Fantasy Football Week Nine Rankings: Defenses

Michael WhooleySenior Writer INovember 7, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs the ball against Stephen Cooper #54 of the San Diego Chargers on September 14, 2009 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Week Nine of the NFL poses a problem for fantasy football fans who love to play the matchups, in particular with the defenses.

Four teams you usually always play guys against are the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, and St. Louis Rams. Unfortunately, you will now be forced to make some tough decisions for your lineup this week.

Below, in our Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Week Nine Defense Rankings, we dissect the teams who are playing this week, but, as you will see, there are a lot of average plays at best going into Week Nine on defense.



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. (Green Bay Packers) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Green Bay’s defense has been solid this season despite their low sack totals on the year (12). They are in the top 5 in yards allowed (283.4) and top 10 in points allowed (19.1). The Packers have created 17 turnovers on the season, which could increase in a big way with one of the worst teams on the schedule in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers will start rookie Josh Freeman at quarterback, showing they have quickly moved through the depth chart giving everyone a chance behind center (Byron Leftwich, Josh Johnson). Unless Tampa Bay somehow wakes up with Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Barry Sanders in their prime, on the field and ready to play, this should be a big day for the Packers defense.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * * * *


2. (New Orleans Saints) vs. Carolina Panthers

The Saints defense has become a must start in fantasy football, thanks to the ball hawking unit making big plays every week. New Orleans has 21 turnovers on the year, 16 of those coming from interceptions (most in the NFL).

This season, the Saints have given up 326 yards and 22 points per contest with 17 sacks. With the turnover machine in quarterback Jake Delhomme and his Carolina Panthers coming to town, and even with the stout running game who could run all over the field, this should be a big day for the New Orleans defense.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * * * *


3. (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Detroit Lions

Did the Detroit Lions really only score 10 points on the pitiful St. Louis Rams defense? Although superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson should return for Detroit in this game, the Seahawks defense should have no problem limiting their opponent on offense to have a big fantasy day. Seattle has allowed 325.7 yards and 21 points per game while totaling 18 sacks and 9 turnovers.

The Seahawks defense is a top 15 defense with the potential to do big things, especially with an extremely favorable matchup. This week is one of those instances you may want to grab them off the waiver wire if the unit is available.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * * * *


4. (Indianapolis Colts) vs. Houston Texans

The Colts defense has been a bit of a surprise this year, as they went from being a fringe start in fantasy football to being a unit that needs to be in your lineup almost regularly. Houston does have a very good offense, led by quarterback Matt Schaub. Look at what the Houston Texans offense lost last week alone, their 2nd best pass catcher in tight end Owen Daniels and benching the super athletic running back Steve Slaton with fumbling issues.

The Texans offense could be in for a rough adjustment period until they get things straightened away and figure out their niche. Indianapolis has given up 292.1 yards and a league low 13 points per contest while adding 20 sacks and 12 turnovers. While you may hesitate to roll with the Colts defense, it’s tough imaging them not having a very good day with their strong play and less playmakers for Houston to turn to.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * * *


5. (Pittsburgh Steelers) at Denver Broncos

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has gotten better and better each week, mainly due to the return of star safety Troy Polamalu. The Steelers have allowed 291 yards and 18.4 points per game while totaling 21 sacks and 10 turnovers.

Denver’s offense has been a pleasant surprise but the Baltimore Ravens may have found the way to beat the Broncos. Baltimore forced Denver to throw deep as they covered all the short passing routes. Pittsburgh will need to do the same thing and if they do, could be in for a huge day.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * * *


6. (Denver Broncos) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Despite struggling a bit against the Baltimore Ravens, Denver should be able to bounce back this week. The Broncos pass defense has been very strong this year and the key to the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is their passing game, not the run attack.

This game has all the makings to be a defensive game, with two top 10 defenses squaring off. No need to freight about the others offensive weapons and instead have faith in the defenses you normally would start every week. This year, Denver has allowed an NFL low 266.7 yards and the 2nd lowest 13.7 points per game. The Broncos have totaled 23 sacks and 12 turnovers this season.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * * *


7. (New England Patriots) vs. Miami Dolphins

New England’s defense has continually improved throughout the season but now face a tough task, dealing with the multiple formations in the Miami Dolphins wildcat scheme. Miami ripped the Patriots defense last year when they first introduced it and New England was left scrambling.

With head coach Bill Belichick seeing Miami line up in the various formations, you can expect him to have a game plan to make his defensive unit successful. This season New England has allowed 285.7 yards and 14 points per game with 13 sacks and 15 turnovers.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * * *


8. (Philadelphia Eagles) vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Eagles defense has been a solid fantasy football performer this season, but most of their points came against inferior competition. Philadelphia played well with its first test against a good offense in the New York Giants and will now look to continue that trend against the Dallas Cowboys.

This year the Eagles have allowed 296.9 yards and 19 points per game with 23 sacks and 21 turnovers. With not many better options in terms of defenses in Week Nine, Philadelphia is worth a start because the talent they have provides some upside. 

Bruno Boys Stars: * * *


9. (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Tennessee Titans

The 49ers defense has had its moments where they look completely out of sorts, but overall have put together a good fantasy year. San Francisco has given up 337 yards and 20 points per game while throwing in 16 sacks and 10 turnovers.

The way the 49ers played against the Indianapolis Colts, giving up chunks of yards but holding them out of the end zone, means things could go well when they take on Tennessee. Quarterback Vince Young played well last week, but San Francisco’s defense is a lot better than that of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * *


10. (New York Giants) vs. San Diego Chargers

The Giants have now lost three straight games, and the defense is a big reason why. New York’s defense is giving up a lot of big plays downfield, leading to many points for their opposition. Even with three straight bad games New York’s defense has is still rated very highly, giving up 278.1 yards and 22.9 points per game with 18 sacks and 15 turnovers.

This week the Giants will take on the San Diego Chargers and hope for a turnaround for their unit. While San Diego will score points, New York has a chance to at least turn things around. There probably aren’t any better options here, but be aware that this could be the ceiling as far as how the Giants compare with other defenses this week.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * *


11. (Atlanta Falcons) vs. Washington Redskins

Atlanta hasn’t been a particularly strong defense, but does play well when the matchup is right.

This week will be just that for the Falcons, as they will take on a shaky Washington Redskins offense. Washington’s offensive line is in shambles and quarterback Jason Campbell seems to throw to the other team just as much as his own players. Atlanta should be able to take advantage of this game and do enough to be worth a start in fantasy football if need be. This season the Falcons have given up unimpressive 378.1 yards per game and 21.3 points while totaling 14 sacks and 17 turnovers.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * *


12. (Baltimore Ravens) at Cincinnati Bengals

Last week, we said the Baltimore Ravens have not played like themselves this season, not getting the pressure or stopping opponents with a good offense. Well it’s about time the Ravens defense stepped up to the docket and play well, as they limited the Denver Broncos offense throughout the game.

This week will be a rematch between Baltimore and the Cincinnati Bengals, where the Bengals got the upper hand in the previous meeting. The Ravens should come out and play tough and physical, because a loss will make their playoff bid extremely tough. This means the defense will need to step up in the game and make some plays, thus making the unit fantasy football worthy. On the year Baltimore has allowed 313.7 yards and 19.6 points per game while adding 16 sacks and 10 turnovers.

Bruno Boys Stars: * * *