Defense Wins Championships, Week 6

Updated: October 8, 2013

Welcome back to Defense Wins Championships!

Each week, there will be an accompanying discussion thread for the week on Reddit’s /r/fantasyfootball. Please join me there all week! I try to answer every question posted in the D/ST discussion threads – last week, we racked up almost 800 comments of discussion!

Week 1 (and basic methodology) | Week 2 | Week 2, part 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

As always, we start with the results from the previous week:

Top scoring D/STs from Week 5 (ESPN Standard)

#. Team (expected score) versus/at Opponent [actual score]

  1. Arizona (5.52) versus Carolina [20]
  2. San Francisco (8.45) versus Houston [19]
  3. Cleveland (8.64) versus Buffalo [18]
  4. Oakland (0.89) versus San Diego [18]
  5. Kansas City (9.33) at Tennessee [16]
  6. Cincinnati (4.46) versus New England [14]
  7. St. Louis (11.59) versus Jacksonville [13]
  8. Miami (8.46) versus Baltimore [11]
  9. New England (7.16) at Cincinnati [11]
  10. Green Bay (4.92) versus Detroit [10]
  11. Indianapolis (6.68) versus Seattle [10]
  12. Carolina (7.45) at Arizona [10]
  13. Seattle (10.08) at Indianapolis  [9]
  14. Philadelphia (1.05) at NY Giants [8]
  15. Baltimore (6.72) at Miami [8]
  16. San Diego (5.87) at Oakland [6]
  17. Atlanta (8.10) versus NY Jets [5]
  18. Tennessee (7.38) versus Kansas City [5]
  19. Buffalo (8.72) at Cleveland [4]
  20. NY Jets (0.93) at Atlanta [4]
  21. Chicago (10.50) versus New Orleans [2]
  22. New Orleans (6.41) at Chicago [2]
  23. Houston (3.05) at San Francisco [2]
  24. Jacksonville (0.84) at St. Louis [0]
  25. Detroit (2.12) at Green Bay [-2]
  26. Denver (4.83) at Dallas [-3]
  27. NY Giants (3.04) versus Philadelphia [-5]
  28. Dallas (-2.61) versus Denver [-7]

Our top 10 choices for the week finished as follows: 7th, 21st, 13th, 5th, 19th, 3rd, 8th, 2nd, 17th, and 10th. Let’s take a brief look at the four misses.

Chicago, 21st (2 points) - Ouch. Pegged from the beginning as a Boom/Bust play, the Bears were a bust all around on Sunday. An important point to note is that the line trended poorly for Chicago throughout the week: at kickoff, I had them rated 4th (instead of 2nd), projected a full point lower than at week’s beginning. The Bears were dismal from the start, forcing 0 fumbles and 0 interceptions. Regression to the mean, or just a very good Saints team? Likely both.

Seattle, 13th (9 points) - This one is deceptive. The Seahawks finished 13th, but were just one point under expectation. There were just a lot of teams that performed well this weekend! Important to note that they were within a foot or two of scoring a TD instead of their first half safety, which would have propelled them to a top 8 finish.

Buffalo, 19th (4 points) - Another slightly deceptive ranking, this time because of Jeff Tuel’s struggles. The Bills had salvaged a 6 point showing right before Tuel’s last-minute TD pass to the wrong team. In a game which saw Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, EJ Manuel, and Jeff Tuel all scoring more fantasy points than Matt Schaub, I would have taken 6 points gladly!

Atlanta, 17th (5 points) - Let’s face it, Atlanta just isn’t a very good D/ST, but I think we could have predicted that. All week long, I tried to steer people toward St. Louis, Cleveland/Buffalo, or Carolina. I suggest caution with both Atlanta and Miami, and the Falcons show why.

So, one solid finish (Seattle), one coinflip gone wrong (Buffalo), one predictable bust (Atlanta), and one big letdown (Chicago). Not half bad!

On top of that, we successfully predicted struggles for Houston (FantasyPros ranked #10 ECR) and Denver (#11 ECR). The biggest misses at the top were Arizona, Oakland, Cincinnati, and New England. Watch out for the Raiders as a mid-level matchup play at home – this was their third double-digit game this year, and they’ve scored more than Dallas, Houston, Denver, and New England on the year.

Maybe now we can finally start trusting Miami? We’ll have to wait until week 7, because the Dolphins and Falcons are on bye this week.

Good Riddance, 2012

Week 5 was the last week in which the 2012 sample size will be present; from here on out, it’s as if 2012 never existed. The Chiefs are officially “for real,” and Eli Manning is the greatest fade in the NFL.

