Most weeks, my introduction is the hardest thing for me to write. I have my opinions on each weekly matchup, so those flow very easily but my intro has to be interesting, to pull you in. The Patriots have dominated my intros this year and it has made my process rather formulaic. Here’s a look at how the sausage is made:

“First, mention something big that happened last week, usually about the Patriots. Then, note the Patriots’ overall dominance on the season. After that, try to make those fantasy owners that don’t have the Patriots feel better. Finish by reminding everyone that you definitely want to own the Patriots again this week.”

Week 8 was no different from any other this year, New England dominated. Baker Mayfield literally handed them the football, and he wasn’t even the worst offender. This is my 4th year writing this article and there has been a DEF/ST like this every year. In 2016, the Vikings ruled the intro, though they ended up as the #2 fantasy defense that year. In 2017, the Jaguars’ dominance was all I could mention and last year it was the Bears. If there is one lesson to be learned from this, please let it be: DO NOT DRAFT THE PATRIOTS IN THE SINGLE DIGIT ROUNDS NEXT YEAR. Not one of the aforementioned defenses continued their success to the following season. But that’s next year, and we need to worry about Week 9.

Week 8 Top Performances

New England Patriots vs CLE
This was pretty much expected. The Browns are all hype, no results. The Patriots are all results, especially on defense. We saw one of the worst turnovers in the history of football as Baker Mayfield literally tossed the ball to rushing defensive lineman and Nick Chubb fumbled on his first two carries. Chubb can blame the weather, Baker is just a mess this year. It was five sacks, three takeaways, and yet another defensive TD leading the Patriots to their 3rd straight weekly #1 DEF finish.

Week 9 Matchup: @ BAL
This will be the first test that New England has faced all season but it is hardly cause for concern. The Ravens have given up 9+ fantasy points three times this season and not once have they faced a defense of New England’s caliber. Start the Pats with confidence, but you may not have the #1 D/ST this week.

San Francisco 49ers vs CAR
San Fran’s offense did most of the work in this game but the 49ers sacked Kyle Allen seven times and forced three interceptions. They didn’t fill up the stat sheet but they only allowed 11 points scored and that was good enough for #2 this week.

Week 9 Matchup: @ ARI
It has finally happened. The Pats are not my Start of the Week. Not quite a huge risk, as the 49ers are the #2 fantasy DEF/ST and the Cardinals give up the 12th most points to fantasy defenses, but I’m going to take it a step further. I usually don’t make crazy predictions but I think we see a shut out here. I believe San Fran will be ready for Kyler Murray on Thursday night and control the clock with their stellar run game. 49ers 27 – Cardinals 0.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs NYJ
I was completely wrong about this game. I thought the Jets would rebound, instead, it was the Jags. Jacksonville led the league with eight sacks this week and held the Jets to 15 points scored. They also picked Sam Darnold off three times. Another game without any big highlights, but a better than solid effort and a #3 finish for Jacksonville.

Week 9 Matchup: vs HOU
I didn’t trust the Jags coming into Week 8, and I still don’t trust them. They beat up on a bad Jets team but will find the Texans a much tougher matchup. Houston allows the 12th fewest points to fantasy DEF and you safely cut the Jags ahead of their Week 10 bye.

Week 9 Starts

Buffalo Bills vs WAS
No matter which QB starts for the Redskins, it’s going to go well for the Bills. Washington gives up the 4th most points to fantasy defenses and Buffalo has scored 10+ fantasy points four times this year. It will be five times after this week.

Carolina Panthers vs TEN
No matter which QB starts for the Titans, it’s going to go well for the Panthers. Deja Vu!!! Fantasy owners may be concerned about the 50-burger that the 49ers just hung on the Panthers but the Titans are an excellent rebound. Tennessee gives up the 11th most points to fantasy defenses and the Panthers D/ST had scored 10+ in four straight games before last week.

Dallas Cowboys @ NYG
The Cowboys defense hasn’t done a lot to earn confidence this season but they did look solid against the Eagles before their Week 9 bye. The Giants offense produces some highlights but still gives up the 5th most points to fantasy defenses. Because of their bye, Dallas is available in 67% of fantasy leagues.

Stream of the Week

Cleveland Browns @ DEN
I may live to regret this but if you are ever going to start the Browns again, it’s this week. The Broncos will be led by Brandon Allen. Allen has not played a regular-season NFL down and will now be looking across the field at Myles Garrett. The Browns average three sacks per game and the Broncos give up three sacks per game on average. Cleveland can be had in 76% of fantasy leagues.
Other Streaming Options: Broncos, Eagles, Jets

Week 9 Sits

Tennessee Titans @ CAR
The Titans are impossible to trust unless all things are in their favor. Last week, they had Tampa Bay, who give up the 3rd most points to fantasy defenses, at home. This week, they travel to Carolina and face a team that has only allowed 10+ fantasy points to D/ST twice this entire season.

Los Angles Chargers vs GB
The Packers offense is hitting on all cylinders and give up the 3rd fewest points to fantasy D/ST this season. To make matters worse, the Chargers make a living on sacking the QB and the Packers give up the 14th fewest sacks in the league.

Chicago Bears @ PHI
The Eagles just scored 31 points against a solid fantasy defense in terrible weather. Both of these teams are great at stopping the run and can be beaten in the passing game. Only one of them actually has a passing game.

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 Patriots 169 8 43 31 19 6 6 1 2 2 4
2 49ers 102 5 69 27 10 6 2 0 0 1 11
3 Steelers 75 5 145 24 10 9 1 0 0 13 15
4 Panthers 73 4 184 30 10 6 1 2 1 5 27
5 Rams 71 5 168 23 6 6 2 0 0 18 14
6 Saints 70 5 156 24 3 6 2 1 1 12 2
7 Titans 69 4 135 22 8 5 1 1 0 16 12
8 Chiefs 67 3 181 25 6 5 2 0 0 11 30
9 Bears 66 3 120 19 5 6 2 0 0 10 6
10 Vikings 65 4 132 23 8 5 0 1 1 8 7
11 Jaguars 62 3 157 29 7 2 1 0 1 14 17
12 Giants 60 4 204 22 7 3 3 0 2 25 22
12 Eagles 60 2 199 21 8 4 2 0 2 21 8

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