Fantasy Football Week Eight Rankings: Defenses

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IOctober 30, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 25: Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants gets the crowd going against the Arizona Cardinals on October 25, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

With six defenses on a bye and not very many solid match-up plays, week eight surely will present a dilemma for those fantasy owners looking to play the waiver wire for their defensive unit. If you need a filler, you will likely have to take a chance on a defense with a lot of upside but just as much downside. 

Hopefully, the Bruno Boys can help you plug the squad into your lineup that comes up big. As such, take a look at the Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Week Eight Defense Rankings.


5-Stars (* * * * *) - Bruno Boys Top Plays of the Week

4-Stars (* * * *) – Bruno Boys Very Solid Plays of the Week

3-Stars (* * *) – Bruno Boys Average Plays of the Week

2-Stars (* *) – Bruno Boys Try to Avoid Playing this Week

1-Star (*) – Bruno Boys Do Not Start Unless You COMPLETELY Have To

Key Abbreviations: YPG (Yards Per Game); PPG (Points Per Game)

1. (Chicago Bears) vs. Cleveland Browns

The numbers the Chicago Bears defense is putting up aren’t extraordinary, and the team got ripped to shreds by the Cincinnati Bengals last week. But the Cleveland Browns are so terrible on offense that this is the perfect rebound game for the Bears to get their defense back on track.

Chicago has given up 329.8 yards and 24 points per game with 14 sacks and 8 turnovers. The great thing is Cleveland’s offense can’t seem to get much going, with many of their receivers dropping passes. The Browns have 225.4 yards and 10.3 points per game, which spells a great spot start for any defense playing them.
Bruno Boys Stars: *****

2. (San Diego Chargers) vs. Oakland Raiders

The Chargers defense did not do their job in Week One against the Oakland Raiders , but over the last couple games San Diego has turned things around on defense, including only allowing seven points to the Kansas City Chiefs .

You could compare the Chiefs with the Raiders offense, as Oakland has 30 less yards and is averaging six less points per game. On the season, the Chargers have allowed 332.3 yards and 23.8 points per game while adding 11 sacks and 9 turnovers. Expect a second strong outing from San Diego’s defense in this game.
Bruno Boys Stars: *****

3. (Minnesota Vikings) @ Green Bay Packers

After what we saw from the Vikings defense in the first showdown between these two teams on Monday Night Football (and in particular, Jared Allen ), how could you not like this match up going into this week?

Sure, the Green Bay Packers have a good offense, and the Vikings defense can give up yards (330) and points (21.1) in large chunks, but Week Four should have showed you Green Bay can’t handle Minnesota’s front four.

The Vikings' 24 sacks lead the league and their 13 turnovers created isn’t too shabby either. Even going against a good offense, roll with confidence that Minnesota’s defense can have a big day on the road as they did at home. 
Bruno Boys Stars: *****

4. (Indianapolis Colts) vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Colts defense is getting closer and closer to being able a must start on a regular basis. They get great pressure with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis plus with Bob Sanders back, Indianapolis can really open up the defensive playbook.

Through the season the Colts have allowed 291.7 yards and 12.8 points per game with 16 sacks and 10 turnovers. With the 49ers offense struggling to find consistency, plus a new quarterback starting in Alex Smith , Indianapolis’s defense should have a pretty good day.
Bruno Boys Stars: ****

5. (New York Giants) @ Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants defense has not helped its team win ball games over the last two weeks and now face another offense that has a lot of firepower in the Philadelphia Eagles .

Even with the tough match up, the Giants are still one of the best defenses in the NFL led by its strong defensive line up front. With the Eagles struggling to find a rhythm, this may be the one game to put New York back on track. This year the Giants have allowed 262 yards and 20.4 points per game with 16 sacks and 13 turnovers. 
Bruno Boys Stars: ****

6. (Arizona Cardinals) vs. Carolina Panthers

Good games against the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants , two very good offenses, shows the Arizona Cardinals defense is starting to get on track. Arizona has allowed 325.2 yards and 18.2 points per game while adding 16 sacks and 12 turnovers.

