In Week 8 the best matchup on paper held up on the field for the D/ST position as the Patriots led all defenses in scoring. This week the Bears get their turn with the Bills, but will face “pick six” machine Nathan Peterman at quarterback and on paper look to have the juiciest matchup. Speaking of good matchups, hopefully you weren’t one of many who grabbed the Oakland Raiders defense after learning the Niners would be starting their third string quarterback. Things didn’t turn out so well for the Raiders who scored negative points while the 49ers sacked Derek Carr seven times.
There aren’t many other lopsided matchups this week, but there are matchups where both teams’ D/ST should perform well. Two of those are below, though as a Dallas fan I’m hoping for a breakout game from Amari Cooper. Both the Jets and Dolphins defenses performed well in their matchup earlier this season, though both have lost or will be missing several players this week. I like both D/ST’s again, but my picks this week are below. Don’t forget to keep reading if your looking for some IDP options this week and good luck in Week 9, with just over a month left in the fantasy season prior to the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns ($2,700 – DK / $3,900 – FD)
The Chiefs sacked Denver’s Case Keenum five times in Week 8. They have been trending upward in recent weeks despite letting up late last week and allowing Denver to make it close. Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield has been sacked frequently of late though the two sacks given up to Pittsburgh last week represented an improvement. This week, Cleveland fired their Head Coach, Hue Jackson, and Offensive Coordinator, Todd Haley, so I imagine there will be confusion on offense at times this week. This doesn’t bode well for the Browns, looking for their third win on the season. They will be behind early and forced to throw which will allow the Chiefs to focus on their pass rush without having to worry about the run. I think another five sack game could be in the works for the Chiefs.
Denver Broncos vs Houston Texans ($2,300 – DK / $3,400 – FD)
I like both of these defenses this week. I’d likely start the Texans over the Broncos based on their play of late, but I’m choosing the Broncos for the purposes of this article because they are more likely to be available in your league. The Texans have won five games in a row, but still start one of the worst lines in the NFL. The Broncos should be able to take advantage of this with their outside linebackers, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The Texans will also be without receiver Will Fuller for the rest of the season, and traded for veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas to minimize the loss. However, it will take time for Thomas to learn and feel comfortable in the offense, so I expect quarterback Deshaun Watson to have to hold onto the ball longer than normal to find the open receivers this week and for DeAndre Hopkins to be targeted heavily which isn’t the best formula against this Denver defense.
Dallas Cowboys vs Tennessee Titans ($2,900 -DK / $4,200 – FD)
Both teams are looking to get back to .500 on the season. The Dallas defense has kept them in games this year, but hasn’t won them games. Tennessee’s defense has played similarly. I favor the Dallas defense this week in a primetime game at home. David Irving has now had more time to get back into football shape and should start making a huge difference for the middle of Dallas’ defense. Demarcus Lawrence is also having another good season at defensive end and will be a force against a Titans team two games removed from giving up eleven sacks to Baltimore. Tennessee has struggled to move the ball for the majority of the season and will struggle once again this week on the road. They will limit Dallas to two to three sacks this week, but also commit at least two turnovers. I see Dallas as a solid start that will finish a few spots above the middle of the pack this week in D/ST scoring.
I also like: Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, NY Jets and Houston Texans.
Dee Ford (OLB/Chiefs)
Ford has four sacks in his last two games and should continue the hot streak this week versus the Browns who have been giving up multiple sacks. He is also facing a team with a new play caller that will be playing from behind.
Denzel Ward (C/Browns)
Ward looks like a great draft pick for the Browns to this point in the season. He is their best corner and could be busy against this Chiefs offense that has yet to struggle to find points.
Von Miller (OLB/Broncos)
Miller and Chubb should cause some chaos in the Texans backfield this week. Facing one of the worst lines in the league should lead to multiple sacks for one or both of these talented pass rushers.
J.J. Watt (DE/Texans)
The Denver line has performed well this season, but gave up five sacks last week to the Chiefs. If they don’t play better, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will also achieve five sacks. I like Watt a bit more with the right side of the Broncos line not being as good as the left.
Jayon Brown (LB/Titans)
Jayon Brown has been the Titans best IDP play for over a month now. He is leading the team in tackles and also has three sacks on the season. Dallas will give the ball to Ezekiel Elliott often this week so Browns solid IDP play should continue.
Demarcus Lawrence (DE/Cowboys)
Lawrence was a bit nicked up heading into the bye week, but should be back to himself coming off of the bye and back to sacking opposing quarterbacks. Tennessee is a good team to achieve this against of late — struggling to protect Marcus Mariota, who is also holding onto the ball too long while trying to find open receivers. Jaylon Smith is also a good start as he should be covering Dion Lewis out of the backfield as Mariota checks down.
Against the Grain
Last week, my against the grain pick was for the New Orleans Saints D/ST to outscore the Minnesota Vikings D/ST and it wasn’t even close, in the Saints favor. This week I won’t pick the Saints’ D/ST to outscore the Rams’, but I will pick the Buffalo Bills to finish in the top half of the league this week in D/ST points. Chicago has scored a lot of points lately, but the Bills defense is a good unit and they should get to Trubisky this week. They also have an elite corner, facing a depleted receiver group for the Bears, and linebackers who should make it difficult for Jordan Howard to run the ball ( I do love Tarik Cohen again this week ). I don’t think the Bills will win, but they should get enough D/ST points to allow my prediction to ring true.