How quickly a DST in the NFL can go from being the best to borderline Top 10. The Broncos have been the best DST all season, but thrown in an injury to DeMarcus Ware, a suspension to Aqib Talib, and now Brock Osweiler at QB, and you may have some problems. While it’s true that Osweiler has the arm strength to make throws that Peyton Manning no longer can, he is also unlikely to move the offense all that much better. In the end this could lead to the defense being on the field much longer than anyone will want. Just a bad situation all around.
Here are the defenses to exploit for Week 11, listed from best to exploit to the ones you should avoid if you can.
1. Detroit Lions: The Lions played the old bend but don’t break defense last week. Sure they gave up well over 300 yards passing to Aaron Rodgers but they were able to keep the Packers out of the end zone for the most part. Can they do it again against another pass heavy team in the Raiders? I have my doubts, I’m starting Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
2. Indianapolis Colts: Both the Colts and the Falcons are coming off a bye. Which team fixed their problems? I’ll take Atlanta. Yeah you’re starting Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman but does Matt Ryan get into the Top 10? With Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning out on bye and Tony Romo likely to be rusty after a seven week layoff, yes he does. The bigger question might be will the Falcons make more of an effort to get Roddy White involved? They say they will, but we have heard this before.
3. Tennessee Titans: The Titans are a bit banged up on defense but so are the Jaguars. A short week may not help either team here. T.J. Yeldon has a foot problem and will be a game-time decision. Allen Hurns is probable with a foot injury. I’ll start Hurns, hard to pass up on a WR that has caught a TD pass in seven straight games but I’d be cautious about Yeldon, even if he plays tonight, he may not be up to full speed or get a full complement of touches.
4. Chicago Bears: Will the Broncos offense change drastically without Peyton? Yes and no. Defenses now will have to give more respect to the deep pass which will keep the safeties high. Theoretically, this will open up holes for the running game. The problem with this theory however is that the Broncos offensive line still has problems that a new QB is not going to solve. Demaryius Thomas is the only Broncos offensive player I would think about playing this week. Emmanuel Sanders is just to banged up and I don’t trust the running game.
5. San Francisco 49ers: This ranking may have more to do with the 49ers offense than their defense. Can the offense stay on the field long enough to keep the defense off of it? Can the Seahawks offense take advantage of it? The answers to both questions may be no.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Who will start at quarterback for Philadelphia? As of this writing Sam Bradford still hasn’t passed his concussion protocol and seems unlikely to play Sunday. Mark Sanchez would start in his place and would still be a Top 12 QB for Fantasy owners. Ryan Mathews also hasn’t passed his concussion protocol, which could lead to Darren Sproles being a solid flex play, it’s not like DeMarco Murray can get all the carries.
7. San Diego Chargers: I don’t care who is on bye this week, Alex Smith is still not a play in Fantasy, but that doesn’t mean Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce shouldn’t be in your starting lineups. Who would’ve thought Charcandrick West would play such a big role this season, he’s a low end RB1.
8. Washington Redskins: The Skins did a good job last week at keeping Drew Brees and the Saints at bay. Can they do it again against Cam Newton? It’s hard to believe the Panthers are undefeated when you look at that offense. Outside of Newton, Jonathan Stewart and Greg Olsen, who else do you want to start? Ted Ginn? I’ll pass, unless I’m really desperate.
9. Baltimore Ravens
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Marcus Mariota could also be someone to use this week should you be down a QB. It’s not like the Jags have the best of defenses. Antonio Andrews could not have picked a worse week to have a terrible game. David Cobb is expected to make his professional debut tonight and if Andrews gets off to another slow start, Cobb could get more touches than initially expected.
11. Buffalo Bills: I’m just as curious as everyone else to seeing if Danny Amendola can replace Julian Edelman. Sure they are built alike and defenses will have trouble covering them, but Amendola has never proven that he can stay healthy for any length of time. Also, the Patriots still have a very good offense, but losing Dion Lewis and now Edelman just has to take a toll.
12. Oakland Raiders: We keep hearing that the Lions want to get Ameer Abdullah more involved in the offense. Will this be the week they actually do it? It could be. Joique Bell looks awfully slow even though he does seem to be the preferred back in Detroit. The truth is I wouldn’t want to have to start either one of them.