With a game against turnover prone quarterback Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers , you’d have to think the defense of the Cardinals has yet another strong defensive performance ahead of them.

As long as they can limit the running game, an area in which they are one of the best in the league, Arizona should be a very good play for you on Sunday.
Bruno Boys Stars: ****

7. (New Orleans Saints) vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons offense has not been the scary unit everyone expected coming into the 2009 season, as they have only had one big game against the San Francisco 49ers . The way the New Orleans defense is playing this year, you have to think they will continue to put up top-10 numbers no matter what offense they play.

The Saints may give up large chunks of yards (306.7) and points (21.2) with average sack totals (14), but their turnovers created are absolutely tremendous (18). Given the way Atlanta hasn’t really taken care of the ball on offense, New Orleans will be very opportunistic in this game and have a lot of success.
Bruno Boys Stars: ****

8. (Philadelphia Eagles) vs. New York Giants

Just like we mentioned above with their counterparts, the Eagles defense has had its moments of greatness in 2009 and will now take on a good offense in the New York Giants . The talent on the Philadelphia defense is absolutely tremendous and should be able to limit the Giants’ offense on a good amount of the possessions.

This game may have an offensive mindset, but the defenses are still worthy of a fantasy start due to how good both units really are. On the year, Philadelphia has allowed 287 yards and 19.3 points per game with 21 sacks and 18 turnovers. Those are numbers worth a start every week no matter the matchup.
Bruno Boys Stars: ***

9. (Denver Broncos) @ Baltimore Ravens

Even with the tough matchup this week, the Denver Broncos defense has proven in games past (Dallas Cowboys , New England Patriots ) that they are capable of putting up quality weeks. Baltimore’s offense has been carrying the Ravens so far this season led by second year quarterback Joe Flacco .

One thing he has yet to face so far in 2009 though is a secondary as talented as Denver’s. This defense is yet another unit showing they can be trusted as a starter in fantasy football no matter who is on their schedule.

On the year, Denver has given up 262.5 yards and 11 points per game while throwing in 21 sacks and 12 turnovers.
Bruno Boys Stars: ***

10. (Houston Texans) @ Buffalo Bills

Normally, the Texans defense is never this high, with their lone big game against the Oakland Raiders being the one great performance on the year. The match up against the Buffalo Bills may give them a second great performance, though, as they will again roll with backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with Trent Edwards out.

For the Bills to succeed, they will need to run the ball a lot and not depend on Fitzpatrick to make plays. Houston hasn’t put up great numbers this season, giving up 344 yards and 22.6 points per game while totaling 9 sacks and 13 turnovers. If there isn’t much on the waiver wire and you need a defense, you could do a lot worse than Houston.
Bruno Boys Stars: ***

11. (Seattle Seahawks) @ Dallas Cowboys

Seattle’s defense is capable of putting big fantasy games on the board while their opponent, the Dallas Cowboys , has shown they can disappear offensively at times.

With the recent bye week, Seattle got the opportunity to give rest to its core defensive players who are the main reason why they can be successful. Given the excellent health for Seattle, you have to think they will come out prepared for anything Dallas may have in store for them.

Through this season, the Seahawks have allowed 319.7 yards and 18.2 points per game while mixing in 16 sacks and 8 turnovers. Considering the options below, Seattle has a lot of upside if you want to take a chance.
Bruno Boys Stars: ***

12. (Miami Dolphins) @ New York Jets

Miami’s defense hasn’t been stellar by any means and if you look at their last two games against the New Orleans Saints (48 points allowed) and the team they play this week, the Jets (27 points allowed), you may think we’re crazy having them this high.

Add the season ending injury to cornerback Will Allen , leaving two rookies to start at corner, and all of a sudden you have a defense that could get torched. Given all the above, Miami showed a lot of promise in the Saints game, getting pressure and creating a couple turnovers.

If they can bring that attitude to New York, there may be some upside in playing the Dolphins defense this week. This year Miami has given up 320.2 yards and 25.3 points per game with 17 sacks and 8 turnovers.
Bruno Boys Stars: ***