Getting on the Defensive: Week 9


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After eight weeks, it was already very clear that the Los Angeles Rams had one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Rams have reigning defensive player of the year with defensive tackle Aaron Donald and arguably the league’s best cornerback at Jalen Ramsey. The Rams are 11th in the league against running, 10th in defense and fifth in turnover differential.

On Monday, the rich got richer.

As Jeff Legwold and Lindsey Thiry reported for ESPN, the Rams sent a pair of Day 2 picks to the Denver Broncos in exchange for eight-time Pro Bowl rusher Von Miller. Miller, who has 110.5 sacks and a Super Bowl MVP award on his 10-year NFL resume in Denver, totaled 4.5 sacks in the first four games of 2021 but had been struggling with injury lately.

As he spoke to reporters on Monday night, Rams head coach Sean McVay was delighted to add a Miller-quality player during the season.

“He brings an element, obviously an incredibly unique football player who is not only a great passer, but he’s a complete football player who can really affect and influence an attack in a negative way on all three downs,” McVay said. . “You can use it in different ways.”

The move gives the Rams another proven commodity against Leonard Floyd and raises a dilemma for opponents. Double team Donald on the inside, and Miller and Floyd are going to feast on their own teams. Help out on the edge, and you have to hope your inside linemen can stand up to a DPOY three times.

Either way, you’re pretty fucked up – something the Titans will likely find out soon enough.


Buffalo Bills (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

The only reason the Rams don’t have the top spot in this week’s column is that the No.1 defense in fantasy football after eight weeks is up against a Jaguars team that just got their heads kicked by the Seahawks in Seattle led by Geno Smith. . No NFL team has more points to take this season than the 18 the Bills amassed, while the Jaguars are tied for the third most league giveaways at 13 and have given up the second most. huge number of fantastic points per game to the team’s defenses this season. This game will probably be out of control at half-time.

Los Angeles Rams (vs. Tennessee Titans)

Eight weeks into the 2021 fantasy campaign, the Rams have been good but not good for fantasy managers – eighth in fantasy points for the year. But in addition to winning Von Miller, the Rams also lure a shocked Titans side on Sunday night who must figure out how to move the football with Derrick Henry and possibly Julio Jones sidelined. It won’t be easy – if Jones sits down, the Rams can shadow Ramsey AJ Brown and essentially dare anyone else on the Tennessee offense to beat them – all the while rushing forward with their new look.

Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Chicago Bears)

After a 1-3 start to the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are back above 0.500 for the first time since Week 1 and the engine of that resurgence has been TJ Watt and the defense. Pittsburgh ranks 11th for total defense, seventh for defensive scorers, 10th for sacks and 10th for fantastic points per game among defenses. Starting in Week 5, during Pittsburgh’s three-game winning streak, that fantastic production is even higher, and on Sunday the Steelers will host a Bears team that leads the NFL in cleared sacks and leads the NFC in fantastic points handed over. to the defenses.

Arizona Cardinals (among the San Francisco 49ers)

For most of the 2021 season, the Arizona Cardinals have placed near the top of the Fantasy rankings among defenses. But part of the shine came from the team in last week’s loss to a shorthanded Green Bay Packers team in a game where the Redbirds knew the race was coming and just couldn’t. stop it. However, the Cardinals are still second among the team’s defenses for total fantasy points, fourth for total defense and third for scoring defense. In the first meeting between these teams this year, Arizona allowed just 10 points while scoring two sacks and forcing a turnaround.

Dallas Cowboys (vs. Denver Broncos)

The 6-1 Dallas Cowboys are one of the most surprising teams in the NFL this year, not because the Cowboys necessarily hold the top spot, but because the Dallas defense played an equally important role in the team success as the offensive. Last week against one of the league’s best offensive teams with the Minnesota Vikings, the Cowboys gave up just 278 yards of attack and 16 points while recording a Kirk Cousins ​​sack. Considering the success Dallas has had with take-out food this season, it’s no exaggeration to imagine them scoring a couple against an inconsistent Denver offense.

