. Week 9 represented only the second time this year that Arizona finished in the top 12 and Week 10 should see them plummet to the depths again. Seattle did not look great last week but I expect a rebound game. Bench the Cardinals.

Week 10 Starts

Minnesota Vikings: @ WAS
The Vikings come out of their bye against a Redskins team with a patchwork offensive line. Minnesota should be able to harass Kirk Cousins all game long. If Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed aren’t able to play again this week, the Vikings should have no problem holding the Redskins to a very low point total.

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Detroit Lions: vs CLE
The Browns are one of the few teams in the NFL that could come out of a bye week in worse shape than they went in. Rookie QB Deshone Kizer has to be rattled by his team trying, and failing, to trade for his replacement.  Detroit was able to hold Green Bay in check and they are far better than Cleveland.

Carolina Panthers: vs MIA
Miami didn’t look nearly as bad as I expected after letting Ajayi walk but the Panthers should own this home matchup in primetime. Carolina has feasted on bad QB play this year and I expect Jay Cutler to get right back to his poor play after a better than average performance last week.

Stream of the Week

In all honesty, the Jets going up against the Mike Evans-less Buccaneers would be my Stream of the Week but since I already mentioned them…

Chicago Bears: vs GB
Until this Green Bay offense proves they can find their passing game without Aaron Rodgers, they are a prime stream candidate. Chicago is averaging more than 14 fantasy points per game in their last 4 games and will be home for this division matchup. They are owned in less than 10% of leagues and could provide some relief if you own one of my Sits below.

Week 10 Sits

Denver Broncos: vs NE
The only reason I mention this is because of the Broncos ownership %. To the 85% of you still holding on to the hope of 2016…it’s dead…and the Broncos offense is the murderer. You cannot start them against Tom Brady.

Houston Texans: @ LAR
The Rams are the highest scoring team in the NFL and the Texans are still reeling from the loss of Deshaun Watson. Probably time to let the Texans go, as injuries on both sides of the ball have killed their momentum.

Cincinnati Bengals: @  TEN
The Titans have done surprisingly well against fantasy defenses this year outside of 2 terrible road games in Weeks 4 and 5. The Bengals have to travel to Nashville in this one and the Titans have only given up 5 total fantasy points in 4 home games this season. Can’t trust the Bengals here.

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.

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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 119 6 117 35 10 6 5 0 0 1 27
2 Ravens 109 5 171 22 13 5 5 0 0 3 29
3 Rams 93 5 155 25 10 5 4 1 2 9 26
4 Saints 88 5 155 23 9 3 4 0 1 12 19
5 Lions 87 5 186 16 10 6 5 0 1 27 6
6 Eagles 80 5 179 25 11 4 2 0 2 25 1
7 Seahawks 79 6 149 23 8 5 3 1 0 13 15
8 Steelers 72 5 131 26 7 4 1 1 1 2 14
9 Panthers 71 5 159 29 4 4 0 0 1 6 2
9 Bills 71 5 149 14 11 6 2 0 0 26 8
9 Bears 71 3 171 23 4 7 3 1 1 11 13
12 Texans 68 5 208 20 8 4 4 1 0 21 9
12 Chiefs 68 5 208 19 8 5 3 0 1 28 30

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