2015 Fantasy Football: Week 9 D/ST Streamers
If you were able to survive the numerous season-ending injuries that occurred during Week 8, consider yourself extremely fortunate. Le’Veon Bell (MCL), Steve Smith (achilles), Keenan Allen (kidney), Reggie Bush (MCL) will all miss the rest of their seasons due to the unfortunate injuries they suffered in this brutal sport, while notable guys like Matt Forte (MCL) and Kendall Wright (MCL) look likely to miss multiple weeks as well. Make sure you look to add guys like DeAngelo Williams, Jeremy Langford, Stevie Johnson, Malcolm Floyd, Kamar Aiken, and Pierre Thomas, and Shaun Draughn as they look to take the place of the open spots.
Week 9 features a whopping six teams on bye, which you can find below with their fantasy rank according to ESPN in parentheses. Arizona and Seattle should remain rostered if at all possible, while the others can be let go.
Byes: Arizona Cardinals (T-2nd), Seattle Seahawks (T-2nd), Kansas City Chiefs (10th), Houston Texans (21st), Detroit Lions (22nd), Baltimore Ravens (29th).
With all that news out of the way, let’s get to the main course and examine the top-five D/ST units owned in less than 60 percent of ESPN leagues. Keep in mind that D/ST recommendations are limited this week due to the amount of teams on bye.
Philadelphia Eagles – (56.8% owned in ESPN) – at Cowboys – The Eagles are coming off their Week 8 bye and should be well rested as they are set to face the inept Matt Cassel this week. Through his first two starts, Cassel is only completing 57.7 percent of his passes to go along with 324 passing yards and a 1:3 TD:INT ratio. More turnovers are likely on the way as the Eagles lead the NFL with 19 takeaways, 11 of which are interceptions, good for the fourth-best total in the league. While Dez Bryant is back, it’s clear he’s not 100 percent yet as he was on a snap count last week working his way back into playing form. Philadelphia is averaging 13 fantasy points over their last three outings and should be started with confidence considering the top weapons on the Cowboys are either hampered (Dez) or past their prime (Witten, McFadden).
Cincinnati Bengals – (38.9% owned) – vs. Browns – Cincinnati had their best performance of the year in Week 8 as they racked up three interceptions and three sacks against the Steelers en route to an 11-point fantasy outing. Fantasy owners should be looking to use the Bengals D/ST unit this week as Josh McCown (ribs) is looking doubtful to play on Thursday, which would force Johnny Manziel into starting quarterback duties. The Browns have been surprisingly competent on offense with McCown at the helm and going to Manziel is definitely a slight downgrade at the very least, especially since he hasn’t played since Week 2. In addition to a quarterback who may be out of rhythm, the Browns also possess the 31st-ranked rushing attack as they are only averaging 84 rushing yards per game. Isaiah Crowell, Robert Turbin, and Duke Johnson certainly aren’t a very formidable trio. Lastly, Cleveland has also surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses. You know what to do from here.
Miami Dolphins – (37.1% owned) – at Bills – While the Dolphins were only able to manage two sacks and nothing else against New England last week, no one has been able to stop the Patriots this year and the Dolphins D/ST shouldn’t have been in any starting lineups last week anyways, so I’m willing to give them a pass moving forward. While Tyrod Taylor will likely return this week, Buffalo is still going to be without the services of Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin, leaving them extremely thin at wideout for the time being. LeSean McCoy is still an above-average back, but he’s not the same big-play threat that he was with the Eagles, and the Dolphins have been great defending the run since their Week 5 bye. Losing Cameron Wake due to a torn achilles certainly dampers the outlook for the Dolphins defense the rest of the season, but the matchup this week means owners should give serious thought considering the Bills lack of talent on offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers – (24.7% owned) – vs. Raiders – The Steelers are coming off their best fantasy output of the season as they registered two interceptions and two sacks in Week 8 against the high-powered Bengals offense. Pittsburgh only allowed 16 points last week and have allowed 23 points or less in every game since Week 1. The Steelers have the fifth-most sacks (22) in the NFL while ranking 16th in interceptions (7). Oakland will certainly pose a huge threat on offense thanks to the likes of Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree, but the Steelers should be given the benefit of the doubt at home and coming off a fine effort last week against a better offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars – (5.8% owned) – at Jets – Ryan Fitzpatrick (thumb) and Geno Smith (shoulder) are both uncertain to play at this point and if the Jets are forced to start Smith or Bryce Petty, it will be a huge upgrade to Jaguars D/ST prospects of producing a worthy effort in Week 9. Additionally, Chris Ivory and Brandon Marshall are also banged up. Jacksonville was on bye in Week 8 but went off to the tune of 22 fantasy points (2 INT, 2 FR, 2 TD) in their last game. Starting the Jaguars certainly isn’t for those unwilling to gamble, but it could pay off if one of the backup quarterbacks if forced into action. Keep your eyes peeled for updates regarding the quarterback situation.
Thanks to NFL.com, Rotoworld, and ESPN for providing the statistical information. Be sure to comment below with any questions or remarks. You can follow me on Twitter @MattMoczy and I’m more than willing to answer any questions.