Welcome back to “my defense is on bye and I am not sure which one to plug and play”. Here we’re going to walk through some options for week 8 and see if we can find a few we like. Before digging in, I want to review the four teams we picked last week to touch on the effect of counting yards against. In both categories, the Dolphins and the Jets did their job for you. The Bengals held a struggling Atlanta passing game in check and netted you more points in leagues that counted yards against. The Raiders, on the other hand, battled against a Texans team that had David Mills keep up and Dameon Pierce run it efficiently stacking up those yards, and thus Las Vegas did much better in leagues that do not count yards against. So if you like a match-up more or less because of your league settings, go with your feelings. Remember this is a volatile category, and at the end of the day, this is your team that you are the manager of.
As always, we’re looking for teams rostered around 50% or lower rostered.
Please note that there is a good chance better teams are out there in your league than these four, but we cannot assume they’re out there for every league. Stay active and monitor the league home page, there is also a chance someone will drop a defense after the waivers clear for this week as well.
Opponent: vs Commanders
ESPN % Rostered: 44%
Yahoo % Rostered: 36%
Here we’re looking at a defense that has had a steady floor for the last 5 weeks. They are averaging over 7 points per game in those 5 weeks and bring a 10th-best sack rate in the NFL (disclaimer – it’s a 5-way tie) averaging almost 3 sacks per game over that aforementioned 5-week stretch. They will be matching up against a Commanders team that has been bleeding sacks on the season, giving up an average of about 3.5 sacks per game so far. Teams that have faced off against Washington this season have averaged around 9 points per week on defense in fantasy. Washington has made the switch to Taylor Heinicke who averaged just over 200 yards passing in 2021. Derrick Henry did rush for a lot of yards last week, but he did so on thirty carries. The Titans have allowed the 9th fewest passing yards and are tied for 4th fewest yards per carry allowed facing Brian Robinson‘s 3.5 YPC.
Opponent: @ Texans
ESPN % Rostered: 14%
Yahoo % Rostered: 41%
Let’s go back to the well on this one and feature this team for a third time so far in the 5 weeks we’ve been at this. Tennessee is on the road, but we’re going to Houston to face a team that is giving up two sacks per game and allowing defenses that match up against them to average almost 7 points per game. David Mills has been on the upswing lately in yards thrown, so Yahoo owners will benefit might benefit more from this pick, but I still like the Titans regardless as they are the 10th-best defense in quarterback pressure this season. Dameon Pierce will be going against a Tennessee team that is allowing the second-fewest rushing yards and the fewest touchdowns on the year. The Texans lost their left guard last week in the game and he is questionable heading into this week. This is Titans defense is averaging an interception per game and has had 3 sacks in each of their last 3 games.
Mr. Adams House Call ☎️ @AndrewAdams33
📺: Watch #INDvsTEN on @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/sPi7mPPauL
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) October 23, 2022
Opponent: @ Colts
ESPN % Rostered: 19%
Yahoo % Rostered: 5%
We’re going to take a defense that has been trending very well in the right direction over the last few games and disregard their poor start to the season. So what have they done lately? Over the last three games, they’ve held opponents to just over 14 points with 10 sacks and 3 turnovers. They are facing a Colts team that has just switched to Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, their sixth-round pick who has yet to throw a pass in the NFL regular season. The Colts are giving up almost 3.5 sacks per game and this Washington team has the highest quarterback knockdown rate, fifth highest pressure rate, and the 7th most sacks in the league. From week four on, the Colts have not had a running back rush for over 65 yards and Jonathan Taylor will face a defense that has given up the third-fewest touchdowns on the season. So even though this matchup is on the road, we’re going to take a defense going against a struggling offense with a new quarterback at the helm.
Opponent: vs Panthers
ESPN % Rostered: 2%
Yahoo % Rostered: 3%
“Wait, who now?” Yeah. We’re looking to test PJ Walker and the Panthers on the road and the numbers seem to be favorable. First off, don’t focus too heavily on last week, Joe Cool is going to make a lot of defenses look silly this season, especially in Cincinnati. Let’s instead focus on the Panthers giving up almost 3 sacks per game and allowing defenses against them to score almost 10 points per game in the last four games. That includes the Tampa Bay game last week that really brought those numbers down. And that’s not to say the Falcons are chopped liver, exactly. While they don’t get to the quarterback too much (1.5 sacks per game), they are generating on average 2 turnovers per game at home so far this season. They are a top-10 defense this year against the rush and are now facing a team that no longer has their star running back.
That's a SACK for 97!
📺: FOX || NFL+ #ATLvsCIN || #DirtyBirds pic.twitter.com/ocWh5okvmp
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 23, 2022
Some teams have less-than-effective defenses but are going into really good matchups. Might consider these if you don’t like the four I’ve picked. The Jacksonville Jaguars are facing a Broncos team that has been more than generous to fantasy defenses this season. The Cincinnati Bengals have the right ingredients to follow the blueprint the Patriots used against the Browns, who are banged up on the line and have lost their starting tight end. They also have a favorable matchup next week.
These teams did not meet the consideration threshold for the main highlight section, but you should check to see if they’re available in your league:
Philadelphia Eagles – ESPN: 66% Y!: 80%
New York Jets – ESPN: 62% Y!: 67%
Denver Broncos – ESPN: 75% Y!: 82% *
Miami Dolphins – ESPN: 59% Y!: 70% *
*- I only like these matchups in leagues that do NOT count yards against.
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Photos by Zach Bolinger & Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)