Fantasy Football Week 9: Defense Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em
Fantasy Football: Defense Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
This Fantasy season is flying by. The midpoint is gone and Week 9 is upon us. This is the second, and last, week with six teams on a bye. Those teams are Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers, Cardinals and Broncos are currently ranked in the top-15 among Fantasy defenses in ESPN leagues.
Luckily, there are plenty of defenses available to fill in that missing spot. However, not every available defense is worth adding to your roster. For example, the Washington Redskins and New York Jets defenses are projected -2 and 1 Fantasy points, respectively. On the other hand, the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two teams with poor records, could be great Fantasy starts.
This week is an important week for most, if not all, Fantasy owners. Sitting at 3-5 4-4 will require a lot of waiver-wire digging for those late bloomers. This week, you must start with finding that defense. It doesn't even have to be for a week. If you have the Pittsburgh Steelers or Houston Texans on your team and are holding onto them just because of their name value, you're not doing yourself any favors. Defenses are the one position (besides kickers) that you should make frequent adds and drops. Playing the matchups will give you a one-up and maybe that win needed to make the playoffs.
This week features a lot of divisional matchups, but also features some nice defensive plays. Here are my Week 9 start 'em and sit 'em for defenses.
Start: Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts offense is shining, despite the injury to Reggie Wayne. It's what we expected. The one thing we didn't expect was how good the defense would be. They are the ninth-ranked defenses with 64 Fantasy points in ESPN standard leagues.
This week, they play the Houston Texans and their banged up offense. Case Keenum will get the start again. The Colts should get a lot of pressure on the quarterback, as they usually do. The defense has gotten to the quarterback 21 times in seven games this year, 15th in the league.
They are only owned in just 29.1 percent of ESPN leagues. Although they are playing in Houston, the Colts are a must-start.
Sit: Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears will most likely have the services of cornerback Charles Tillman. However, linebacker Lance Briggs will be out for multiple weeks. The fact that they are playing Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers makes things much worse. They have only recorded nine sacks this season, last in the league, so Rodgers should have plenty of time to score.
The defense has scored single digits in four games this season. They could get a punt return with the help of Devin Hester. Unfortunately, that isn't enough to warrant a start this week.
They are still owned in about 84 percent of leagues, yet they are projected to score -3 points. With the Detroit Lions coming up in Week 10, the Bears defense may be riding the bench for another week.
Start: Oakland Raiders
Surprisingly, the Oakland Raiders are the 15th-best Fantasy defense. They have scored at least 10 points in every home game this season. Where do they play in Week 9? That's right, home. An added benefit is that they play the struggling Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles have announced Nick Foles will get the start this week. Last week, the Eagles only scored seven points with Michael Vick and Matt Barkley under center. In Foles' last start, he only scored five Fantasy points.
Even with the weapons the Eagles have on offense, the Raiders can get through that offensive line and take down Foles multiple times. With six teams on a bye, Oakland's defense are a sneaky plug-and-play considering they are owned in just above seven percent of leagues.
Sit: Houston Texans
Along with the offense, the Houston Texans defense have struggled. They have forced rarely any turnovers (five in seven games). They are the 24th-best defense, yet are owned in a whopping 72.5 percent of leagues.
If you owned them and haven't benched them any of their last three games, bench them this week. They take on the surging Indianapolis Colts with Andrew Luck at the helm. They have scored 34.3 points per game in their last four wins. It doesn't help that the Texans' offense keeps turning over the ball, giving opponents for opportunities to score.
This may be the last week you have to worry about low scoring from the Texans defense. They play the Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars in Weeks 10, 11 and 12.
Start: St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams sit at 3-5 with no help from their offense. Sam Bradford will miss the rest of the year, rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin isn't lighting up stat sheets and the running back situation is a mess.
The one bright spot is the defense. Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, they sacked Russell Wilson seven times and are tied for fifth with 25 total. They also held Marshawn Lynch to just 23 yards. The Rams scored 11 points in that game.
The Rams can do the same thing against the Tennessee Titans this week, and there should be no reason they can't. The Titans defense is pretty good as well, which could make this a low-scoring game, a good thing for owners of the Rams.
Sit: Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens defense went off against the Houston Texans in Week 3. They held them to just nine points and scored two touchdowns, scoring 22 Fantasy points. Since then, they have scored 26 points total.
The last time the Ravens played the Cleveland Browns, they held them to six points, picked up five sacks and finished with 11 Fantasy points.
The Ravens won't finish with the same numbers this week. Jason Campbell is starting and is very protective with the ball. The Ravens are owned in just above 50 percent of leagues, but owners should look for another option this week.