These week 10 fantasy football defenses will take the guesswork out of your final lineup spot and carry you to victory!
Color me equal parts shocked and horrified that the Chiefs’ defense didn’t finish Week 9 as a top-12 unit. At home against a disaster of a New York Jets’ offense with a quickly improving front seven and serviceable secondary? I had Kansas City pegged as one of the season’s highest upside defensive options.
The Chiefs, one of our Week 10 cash game options, finished with a respectable seven fantasy points despite failing to cause a turnover against the Michael Vick Turnover Machine. The 49ers, our other cash game play, totaled nine points against a hapless St. Louis offense that we’ll continue to target.
Week 10’s bye week apocalypse, much like Week 9, leaves us with limited safe options to deploy in cash games, so I’ll be more willing to pay up for defenses with high fantasy floors. Variance can be found in any week — bye weeks or no bye weeks — meaning we won’t have to reach for defensive options tailor made for tournament formats.
Let’s move on to Week 10’s best cash game and tournament plays, once again using Streaming Scores to identify the juiciest matchups.
A team’s Streaming Score doesn’t incorporate how stifling or generous a certain defense has been. It’s entirely matchup based.
Week 10 Fantasy Football Defenses for Cash Games
Philadelphia Eagles ($7,350) vs. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are quietly a fantastic target for those streaming defenses, and for daily fantasy gamers looking for relatively safe options. Carolina gives up 8.1 fantasy points to opposing defenses, when adjusted for strength of schedule.
The Eagles’ Streaming Score of 2.5 doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but remember that Streaming Scores are largely based on turnovers and the Panthers, for all their failings, don’t commit a whole lot of turnovers.
Philly sports a top-5 pass rush, per Pro Football Focus, while the Panthers have the NFL’s worst pass blocking unit through nine weeks. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Eagles collect a handful of sacks against the beleaguered Cam Newton. The Eagles are DraftDay’s fourth priciest defensive option. I’m paying for them in a lot of cash games.
Arizona Cardinals ($5,800) vs. St. Louis Rams
And here we are again, targeting a Rams’ offense that clearly misses the vertical threat that was Brian Quick. St. Louis’ vanilla offense doesn’t pose much of a threat to any defense, especially a tough Arizona unit at home.
The Cardinals this week have a Streaming Score of 6.5 — the highest of the 2014 season. The Rams allow 13.6 schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game to defenses thanks in large part to special teams failings. Arizona’s secondary has proven to be vulnerable, though that shouldn’t matter much against Austin Davis and company. The Rams, by the bye, are among the three worst pass blocking teams, according to PFF.
Eight defenses are priced ahead of Arizona in Week 10. They could easily finish at the week’s top defensive option, and make for a fine tournament option too.
Week 10 Fantasy Football Defenses for Tournaments
Baltimore Ravens ($4,850) vs. Tennessee Titans
We have another fantastic home matchup here against a horrid offense. Baltimore sports the week’s third best Streaming Score as they should pressure rookie signal caller Zach Mettenberger throughout this one. The Ravens have the league’s best pass rush and the Titans have a middling pass-blocking offensive line, per PFF.
I have the Ravens tapped as a tourney play because I think there’s a decent chance that last week’s dud against the Steelers — in which Ben Roethlisberger dropped six passing scores on Baltimore — will move daily gamers away from the Ravens’ defense. That’s exactly what we want.
Teams average 37.3 pass attempts against Baltimore. We can only hope Mettenberger chucks it that often against an opportunistic Baltimore coverage unit. There are 14 defenses priced higher than the Ravens.
Atlanta Falcons ($3,700) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta, upon the inexplicable reinsertion of Josh McCown as Tampa’s starting quarterback, becomes a high upside option. Why? It’s simple: McCown has always been an inaccurate, turnover-prone quarterback outside of one half-season stretch under the quarterback whisperer, Marc Trestman.
The Falcons’ defense, quite amazingly, is almost as bad as the Bucs’ defense. This isn’t about defensive strength though — this play is based entirely on McCown’s penchant for boneheaded throws. Atlanta saw plenty of that in Week 3, when their defense scored 28 fantasy points thanks to McCown’s wild inaccuracy and a couple Devin Hester return touchdowns.
I maintain that Atlanta’s defense has a scary low floor, but I’m willing to use them as a dirt cheap option in tournament formats.