Week 6 D/ST Projections:

  1. Seattle (14.84) versus Tennessee
  2. Denver (14.30) versus Jacksonville
  3. Chicago (13.61) versus NY Giants
  4. San Francisco (12.56) versus Arizona
  5. Kansas City (12.30) versus Oakland
  6. Cincinnati (9.73) at Buffalo
  7. Minnesota (9.06) versus Carolina
  8. Detroit (8.85) at Cleveland
  9. Green Bay (8.82) at Baltimore
  10. Houston (8.38) versus St. Louis
  11. NY Jets (8.20) versus Pittsburgh
  12. Tampa Bay (6.86) versus Philadelphia
  13. Pittsburgh (6.74) at NY Jets
  14. Carolina (6.65) at Minnesota
  15. St. Louis (6.61) at Houston
  16. Indianapolis (5.93) at San Diego
  17. Philadelphia (5.80) at Tampa Bay
  18. New England (5.75) versus New Orleans
  19. Dallas (5.07) versus Washington
  20. Buffalo (4.78) versus Cincinnati
  21. New Orleans (4.45) at New England
  22. Cleveland (3.67) versus Detroit
  23. Baltimore (3.66) versus Green Bay
  24. Oakland (3.00) at Kansas City
  25. Arizona (2.48) at San Francisco
  26. Tennessee (2.37) at Seattle
  27. San Diego (2.36) versus Indianapolis
  28. NY Giants (0.02) at Chicago
  29. Washington (-0.10) at Dallas
  30. Jacksonville (-10.47) at Denver

On bye: Atlanta, Miami

Seattle, Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, and Kansas City all show significant separation from everything else. We have five big home favorites (with spreads of 13.5, 26.5, 9.5, 11, and 9.5, respectively), five 100% owned D/STs, and five D/STs you’ll only consider benching for each other. At first glance, the struggling Chicago Bears’ number might look out of the ordinary without the monster 2012 sample, but consider: 13.61 is 3 points lower than the Giants’ opponents have averaged all year! The NY Giants have been the #1 fade for fantasy D/STs.

The sixth place team, Cincinnati, project about 2.5 points better versus Jeff Tuel as opposed to how they would have against EJ Manuel. Backup quarterbacks are always enticing D/ST fades, and Buffalo are no exception this week. The last universally-owned D/ST, Houston, can also be started with relative confidence. However, I have Houston as the lowest upside play in the top 16 – they have just 2 interceptions for the entire year, and Sam Bradford throws fewer than one per game.

In case you were wondering, -12 is the lowest possible D/ST score. Poor, poor Jacksonville. I hope the Broncos are gentle.

I Dream of Streaming

This week will be a rough one for us: with the top 6 choices this week all stud D/STs, we’re left to pick from what’s left. However, four teams give us an expectation between 8.2 and 9.1: Minnesota, Detroit, Green Bay, and the Jets.

Minnesota: The Vikings are fresh off a bye week and at home against a Carolina team that just got whipped. Carolina are conceding almost 4 sacks per game, and opposing D/STs have scored on average 9.3 points per game. Minnesota, averaging just 7 points per game, have been killer on turnovers: 7 interceptions and 4 fumbles forced through 4 games.

Detroit: The Destroyer is broken and awaiting repairs, so Cleveland will pin their winning streak on the great Brandon Weeden. The Cleveland Browns fans booed heartily when he entered the game, and for good reason. Don’t let his “convincing” win Thursday night fool you, Weeden was just 13/24 for 197 yards and 1 TD. Take out the Josh Gordon TD catch and he was 12/23 for just 160 yards! The Lions figure to get 3-4 sacks, limit the Browns scoring to 27 points or  less, and create 1-2 turnovers with upside for much more.

Green Bay: A word of warning: Joe Flacco’s 5 INT game may yet be mucking this one up. Green Bay themselves only have two interceptions on the year, yet Flacco has almost as many interceptions (8) as Matt Schaub (9). That being said, Green Bay have still managed to score 10+ points twice in a row, and their deceptively low 3 fumble recoveries have been off of 8 fumbles forced.

NY Jets: The Pittsburgh Steelers have been very, very bad. In 2013, they have been the 3rd best team to face for opposing D/STs, and this week figures to be no different. Minnesota or Detroit should be available in most leagues, but in deeper or more competitive leagues, the Jets are a solid option. They have not been forcing enough turnovers, but the Steelers have been handing them out for free. One of the two has got to give this weekend.

Where I have the option of all four teams, I will probably be playing Minnesota. I like the home team in this case over the road Lions, but Detroit are a clear #2 in case Minnesota are taken. If pushed, I would rather have the Jets than the Packers, but in reality, all four of these teams rate very similarly.

Looking ahead to week 7

Miami will get Buffalo at home, Carolina have the Rams at home, Green Bay have Cleveland at home, and Minnesota have the Giants on the road. If you’re looking for a 2-week D/ST, then consider Minnesota or Green Bay with higher priority.

As always, please join me on Reddit’s /r/fantasyfootball for discussion about week 6′s D/STs all the way until Sunday morning. I try very hard to answer every question posted.

Thank you for reading, and best of luck in week 6!


@dtlerch on Twitter

/u/quickonthedrawl on Reddit

t4blog at gmail dot com

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