Defense Wins Championships, Week 9

Updated: October 29, 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 – so far this year, we’ve had almost 5,000 comments posted on Reddit!

Week 1 (and basic methodology) | Week 2 | Week 2, part 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8

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

Top scoring D/STs from Week 8 (ESPN Standard)

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

  1. Bengals D/ST (9.99) versus NY Jets [25]
  2. Broncos D/ST (5.18) versus Washington [21]
  3. Cardinals D/ST (6.08) versus Atlanta [17]
  4. Patriots D/ST (9.58) versus Miami [15]
  5. Giants D/ST (-1.99) at Philadelphia [15]
  6. Saints D/ST (9.78) versus Buffalo [13]
  7. Raiders D/ST (6.54) versus Pittsburgh [11]
  8. Rams D/ST (4.65) versus Seattle [11]
  9. 49ers D/ST (16.35) at Jacksonville [11]
  10. Packers D/ST (9.45) at Minnesota [10]
  11. Eagles D/ST (6.45) versus NY Giants [10]
  12. Steelers D/ST (5.88) at Oakland [10]
  13. Seahawks D/ST (12.93) at St. Louis [10]
  14. Redskins D/ST (-6.12) at Denver [10]
  15. Panthers D/ST (10.70) at Tampa Bay [10]
  16. Dolphins D/ST (3.57) at New England [7]
  17. Browns D/ST (4.18) at Kansas City [6]
  18. Falcons D/ST (5.21) at Arizona [5]
  19. Chiefs D/ST (13.50) versus Cleveland [4]
  20. Buccaneers D/ST (6.27) versus Carolina [2]
  21. Cowboys D/ST (1.88) at Detroit [1]
  22. Lions D/ST (5.00) versus Dallas [1]
  23. Bills D/ST (-1.38) at New Orleans [0]
  24. Vikings D/ST (2.41) versus Green Bay [0]
  25. Jaguars D/ST (-1.66) versus San Francisco [-2]
  26. Jets D/ST (4.97) at Cincinnati [-5]

Geno Smith, the gift that keeps on giving

The Jets have now allowed 4 defensive TDs to opposing D/STs, including two to the Bengals in week 8. Cincinnati snagged their two pick-6s in garbage time, but fantasy football makes no distinctions – they’re the clear king of the hill with 25 points. But how did our projected tiers do?

Tier 1 was made up of San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas City. Seattle scored a respectable 10, while Kansas City clocked in with a disappointing 4 points. It was the first single-digit score for the Chiefs D/ST since week 2 versus Dallas, and owners should not be too worried. However, if you’re holding the Chiefs D/ST, definitely consider offering them up in a trade in the next week: If you can get back an RB2 or WR2 or better in return, you should almost certainly make that trade. The 49ers rolled over the Jaguars as expected, raking in 11. Lower than expected, but still very strong.

Tier 2 was made up of Cincinnati, New England, New Orleans, Green Bay, and Carolina. Every single team in this tier scored 10+ points. None of these teams showed much separation from each other in the projections, and every one of them came through for owners in week 8.

Tier 3 was made up of Oakland, Philly, Tampa, Arizona, Pittsburgh, however I attempted to steer people toward Oakland, Philadelphia, or Arizona as necessary. All three D/STs rewarded owners with 10+ points.

Overall, Kansas City was the only recommended team (out of 11!) last week to score fewer than 10 points. Very promising results continue as we cross the halfway point of the season!

Those sneaky Denver Broncos

Denver was recommended as a drop in most formats prior to week 7, and they followed up their stinker against Jacksonville with a 1 point performance at Indianapolis. This week though? The Broncos piled on in garbage time for 21 points on the back of 4 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, and a pick-6. As they go into their bye week, you can comfortably leave them on your waiver wire for now – their schedule is not friendly enough to warrant an add, and this was just their first double digit score since week 4. Treat the Broncos as a very strong matchup play where available from here on out, but there should be no need to stash them.

One final note on week 8, the NY Giants have not allowed a single point on defense in two weeks, facing the Vikings and the Eagles. I don’t expect that to continue. The Giants are a special kind of terrible, and they’ll return to form soon enough.

Week 9 projected D/ST scoring (ESPN Standard)

