Jeff Ratcliffe

Three And Out

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Getting Defensive: Week 9

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Mark my words. This is going to be one of the toughest weeks to find a streaming option at the team defense position.

 

With six teams on bye, and a number of the strong options sucking up the good matchups, there’s a good chance you could be scraping the bottom of the barrel. The good news is that there are a few options we can stream, so let’s dive into the matchups for Week 9.

 

Remember, the following is breakdown of my thoughts on all of the team defenses for the week, but is not my rankings. Instead, it’s best to consider the following as a set of tiers each week, and use them to help you make decisions at team defense. 

 

As always, feel free to shoot me a tweet if you have any specific questions about start/sit dilemmas that I don’t answer here. If that's not your thing, you can also "like" me on Facebook.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $3 Million Fantasy Football league for Week 9's games. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $500,000. Starts Sunday, November 2nd at 1pm ETHere's the link.

 

 

The Usual Suspects

With the Lions and Bills on bye there aren’t any automatic starts this week.

 

 

Preferred Plays

Your solid fantasy defenses with a weekly matchup upgrade. They're just below the Usual Suspects tier.

1. Kansas City (vs. NY Jets) Geno Smith is out and Michael Vick is in for the Jets, but it really doesn’t matter for fantasy purposes. This is still a fantastic matchup for the Chiefs. While Smith was chided for his three first-quarter interceptions, Vick wasn’t much better in relief. He also threw a pick and fumbled four times, losing two. Expect a big week out of the Chiefs.

 

2. Seattle (vs. Oakland) – After weeks of lackluster fantasy performances, the Seahawks finally delivered against Carolina, holding the Panthers to nine points and recording two takeaways and three sacks. You’re going to roll with Seattle again this week against a Raiders team that just yielded double-digit fantasy points to Cleveland.

 

3. San Francisco (vs. St. Louis) – The 49ers return from bye and get a strong matchup against a Rams squad that just surrendered seven sacks to the Chiefs in Week 8. San Francisco managed five sacks against the Rams in their Week 6 meeting.

 

4. Arizona (at Dallas) – This one is more of a speculative play, and it really depends on Tony Romo’s status. Romo didn’t practice Wednesday and is looking like a game-time decision. The Cards make for a strong fantasy play if Brandon Weeden starts for Dallas. However, they get a downgrade if Romo manages to play.

 

 

Still Solid

They’re not elite plays, but you’re not likely to find anything better on the wire.

The Texans aren’t the best matchup, but you’re still going to lean towards starting Philadelphia (at Houston) this week. Their big-play upside makes them a Top 10 play in Week 9. ... San Diego (at Miami) hasn’t recorded a turnover in their last two games, but they get good matchup this week against the Dolphins. With a thin wire and not a lot of streaming options, stick with the Chargers this week if you own them.

 

 

Plug-and-Play

You don't want to rely on these D/STs on a weekly basis, but their matchup is too juicy to pass up.

1. Cincinnati (vs. Jacksonville) – Captain Obvious. You know at this point to start your defenses against the Jags. Even with Vontaze Burfict sidelined for this contest, the Bengals are this week’s top fantasy option

 

2. Cleveland (vs. Tampa Bay) – What a stretch for the Browns. They had the Jags, the Raiders, and now face a Bucs team that has essentially no semblance of an offense. Tampa has given up 10 sacks over their last two weeks, so prioritize the Browns this week.

 

3. Minnesota (vs. Washington) Mike Zimmer's squad has been a sneaky play in each of the last two weeks, posting a combined 11 sacks and six takeaways in that span. Ride the wave again this week against a Washington team that will likely have Colt McCoy under center. The McCoy from Monday night was a mirage. We’ll see the real McCoy this weekend.

 

4. Washington (at Minnesota) – Likewise, there’s streaming value to be had on the other side of this matchup. The Vikings have given up double-digit fantasy points in three of their last four games, which bodes positively for a Washington team that just posted five sacks on Monday night.

 

 

Middle of the Road

These are fantasy option who will be streamers at times, but it’s best to avoid in this matchup.

