Week 9 Team Defense Recap
In the world of fantasy defense, Week 9 was not great. It produced the 2nd lowest weekly leader of the season, and if not for the 4 DEF/ST touchdowns scored by our top 3 teams, it would have been the worst week of the year. Week 9 gave us some predictable outcomes, like the Cowboys beating down the Browns, and some surprises, like the Broncos scoring 0 (that’s ZERO) fantasy points despite holding Derek Carr under 200 yards. Let’s dig into the top performers and look ahead to see who you should be starting in Week 10.
Week 9 Standout Performances
Baltimore Ravens: vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Speaking of surprises. The Steelers offense was an absolute joke for 3 quarters against Baltimore. The Ravens finished the game with 2 sacks, an interception, and a blocked punt that they took back for a TD. Coming into this game my thoughts were that if Big Ben played, you should avoid Baltimore. Coming out of this game, it looks a lot more like you should be starting this Baltimore DEF/ST every week and avoiding them with your offensive players.
Week 10 Matchup: vs Cleveland Browns
Unless Week 10 is the first week you’ve decided to play fantasy football, this does not need much analysis. You start the Ravens against the Browns.
San Diego Chargers: vs Tennessee Titans
After their Week 8 game against Denver, I said I wasn’t too sure about San Diego vs Tennessee. Do you know what remedies a so-so defensive matchup? Touchdowns. The Chargers turned what would’ve been a fantasy dud against the Titans into the 2nd best performance of the week by returning a fumble and an interception to the house for two DEF/ST touchdowns.
Week 10 Matchup: vs Miami Dolphins
Over their last 3 games, opposing fantasy defenses have scored -9 points against the Dolphins offense. Jay Ajayi looks unstoppable and the Chargers are not equipped to slow him down. Bench them.
Miami Dolphins: vs New York Jets
The combination of a great run game and facing Ryan Fitzpatrick is a recipe for success for fantasy DEF/ST. The Dolphins picked Fitzpatrick off twice and ended the game with a dramatic 4th quarter kick return TD by rookie Kenyan Drake. Add in their 3 sacks and you have a stat line good enough for 3rd place in Week 9.
Week 10 Matchup: @ San Diego Chargers
For the reasons I don’t like San Diego in this game, I do like Miami. San Diego has the 2nd most giveaways in the NFL right now and Miami has stepped their game up over the last 3 weeks. I like the Dolphins as a streamer option in Week 10.
Week 10 Starts
Washington Redskins: vs Minnesota Vikings
I’ve said it before and it looks like I’ll say it again: The Vikings offense is bad. Their defense does it’s best, which is very good, to keep them in games but it has not worked out over the last 3 games. I don’t see Bradford and company putting it together this week on the road. Washington is a great streamer for those with bye week woes (or Seattle and Philadelphia owners…more on that later).
Houston Texans: @ Jacksonville Jaguars
A Blake Bortles fan I am not. Even with Bortles’ garbage time heroics, the Jags are only scoring about 19 points-per-game on offense and are giving up about 7 fantasy points-per-game to DEF/ST. The Texans are coming off of a bye and a good Week 8 showing against Detroit. I think they’ll get sacks, I know they’ll get interceptions. The only question is: can they slow down Bortles in the 4th quarter?
Los Angeles Rams: @ New York Jets
To be honest, you can probably play either defense here. This has the making of a 17-14 snooze fest. These two offenses give up the most points to fantasy DEF/ST this season. I prefer the Rams. They shut down a high-powered offense in Carolina during Week 9 and Jay Ajayi showed that the Jets can be run on. I’m predicting a Todd Gurley breakout game and the Rams to score slightly more points than the Jets.
Week 10 Sits
Seattle Seahawks: @ New England Patriots
Seattle gets a short week and a cross-country trip. New England is coming off of a bye and had 14 days to prepare for this defense. I know Seattle is a top 10 defense…bench them.
Philadelphia Eagles: vs Atlanta Falcons
Speaking of benching Top 10 defenses. The Falcons are allowing .5 points to fantasy defenses on average in 2016. The Eagles defense is averaging 1 point-per-game over their last 2. Not the matchup you want when making the fantasy playoffs is on the line.
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.
Not too often will I tell you to bench one of the top defenses in the league. Even less likely that I will tell you to sit two of them in the same week but you have got to avoid high-powered offenses. I’ve pointed out in past weeks that no DEF/ST is bullet proof. You must consider matchups, and more importantly, the opposing QB. Guys like Tom Brady and Matt Ryan are going to eat, just don’t let it be off your plate. When we get this late in the year, winning is all that matters. Don’t start a defense because their name carries weight. If the Broncos can give you a goose egg, anyone can.