An enormous percentage of your focus each week is involved with decisions about RBs, WRs, TEs, and signal callers. That makes the amount of planning that you dedicate to team defenses far less extensive. While that is understandable, it still behooves you to maximize your chances of winning by examining all of your existing options. We have now progressed sufficiently into the regular season for fantasy owners to locate most of the most proficient defensive units, even if they were not highly regarded at the onset of the year. That has diminished the number of appealing options. As has the bye week, which eliminates the outstanding Chief defense from consideration, along with the Browns, Patriots, and Jets. However, there are still three alternatives that should be available if you prefer to stream a defense in Week 10.
Jaguars at Titans
Tennessee has become a respectable unit, and they have accomplished enough on the field to become a viable option for owners who enjoy the process of streaming. Their current ranking of 12th in total defense has been crafted primarily due to their efforts against the pass, which is led by the outstanding CB tandem of Alterraun Verner, and Jason McCourty. They rank seventh in that category, have allowed just 218 YPG through the air, and have also produced 22 sacks. The Titans have demonstrated vulnerability to opposing rushers, and any initial hesitation to employ them because of that fact is somewhat understandable. However, a review of their strengths should overcome such concerns, as should a reminder of their Week 10 opponent. The Jaguars currently possess the NFL’s worst offense, which is averaging just 286 YPG. The Jaguars’ woeful ground game has only managed 66 YPG. That places them 31st in that category, and decreases the likelihood that Tennessee will be gashed for sizable rushing yardage. While Jacksonville’s passing attack has been more effective, Justin Blackmon’s well chronicled suspension will facilitate matters for the Titan’s imposing secondary. Tennessee remains available in 68% of all ESPN leagues, and their remaining matchups with Arizona, Oakland and Jacksonville (again in Week 16), should create additional luster to this unit’s appeal.
Other Favorable Matchups
Texans at Cardinals
Throughout the initial half of their 2013 regular season, the Cardinals defense has frequently demonstrated the ability to produce highly coveted fantasy points. Arizona has been particularly outstanding when opponents attempt to generate yardage on the ground, as they currently rank an impressive fourth in run defense. Not only are they yielding just 88 YPG, and have surrendered just three TDs. The opportunistic Cardinals have also generated 19 takeaways, which is the NFL’s fourth highest total. They are also tied for third with 12 INTs, and have sacked opposing QBs 23 times. Now, they will now line up against Case Keenum, who will be making his third career start. He has been impressive during his first two contests, but will be forced to deal with the well-rested Cardinal unit that should have benefitted from an additional week to focus on this matchup. The Cardinals have ample talent, and possess several difference makers. And they should be aggressively in their attempts to decrease Keenum’s comfort level. That will create a mammoth challenge for the inexperienced signal caller, as he performs in a hostile environment. The Texans’ offense will be attempting to overcome several other hurdles, as the collective health of RB tandem Arian Foster (hamstring, back) and Ben Tate (ribs), continues to create concerns. The Cardinals are owned in a miniscule 8% of ESPN leagues. Yet, not only can they be secured for their matchup with Houston, but they can supply owners with a sustainable defense to employ for the upcoming weeks.
Raiders at Giants
The addition of Jon Beason, and a decision to simplify the defensive play calling, have helped improve the Giants’ defense, which has not allowed allow an offensive TD in their last two contests. They held Philadelphia to 200 total yards in Week 8, and limited the Vikings to 206 yards in Week 7. Granted, they were facing offensive units that were led by a hobbled Michael Vick, Matt Barkley and Josh Freeman respectively. However, the unit is performing more effectively. And the recent trend of matching up with flawed offenses continues this week when the Raiders travel across the country to face a refreshed Giant unit that has enjoyed additional preparation time. Terrelle Pryor has generated some exciting plays this season, and continues to work had at improving his shortcomings. But once you progress beyond the image of his 93-yard TD burst against Pittsburgh, you will find a QB who has managed just one TD pass in the past three contests, coupled with an alarming seven INTS. Several of those turnovers were actually the fault of Pryor’s receivers, which underscores the true problem with Oakland’s offense. Pryor’s athleticism has concealed the low ceiling that exists with his weapons at WR and TE (beyond the capable Denarius Moore). Plus, Darren McFadden appears headed for yet another missed contest, which should facilitate the Giants’ efforts to neutralize Oakland’s running game. They can respond by enhancing the intensity of their pass rush, diminish Pryor’s comfort level, and add to the total of 32 sacks that he has already endured. The Giants are available in 97% of all ESPN leagues, and can be an exceptional start this week.