Let’s start with some good news: Only one of the four D/STs on bye this week (Buccaneers) a regular fantasy starter. The rest (Lions, Seahawks, Washington) can usually be found on the waiver wire at this point. Unfortunately, those three teams being idle still hurts our Week 9 fantasy defense rankings. All three, at least lately, have been prime streaming candidates, creating fewer sleepers and potential waiver wire pickups.
With those three out, plus a slew of other favorable matchups either going to 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 worthwhile streaming options.
WEEK 9 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker
The best bets look the Panthers (vs. Patriots), who have dropped below 50-percent ownership in Yahoo leagues, the Raiders (@ Giants), and Saints (vs. Falcons). You could also try the Chargers (@ Eagles) and Dolphins (vs. Texans), but if Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) is back, that matchup doesn’t look as good.
WEEK 9 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker
There’s one more potential streamer based on the numbers, but it’s tough to recommend it. We’re talking about the Packers, who are facing the Chiefs. Yes, the Chiefs. Heading into Week 8, Kansas City was tied for the seventh-most fantasy points per game allowed to D/STs. It seems crazy, but with Patrick Mahomes taking sacks and throwing INTs every week, there have been plenty of opportunities for defenses to put up points against this normally high-powered, efficient offense. You could argue the Packers are a better streaming option than the Saints, Chargers, and Dolphins, but it still feels weird to start any D/ST against Kansas City.
WEEK 9 DFS LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKings | Yahoo
As far as normal starters with bad matchups, the Bengals (vs. Browns), Ravens (vs. Vikings), Browns (@ Bengals), and Broncos (@ Cowboys) are tough to rely on this week. The Rams (vs. Titans) also have an unfavorable opponent, but we’re keeping them in our top 12 because of the lack of other top-tier options. (Update: With Derrick Henry out because of a foot injury, the Titans aren’t nearly as tough of a matchup.)
WEEK 9 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder
There aren’t many easy answers this week if you’ve been relying on the Bucs, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, or Ravens all year. We preach this every week, but if you have the roster flexibility, make sure to plan for these types of weeks. You probably could have grabbed the Panthers or Raiders for free last week when few owners were thinking about/had the space to pick them up. Now, there will be competition, possibly even on waivers. Our waiver wire watchlist, which we publish every Thursday, looks ahead to the following week so you know who to grab in advance.
WEEK 9 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em
Note: We’ll be updating these D/ST rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest analysis and player movement.
Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 9: Who to start, sit at D/ST in fantasy football
|1||Buffalo Bills @ JAX|
|2||Indianapolis Colts vs. NYJ|
|3||Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CHI|
|4||New England Patriots @ CAR|
|5||Los Angeles Rams vs. TEN. A Titans offense without Derrick Henry (foot) is suddenly a very average offense. Over the past four games, the Rams have averaged 3.3 sacks, 2.3 takeaways, and 17.3 offensive points allowed. That’s dominant stuff, so expect more domination against a Tennessee offense that’s likely to flounder a bit with more on the shoulders of Ryan Tannehill.|
|6||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 one-week dip, the Panthers bounced back in Week 8, racking up three sacks, a pair of takeaways, and just 13 offensive points allowed. The Pats are still a top-seven team in terms of fantasy points per game (FPPG) allowed to D/STs, so you know the upside is there for Carolina.|
|7||Dallas Cowboys vs. DEN. Denver doesn’t turn it over much (usually once per game), but it’s allowing multiple sacks every week and has scored just 31 total offensive points the past two games. Dallas failed to record a turnover for the first time last week, but it still allowed just 16 offensive points to a potent Vikings’ offense. Expect the Cowboys to get back on track in the turnover department and tack on points for sacks and points allowed.|
|8||Las Vegas Raiders @ NYG. New York’s actual FPPG 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 leading up to Week 8). Vegas has posted at least two sacks in every game, and they’ve racked up six takeaways the past two games. They’re going to allow some points, but the upside is still there for big plays and a good fantasy day.|
|9||Arizona Cardinals @ SF. The 49ers can be an up-and-down offense. They’ve had multiple takeaways 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 top fantasy D/STs this year, and despite losing J.J. Watt (shoulder), they still have several playmakers who can help their defense rack up points in a hurry. When these teams met in Week 5, the Cardinals limited San Francisco to 10 offensive points, two sacks, and a takeaway. Trey Lance started that game, but a similar outcome is realistic this week.|
|10||New Orleans Saints vs. ATL. The Falcons struggled without Calvin Ridley (personal) in Week 8 against the Panthers, and this week, they’ll be on the road against a similarly tough defense. New Orleans put up major points against the Bucs last week (three sacks, three takeaways, D/ST touchdown), so clearly they can rack up points against a much less potent Falcons’ offense. With 10 sacks and five takeaways in its past three games, New Orleans will likely continue its hot streak against a middling Falcons offense.|
|11||Green Bay Packers @ KC. Prior to Week 8, Kansas City had turned it over 17 times in its past six games. It’s also allowed 12 sacks in that span. It was still scoring points prior to Week 7’s three-point dud, but clearly things aren’t going well for the two-time reigning AFC champ. The Packers have 14 takeaways and 20 takeaways in its past seven games. That includes a two-sack, three-takeaway 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, getting limiting points or getting sacks and/or takeaways most weeks. The Browns have averaged just under 14 offensive points and 3.3 sacks allowed over its past three games. Those included various injury issues, and even though Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and Jarvis Landry are all back, there will still be opportunities for the Bengals in this one.|
|13||Los Angeles Chargers @ PHI. Philadelphia was a top-10 offense in terms of FPPG allowed prior to last week, but after rolling past the Lions (38 offensive points, zero sacks allowed, zero turnovers), the Eagles aren’t looking quite as bad. They’re still an inconsistent offense, seemingly either allowing multiple sacks and takeaways or none at all. The Chargers have been an inconsistent defense, as we saw last week, but there’s still enough talent and upside here to give them a chance in a poor week for D/STs.|
|14||Miami Dolphins vs. HOU. Miami’s D/ST has been a colossal disappointment this year, but some of that is due to a string of unfavorable matchups. A favorable matchup against Houston — who’s scored just 59 total points in the past six games — could turn that around, although if Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) returns, that could change the outlook for Miami. Still, there isn’t much talent on this offense, so the Dolphins have a chance to keep the score low and get at least a few sacks and turnovers.|
|15||Chicago Bears @ PIT|
|16||Atlanta Falcons @ NO|
|17||Baltimore Ravens vs. MIN|
|18||Minnesota Vikings @ BAL|
|19||Cleveland Browns @ CIN|
|20||New York Giants vs. LV|
|21||Denver Broncos @ DAL|
|22||Houston Texans @ MIA|
|23||Philadelphia Eagles vs. LAC|
|24||Tennessee Titans @ LAR|
|25||San Francisco 49ers vs. ARI|
|26||New York Jets @ IND|
|27||Kansas City Chiefs vs. GB|
|28||Jacksonville Jaguars vs. BUF|