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Week 9 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2015 Fantasy Tiers & Rankings


Below are RotoBaller's Week 9 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 9 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to making waiver wire pickups and adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 9.

Are you looking for some assistance with your lineups? Not sure which defenses have good matchups for Week 9? Can't decide which defenses to target off the waiver wire, or whether you should stream a different defense for this week? No worries, we are here to help every week of the fantasy football season.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference maker, so we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 9 defenses have good matchups and are not widely owned, representing sleeper opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 9 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 9 RotoBallers!

 

Week 9 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Bye Weeks: Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans

Tier 1 Defenses: Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons

The Denver Broncos just held Aaron Rodgers to 77 total passing yards through four full quarters of action. I know, I thought it was a typo too. This is the unquestioned number one defense, and they may even be historically good. In Week 9 they'll be tasked with shutting down Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and company, which should be a relative breeze compared to what they just faced in the Packers. They are officially the most matchup-proof D/ST in the league.

The Eagles defense has been pretty great all season, and they'll face a Tony Romo-less Cowboys team in Dallas in Week 9. The Cowboys turned to Matt Cassel after Brandon Weeden proved woefully ineffective two weeks ago, and the results have been just as bad if not worse. Dez Bryant is back and theoretically healthy, and the Cowboys may be best served letting him throw the ball around. Without Romo under center, Darren McFadden and Christine Michael are the only real threats on this team, and the Eagles defense should have a field day.

The Rams defense is just plain mean, yielding just 12 total points over the last two games. Granted, they played the Browns and the 49ers, but in Week 9 they'll get the Vikings, and frankly they don't scare me any more than the aforementioned opponents. Adrian Peterson has been good but not great in 2015, and Teddy Bridgewater is not going to be able to give the Rams secondary much trouble, even with rookie phenom Stefon Diggs' recent evolution into a legit WR2. Lock the Rams in as a top D/ST once again.

The Falcons D/ST has been relatively disappointing from a fantasy perspective the last couple weeks, as they've failed to capitalize on juicy matchups with the Titans and Buccaneers. I'm firing them up once more though, as they'll draw the hapless 49ers in Week 9. Colin Kaepernick's own teammates are calling for his benching, and their run game is nonexistent with Carlos Hyde nursing a stress fracture and Reggie Bush done for the year with a torn ACL. Expect Kaepernick to be in desperation mode from the first snap, and wait for the handful of turnovers and sacks that follow.

 

Tier 2 Defenses: New York Giants, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots

The New York Giants defense was on the receiving end of Drew Brees' historic Week 8 performance, and it shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who has watched them play in the last month. They've been hemorrhaging yardage both on the ground and through the air, and the only reason they make the second tier is a Week 9 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I'm still not sold on Jameis Winston as a reliable fantasy quarterback decent his recent successes, and the Giants are second in the NFL with 12 interceptions. If they can neutralize Doug Martin on the ground and Mike Evans over the top, the Giants have a good shot at a solid fantasy day.

I like the Panthers' chances against the Packers in Week 9. They've quietly been the second-best pass defense in the NFL while also maintaining their position as the fifth-best run defense. As was mentioned earlier, the Broncos defense completely shut down Aaron Rodgers in Week 8, and I think the Panthers can at least keep him in check in Week 9. Even with Davante Adams back and Randall Cobb finally fully healthy, the Packers will likely have to lean on Eddie Lacy and James Starks to move the ball. There may not be many turnovers, but expect at least a couple sacks and a relatively low point total from the Packers offense.

The Packers defense should have a much easier go of it in Week 9 after struggling to contain Peyton Manning in Week 8. While the Panthers have been winning ballgames, they've done it almost entirely on the back of the defense and Cam Newton. The Packers are third in the NFL with 23 sacks through seven games, and they should have no problem adding to that total. Ted Ginn and the rest of the Carolina wide receiving corps is uninspiring, meaning that the Packers will likely throw everything they have at Greg Olsen and Jonathan Stewart. This game could be a 13-10 scrap-fest.

The Vikings defense has one of the highest floors in fantasy, which you have to appreciate--you can't bank on a D/ST to win a week for you, but as long as they're not losing it you can go home happy. This week they'll face a bad Rams team that has one weapon and one weapon only--Todd Gurley. Expect the Vikings to completely sell out to stop Gurley, and challenge Nick Foles, Tavon Austin and the rest of the Rams passing attack to beat them. I don't like the Rams' chances there.

The Saints just got positively lit up by Eli Manning, but that simply won't happen again with the Titans coming to town. It may still be Zach Mettenberger under center in Week 9, and if it is the Titans should struggle to move the ball in any way. Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster should hog the touches out of the backfield, but neither of them can do any real damage. If Marcus Mariota is healthy enough to play then the passing attack is a bit more dangerous, but a knee injury to Kendall Wright may force Dorial Green-Beckham into the spotlight, which could prove disastrous for the Titans and fruitful for the Saints defense.

