Week 7 Matchup Rankings: Team Defenses to Exploit
The overwhelming majority of Fantasy Football leagues play with team defenses. That’s just the way it is. I prefer individual defensive players myself. The reason is simple (similar to why I prefer to play in leagues where you can start two QBs), it just adds more strategy. When it comes to a DST, you will be told over and over again to draft one late, preferably in the last two rounds. There is no strategy there. Plus, if you don’t get a top DST (Denver), or you end up with one that underperforms (Houston), you won’t have any problems streaming week to week and just playing the best matchup. Why not try IDP? You can start slow, maybe one linebacker, one defensive lineman and one defensive back and go from there. The more strategy your league uses, the better your league is.
As always, here are this week's defenses to exploit, listed in order from best to worst to use players against.
- New Orleans Saints: Yes, they showed up versus the Falcons last game, but now they are playing the Colts with what looks to be a healthy Andrew Luck, on the road. I don’t see lightning striking twice here.
- Tennessee Titans: This may be the worst team in the NFL, and now they go up against one of the better offenses that also had the benefit of three extra days to prepare. It also looks like the Titans will be forced to use their backup quarterback. That’s a recipe for disaster if you ask me.
[caption id="attachment_99769" align="alignright" width="334"] We may see a lot of the back of Zach Metzenbergers's jersey this week. Photo Credit: Keith Allison[/caption]
- Detroit Lions: The Vikings don’t possess the passing offense that the Bears do, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about their defense this week. Will this be the game that Teddy Bridgewater shows why so many of us were high on him at draft time, or will they just run it down Detroit’s throat?
- Indianapolis Colts: They did play well at times versus the Patriots but overall, this unit has issues. Vontae Davis will more than likely matchup with Brandin Cooks, although, one can argue that he should be on Willie Snead instead. This game has all the makings of a shootout, as I don’t see either defense being able to stop the other on any kind of consistent basis.
- Washington Redskins: It used to be that the Redskins could stop the run but were vulnerable to the pass. Well, over the last two games Devonta Freeman and Chris Ivory have run for almost 300 yards versus that defense (299 yards). Doesn’t seem like they can stop the run or pass now.
- Oakland Raiders:
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It’s unlikely that the bye week solved their defensive issues, which are extensive. The Redskins, however, don’t do anything tremendously well, and QB Kirk Cousins is a turnover waiting to happen. Tight end Jordan Reed could return for Washington, which could also settle things down offensively.
- Baltimore Ravens: Right now, teams have to be looking at their schedule and hoping the Ravens are on it. The Ravens are the cure for your offensive problems. They have been lit up by everyone and the Cardinals shouldn’t be any different this week. If I owned WR Michael Floyd, this is the week he gets into my starting lineup in both redraft and DFS leagues.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: I would rank this defense lower if it were not for all of the injuries the Bills have on offense. Once again, Buffalo will be without starting QB Tyrod Taylor and now both starting WRs (Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin) will also miss the game. The Jags’ defense just may not be on the field all that much.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Well, the Chiefs get a break, I guess, Mike Vick is out this week with a hamstring tear, so they get to face rookie Landry Jones instead. This is usually a good thing but the way Vick was playing, the Chiefs may actually be disappointed. Then again, the Chiefs’ defense hasn’t looked like they could stop my high school team.
- Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings better hope that Matthew Stafford’s explosion last week had more to do with the Chicago defense than it did Stafford figuring some things out.
- Cleveland Browns: They are playing the Rams. Cleveland versus St. Louis. Outside of Todd Gurley I can’t even think of a reason to watch this game. Oh, and Gurley is going to shred this run defense.
- San Francisco 49ers: This defense really hasn’t played so badly, and at home they have been better than average. Maybe it’s because no one can stand up straight on that turf. Seattle’s offensive line is putrid, so putting pressure on Russell Wilson shouldn’t be a problem, maybe a pick six will come their way, maybe not.
- Dallas Cowboys: We all saw the Eagles harass Eli Manning into several mistakes on Monday. Well, the Dallas defensive line is better than the Eagles line as far as pressuring the quarterback is concerned, and it will be at full strength this week. Greg Hardy could make life awfully hard for Eli, as the NYG offensive line is shaky at best.
- San Diego Chargers: That was a pretty good performance against the Packers last week. Sure, they lost the game, but they certainly weren’t shredded by Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. Stopping the run, however, is a different story but if they can score early, they won’t have to worry about that as much.
- Atlanta Falcons: They will be the streamer’s delight this week, as they get to face what could be the worst team in the NFL, which has little in the way of offensive weapons. I mean really, who scares you on Tennessee? Not to mention that Zach Mettenberger will start at QB over the injured Marcus Mariota. This is a wipeout waiting to happen.
- Houston Texans: What has happened to this defense? They were expected to be Top 10 this season, but instead have been pretty close to unusable. The Dolphins beat up on a terrible Titans’ defense last season; let’s see what they can do against a decent defense (we think) this week.
- Philadelphia Eagles: I’m not sure how Carolina keeps winning football games? They had two 80 yard drives late in the game last week to beat Seattle. How does that happen on a team with an average at best running game and no receivers to speak of? Here’s to thinking the Eagles will have more success this week.
- Buffalo Bills: I keep dropping them in the rankings and after this week’s game in London, I have a feeling I’ll be dropping them further.
- New England Patriots:
- Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are also a streamer’s delight here because they have been sneaky good this season. But they are also playing a team that will be without its top RB, and one of the best players in the NFL in Jamaal Charles; and now their top WR, Jeremy Maclin, may also miss the game with a concussion. The Chiefs may have an extremely difficult time moving the ball.
- New York Jets: Tom Brady and the Patriots will score points in this game, but it won’t be at will. The Jets have played this offense as well as anyone over the past couple of seasons.
- New York Giants: Matt Cassel is not the answer to what ails the Cowboys’ offense.
- Miami Dolphins: We should find out this week whether last week’s showing against the Titans was a sign of things to come for this defense, or if they were just playing against a bad team. I’m choosing to believe the former.
- St. Louis Rams: This has all the makings of a low scoring game on both sides, but the Rams’ defense is legit and Cleveland doesn’t have the weapons to truly attack them.
- Seattle Seahawks: This should be an angry bunch after collapsing versus Carolina last week.
- Carolina Panthers: They might give up points in this game but we all know Sam Bradford is a turnover machine.
- Arizona Cardinals: Only number one because Denver is on bye.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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