Two of the top four fantasy defenses by points per game are on a bye this week, and the No. 5 unit (New England Patriots) faces the. So basically, the defensive side of the waiver wire this week is going to be pretty active. I'm still firmly in the camp that a defense's opponent matters far more than the defense itself. You'd never start a defense against the Broncos; you'd always start one against the .
A few weeks ago, I ran a check of fantasy defense downsides -- I looked at the worst score each defense had managed on the season, just to see what the worst possible outcome was for each unit. Today, I'm doing the same for defensive opponents. On top of that, I'm looking at best-case scenario. So the following charts will show the worst fantasy defense performance against each team, and the best.
|Point Total||Opponents' Worst Score|
|-7||Atlanta, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh|
|-5||Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit|
|-4||Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia|
|-3||Cleveland, NY Giants, San Diego, Washington|
|-2||Green Bay, San Francisco|
|-1||Arizona, Buffalo, Seattle|
|0||Chicago, Miami, Oakland|
|1||Houston, St. Louis, Tennessee|
|2||NY Jets, Tampa Bay|
|Point Total||Opponents' Best Score|
|6||Arizona, San Diego|
|11||New Orleans, Philadelphia|
|14||Atlanta, Buffalo, Cincinnati|
|15||Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City|
|17||Dallas, Green Bay, NY Giants, NY Jets, Oakland|
|18||Chicago, New England|
|20||St. Louis, Washington|
So I can't even remotely explain the Vikings, who have held two opposing defenses to negative production and allowed 20-plus to three others. That variance is insane.
But to the point here, every single defense that has faced the Jaguars has put up at least eight fantasy points. No defense against Denver, Arizona or San Diego has put up so many. That's why we so often hype the team going against the Jaguars as a fantasy must. They've allowed 15.1 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses, easily the worst number in the league.
You knew that already, though. And every week, [DEFENSE THAT FACES JACKSONVILLE] is a hot waiver add. What we're looking for here, then, is that next defense.
So, here's the next tier of "please let my defense face them" teams:
Pros: St. Louis hasn't forced an opponent into a negative performance yet. With 11 turnovers in seven games, and bottom-four in points scored, the Rams' offense doesn't scare anyone. And with Brian Quick and Jake Long both down for the year, things are getting worse.
Cons: They held the Seahawks' defense to a single fantasy point. Unpredictable performance levels always scare you when you're streaming.
Week 9 opponent: San Francisco
Pros: Third-worst in Defensive Fantasy Points Against, with 11.6. Team turmoil, with some pieces dealt off before the deadline and others strongly rumored for the same. A sad offensive line.
Cons: That "third-worst" bit includes Josh McCown's quarterback tenure; since Mike Glennon took over the team, they have a much more respectable 8.3 points per game against. With Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and some semblance of running backs, the team should have some offense.
Week 9 opponent: Cleveland
Pros: Geno Smith and Michael Vick. Michael Vick and Geno Smith. Six turnovers on Sunday alone. Have turned the ball over at least once in seven of eight games and 18 times total.
Cons: Haven't had a true disaster game against opposing defenses (no more than 17 in a game). That's ... that's about it. Geno Smith and Michael Vick, remember?
Week 9 opponent: Kansas City
It's not quite this simple, of course. If the worst defense in the league -- right now, that's Oakland -- were to face the Jaguars, maybe I'd be hesitant in my ranking. But defenses this year have done so little to distinguish themselves on that side, that the difference most weeks appears to come from the other side of the ball. Grab someone going against Jacksonville. Or St. Louis. Or, you know, Geno Smith and Michael Vick.
On to the Week 9 rankings, where Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee are on bye:
Defense/special teams rankings, Week 9
(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; JD: John Daigle; SK: Scott Kaliska)
|2||Kansas City Chiefs||NYJ||3||3||1||2|
|4||San Francisco 49ers||STL||4||4||2||4|
|16||San Diego Chargers||@MIA||9||18||20||17|
|17||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||@CLE||17||16||14||18|
|19||New York Jets||@KAN||24||19||6||20|
|21||New England Patriots||DEN||21||20||15||19|
|23||St. Louis Rams||@SF||23||23||22||24|
|24||New York Giants||IND||25||22||24||22|
|25||New Orleans Saints||@CAR||22||24||25||23|