Let’s start with some good news: Only one of the four D / ST’s in goodbye this week (Buccaneers) is a regular fantasy starter. The rest (Lions, Seahawks, Washington) can usually be found on the waiver wire at this point. Unfortunately, those three teams that are idle still hurt our Week 9 fantasy defense rankings. All three, lately at least, have been top streaming candidates, creating fewer sleepers and potential exemption cable catches.
With those three eliminated, plus a host of other favorable matchups, whether it’s bad defenses (Dolphins vs. Texans) or really good defenses that are already widely owned (Bills @ Jaguars, Colts vs. Jets, Steelers vs. Bears, Patriots @ Panthers. ), there aren’t many streaming options worth your while.
The best bets look to the Panthers (vs. Patriots), who have fallen below 50 percent ownership in the Yahoo leagues, the Raiders (@ Giants) and the Saints (vs. Falcons). You could also try the Chargers (@ Eagles) and the Dolphins (against the Texans), but if Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) is back, that matchup doesn’t look so good.
There is one more potential transmitter by the numbers, but it’s hard to recommend. We are talking about the Packers, who are facing the Chiefs. Yes, the bosses. Heading into Week 8, Kansas City was tied for seventh with the most fantasy points per game allowed to the D / ST. It sounds crazy, but with Patrick Mahomes pulling sacks and throwing interceptions every week, there have been plenty of opportunities for defenses to score points against this normally high-powered and efficient offense. One could argue that the Packers are a better broadcast option than the Saints, Chargers and Dolphins, but it still feels weird to start a D / ST against Kansas City.
As for normal headlines with bad matchups, it’s hard to trust the Bengals (against the Browns), the Ravens (against the Vikings), the Browns (@ Bengals) and the Broncos (@ Cowboys) this week. The Rams (against Titans) also have an unfavorable opponent, but we will keep them in our top 12 due to the lack of other top tier options. (Update: With Derrick Henry out due to a foot injury, the Titans are not that difficult of a matchup.)
There aren’t many easy answers this week if you’ve relied on the Bucs, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, or Ravens all year long. We preach this every week, but if you have the flexibility of the list, be sure to plan for these types of weeks. He probably could have caught the Panthers or Raiders for free last week when few owners were thinking of / had the space to pick them up. Now, there will be competition, possibly even in exemptions. Our Waiver Transfer Watchlist, which we post every Thursday, looks ahead to the following week so you know who to grab ahead of time.
Qualification: We will update these D / ST rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest player movement and analysis.
Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 9: Who To Start With, Sit D / ST In Fantasy Football
|1||Buffalo Bills @ JAX|
|2||Indianapolis Colts vs. NYJ|
|3||Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CHI|
|Room||New England Patriots in CAR|
|5||Los Angeles Rams vs. TEN. A Titans offense without Derrick Henry (foot) is suddenly a very average offense. In the past four games, the Rams averaged 3.3 sacks, 2.3 takes to go and 17.3 offensive points allowed. That’s kind of dominant, so expect more dominance against a Tennessee offense that is likely to wobble a bit with more on Ryan Tannehill’s shoulders.|
|Sixth||Carolina Panthers vs. NE. The Patriots’ offense impressed on the road last week against the Chargers, but Carolina is a much tougher defense. After a week-long slump, the Panthers bounced back in Week 8, racking up three sacks, a couple of carry-ons and just 13 offensive points allowed. The Pats are still a top seven team in terms of fantasy points per game (FPPG) allowed for D / ST, so you know Carolina has the advantages.|
|Seventh||Dallas Cowboys vs. DEN. Denver doesn’t deliver him much (usually once a game), but he allows multiple sacks each week and has just 31 totally offensive points in the last two games. Dallas failed to record a turnover for the first time last week, but still allowed just 16 offensive points to a powerful Vikings offense. Expect the Cowboys to get back on track in the turnover department and rack up points for sacks and points allowed.|
|Eighth||The Las Vegas Raiders at NYG. New York’s actual FPPGs allowed aren’t as bad as their reputation, but we know Daniel Jones is prone to turnovers and the Giants routinely allow multiple sacks (five times before Week 8). Vegas has recorded at least two sacks in every game, and they have accumulated six points in the last two games. They are going to allow some points, but the advantage is still there for big plays and a good day of fantasy.|
|9||Arizona Cardinals in SF. The 49ers can be an offense of ups and downs. They have had multiple points in four of seven games, but last week on the road against Chicago, they scored 33 points with no turnovers or sacks allowed. The Cardinals have been one of the best fantasy D / STs this year and despite losing JJ Watt (shoulder), they still have several playmakers who can help their defense rack up points quickly. When these teams met in Week 5, the Cardinals limited San Francisco to 10 offensive points, two sacks and a takeout. Trey Lance started that game, but a similar result is realistic this week.|
|10||New Orleans Saints vs. ATL. The Falcons fought without Calvin Ridley (staff) in Week 8 against the Panthers, and this week, they will be on the road against an equally tough defense. New Orleans scored big points against the Bucs last week (three sacks, three takes, D / ST touchdown), so they can clearly rack up points against a much less potent Falcons offense. With 10 sacks and five comebacks in its last three games, New Orleans will likely continue its hot streak against a Falcons median offense.|
|eleven||Green Bay Packers in KC. Before Week 8, Kansas City had delivered him 17 times in their last six games. 12 captures are also allowed in that period. He was still scoring points before the Week 7 three-point failure, but things are clearly not going well for the two-time reigning AFC champion. The Packers have 14 points and 20 points in their last seven games. That includes a two-sack, three-to-go game against Arizona’s elite offense last Thursday. If they did it against the Cardinals, they can do it against the struggling Chiefs. It’s tough to play a D / ST against the Chiefs, but clearly the trends say you should trust the Packers.|
|12||Cincinnati Bengals vs. CLE. The Bengals have played well most of the year, scoring limiting points or getting sacks and / or takeout most weeks. The Browns have averaged just under 14 offensive points and 3.3 sacks allowed in their last three games. Those included various injury problems, and while Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry are back, there will still be chances for the Bengals in this one.|
|13||Los Angeles Chargers @ PHI. Philadelphia was one of the top 10 offenses in terms of FPPGs allowed before last week, but after beating the Lions (38 offensive points, zero sacks allowed, zero turnovers), the Eagles don’t look too bad. They remain an inconsistent offense, seemingly allowing multiple sacks and takes to go or none at all. The Chargers have been an inconsistent defense, as we saw last week, but there is still enough talent and edge here to give them a shot in a bad situation. week for D / ST.|
|14||Miami Dolphins vs. HOU. Miami’s D / ST have been a colossal disappointment this year, but part of that stems from a series of unfavorable matchups. A favorable matchup against Houston, which has scored just 59 points overall in the last six games, could change that, although if Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) returns, that could change Miami’s prospects. Still, there isn’t a lot of talent on this offense, so the Dolphins have a chance to keep the score low and get at least some sacks and turnovers.|
|fifteen||Chicago Bears at PIT|
|sixteen||Atlanta Falcons @ NO|
|17||Baltimore Ravens vs. MIN|
|18||Minnesota Vikings at BAL|
|19||Cleveland Browns at CIN|
|Twentieth||New York Giants vs. LV|
|twenty-one||Denver Broncos at DAL|
|22||Houston Texans @ MIA|
|23||Philadelphia Eagles vs. LAC|
|24||Tennessee Titans in LAR|
|25||San Francisco 49ers vs. ARI|
|26||New York Jets at IND|
|27||Kansas City Chiefs vs. GB|
|28||Jacksonville Jaguars vs. BUF|