  1. Seahawks D/ST (16.69) versus Tampa Bay (low variance)
  2. Saints D/ST (11.61) at NY Jets (high variance)
  3. Patriots D/ST (9.94) versus Pittsburgh (low variance)
  4. Chiefs D/ST (9.76) at Buffalo (low variance)
  5. Cowboys D/ST (9.72) versus Minnesota
  6. Colts D/ST (9.46) at Houston (high variance)
  7. Panthers D/ST (9.41) versus Atlanta
  8. Ravens D/ST (9.03) at Cleveland
  9. Titans D/ST (8.66) at St. Louis
  10. Bengals D/ST (8.65) at Miami
  11. Packers D/ST (8.39) versus Chicago
  12. Rams D/ST (7.75) versus Tennessee (high variance)
  13. Dolphins D/ST (6.15) versus Cincinnati
  14. Browns D/ST (6.07) versus Baltimore
  15. Bills D/ST (6.03) versus Kansas City
  16. Jets D/ST (3.31) versus New Orleans (high variance)
  17. Texans D/ST (3.10) versus Indianapolis
  18. Chargers D/ST (3.08) at Washington
  19. Redskins D/ST (2.68) versus San Diego
  20. Falcons D/ST (2.63) at Carolina
  21. Steelers D/ST (2.14) at New England
  22. Bears D/ST (1.83) at Green Bay (high variance)
  23. Buccaneers D/ST (1.17) at Seattle
  24. Vikings D/ST (-0.38) at Dallas

Not ranked: Philadelphia/Oakland (QB injury, no widely available Vegas line)

On bye: Jacksonville, San Francisco, NY Giants, Arizona, Denver, Detroit

My oh my, what a difference a week makes! Last week, there was a very clear tier structure to the projections. This week, most rankings show a very steady decline from the choice above them. The Seahawks, Patriots, Chiefs, and Bengals are all owned in >90% of leagues, and all have excellent matchups this week. However, for streamers, our remaining choices are:

Saints D/ST (49% owned): Lucky number 13? The Saints scored 13 points in week 3, again in week 4, and again in week 8. The opportunistic Saints defense has 9 interceptions through 7 games, and they’ve been able to keep the opponent’s score at 18 or below in all but one week. Geno Smith does awesome things like this. If you’ve gotten this far with New Orleans, keep on rolling. Don’t let the (high variance) tag fool you – that’s the good kind of variance, as the Saints should maintain a fairly high baseline score this week.

Cowboys D/ST (39% owned): As much as it pains me to recommend the Cowboys to anybody, they rate very well this week. Last week’s 4 turnovers add to their respectable total, and they’ll get a crack at home against one of Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, or Matt Cassell. Adrian Peterson be damned, the Vikings quarterbacks are so bad. To answer the inevitable, “But won’t Peterson get a million yards?” consider that you could spot him 100 yards and a TD and the opposing D/ST would still have a very real chance to score 10 points.

Colts D/ST (22% owned): Case Keenum inexplicably survived his first run in with the Chiefs, and he’s back for an encore in front of his hometown crowd. I’ll be at Reliant screaming for him to put up 50 points, but he may very well end up running for his life from Clint Mathis and friends. However without Brian Cushing, expect the Colts to control the game and the clock, 3.5 yards at a time.

Panthers D/ST (70% owned): Five weeks in a row of 10+ points is going to increase any team’s ownership, but some leagues still aren’t on board with the Panthers. They passed the eye test early (How many times did you hear about their “amazing front 7?”), but now they have the statistics to back them up. The Panthers clock in as heavy favorites at home against division rival Atlanta.

Ravens and Titans and… Packers, oh my?

The Ravens D/ST (54%), Titans D/ST (25%), and Packers D/ST (74%) are all very playable this week. However, all of them have their flaws. The Ravens have only scored 10+ points at home this year, not once on the road, and Jason Campbell played pretty damn well in week 8. The Titans looked like a stellar play while they sat on bye, but in the meantime, the Rams remembered how to play football. The Packers have a solid matchup and are at home, although they figure to be in the highest-scoring game of the playable options (and as such should be considered with caution).

Where are the Raiders?

For now, they’re off the board. Yesterday, with the news of Matt Barkley starting for Philadelphia, I suspected the Raiders would rate as very playable in week 9. However, I expected the Raiders to be very slight favorites at home – early indications are that Philadelphia may open up as a small road favorite instead. Show caution with Oakland this week: they’ve quietly been one of the better D/STs on the year, but Philadelphia have been a mixed bag for opposing D/STs. They forced negative points on D/STs from SD, NYG, and TB and have allowed 9+ points to every one else – the very definition of a boom/bust fade!

I expect the Raiders D/ST to rate somewhere around #12 for the week with significant upside against a very fresh rookie QB. I will update y’all when the lines are made public!

Best of luck in week 9. Reddit shared a number of streaming success stories this past week. Are you doing your part to be one of them?


@dtlerch on Twitter

/u/quickonthedrawl on Reddit

t4blog at gmail dot com

Don’t forget to check into /r/fantasyfootball throughout the week! I maintain a running D/ST thread, in which you can ask any question about fantasy football. If I can’t answer it, maybe someone else can? Intelligent discussion is always encouraged!

Owners who keep up to date on Reddit will be more likely to score big D/ST points on Sunday.

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One Comment

  1. sancho

    November 2, 2013 at 2:58 am

    I’m starting to look ahead for D/ST matchups for weeks 10-16. Do you have any projections? Texans play the Jags twice (weeks 12 and 14).

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