Getting Defensive: Week 8

Jeff Ratcliffe
Jeff Brubach highlights top D/ST kicker options for Week 14 and beyond in the latest installment of Getting Defensive

It’s a two-horse race this season between the Chiefs and Seahawks. If you don’t own one of these units, your best bet is to stream based on weekly matchups because there’s almost always a team defense available on your waiver wire.

By the way, it’s a really bad idea to carry two fantasy defenses (or kickers) on your roster. That extra bench spot is prime real estate where you can stockpile positional depth. If you currently own two team defenses and they’re not the Chiefs and Seahawks, cut one of them lose.

The key to streaming is paying close attention to the matchups, so let’s see what Week 8 has in store for us. 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 8. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ETHere's the link.

The Usual Suspects

Kansas City (vs. Cleveland) has scored double-digit fantasy points in all but one game this season. ... Seattle (at St. Louis) faces Kellen Clemens. ‘Nuff said. ... San Francisco (at Jacksonville) remains locked in your lineup this week in an extremely juicy matchup against the Jags.

Preferred Plays

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

1. Carolina (at Tampa Bay) – I was very close to putting the Panthers in the Usual Suspects this week, but their pushover of a schedule could have a lot to do with the 16 sacks and 10 takeaways they’ve produced over the last four games. They get another strong matchup this week against a banged up Bucs team that will be without Doug Martin.

2. Cincinnati (vs. NY Jets) – The Jets have given up a combined 16 sacks over the last four games and have yielded double-digit fantasy points in three of those four games. The Bengals are coming off a tough game against the Lions last week, but they rebound in a big way in this one.

3. New Orleans (vs. Buffalo) – Aside from their Week 6 contest against New England, the Saints have not given up more than 20 points this season. This unit is legit, and they face a Bills team that has yielded 13 sacks in their last three games. Buffalo will struggle to get much done with Thad Lewis at the helm, and that means good things for the Saints defense.

Still Solid

New England (vs. Miami) is obviously reeling from the loss of both Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork, but this unit still managed to post a solid fantasy day in Week 7 thanks to Logan Ryan’s 79-yard interception return. Miami has been a very friendly matchup for opposing defenses, giving up double-digit fantasy points in three of their last four games.


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

1. Philadelphia (vs. NY Giants) – No, they’re not an impressive defense by any stretch, but the Eagles get the best fantasy matchup this week against a Giants team that has given up double-digit fantasy points in six-of-seven games this season thanks in part to a whopping nine touchdowns yielded to opposing fantasy D/STs. If you’re looking for upside at a bargain price, the Eagles are your play this week.

2. Green Bay (at Minnesota) – Despite being extremely banged up at linebacker, the Packers have given up just 39 points while recording 13 sacks over the last three weeks. They face a floundering Vikings team that has turned the ball over three times and managed just seven points against the lowly Giants on Monday night.

Middle of the Road

St. Louis (vs. Seattle) came back to earth last week. They face a tall task on Monday night against the surging Seahawks offense. ... I’m not particularly crazy about Pittsburgh (at Oakland), but there is some upside to be had against a Raiders team that has given up 20-plus fantasy points twice this season. ... Denver (vs. Washington) hasn’t scored double-digit fantasy points since Week 4, but you could definitely do worse than the Broncos this week. ... Atlanta (at Arizona) produced double-digit fantasy points in Week 7 thanks to a first quarter touchdown, but they’re still extremely inconsistent as a fantasy option. Start them if you don’t have any other options, but you likely can do better. ... I’d lean towards not starting Oakland (vs. Pittsburgh) and Miami (at New England).  

Matchup Downgrade

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

1. Arizona (vs. Atlanta) – Even without Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Steven Jackson, the Falcons showed they’re still capable of putting 30-plus on the board. While I really like this Cardinals defense, they get a downgrade this week against an Atlanta team that currently yields the third-least fantasy points per game to opposing defenses.

2. Dallas (at Detroit) – The Lions have turned the ball over just once in their last three games. Last week, they held the impressive Bengals defense to zero sacks on the way to a negative fantasy day. Dallas has fared well in good matchups this season, but it’s tough to trust them this week.

3. Cleveland (vs. Kansas City) – In bad matchups the last two weeks, Cleveland has managed just one takeaway and two sacks for a combined zero fantasy points. Kansas City isn’t a high-powered offense, but they have yet to yield double-digit fantasy points this season. Look elsewhere.

While the NY Jets (at Cincinnati) looked good last week against New England, they face a Bengals team that has yielded a combined negative two fantasy points over the last two weeks. ... The streaky Detroit (vs. Dallas) defense has upside in the right matchup, but you’re going to want to avoid them against a Cowboys team that has yet to yield double-digit fantasy points to an opposing defense this season. ... Minnesota (vs. Green Bay) isn’t quite a bottom of the barrel option, but they’re close. Cut them loose this week against the Packers. ... Buffalo (at New Orleans) has been a very opportunistic fantasy unit, but this is a bad matchup on the road against the Saints.

Bottom of the Barrel

You’re only starting Jacksonville (vs. San Francisco) if they play themselves. ... Tampa Bay (vs. Carolina) has struggled to generate a pass rush with just two sacks over the last three games. It’s tough to roll with them against a Panthers team that has put up 30-plus points in three of the last four games. ... The NY Giants (at Philadelphia) scored more fantasy points in Week 7 than they had in the previous six games combined, but it’s still too tough to trust fantasy’s No. 32 unit. ... Washington (at Denver) has given up a combined 72 points in the last two games, and this week they get to face Peyton Manning. Oh boy.

Can I Kick it?

Here are my top 12 kickers for Week 8:

1. Matt Prater (vs. WAS)

2. Stephen Gostkowski (vs. MIA)

3. Alex Henery (vs. NYG)

4. Garrett Hartley (vs. BUF)

5. Phil Dawson (at JAC)

6. Steven Hauschka (at STL)

7. Dan Bailey (at DET)

8. Ryan Succop (vs. CLE)

9. Matt Bryant (at ARI)

10. Mason Crosby (at MIN)

11. Kai Forbath (at DEN)

12. David Akers (vs. DAL)

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