Welcome everyone to the Week 11 edition of the Defense Rankings Reaction. Thankfully I get to keep my job writing this weekly column about Fantasy defenses because if I was giving advice about who to pick for a survivor pool, let’s just say I would have drowned.
Week 10 in the NFL was like the Twilight Zone as the unexpected happened. The Detroit Lions finally won a game in Lambeau Field for the first time since 1991. The Cincinnati Bengals inexplicably found a way to lose their first game of the season to T.J. Yates, of all people, and the Houston Texans. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals flipped the script over the last few years and punched the Seahawks right in the mouth, in front of a subdued Seattle crowd.
Now I have been watching football for most of my life, but nothing could prepare me for what we witnessed in the Denver-Kansas City game. Peyton Manning. One of the best quarterbacks of all time. Four interceptions. Benched. As a fan, it was pretty sad to see Peyton go from breaking Brett Favre’s all-time record for passing yards on his first completion, to promptly breaking down himself.
Despite the chaos that ensued in Week 10, I would say I had a pretty decent result with my predictions. Sure, all three of the teams I liked lost their games, and Seattle didn’t play any defense outside of a fourth-quarter flurry. However, in Fantasy, all that matters is what the point total says at the end of the day, not how you get there.
With that said, I am about to take a look at the SCFE staff rankings for Week 11.
Week 11 Defense Rankings Reaction
Defenses I Like More
Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins
I think this call just kind of comes down to being a hunch for me. The Cowboys have lost seven games in a row, but finally get starting QB, Tony Romo, back from his collarbone injury. The SCFE staff has them ranked at No. 13, but I think they finish in the Top 5-7 range.
Honestly though, the Cowboys have been a pretty decent defense this season despite all of the injuries and distractions. They can only get better with a quarterback that won’t create short fields and put pressure on the unit to step up.
As we also saw last week in Philly, the Miami Dolphins’ offense still has some consistency issues and only looked in sync against Tennessee and Houston. Except for those two games, and their game against Jacksonville, another lackluster team, the Dolphins have allowed opposing defenses to score at least six Fantasy points in every game.
I know it’s a road game for the Cowboys, but they have to win a game at some point. They may also get spectacular linebacker, Sean Lee, back from a concussion. Despite missing some time, Lee is second on the Cowboys with 66 tackles, and would give Lamar Miller a tougher test running with the rock.
Look for Dallas to have their spirits lifted with the return of Romo and collect their first win in almost two months.
Atlanta Falcons vs Indianapolis Colts
The SCFE staff has the Atlanta Falcons at the No. 22 spot in their defensive rankings. Yeah, the Falcons have had their share of disappointing games, but under new head coach, Dan Quinn, they have vastly improved on the defensive side of the ball.
The main selling point for why the Falcons should be counted on for a solid Top 10 performance is the fact that the Indianapolis Colts are turning back to 40-year-old quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck. The Colts were starting to gain some steam after they knocked off the undefeated Denver Broncos in Week 9, but Andrew Luck was injured in the victory. While Hasselbeck is 2-0 filling in for Luck, the Colts played and barely got by Jacksonville and Houston in those two contests.
The Falcons are at home and are going to be hungry to recapture their momentum after a 5-0 start. Think Frank Gore is going to have a big game? The Falcons actually rank third in the NFL, only allowing 88.9 rushing yards per game.
While Matt Hasselbeck has been a great story this year, I think reality sets in this week. I don’t see Indy being able to keep up with the Falcons, who will roll in the Georgia Dome.
Defenses I Like Less
St. Louis Rams at Baltimore Ravens
I was surprised to see the St. Louis Rams at No. 7 in the SCFE staff rankings. The Rams are coming off a whoopin’ at the hands of the Chicago Bears, as they gave up 37 points and almost 400 yards. They were completely burned on big plays and might arguably have the worst quarterback situation in the league.
None of this will help as they travel to Baltimore to meet the Ravens. Despite being 2-7, the Ravens have played better than their record indicates, as they have been competitive in every game. Even without Steve Smith Sr., Joe Flacco still has the offense moving, throwing for three touchdowns and over 300 yards against the Jaguars last week.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Rams have struggled mightily on the defensive side. Injuries have hampered impact players Robert Quinn and Chris Long all season and the Rams seem to be trending in the wrong direction. On the offensive side, quarterback Nick Foles was benched, and I believe this is going to lead to the team mentally checking out with a loss of confidence.
I look for the Ravens to use running back Justin Forsett in the passing game to try and repeat how Bears rookie running back, Jeremy Langford, was used last week. Forsett is one of the better receiving backs and should be a main cog in what I believe will be a convincing victory for Baltimore.
Cincinnati Bengals at Arizona Cardinals
Au contraire to last week, I no longer trust the Cincinnati Bengals. They all said Cincinnati had finally buried their prime time hex, but we got sucked in again. Now while the defense still played very well, it was concerning that they folded in crunch time against, yes, T.J. Yates.
The Bengals, who have been ranked No. 9 by the SCFE staff, have only ceded 10 points in each of the three games since coming off their bye. Unfortunately for them, they will get hit with regression as they face the Arizona Cardinals on the road.
Arizona proved me wrong last Sunday night with a pretty emphatic victory over their division rival. If they looked that good on offense at Seattle, one of the toughest environments in football, one can only imagine what they will do in their own playground. In fact, the Cardinals have only allowed opposing defenses to score 14 points for the whole season, good for second in Fantasy.
Another point to consider is that the Bengals DST have not really stuffed the stat sheet in 2015. In only three of their nine games, they forced multiple turnovers. In the end, it’s just not a favorable matchup for Cincinnati, and it’s definitely not one worthy of a Top 10 ranking.
So good luck to everyone in Week 11 and I hope you will be back next week for some more Defensive Rankings Reaction.
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