Pittsburgh (vs. Baltimore) is coming off of one of their better fantasy performances of the season, but you may want to avoid them against a Ravens offense that’s averaging over 27 points per game. ... Likewise, it’s a good idea to steer clear of Baltimore (at Pittsburgh) against a Steelers team coming of an historic performance in Week 8. ... It’s tough to like Houston (vs. Philadelphia) this week facing an Eagles offense that has yielded just two sacks in their last six games. ... Carolina (vs. New Orleans) rebounded last week, but you’re still fading them against the Saints on Thursday night. ... Besides their Week 6 debacle against Philly, the Giants have been a tough matchup over the last month and a half. I’d lean away from Indianapolis (at NY Giants) this week.

 

 

Matchup Downgrade

They shouldn't be dropped, but a tough matchup limits the fantasy upside of these units.

1. New England (vs. Denver) – This is going to be an excellent game from an offensive standpoint. Defense, not so much. You want no piece of either side of this matchup.

 

2. Denver (at New England) – See above.

 

3. Miami (vs. San Diego) – The darlings of Week 8 go from the best fantasy matchup to one of the worst. San Diego doesn’t give up many sacks and rarely turns the ball over. Fade the Dolphins this week.

 

4. NY Giants (vs. Indianapolis) – You want no piece of the Giants this week against the league’s No. 2 scoring offense.

 

 

Bottom of the Barrel

The bye did little to solve the defensive woes in Tampa Bay (at Cleveland), as the Bucs managed just one sack against a Vikings team that had yielded a combined 19 in their last three games. ... Dallas (vs. Arizona) has yet to post double-digit fantasy points this season and just lost LB Justin Durant for the season. ... Jacksonville (at Cincinnati) is a better defense than they get credit for, but you’re still not placing your fantasy trust in the Jags. ... At the halfway point of the season, no team has scored fewer fantasy points than Oakland (at Seattle). ... The NY Jets (at Kansas City) haven’t recorded a takeaway in their last three games. ... While New Orleans (at Carolina) has the look of an improving unit, they’ve yet to break out of the bottom tier. ... St. Louis (at San Francisco) has five sacks in the last two games, but they’ve also yielded a combined 60 points over that span.

 

 

Streaming Ahead

Here are some potential streamers with good matchups in the coming weeks.

Week 10 Dallas at Jacksonville, Arizona at St. Louis, Pittsburgh at NY Jets, Kansas City at Buffalo

Week 11 Chicago vs. Minnesota, Washington vs. Tampa Bay, Miami vs. Buffalo

Week 12 Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville, Chicago vs. Tampa Bay, Green Bay at Minnesota

 

 

Can I Kick it?

Here are my top 12 kickers for Week 9:

 

1. Stephen Gostkowski (vs. DEN)

2. Steven Hauschka (vs. OAK)

3. Justin Tucker (at PIT)

4. Dan Bailey (vs. ARI)

5. Adam Vinatieri (at NYG)

6. Phil Dawson (vs. STL)

7. Cody Parkey (at HOU)

8. Mike Nugent (vs. JAC)

9. Nick Novak (at MIA)

10. Chandler Catanzaro (at DAL)

11. Brandon McManus (at NE)

12. Shayne Graham (at CAR)

 

 

D/ST Standard Scoring System

Any Touchdown

6 pts

 

0 points allowed

5 pts

 

Under 100 yards allowed

5 pts

Interception

2 pts

 

1-6 points allowed

4 pts

 

101 to 199 yards allowed

3 pts

Fumble Recovery

2 pts

 

7-13 points allowed

3 pts

 

200 to 299 yards allowed

2 pts

Blocked Kick

2 pts

 

14-17 points allowed

1 pt

 

300 to 349 yards allowed

0 pts

Safety

2 pts

 

18-27 points allowed

0 pts

 

350 to 399 yards allowed

 -1 pts

Sack

1 pt

 

28-34 points allowed

 -1 pts

 

400 to 449 yards allowed

 -3 pts

     

35-45 points allowed

 -3 pts

 

450 to 499 yards allowed

 -5 pts

     

46+ points allowed

 -5 pts

 

500- 549 yards allowed

 -6 pts

           

550+ yards allowed

 -7 pts 



Jeff Ratcliffe is a football writer and IDP analyst for Rotoworld as well as the Assistant Managing Editor of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. He can be found on Twitter.
Email :Jeff Ratcliffe



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