Defense Wins Championships, Week 10

Updated: November 6, 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 more than 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 | Week 9

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

Top scoring D/STs from Week 9 (ESPN Standard)

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

  1. Panthers D/ST (9.41) versus Atlanta [20]
  2. Chiefs D/ST (9.76) at Buffalo [16]
  3. Dolphins D/ST (6.15) versus Cincinnati [16]
  4. Browns D/ST (6.07) versus Baltimore [11]
  5. Cowboys D/ST (9.72) versus Minnesota [11]
  6. Bears D/ST (1.83) at Green Bay [7]
  7. Rams D/ST (7.75) versus Tennessee [6]
  8. Texans D/ST (3.10) versus Indianapolis [6]
  9. Bengals D/ST (8.65) at Miami [5]
  10. Titans D/ST (8.66) at St. Louis [5]
  11. Patriots D/ST (9.94) versus Pittsburgh [5]
  12. Chargers D/ST (3.08) at Washington [5]
  13. Ravens D/ST (9.03) at Cleveland [5]
  14. Bills D/ST (6.03) versus Kansas City [4]
  15. Vikings D/ST (-0.38) at Dallas [4]
  16. Falcons D/ST (2.63) at Carolina [3]
  17. Jets D/ST (3.31) versus New Orleans [3]
  18. Buccaneers D/ST (1.17) at Seattle [3]
  19. Saints D/ST (11.61) at NY Jets [2]
  20. Seahawks D/ST (16.69) versus Tampa Bay [2]
  21. Redskins D/ST (2.68) versus San Diego [2]
  22. Packers D/ST (8.39) versus Chicago [0]
  23. Eagles D/ST (4.94) at Oakland [0]
  24. Colts D/ST (9.46) at Houston [-4]
  25. Steelers D/ST (2.14) at New England [-7]
  26. Raiders D/ST (6.70) versus Philadelphia [-9]

What. A. Mess. Let’s try and make some sense out of this.

First, consider that the average D/ST score this week was just 4.7 points. Cincinnati’s Thursday dud doesn’t seem so bad anymore, does it? The real letdowns for week 9 were Seattle, New Orleans, and most significantly, Indianapolis. During a week in which the average D/ST scored less than 5 points, scoring 2 isn’t so bad; scoring -4 can absolutely sink you.

With the Colts facing a generous St. Louis team in Indianapolis in week 10, streamers who settled on them are going to face a difficult choice this week.

On Reddit, we defined the tiers as follows for week 9:

Tier 1: Seattle (2 points)

Realistically, no one could have or should have sat the Seahawks last week. The number 2 fantasy D/ST at home against one of the worst offenses in the NFL? Shit happens.

Tier 2: New Orleans (2 points)

Geno Smith and the Jets took on a very conservative passing offense and focused on the run. They didn’t concede a single turnover, they ran the ball far, far more than they passed (Geno Smith completed just 8 passes!), and they had somewhat remarkable scoring efficiency for recording only 340 total yards. For a team that forces as many turnovers as New Orleans, the Saints were extraordinarily unable to get anything done against the Jets ground game.

Tier 3:  New England (5 points), Kansas City (16), Carolina (20), Indianapolis (-4), and Dallas (11).

Where tiers 1 & 2 failed, tier 3 was money. Two of the three elite scores this week (the other being Miami, rated an uninspiring 14th in week 9) were found here, and both Dallas (11) and New England (5) were better than average. Aside from Kansas City, the other winners were all at home. Indianapolis was the only road team, and they were rated as “high variance” last week at that! Carolina is legit – 2 points behind Seattle so far in 2013, and they’ve already had their bye! – but their schedule is about to turn sour. How have we done projecting their success? In weeks 5 through 9, Carolina scored 10+ points and were projected as 10th, 14th, 7th, 4th, then 7th.

Tier 4: Baltimore (5 points), Tennessee (5), Green Bay (0), and Cincinnati (5) & Tier 5: Oakland (-9!), St. Louis (6), Miami (16), Cleveland (11), and Buffalo (4).

Green Bay is understandable, since Seneca Wallace playing so many snaps will make any pregame projection look silly. Everything else besides Oakland got you right around average or much better, and Miami and Cleveland close out the group of 5 double-digit scores this week (along with KC, Carolina, and Dallas). But the Raiders were an absolute Whammy. Scoring -9 (out of a possible worst score of -12) means they allowed 46+ points and 500+ yards – yuck! I’m not sure if there was anything we could have done to separate Oakland from the rest of the tier 5 options, so owners may have just gotten unlucky.

