In Week 9 seven teams scored double figure points in ESPN’s default defensive scoring lead by the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings who all had D/ST touchdowns. On the bottom end of the D/ST stats three quality defenses brought up the rear, with the Washington Redskins unable to stop Atlanta and the Rams and Saints pit against each other in a shootout.
Week 10 has gotten off to a great start for the D/ST position with the Pittsburgh Steelers getting five sacks, a fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown. There are many potential quality starts this week. I have listed my favorites as well as others I like this week. If you are looking for some IDP help scroll down mid-article for some IDP Targets from my Week 10 D/ST picks and best of luck finishing out another fantasy season.
New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills ($3,400 – DK / $4,900 – FD)
In the battle of backup quarterbacks you have to side with Josh McCown. While his win percentage does not impress he has shown the ability to move the ball and make all the throws. However, on the other side of the ball it looks as though Nathan Peterman may get another start. Josh Allen is listed as questionable with an elbow injury that has kept him out several weeks and newly signed Matt Barkley is still trying to learn the offense. I wouldn’t expect any of the three to do well for this current Bills team, but for D/ST purposes we are hoping for Nathan Peterman who holds a career stat of throwing an interception on 9.2 percent of his career attempts, many going the other way for a touchdown. The Jets do not have a great defensive line, but they will get the job done against this Bills team for your fantasy teams. The Bills are also a good start this week and should sack McCown multiple times.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland Raiders ($3,500 – DK / $4,700 – FD)
In Week 9 Derek Carr was sacked seven times by the forty niners. I doubt the Chargers will match the feat this week, but they will make it a rough day for Carr nonetheless. The Chargers secondary is playing well and should be able to shut down the Raiders rag-tag group of receivers and tight end Jared Cook. I expect this game will be decided long before halftime with the Chargers up big. A reasonable numbers of sacks to expect for the Chargers this week is 3-5 and no less than two takeaways from a struggling Raiders offense who is in full rebuild mode. Defensive End Joey Bosa is still sidelined with a foot injury that has kept him out all season, but the Chargers will find ways to get players like Melvin Ingram, Darius Philon and Derwin James into the Raiders backfield early and often.
Green Bay Packers vs Miami Dolphins ($3,100 – DK / $3,900 – FD)
The Dolphins have the better record to this point in the season, but few expect them to win in Green Bay this week. “Brocktober” is over and quarterback Brock Osweiler has not thrown a touchdown pass over his last two games. The Packers secondary is playing well and the Dolphins don’t offer any matchup problems for them outside of Kenyan Drake running routes out of the backfield. However the Dolphins won’t win this week on screen passes. Another factor helping the Packers this week is that both starting tackles for the Dolphins are questionable for Sunday’s game, and if the Dolphins have to start Sam Young at either right or left tackle, Nick Perry and Clay Matthews will have a much better chance of getting to Osweiler. Green Bay should already be able to get to him with pressure up the middle. A pressured Osweiler is more likely to turn the ball over with fumbles in the pocket or bad throws leading too interceptions and fantasy points for the Green Bay D/ST.
I would also start with confidence: Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, and with less confidence: New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins and LA Rams.
Avery Williamson (LB/Jets)
Avery Williamson has produced at least 7 solo tackles each of the last two weeks and added one sack against Miami. His tackles may be slightly down this week because the Bills run less plays over the course of a game than a normal team, but he could get another sack against the Bills quarterbacks this week.
Shaq Lawson (DE/Bills)
Lawson started the year injured, but his playing time has increased of late and the stats show he is deserving of even more playing time. He has only one sack on the year, but this should change soon. He has shown a high motor and was involved in seven tackles a week ago.
Tahir Whitehead (LB/Raiders)
Whitehead leads the Raiders in tackles and will see a heavy dose of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler this week. Unfortunately most of Whitehead’s tackles are beyond the line of scrimmage as he is not a very instinctive linebacker, but is the best the Raiders have until they add more pieces.
Desmond King (C/Chargers)
King is also involved as a punt returner and can add points there depending on your league settings. Last week he intercepted his third pass on the season and ran it back for his second defensive touchdown not quite two years into his career. This week he should field numerous punts and do enough defending the pass to warrant a start at corner for IDP teams.
Jerome Baker (LB/Dolphins)
Baker is the second leading tackler on the Dolphins behind Kiko Alonso, and is now seeing more playing time than 2nd round draft pick, Raekwon McMillan. Last week he scored the only touchdown on the day for the Dolphins or Jets and is growing much more comfortable at middle linebacker.
Kenny Clark (NT/ Packers)
Clark has four sacks on the year and the Miami Dolphins are vulnerable in the middle of their offensive line. He should also add several tackles against Frank Gore who loves running between the tackles.
Against the Grain
In another head scratcher of a Monday Night matchup the 1-7 New York Giants are at the 2-7 San Francisco 49’ers. I’m sure the schedule makers were thinking Beckham and Barkley versus Garappolo and McKinnon would provide plenty of interest, but an aging and athletically challenged Eli Manning has failed to finish off drives despite the B&B duo stuffing the stat sheet. The 49’ers weren’t able to start their duo together even once this season, but they’ve shown there are capable backups to be found in the league. The 49’ers third string quarterback, Nick Mullens, is off to an undefeated start this season which ties him with two time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning in wins at one. This is a lost season for both teams, but the 49’ers have learned more about their roster, though forced by injury, than the stagnant Giants. The Giants have two other quarterbacks on the roster in veteran Alex Tanney who surprised in Dallas a few years ago in pre-season and rookie Kyle Lauletta. Rather than show Eli Manning respect for the two Super Bowl wins, by allowing him to continue to quarterback the Giants in a second consecutive failed season how about gaining some self respect for the franchise by giving the backups an opportunity. Losses don’t hurt the Giants at this point, but valuable experience for Tanney or Lauletta can only help.