Now that the regular season has finally arrived, an enormous percentage of your focus each week will involve decisions concerning RBs, WRs, TEs, and your signal callers. Making the amount of planning that you dedicate to your defense far less extensive. While that is understandable, it still behooves you to maximize your chances of winning by examining all of your existing options. Those of you who secured the elite units of Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago, should keep them locked into your starting lineups until their bye weeks. But any owners who prefer deploying their defenses based upon exceptional matchups, will have several enticing options this week. Here are three appealing alternatives for Week 2, among teams that most likely are residing on most waiver wires.
Cowboys at Kansas City
Only three teams generated fewer turnovers than Dallas in 2012, as the Cowboys only registered seven interceptions and nine fumbles throughout the entire season. But they managed to pilfer six turnovers in their opener, with an even distribution of interceptions and fumbles. While the Giants certainly facilitated matters through their repeated blunders, the Cowboys still deserve credit for seizing upon those opportunities. It remains premature to conclude that new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s schemes have placed his players in better position to generate takeaways. But the results from their opening contest are certainly promising. And the potential for this unit to become more effective from a fantasy standpoint, should elevate its appeal to owners. Perhaps the largest concern that materialized in Week 1, was the whopping 478 yards that they surrendered through the air. They were torched by Victor Cruz for 118 yards and three scores, while permitting an additional 114 yards to Hakeem Nicks. But there is very little danger of a reoccurrence this Sunday, as Kansas City QB Alex Smith is traditionally reluctant to unleash deep throws. Plus, there is a massive shortage of talent at WR and TE, once you progress beyond Dwayne Bowe. While the Cowobys must contend with the always explosive Jamaal Charles, they have a legitimate chance to boost the scoring totals of their owners for a second consecutive week. The Cowboys are currently available in 43% of ESPN leagues, although that should change significantly as the week progresses.
Other Favorable Matchups
Panthers at Buffalo
It was not necessarily shocking that Carolina’s imposing front seven caused problems for Seattle. But it is impressive nonetheless that they thoroughly stifled Marshawn Lynch (43 yards, 2.5 YPC), while limiting the Seahawks’ rushing attack to just 70 yards, and an anemic 2.7 YPC. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis led the Panthers with nine tackles each, while Charles Johnson forced Russell Wilson into both a fumble, and an intentional grounding penalty. All of which provided further evidence that this unit is capable of creating nightmares for their opponents throughout the season. They can also generate enough havoc to conceal some of the glaring deficiencies that exist in their secondary. Which is the one element that keeps Carolina’s defense from being held in much higher regard. They should encounter their greatest success when they match up against a passing attack with limitations, which accurately describes the Bills. Even if C. J. Spiller manufactures occasional success, the Panthers should control the line of scrimmage. They are owned in just 4.9% of all ESPN leagues, but are worth the time that it takes to snatch them from the waiver wire.
Raiders vs. Jaguars
Keeping in mind the premise of exiting potential waiver wire pickups – as opposed to can’t miss every week starting team defenses – logic should lead you to consider a defense that will matchup against Chad Henne, and a Jacksonville offense that managed a league worst 107 total yards in Week 1. Which brings us to Oakland. There has been a steady barrage of criticism directed toward the Raiders, and if you did not see their Week 1 performance in Indianapolis, you might view this suggestion with skepticism. However, their defense did limit Andrew Luck to 147 yards through the air, while sacking the second year signal caller four times. Now they will have the opportunity to play at home, against a team that allowed six sacks last Sunday. Oakland has demonstrated a propensity to dial up the blitz, and should have success in overwhelming Henne. The Raiders are far from an elite unit, and Maurice Jones-Drew should generate more yardage than the 45 that he produced in Week 1. But Oakland can provide a temporary solution for any Week 2 dilemma, and is still available in over 99% percent of all ESPN leagues.