“The Amateur Ward” Defensive Targets: D/ST, IDP, and DFS Week 9
In the wake of Deshaun Watson’s ACL tear, all bets are off in the AFC South as the division is up for grabs, with all four teams jockeying for positions. With the NFC South also up for grabs, the matchups of Falcons @ Panthers and Buccaneers @ Saints also loom large as the playoff push begins. Who is in, who is out? All could begin to be determined in all divisions this week, or Week 9 of the NFL season. The questions is, are you in or are you out?
Eagles D/ST (vs DEN) FD- $5200/DK $3300 – The Broncos are offensively challenged on offense, and with questions at QB it remains to be seen how the Broncos move the ball. Meanwhile, the Eagles can take advantage of a shaky Broncos line and pass game, meaning pressure will be on the QB. If the Broncos fail to establish the pass early, it will be a long afternoon for the Broncos offense.
Raiders D/ST (@ MIA) FD-$4600/DK $3100- With Jay Ajayi (now an Eagle) traded, the Dolphins offense will be beyond hapless, and with starting QB Jay Cutler, who knows what the Phins will do this week versus an otherwise weak defense in Oakland. Normally you stay away from the 28th rated fantasy unit, but this week, with Khalil Mack and Co., deploy with confidence versus a run-less Dolphins offense.
Jaguars D/ST (vs CIN) FD- $5300/DK $3800- Cutting to the chase, what matters is the Jaguars capitalize on opponents mistakes, and the Bengals are third worst in the turnover margin making the Jaguars a very lucrative play versus a weak offensive line and one-dimensional offense. Yes, the Jaguars play sound defense, limiting opposing offenses and creating turnovers. This week they are a MUST start.
Nigel Bradham (LB/PHI)- Holding his own in coverage, Bradham is worth a look as a bye week filler due to his ability to defense passes and tackle. He will never be an elite tackler or defender, but he understands the game, how to play it, and takes advantages of offenses’ mistakes. Consider him an LB3 coming into Week 9.
Malcolm Jenkins (S/PHI)- Versus the offensively challenged Broncos, look for Jenkins to be all over the place and create an interception this week, as the Broncos need to switch QBs. Normally not an elite safety, Jenkins enters this week as an S2 with upside given the opponent and will rack up the points.
NoVorro Bowman (LB/OAK)- For his career, Bowman has been tough as nails along the defensive line, and that has not changed in Oakland. Starting at middle linebacker, Bowman should be in for a field day versus a weak offensive line and Jay Cutler who is returning from a rib injury.
Khalil Mack (DE/OAK)- Mack is going to crush this week as the Raiders take on the Dolphins. While he has yet to create a turnover, Mack is overdue, and with a soft opponent on tap, Mack remains a DE1 despite underwhelming performances the past couple weeks.
Cameron Wake (DE/MIA)- If the Dolphins are to defeat the Raiders, it will take a great defensive effort, starting with the defensive line. The Phins may not be the strongest defensive unit, but Wake is a stud DE, and the Phins need him to show his colors this week versus the Raiders. Versus a somewhat mobile Derek Carr, Wake is a DE2/bye week filler and a player to keep an eye on.
A.J. Bouye (CB/JAX)- Bouye is not a household fantasy name, but over the season he has at least one pass defensed and is a strong bet to defense at least two versus a one-dimensional offense in Cincinnati this weekend. He covers adequately, including dropping in coverage well, and will be busy opposite CB1 Jalen Ramsey who will cover AJ Green.
Tashaun Gipson (S/JAX)- With three picks on the season, Gipson is a solid, if unspectacular S option as he dependent on his ability to break up passes (five on the season) and accumulate tackles. He should be able to rack up the tackles in the least and provide at least one defensed pass versus a weak pass offense in Cincinnati, an offense looking for an identity this season.
Darqueze Dennard (CB/CIN)- The world knows Blake Bortles is far from an average QB, and the Bengals stand a chance this week if they force Bortles into poor decisions. Yes, Leonard Fournette will likely be back, but without a pass game, it will be difficult for Fournette to find room, even versus a weak run unit in Cincy. Dennard may be average, but he should be able to capitalize on any mistakes Bortles makes to his side of the field and defense at least a pass.