13. Miami Dolphins: It’s great for Dallas that Tony Romo
is back but Fantasy owners who think that he will hit the ground running may be in for a surprise Sunday. I’m a Romo believer but he has missed seven games, and it would seem unlikely that he will hit the ground running Sunday and not have some rust. Romo also may not be a start next week as Dallas will play Carolina, you know, that team that is currently undefeated.
14. Houston Texans: The Texans defense finally played Monday night like the defense we thought they would be coming into the season. They completely shut down the Bengals offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the Jets this week after having hand surgery less than a week ago. I can’t trust him. I’m still starting Brandon Marshall and Chris Ivory, but both fall into WR2 and RB2 for me.
15. Green Bay Packers: The Packers don’t have a sack in three straight games which means Teddy Bridgewater should have some time to throw in this one but does that matter? Stefon Diggs has been invisible the past couple of weeks, and Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson have been invisible all season. After Kyle Rudolph dropped an easy TD pass last week, Bridgewater hardly looked his way again. The Packers defense may have a rebound game here as the only must start for the Vikings is Adrian Peterson.
16. Minnesota Vikings: Yes, the Packers have struggled some but Aaron Rodgers is still throwing for a ton of yardage, just not getting into the end zone as much as expected. Davonte Adams had 21 targets last week. That is just ridiculous. That seems like a matchup play, one that might not materialize this week, but it does tell me that Adams is now a play over James Jones if you have that choice.
17. Kansas City Chiefs: Phillip Rivers is still a Top 10 Fantasy QB this week but that doesn’t mean I’m not a little worried about him. The SD OL is poor to say the least, they can’t open up any holes, which means it’s all on the arm of Rivers as to how successful this offense will be. Lots of passes will be thrown to Steve Johnson, Antonio Gates, and Danny Woodhead.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Will the Cowboys defense feel the spark of Tony Romo’s return? Possibly. The Dolphins offensive line has problems and Ryan Tannehill may not have much time to find his receivers. Lamar Miller is still the starter for Miami and a RB2, but the team loves Jay Ajayi and wants to get him more than just a handful of touches.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Andrew Luck is out until at least December so we are back to Matt Hasselbeck. What can we look for with Hasselbeck? More short throws as the Colts won’t want him to take to many hits. More run plays as the team will need to rely on Frank Gore and Ahmad Bradshaw to keep defenses honest.
20. Cincinnati Bengals: Keep an eye on the status of both Michael Floyd and John Brown this week. Floyd and Brown have yet to practice this week due to hamstring injuries. If one or both miss the game, Jaron Brown could be a sneaky start.
21. Carolina Panthers
22. Arizona Cardinals
23. New England Patriots: Much like Allen Hurns with the Jaguars, it’s hard not to start Karlos Williams. LeSean McCoy is the starter, no doubt about that, but Williams is the goal line guy, will get a handful of other touches, and more importantly, has scored a touchdown in every game in which he has played this season.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: What do we know about the Bucs passing game? Well if you can cover Mike Evans, good chance you will win, if you don’t, the oh well. Vincent Jackson will more than likely miss this game once again. What we don’t know if whether or not Austin Seferian-Jenkins is going to play. He is still limited and at this point even if he starts for TB, he wouldn’t start for me until he proves that he can play a full game.
25. Denver Broncos: The Bears somehow made a strong Rams defense look vulnerable last week. Can they do the same this week to a Broncos defense that will get back Talib? If Matt Forte is out, I’m starting Jeremy Langford, just can’t sit this rookie, but if Forte is in, then Langford is out for me. I’m not liking AlshonJeffery however. He is once again hobbled by a groin injury, only played about half the offensive snaps last week and did not have a good game. I’m not sure how much that changes this week. Now, when I say I want to sit him, this assumes you have a solid replacement.
26. New York Jets: T.J. Yates is likely to start for Houston. Enough said there. DeAndre Hopkins is the only player I would start for Houston.
27. St. Louis Rams
28. Seattle Seahawks
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.