Getting Defensive: Week 6

Jeff Ratcliffe
Jeff Brubach is back with D/ST and kicker analysis for Week 17 in the latest installment of Getting Defensive

Five weeks are in the rearview mirror, and you’re likely starting to see some separation occurring in your leagues. To stay in the playoff hunt, you’re going to want to continue to exploit every edge you possibly can. Team defenses typically don’t net you a ton of points, but starting the wrong one can definitely cost you a victory.

Like we do every week, let’s check in on what Week 6 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 $30,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 6. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $4,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ETHere's the link

The Usual Suspects

Seattle (vs. Tennessee) and Kansas City (vs. Oakland) are fantasy’s top two defenses. They’re every-week starts.

Preferred Plays

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

1. Denver (vs. Jacksonville) – This one just isn’t fair. We have arguable the league’s worst team facing perhaps the most prolific offense in the history of the NFL. The Broncos defense hasn’t been as impressive as they were last season, but it’s impossible to pass up this matchup.

2. Chicago (vs. NY Giants) – Like Denver, the Bears aren’t quite last year’s unit, but they still have one of the highest fantasy ceilings in the league. The Giants have given the ball away three or more times in each game this season. That bodes extremely positively for the Bears’ opportunistic defense.

3. Cincinnati (at Buffalo) – Thad Lewis is starting at quarterback for the Bills. Take a minute to soak that in. The stout Cincinnati defensive line should have a field day against the unproven Lewis, who just last week was on the Bills’ practice squad.

Still Solid

San Francisco (vs. Arizona) brushed off the early season dust and put up a combined 12 takeaways and sacks over the last two weeks. They get an extremely fantasy friendly matchup this week against their division rival. ... Cleveland (vs. Detroit) is fantasy’s No. 3 unit through the first five weeks, and could get a big upgrade if Calvin Johnson remains sidelined. ... Carolina (at Minnesota) has posted double-digit fantasy points in each of their last two games and gets some combination of Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman this weekend. ... Indianapolis (at San Diego) impressed yet again last week, posting double-digit fantasy points for the third game in a row. They’re for real. ... Arizona (vs. San Francisco) is also for real. The return of Daryl Washington only makes the Cardinals better.


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

1. NY Jets (vs. Pittsburgh) – Only the Jags and Giants currently yield more fantasy points per game than the Steelers do to opposing defenses. While the Jets haven’t been particularly impressive this season from a fantasy standpoint, they’re a better unit than you might think. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson will give Ben Roethlisberger trouble all day.

2. St. Louis (at Houston) – St. Louis is not a good defense, but they showed last week that they’re capable of producing in the right matchup. The Texans are certainly not the Jags, but they have turned the ball over seven times in the last two games and have yielded five defensive touchdowns on the season. If you grabbed the Rams last week, you can likely hold them until their Week 8 matchup against Seattle.

3. Buffalo (vs. Cincinnati) – The slumping Bengals have scored just 19 points over the last two weeks and have yielded double-digit fantasy points in each of their last three games. Buffalo is by no means an every-week fantasy option, but they showed nice upside against the Ravens in Week 4 with five interceptions. The Bills also have nine sacks over the last two weeks.

Middle of the Road

While I’m not crazy about these plays, you can get away with starting Detroit (at Cleveland) and Dallas (vs. Washington). ... I’m not quite sure what’s up with Houston (vs. St. Louis) this season, but I’m willing to give them one more chance against the suspect Rams offense. ... Tampa Bay (vs. Philadelphia) has been solid, but they’re a bit of a risk against the high-powered Eagles offense that has yielded negative fantasy points twice this season. ... On the other side of the matchup, Philadelphia (at Tampa Bay) is not a strong defense, but they have the potential to put up decent points against a struggling Bucs offense. ... Pittsburgh (at NY Jets) has zero takeaways and just four sacks on the season, but they get a fantasy friendly matchup against the Jets. Still, it’s tough to start the Steelers unless you’re really desperate. ... Likewise, Minnesota (vs. Carolina) hasn’t inspired much confidence, but they get a Panthers team that just gave up a huge fantasy day to Arizona. ... I’d lean towards not starting New Orleans (at New England) and Oakland (at Kansas City).

Matchup Downgrade

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

1. New England (vs. New Orleans) – With their offense firing on all cylinders, the Saints have yielded a combined zero fantasy points over the last three weeks. While I really like the Patriots in Week 7 against the Jets, it’s a good idea to look for other options this week.

2. Baltimore (vs. Green Bay) – Aside from their struggles against Cincinnati in Week 3, the Packers have been a very tough fantasy matchup for opposing defenses this season. Baltimore gets a nice matchup next week against the Steelers, but they’re a Week 6 downgrade.

Despite a decent matchup against the Ravens, Green Bay (at Baltimore) also gets a fantasy downgrade with Clay Matthews sidelined. ... The Seahawks have given up double-digit fantasy points in each of their last two games, but both were on the road. Tennessee (at Seattle) is going to have their hands full in this one.

Bottom of the Barrel

You're obviously not starting Jacksonville (at Denver) any week, but especially not this week. ... Only one fantasy defense currently averages negative fantasy points per game, and that team is the NY Giants (at Chicago). ... The Cowboys currently yield the second least fantasy points per game to opposing defenses, so don’t get cute with Washington (at Dallas). ... San Diego (vs. Indianapolis) has scored positive fantasy points in each of the last two weeks. So they have that going for them, which is nice. 

Can I Kick it?

Here are my top 12 kickers for Week 6:

1. Matt Prater (vs. JAC)

2. Stephen Gostkowski (vs. NO)

3. Dan Bailey (vs. WAS)

4. Justin Tucker (vs. GB)

5. Alex Henery (at TB)

6. Randy Bullock (vs. STL)

7. Robbie Gould (vs. NYG)

8. Phil Dawson (vs. ARI)

9. Mason Crosby (at BAL)

10. Greg Zuerlein (at HOU)

11. Nick Novak (vs. IND)

12. Steven Hauschka (vs. TEN)

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