Jeff Ratcliffe

Three And Out

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Getting Defensive: Week 7

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Let’s face it. As much as we value our skill position players, fantasy weeks are often won or lost at the D/ST and kicker positions. A couple of extra points at each spot can even be the difference between your team making or missing the playoffs.

 

The problem is that there’s a lot of volatility in these positions on a week-to-week basis. If you don’t get your hands on good options, you’re likely stuck working the waiver wire.

 

The good news is that very few owners actually carry backups, so you likely have plenty of options. But who do you choose?

 

Each week, I’m going to take a look at which team D/STs with good matchups that are worth an add, those who face a matchup downgrade, and some tempting options who should be left on the waiver wire. We'll wrap things up with my top-12 kickers for Week 7. 

 

 

The Usual Suspects

Teams you’re not even thinking about benching this week include - San Francisco (vs. Seattle), Chicago (vs. Detroit), Green Bay (at St. Louis)

 

 

Plug-and-Play

1. Minnesota (vs. Arizona) – The Arizona offensive line has been an absolute turnstile, giving up 25 sacks over the last four games. The Vikings strong front-four should have a field day in Week 7. Add to that John Skelton’s gunslinger mentality, and this is shaping up to be a fantastic matchup for the Minnesota defense.

 

2. Oakland (vs. Jacksonville) – Are we seeing a theme here? Play your D/STs against bad quarterbacks, and Blaine Gabbert certainly fits that bill. The Jaguars currently yield the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs. While the Raiders have not been a juggernaut this season, they’re coming off an impressive showing with three picks against Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

 

3. Buffalo (vs. Tennessee) – There was a lot of buzz surrounding this Bills defense entering the season, but they have not emerged as a sleeper D/ST. Or have they? It’s really a tale of two defenses with Buffalo. They've scored negative fantasy points three times and topped double-digits three times in standard scoring leagues. With no middle in sight, the good bet is that they put up the points this week against the Titans, who have been a very fantasy friendly matchup for D/STs this season.

 

4. New England (vs. New York Jets) – Yes, the Jets are coming off a strong performance against the Colts in Week 6, but let’s not forget what the 49ers did to them in Week 4. That also happens to be the last time we saw much out of this Patriots’ defense in terms of fantasy production. The Pats are likely available in most leagues, and you could certainly do a lot worse as a plug-and-play.

 

 

Matchup Downgrade

1. Houston (vs. Baltimore) – The Texans just aren’t the same defense without Brian Cushing. Sure, J.J. Watt is still a freak of nature and will continue to get you sacks, but all around, Houston is no long the elite D/ST we saw in the first month of the season. This week, they downgrade outside of the top-10 against a Ravens team that yields the third-least fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs.

 

2. Seattle (at San Francisco) – The NFC West is loaded with strong defenses this season, and arguably has three of the best in the league. The Seahawks are young, but have been incredibly impressive on the defensive side of the ball. In most weeks they’re a top-five play, though this week they face a tough matchup. The 49ers did surrender a big game to the Giants D/ST last week, but that came on the heels of two stinkers out of the Jets and Bills.

 

3. Baltimore (at Houston) – With both Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb now lost for the season, the Ravens are a downgrade both in Week 7 and moving forward for the rest of the season. The Texans have been a very tough matchup for opposing defenses this season. No team has put up double-digit fantasy points in standard scoring leagues against Houston because they simply don’t turn the ball over very often and Matt Schaub has been sacked just six times.

 

 

Don’t Get Cute

1. New York Jets (at New England) – Not only are they still reeling from the loss of Darrelle Revis, but they also face the worst matchup for fantasy D/STs this week. The Patriots average 30 points and a whopping 82.2 snaps per game. They’re coming off two tough losses, and are likely looking to take out some aggression on their divisional foe.

 

2. New Orleans (at Tampa Bay) – The Saints have not been able to stop opposing offenses in 2012. They give up an average of 30.8 points per game, and currently rank 30th among team defenses in fantasy points scored per game. On the other hand, the Bucs are coming off a trouncing of the Chiefs where they put up 463 total yards and 38 points.

 

3. Washington (at NYG) – Early season injuries have also downgraded the Redskins defense. They give up an average of 28.3 points per game to opposing offenses, and face a Giants team that can put points on the board in a hurry and yield the second-least fantasy points to opposing D/STs.

 

 

Can I Kick it?

Here’s my top-12 kickers for Week 7:

 

1. Stephen Gostkowski (vs. NYJ)

2. Lawrence Tynes (vs. WAS)

3. Blair Walsh (vs. ARI)

4. Robbie Gould (vs. DET)

5. Garrett Hartley (at TB)

6. Sebastian Janikowski (vs. JAC)

7. Mason Crosby (at STL)

8. Jason Hanson (at CHI)

9. David Akers (vs. SEA)

10. Greg Zuerlein (vs. GB)

11. Dan Bailey (at CAR)

12. Shayne Graham (vs. BAL)

 

 

D/ST Standard Scoring System

Any Touchdown

6 pts

 

0 points allowed

5 pts

 

Under 100 yards allowed

5 pts

Interception

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

Safety

2 pts

 

18-27 points allowed

0 pts

 

350 to 399 yards allowed

 -1 pts

Sack

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

 



Jeff Ratcliffe is a football writer and IDP analyst for Rotoworld as well as the IDP Director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. He can be found on Twitter.
Email :Jeff Ratcliffe


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