Week 9 Team Defense Rankings & Projection
In a week where weather played a factor in almost every game, we saw some monster defensive numbers in fantasy. However, none of them were as big as the Miami Dolphins performance, putting up 24 fantasy points. They were just 12% rostered, so a good chance most missed out on the big game. The Colts and Steelers both delivered strong performances, and the same goes for the Chiefs and Saints. Seattle took advantage of a 49ers team missing a lot of playmakers and sported double-digits themselves. The Titans likely weren’t a defense you started, which is good because they are not very good and were among the few negative teams this week. Week 9 has a few key defenses on bye with the Rams and the Eagles. It is not a great week for streaming, and there are some fringe matchups you will have to rely on.
Week 9 Top Options
There are only a few options this week that I would consider elite. There are not a lot of matchups where defenses get a bump up either. The Steelers are certainly one this week as they get to face the Cowboys. While Andy Dalton is likely to return, this Cowboys offense is nowhere near what it was with Dak Prescott under center. The injuries to the offensive line have also hurt as well. This is a very good Steelers pass-rush, and they also just put up a strong fantasy score against the Ravens. The Steelers run defense was gashed against the Ravens, but the Cowboys, even with Ezekiel Elliott, has struggled. Pittsburgh still ranks first in run defense DVOA and 8th against the pass. This is an elite defense to start against anybody, as we clearly saw that to be the case last week. Even with Devin Bush’s injury, this is a good front seven that will get after that Dallas offensive line.
While the Colts put up 41 points this past week, this is still a team led by Philip Rivers, and Detroit is a bottom ten defense. Baltimore is one of the top defenses in the league and are top ten in both pass and run defense DVOA. The Colts offense has struggled for the most part, but some friendly matchups have helped mask their issues. Jonathan Taylor has struggled in his rookie year, and injuries have plagued the Colts receivers. T.Y. Hilton was the latest to hit the injury report leaving last week’s game. Baltimore’s secondary will be able to put the lockdown on this group, and the front seven is solid as well.
The Patriots defense isn’t what it was last season, and that was to be expected with the opt-outs and departures over the offseason. However, anytime you are facing the Jets, things are going to be solid. They held Josh Allen and the Bills in check for most of the game. The Jets are allowing the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses this season. Outside of Denzel Mims, they do not have a downfield threat, and the Jets will also get Stephon Gilmore back this week.
As mentioned above, there are not many streaming options this week, but the Washington Football Team (18%) comes in as my top option. The Giants are allowing the 8th most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses this season. They have a weak offensive line, and the pass rush of this Washington defense is the strength. Overall they have an outstanding defense, ranking 2nd in pass defense DVOA and 13th against the run. The Giants continue to struggle, especially with the run. Washington has 22 sacks over the first seven games this season and also has eight interceptions. They have scored the 10th most fantasy points this season among team defenses.
If you are in sheer desperation or a deep league with little options, the Houston Texans (1%) will face Jacksonville this week, but Gardner Minshew will not be playing. The Texans managed eight fantasy points against the Jaguars just a few weeks ago with Minshew playing, but now it will be Mike Glennon. Houston should manage a decent game, especially coming off a bye week with a backup quarterback under center.
Defenses To Avoid
There are a few easy defenses to avoid this week and then ones that give us a tough decision. The Buffalo Bills are one of them as they face the Seahawks and their juggernaut of an offense. Buffalo has been a bit banged up on the defensive side as well, which has hurt them at times this season. While it is a thin week, it is tough to use them against Russell Wilson. The San Francisco 49ers are the other one going up against the Packers. With an efficient Aaron Rodgers, who rarely takes sacks and turns the ball over, it is hard to see the 49ers getting enough fantasy points to mask the points that they will give up. They are only allowing 3 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses this season. The 49ers have lost some bodies as well that won’t be able to make up for it.
Now there are a few defenses that have tougher matchups that could go either way. Starting with the Bears, who limited the Saints but failed to do much against them in the turnover department. They get Tennessee this week. I expect Tennessee to bounce back against this group, but it should be a low scoring affair. The Bears are still startable. The Colts are another one with Baltimore coming into town. I am avoiding the Colts in this one, as I don’t really expect them to produce a strong game against Baltimore. The Chiefs defense will face a tougher offense compared to last week, but the sack and turnover upside is still there. The Buccaneers might be the biggest one as they get the Saints, who they played well against in the first week. This is another situation where they don’t turn over the ball and allow sacks. Opposing defenses have averaged just three points against them this season.
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