Getting Defensive: Week 10

Jeff Ratcliffe
Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down the matchups for all 28 fantasy defenses in action for Week 10 and gives his top kicker plays

Getting Defensive: Week 10

Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down the matchups for all 28 fantasy defenses in action for Week 10 and gives his top kicker plays

At this point in the season, every point matters as we try to solidify our spot in the fantasy playoffs. Some of you have been fortunate enough to ride the Chiefs all season, but with Kansas City on bye this week, it’s time to stream.

There are a number of poor matchups this week, but we do have a few plays that we can make. So here's what Week 10 has to offer. Remember that the following is breakdown of my thoughts on all of the team defenses for the week, but is not my rankings. Feel free to shoot me a tweet if you have any specific questions about start/sit dilemmas that I don’t answer here.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 10. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ETHere's the link.

The Usual Suspects

Seattle (at Atlanta) gets a faltering Falcons team that just gave up a huge fantasy week to the Panthers defense.  

Preferred Plays

Your solid fantasy defenses with a weekly matchup upgrade. They're just below the Usual Suspects tier.

1. Tennessee (vs. Jacksonville) – The Titans aren’t quite in the usual suspects tier, but they’re a high ceiling option in an extremely strong matchup. Giddy up.

2. Indianapolis (vs. St. Louis) – Last week didn’t inspire much confidence in this Colts unit, but I’m willing to give them one more shot against Kellen Clemens and the Rams.

3. Arizona (vs. Houston) – Case Keenum has been a lot more efficient than Matt Schaub in this Texans offense, but he’ll be tested against a Cardinals team that posted four interceptions and four sacks in their last outing.

Still Solid

Carolina (at San Francisco) does not have an ideal matchup, but it’s almost impossible to bench a team that has posted double-digit fantasy points in each of their last six games. ... Likewise, San Francisco (vs. Carolina) gets a hot Panthers team this week, but there’s no sense in getting cute and sitting the 49ers.


You don't want to rely on these D/STs on a weekly basis, but their matchup is too juicy to pass up.

1. Miami (vs. Tampa Bay) – Cameron Wake is back as a dominant pass rusher, which means great things for this Dolphins unit. The pressure Miami can generate has the potential to cause rookie QB Mike Glennon to make mistakes. As we saw last week, Miami is more than capable of capitalizing.

2. Oakland (at New York) – Okay, so the Raiders burnt fantasy owners who rolled the dice on them last week, but they’re not as bad as Nick Foles made them look. Eli Manning and company have given up double-digit fantasy points in all but one game this season, so Oakland makes for a high upside, albeit risky, play this week.

3. Buffalo (at Pittsburgh) – The rollercoaster Bills defense has produced double-digit fantasy points three times and zero fantasy points or less three times this season. But we do have the makings of an "up" week in this one, as the Steelers have yielded ten sacks and turned the ball over five times in their last two games.

4. Philadelphia (at Green Bay) – With Aaron Rodgers sidelined and Seneca Wallace starting for the Packers, Philly becomes a very intriguing option. The Eagles are by no means a lights-out defense, but they’ve really improved this season and have held their last five opponents to 21 points or less. If you’re really stuck this week, the Eagles make for a boom/bust play.

Middle of the Road

Baltimore (vs. Cincinnati) has at least three sacks in all but one game this season, but they’ve failed to top double-digit fantasy points since Week 3. ... The NY Giants (vs. Oakland) are climbing back into our good graces after nabbing six takeaways in the last two games. You could do a lot worse than the G-Men this week. ... Houston (at Arizona) looked better last week against the Colts, but it’s tough to place too much trust in a unit that has generated just five takeaways on the season. ... Tampa Bay (vs. Miami) hasn’t scored double-digit fantasy points since Week 4, and that trend is unlikely to reverse on Monday night. ... It’s no longer Tuel time for the Bills, so it’s a good idea to shy away from Pittsburgh (vs. Buffalo). ... Despite the constant threat of Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota (vs. Washington) isn’t a particularly appealing option against the surging Washington offense. ... Cincinnati (at Baltimore) gets a downgrade in fantasy value due to the season-ending injury to DT Geno Atkins. ... Washington (at Minnesota) is a bad unit in a good matchup. Play this one at your own risk.

Matchup Downgrade

They shouldn't be dropped, but a tough matchup limits the fantasy upside of these units.

1. Chicago (vs. Detroit) – Matthew Stafford has only been sacked two times in the Lions’ last three games, and Detroit has yielded a combined one fantasy point to opposing defenses during that stretch.

2. St. Louis (vs. Indianapolis) – While the Rams do have 11 sacks in the last two weeks, they face a Colts offense that’s averaging the eighth-most points per game and have yet to yield double-digit fantasy points to an opposing defense this season.

3. Green Bay (vs. Philadelphia) – In the three games in which Nick Foles has played well, the Eagles have yielded a combined negative-15 fantasy points. That’s not a typo. The Packers are a serviceable fantasy option in most matchups, but you’re going to want to look elsewhere this week.

With double-digit fantasy points in three of their last four, Dallas (at New Orleans) has emerged as a Top 10 unit. But they get a downgrade on the road against the Saints this week. ... On the other side of this matchup, New Orleans (vs. Dallas) faces a Cowboys team that has yet to give up double-digit fantasy points to an opposing defense this season. ... Denver (at San Diego) entered their bye on the heels of their best fantasy performance of the season, but the Chargers offense has turned the ball over just twice and given up a total of four sacks over the last three games.

Bottom of the Barrel

The bye week is unlikely to help Jacksonville (at Tennessee). ... San Diego (vs. Denver) came back to earth last week and get to follow that up against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. ... The Bears proved to be a tough matchup even with Josh McCown at quarterback, so keep Detroit (at Chicago) in free agency this week. ... Atlanta (vs. Seattle) currently gives up the seventh-most points per game to opposing offenses. You want no piece of this unit.

Can I Kick it?

Here are my top 12 kickers for Week 10:

1. Matt Prater (at SD)

2. Mason Crosby (vs. PHI)

3. Garrett Hartley (vs. DAL)

4. Steven Hauschka (at ATL)

5. Adam Vinatieri (vs. STL)

6. Dan Bailey (at NO)

7. Nick Novak (vs. DEN)

8. Robbie Gould (vs. DET)

9. David Akers (at CHI)

10. Alex Henery (at GB)

11. Phil Dawson (vs. CAR)

12. Justin Tucker (vs. CIN)

D/ST Standard Scoring System

Any Touchdown

6 pts


0 points allowed

5 pts


Under 100 yards allowed

5 pts


2 pts


1-6 points allowed

4 pts


101 to 199 yards allowed

3 pts

Fumble Recovery

2 pts


7-13 points allowed

3 pts


200 to 299 yards allowed

2 pts

Blocked Kick

2 pts


14-17 points allowed

1 pt


300 to 349 yards allowed

0 pts


2 pts


18-27 points allowed

0 pts


350 to 399 yards allowed

 -1 pts


1 pt


28-34 points allowed

 -1 pts


400 to 449 yards allowed

 -3 pts




35-45 points allowed

 -3 pts


450 to 499 yards allowed

 -5 pts




46+ points allowed

 -5 pts


500- 549 yards allowed

 -6 pts







550+ yards allowed

 -7 pts

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