Let’s Stream Defenses: Week 8 (2019 Fantasy Football)
This week feels like the calm before the storm. There are only two teams – Baltimore and Dallas – on bye. There are a ton of good options for defenses – for the first time since I’ve been doing this, every team I ranked as a starter is playing at home. This beautiful world is about to come crashing down, though. We’re about to begin a stretch of bye week hell. Weeks 9, 11 and 12 each have four teams out, and Week 10 has six teams on bye. If you don’t have the luxury of just riding San Francisco through all the bye weeks, it’s more important than ever to plan ahead and stash teams a week in advance. Now I don’t advocate this in every league – if you only have five bench spots, you only have five bench spots. But if you can afford it, there are a handful of teams that aren’t usable this week that should be starters in Week 9. This isn’t a comprehensive ranking of Week 9 teams – it’s just the teams that I think you can get for free this week because people will drop them (or they’re already available).
|DST Stashes for Week 9|
|Team||Week 9 Opponent||Ownership||Week 8 Opponent||Week 8 Rank|
Week 8 Ranks
This is an excellent week – I don’t remember the last time I had six teams in the Start Them With Confidence Tier. Unfortunately none of them have super low ownership, but Detroit and Indianapolis are both fine starters and are available in most leagues. If you have any questions, you can find me on Twitter.
|The Start Them With Confidence Tier|
|The Still a Fine Choice Tier|
|The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier|
- MIN vs WAS: The Vegas line here is kind of absurd – Minnesota is favored by a massive 16 points, and Washington’s implied point total is only 12. That ties for the lowest of the season by any team, with the Dolphins last week. Washington just got shut out by the 49ers. Sure, Minnesota isn’t quite as good as San Francisco on defense, but they’re not that far off. I would not be surprised by another shut-out.
- PIT vs MIA: Pittsburgh gets the honor of playing Miami this week, and thanks to their Week 7 bye, they’re available in over half of leagues. Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s first start wasn’t nearly as bad as the Dolphins have been with Josh Rosen – they scored three touchdowns against a good Buffalo defense. That doesn’t mean they’re anything to fear though – Fitzpatrick is as turnover prone as anyone, and he still lacks weapons around him. He’s just not as likely to turn in one of the worst offensive performances of the decade.
- NE vs CLE: New England’s defense has broken fantasy football. They just recorded their second shut out of the season. Their defense has scored as many touchdowns as it’s allowed (three in seven games). Baker Mayfield has struggled this year, and in particular, has been extremely interception-prone. This is a nightmare matchup for the Browns.
- JAC vs NYJ: The Jets just got shut out by New England. Sure, the Patriots defense is transcendent, but you have to be a special kind of bad to fail to score even a field goal.
- LAR vs CIN: This is looking like a lost season for Cincinnati. They’re winless through seven games, and there’s no sign of A.J. Green returning. While the Rams haven’t met expectations on offense, their defense is still very good, especially against the run. Cincinnati already throws the ball at the highest rate in the league, and the Rams’ stout run defense should reinforce that, which is exactly what we want for fantasy because of the opportunity it creates for sacks and interceptions.
- NO vs ARI: The Cardinals pass at the second-highest rate in the league, behind Cincinnati. They are also 10-point underdogs, which is remarkable considering that the Saints are still relying on a backup quarterback. This matchup is fantasy gold.
- DET vs NYG: The Giants managed to lose to Arizona at home, and that was with Saquon Barkley back. Arizona has one of the worst defenses in the league, so on the road in Detroit – who are slightly better than average – will be a vastly tougher challenge for Daniel Jones and company.
- CHI vs LAC: The Chargers’ offensive line has been horrible, which is a disaster for their run game and for Phillip Rivers‘ pocket-passer style. Now they get one of the best run defenses in the league in Chicago. The turnover ceiling might not be as high as it is for some other defenses, but Chicago is projected to allow just 18 points, so they’re an easy start if you have them.
- TEN vs TB: As always, Tampa Bay is a high-ceiling, low-floor opponent. They could blow up like they did against the Rams in Week 5, but if you can stomach that, the potential for turnovers is endless. Before the Buccaneers’ Week 7 bye, Jameis Winston threw and incredible five interceptions against Carolina, and got sacked seven times.
- IND vs DEN: In a league where so many teams are complete messes, the Colts have been a pleasant surprise after the pre-season drama of Andrew Luck’s retirement. The Broncos have been extremely unpleasant and not at all a surprise, after suffering the misfortune of Joe Flacco not retiring in the preseason. Despite the seven sacks last week, Flacco has been pretty good at avoiding sacks and interceptions in his career, which is completely baffling when you watch him play. If he returns to form and succeeds in throwing the ball out of bounds a ton, that could limit the Colts’ ceiling, but they’re certainly still worth starting.
- SF vs CAR: San Francisco is too good not to start. Carolina is a low-upside opponent because they lean so heavily on Christian McCaffrey (and therefore don’t allow a lot of sacks or turnovers), but the fact that he’s the entire offense means the Panthers aren’t really a team that scares a defense as good as San Francisco.
Jacob Herlin is a Senior Data Analyst for FantasyPros. For more from Jacob, follow him @jacoblawherlin.