The Patriots D/ST is average in just about every way, but they make it into the second tier this week because they'll have the privilege of facing the offensively-inept Redskins. Kirk Cousins is barely an NFL quarterback, and his lack of ability effectively neutralizes Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder and DeSean Jackson (if he ever makes it back on the field). Alfred Morris and Matt Jones have been supremely disappointing this season, and I don't see their production suddenly shifting against the Pats.

 

Tier 3 Defenses: Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals

Typically the Steelers would find themselves higher in the rankings having allowed 23 points or fewer in every game since Week 1, but with the suddenly dangerous Raiders coming to town I am a bit hesitant. The defense itself has been surprisingly legitimate, sitting top-five in sacks and interceptions, but the threat of Derek Carr and the Raiders passing attack is too real to ignore. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are both legitimate fantasy WR2s, and even if you stop one of them the other tends to go off, and Latavius Murray is averaging 4.6 yards per carry on the year. After watching the Raiders torch the vaunted Jets defense in Week 8, I'm skipping the Steelers if I have better options available.

The Dolphins offense under Dan Campbell looked revitalized until Tom Brady and Bill Belichick came to town. I'm giving the Dolphins a pass on that one though, but I can't give them a pass on the loss of Cameron Wake. The Dolphins top pass-rushed was lost for the season to a torn Achilles, and I don't think the defense will be the same, especially with the assumedly healthy Tyrod Taylor coming off the bye ready to run. The Bills may be without Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin, but LeSean McCoy is healthy and Karlos Williams should be back to help out on the ground. I'm giving the Dolphins one more week to prove the Patriots game was an outlier and not the beginning of a trend.

On the other side of the ball, the Bills are coming off the bye hungry and ready to roll. Last year's top defense has been a ghost of its former self in 2015, but I actually think they'll make a statement at home against Miami in Week 9. Lamar Miller has been an animal since Dan Campbell let him off the leash, but the Bills' top-10 run defense shouldn't have much trouble keeping him in check. The real task is shutting down Ryan Tannehill and Jarvis Landry--if the Bills can hold that tandem under 100 yards, they should have a very solid fantasy day.

The Jets, uh...the Jets weren't ready for Derek Carr, it seems. The second-year quarterback destroyed the Jets through the air, hanging 34 points on what is widely considered to be one of the best defenses in the league. I'll admit they have me nervous, and with the pass-happy Jacksonville Jaguars coming to town in Week 9 I'm afraid they'll disappoint fantasy owners again. Blake Bortles isn't as talented as Derek Carr, but he's certainly not afraid to throw the ball and has plenty of weapons to work with. The Jets will have to find a way to stop Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas, which I'm not sure they can do. You're likely starting the Jets if you own them, but temper your expectations.

The Bengals are a better real-life defense than they are a fantasy defense, and even with the Browns coming to town in Week 9 their ceiling is relatively low. Josh McCown was banged-up in Week 8 though, and if Johnny Manziel ends up starting this unit would get a boost. The Browns run game is sub-par, as none of their three backs (Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell and Robert Turbin) have been able to produce on a regular basis. Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge are the only weapons in the passing game, but if McCown is hurt they'll be neutralized. The Bengals are a high-floor, low-ceiling streaming option this week.

 

Tier 4 Defenses: Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars

These four teams only make the list because there are six teams on bye this week (most of which boast top fantasy defenses) and there are very few options out there for those streaming in deep leagues. The Browns could have a productive fantasy day if Bad Andy Dalton shows up, as he did in Week 8 against the Steelers. The Browns run defense is good enough to keep Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill under wraps, but I'm not sure the secondary can contain A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones. The ceiling here is probably seven points, whereas the floor is in the negatives.

The Buccaneers have been a surprisingly average D/ST, as they usually force enough turnovers to merit streaming. They'll get the Giants in Week 9, and I don't think there's any way that Eli Manning plays as well as he did against the Saints in Week 8. Odell Beckham, Jr. is a freak who typically can't be stopped, but the Giants cavalcade of running backs isn't anything to write home about. If the Bucs can keep Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen in check, they'll be worth a desperation stream.

I would love to put the Raiders higher on this list, but a matchup with the Steelers disallows that. Le'Veon Bell is done for the season, but DeAngelo Williams proved to be more than capable as a replacement through the first two weeks of the season. Ben Roethlisberger is back, meaning Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant are once again capable of erupting on any given Sunday as well. You've gotta be desperate to start the Raiders in Week 9.

The Jaguars defense isn't very good from a fantasy perspective, but they might warrant starting if it's Geno Smith under center for the Jets in Week 9. Ryan Fitzparick tore ligaments in his non-throwing hand, and it remains to be seen if he will be available right away. Smith is much more careless with the ball, meaning the Jets will have to rely on Chris Ivory to keep the chains moving. Brandon Marshall is a WR1 no matter who's throwing to him, but with Smith starting he becomes much less dangerous. The Jaguars' viability will be dependent on which QB is out there on Sunday.

 

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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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