New England Patriots (to Carolina Panthers)

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the New England Patriots are playing good defense. That’s true in real life, where New England is eighth in the league to score on defense with 20.5 points allowed. And that’s true in fantasy football, where Adrian Phillips’ pick of six last week against his former team propelled the Pats to a big fantastic day and placed New England sixth in the season for the fantastic points among the defenses. This week the Patriots draw a Carolina Panthers team that gave up quite a few fantastic points to opposing defenses – sixth, if you like to count and so on.

Carolina Panthers (vs. New England Patriots)

After a 3-0 start, the Carolina Panthers came back to earth, but the team came back to .500 last week with a victory over the Atlanta Falcons in which the defense allowed just 231 yards. total attack and a single hit while amassing three bags and notching a pair of takeaways. As the season progressed and Mac Jones settled in, the Patriots became a less favorable clash for opposing fantastic defenses. But the team still ranks in the top 10 for fantastic points per game awarded to the position, and Carolina’s pass rush could be a problem for the rookie quarterback.

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New Orleans Saints (vs. Atlanta Falcons)

The Saints are probably not available in the majority of fantasy leagues – the team is in seventh place in scorers in the position for the year. But New Orleans recently got permission and may have slacked off in some leagues ahead of last week’s tilt with Tampa Bay Tom Bradys. In this shocking victory for the Saints, the defense turned a pick of six into the second best scoring of the week by a D / ST, and now the Saints can accommodate an Atlanta Falcons team that were having all kinds of difficulty in generate some offense last week without Calvin Ridley.

Indianapolis Colts (vs. New York Jets)

After watching the Tennessee Titans put 34 on the Colts last week while the New York Jets went completely nuts over the Cincinnati Bengals, some fantasy managers may guess what looks like a very favorable fantasy game on Thursday night. . No. Mike White will no longer throw for more than 400 yards …already. Even after that game, the Jets are still 28th overall in offense, 30th in defense, second in giveaways and eighth in allowed sacks. Add all that up and you have the team that (still) leads the NFL in fantastic points per game allowed to equip defenses.

Las Vegas Raiders (with the New York Giants)

There is perhaps no more surprising team in the AFC this year than the Raiders, who come out of their week off on their own in first place in the AFC West. But while an improved Raiders defense has played a role in the team’s success, statistically speaking, the Raiders sit in the middle of the pack in more categories than not. Of course, that recommendation has more to do with the opponent than the Raiders themselves – the New York Giants have surrendered the 10th most fantastic points per game to defenses this season, and the offensive line remains an issue for them. the G-Men.

Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Cleveland Browns)

This is a recommendation that undoubtedly catches the eyes of many of the fantastic managers who took out the Bengals last week to see them give the New York Jets 511 yards and 34 points, which is a phrase that still it doesn’t look good even though i saw it happen with horror. It had to be a Halloween thing. Still, from a game’s perspective, there are things to like here defensively. If Cincinnati can load up the box and slow down the running game, the Browns are going to have a hard time (again) moving the ball – the passing “attack” in Cleveland is a top-down mess.

Green Bay Packers (with the Kansas City Chiefs)

So that’s where we are in 2021. Eight weeks ago, the idea of ​​aiming at the Kansas City Chiefs on purpose as a game for the defenses would have had eyes so big the corneas would have sprained each other. . But the point is, the Chiefs are struggling to understand all the two-height looks opposing defenses are throwing at them. This pushes Patrick Mahomes to press. And he returns the ball – a lot. The Chiefs don’t rank well in the top 10 for fantastic points awarded to defenses by accident. And their problems on offense won’t be resolved by magic.

Miami Dolphins (vs. Houston Texans)

With that recommendation comes a caveat: If the Houston Texans get veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor back for this game, it does shine a bit of the fantasy game shine. But if it’s Davis Mills under center once again, then even a Dolphins defense that ranks in the bottom five in both yards allowed and runs allowed enters the conversation like a game of desperation for the streamers. There have been a few games this season where Mills has at least looked like an NFL quarterback. But there were also several occasions where he certainly didn’t.

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