Week 10 projected D/ST scoring (ESPN Standard)

  1. Titans D/ST (12.43) versus Jacksonville (low variance)
  2. Colts D/ST (10.32) versus St. Louis (low variance)
  3. Seahawks D/ST (10.11) at Atlanta
  4. Giants D/ST (9.85) versus Oakland (low variance)
  5. 49ers D/ST (8.99) versus Carolina (low variance)
  6. Dolphins D/ST (8.54) at Tampa Bay
  7. Cardinals D/ST (8.20) versus Houston
  8. Buccaneers D/ST (8.14) versus Miami
  9. Saints D/ST (6.52) versus Dallas (high variance)
  10. Steelers D/ST (6.51) versus Buffalo
  11. Texans D/ST (6.49) at Arizona (high variance)
  12. Bengals D/ST (6.41) at Baltimore
  13. Bills D/ST (6.17) at Pittsburgh
  14. Ravens D/ST (6.09) versus Cincinnati
  15. Packers D/ST (5.23) versus Philadelphia
  16. Bears D/ST (4.93) versus Detroit (high variance)
  17. Redskins D/ST (4.91) at Minnesota
  18. Panthers D/ST (4.56) at San Francisco
  19. Raiders D/ST (4.49) at NY Giants
  20. Lions D/ST (4.37 at Chicago
  21. Broncos D/ST (3.95) at San Diego
  22. Eagles D/ST (3.23) at Green Bay (low variance)
  23. Rams D/ST (3.08) at Indianapolis
  24. Vikings D/ST (2.87) versus Washington
  25. Falcons D/ST (2.69) versus Seattle
  26. Jaguars D/ST (2.06) at Tennessee
  27. Cowboys D/ST (0.46) at New Orleans
  28. Chargers D/ST (-4.08) versus Denver

On bye: Browns, Chiefs, Patriots, Jets

Tier 1: Titans D/ST (32% owned)

The Titans are far and away the number one choice this weekend. The Jaguars have been so consistently generous to opposing D/STs, conceding 10+ points in every week but one this year, and the Titans D/ST is no slouch to begin with. As a low-ownership team with high upside, the Titans D/ST should be the clear number one target on waivers this weekend.

Obviously, if you have the Seahawks, you’re probably not sitting them for anybody – not even Tennessee. One of the benefits to having an unbenchable stud D/ST like Seattle is that you’ll only have to carry a second D/ST during their bye week. However, do note that Tennessee has a potentially great matchup at Oakland in week 12 during Seattle’s bye. If you’re willing to commit to them for an extra two weeks, they’re probably a fine pickup.

Tier 2: Colts D/ST (34% owned), Seahawks D/ST (100%), Giants D/ST (4%)

Only one person per league can get the Titans D/ST though – and judging by the comments on Reddit, they’re unavailable in most competitive leagues anyway! However, owners in almost every league can try to ride the Giants D/ST’s recent success at home against the Raiders. They rate as relatively low risk and high expectation, but owners should temper their expectations.

The Colts are available in most leagues too, and they may get dropped in more after scoring just -4 in week 9. I would rather be on the Colts than the Giants, though! The Giants have the lowest sack total in the league. Gross.

Tier 3: 49ers D/ST (100% owned), Dolphins D/ST (13%), Cardinals D/ST (8%), Buccaneers D/ST (9%)

If you have the 49ers, you’re probably not sitting them for anybody this week, but feel free to for Tennessee in particular. I wouldn’t drop San Francisco now though, especially if you kept them through their bye.

The Dolphins and Buccaneers game is almost a coinflip according to oddsmakers right now. Don’t let their record fool you, Tampa Bay is nowhere near as bad as their record indicates – they and Miami are both pretty unremarkable NFL teams on both sides of the ball. I hate to recommend a Schiano-coached team’s D/ST to anybody, but I suspect the Bucs are the choice of the two. They’re at home, the Dolphins have been more generous to opposing D/STs by almost 2 points per game, and the Buccaneers haven’t been that much worse than the Dolphins this year.

The Cardinals may be a sneaky sleeper pick for the #1 scoring D/ST rest of season (to be fair, mostly because Seattle and KC have yet to have their bye). A lot of that depends though on what they do to the Houston Texans this weekend. The Cardinals are certainly talented enough on defense to give Case Keenum fits, and with a game against Jacksonville next week, the Cardinals are a fine gamble this weekend.

Desperate Times…

In very deep leagues, I would feel comfortable starting anything at Chicago or higher. “Comfortable” is used very loosely there though!

Best of luck in week 10! Thanks for the patience this week.


@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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