On the field, defense promises to impact a good majority of the Week 9 matchups, which could result in big gains for fantasy owners.
Traveling to Jacksonville this week, the Detroit Lions appear ready to dominate a Jaguars team with one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Although the Lions have a much better pass defense than rush defense, the injury to Maurice Jones Drew should to allow Detroit to manipulate the Jaguar offense a bit more easily.
Despite a 300-yard performance against Green Bay, Blaine Gabbert is having another poor year in his sophomore campaign. However, with Rashad Jennings taking over for an injured MJD, Gabbert will likely have to bear the brunt of the load against the Lions ninth-ranked pass defense.
Jennings has averaged fewer than three yards per carry in his last two games, where he has seen the majority of his touches this season.
Personally, I anticipate starting Houston over Detroit this week. In my mind, the difference between the two will be Houston’s ability to control the speed of the game from both sides of the ball.
Arian Foster is going to go off against a Buffalo Bills team that ranks last in rush defense. Likely, this will force the Bills to the air early, limiting the touches for the rushing tandem of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.
Last time out, the Texans defense managed 18 points against the Baltimore Ravens. This game got out of hand early thanks to a pick-six by Johnathan Joseph.
Although the Bills’ Scott Chandler scares me across the middle, Ryan Fitzpatrick still has to get the ball to him. The pass rush of J.J. Watt should easily prevent this connection from developing.
Regardless of whether you own them or have just faced them this year, you know the Chicago Bears defense has been on fire.
Although Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson will enter Sunday looking to build on strong games against Buffalo and Indianapolis, he will have to do so against the Bears’ first-ranked rush defense.
The biggest challenge in Nashville, however, will be Matt Hasselbeck trying to get the ball past Charles Tillman and the Bears pass defense. Hasselbeck has completed 63.8 percent of his passes this season.
In five starts, Hasselbeck has four interceptions. The Bears defense has forced 12 interceptions in 2012, six of which have been returned for touchdowns.
San Diego Chargers
Fortunately for Turner and the Chargers, the last-place Chiefs are choosing between two injured quarterbacks. Matt Cassel will resume his starting role in place of the concussed Brady Quinn, who had started the past two weeks after Cassel suffered a concussion himself.
Cassel has completed just 59.7 percent of his passes this season and has thrown eight interceptions compared to just five touchdowns. Jamaal Charles figures to be a bigger part of the offense this week, having rushed just five times for four yards against Oakland last week.
Although he's a big-play threat, Charles has managed only 44 yards in his last two weeks combined. Against a Chargers defense that has allowed an average of just 79.9 rushing yards this season, the Chiefs could be a low-scoring opponent this week. That means big points for Chargers owners.