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Week 8 Defense/Special Teams Rankings

We have 6 teams on a bye this week so it's time to dive deep into those benches and pull up some gems! Use these rankings to help you send your squad to the Week 8 winners circle.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We're at the mid-way point through the NFL season and it's been a crazy trip so far. The Panthers are terrible, San Diego's defense is passable, and Oakland's defense is playing like they already want to know what it'll be like to play in Vegas before seeing Britney Spears on retainer. Seriously, show of hands, how many of you already have ‘Las Vegas Raiders' screen-printed on t-shirts from a misguided bachelor party in Sin City? Well, anyways, here are this week's rankings! We're short 6 teams this week so if you have to stream a new defense, this will help you out. Let's dive in.

Week 8 Rank

Team

Opponent

Previous Week's Ranking

Notes

1

Minnesota Vikings

@CHI

1

The Vikings D wasn't able to hold this team a float in a match up with the Eagles and the offense didn't provide any assistance. This week, they get to play a struggling Bears team that is starting Jay Cutler. Unless Cutler visited some mythical shaman to cure his turnover problem, this defense is a must play.

2

Denver Broncos

vs. SD

2

Last week, the Broncos held Osweiler to a 36 QBR and held the Texans to just 9 points. The Broncos play the Chargers whom they faced just 2 weeks ago. This has a Chargers-play-it-close-feel, but hopefully Denver learned something about stopping Philip Rivers on the first go-around.

3

Arizona Cardinals

@CAR

3

The Cardinals are second to the Vikings in yards allowed per game and they play a struggling Carolina offense coming off a bye week. ARI lost 15-49 to CAR in the playoffs last year, but this is not the same Panthers team.

4

Buffalo Bills

vs. NE

4

Already one matchup between these 2 teams this season, but this is a different Pats team with Tom Brady under center again. Buffalo had their lunch money stolen by Jay Ajayi last week and have allowed 125 yards per game on the ground this season. Marcell Dareus is back, though, so that could help fortify their run D more.

5

New England Patriots

@BUF

6

Right behind the team they're playing in this week's ranking, the Pats D looked rough last week. If it hadn't been Landry Jones running the red zone offense poorly, this D would've surrendered more. Hope that they didn't get too exposed last week.

6

Philadelphia Eagles

@DAL

7

Philly feasted on a weak Vikings offensive line last week, but the antithesis of that unit has to be the big boys on Big D's offensive front. Still, PHI has only allowed 14.7 ppg, but exercise caution if your league penalizes for yards allowed.

7

Seattle Seahawks

@NO

5

The slug-fest between ARI and SEA last week was a great defensive battle led by Bobby Wagner being a menace on special teams. Drew Brees and the Saints find ways to score though, so I don't like SEA too high this week.

8

Kansas City Chiefs

@IND

11

KC still leads the league in picks (10) and play a team that has a chance to give them a few. They have to slow down T.Y. Hilton, though. They're still allowing 257 passing yards per game and are tied for last in sacks. Will Interception Marcus Peters come to the rescue again?

9

San Diego Chargers

@DEN

26

The Chargers have been a sneaky good fantasy play. Admittedly, I've underrated them, but now Joey Bosa is adding a necessary pass rush and raising this defense's value. He's Pro Football Focus' leading defensive end at Pass Rushing Productivity rating. Denver's offense isn't exactly high-powered, so give SD a look if your regular D is on bye.

10

Houston Texans

vs. DET

10

HOU is second in passing yards allowed (184.7). Despite only notching a middling 16 sacks on the year, this defense does a good job at keeping things in front of them. Matthew Stafford has proved that he can move the ball in short gains so as long as they keep Marvin Jones in front of them, HOU can make some stops.

11

Tennessee Titans

vs. JAX

14

Tennessee has been consistently good against the run this season and that's an area JAX has not been able to get going. Or much of anything else on offense this season. On matchup alone, TEN is worth a look.

12

Green Bay Packers

@ATL

8

GB's secondary has been depleted and those aren't words you want to here when they're facing the league leader in passing yards (Matt Ryan) and leader in receiving yards (Julio Jones). ATL's RB's can also catch passes. Play a better option if you have it. This game is on shoot out alert.

13

Cincinnati Bengals

vs. WAS (in London)

12

WAS is 10th in points per drive and looked to be on a good streak before running into the Lions. They managed only 17 points in that game. This isn't the same Bengals D of years past, but playing in London makes it hard for offenses to get rolling on all cylinders. Cincy needs to play the run better, or it will be a long day for them.

14

Dallas Cowboys

vs. PHI

--

Dallas' defense has been playing well due to their offense helping them stay off the field. This rivalry match could be all sorts of crazy with 2 rookie QB's squaring off. Receivers not named Jordan Matthews haven't been very reliable in Philly's passing attack so that helps Dallas' passing game which is a weak spot.

15

New York Jets

@CLE

15

The Jets D could be spending a lot more time on field now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is back under center for them. Fortunately, they play the winless Browns. The Jets D is 2nd in the league in rush yards allowed (74.9) so they have sleeper potential here.

16

Washington Redskins

@CIN (in London)

19

AJ Green is not of this world and Josh Norman only plays one side of the field. That's if he plays. Norman was cleared (concussion) to fly to London, but that doesn't mean he'll play. WAS is 12th in defensive DVOA against #1 WRs already. It's tough to consider WAS a solid play this week.

17

Atlanta Falcons

vs. GB

18

Vic Beasley Jr. has been a bright spot on this ATL defense, but the remaining pass rush is still just okay. And so far this year, Aaron Rodgers has written 2 novels and finished watching Firefly with the time he's had in the pocket. This defense has also let up 28.4 ppg.

18

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

vs. OAK

21

Tampa's another team that has trouble generating a pass rush with just 13 total sacks on the season. OAK is also 8th in ppg allowed and 11th in total yards per game allowed. I wouldn't trust TB to do much, especially with Latavius Murray back in the lineup.

19

Chicago Bears

vs. MIN

23

Chicago's defense hasn't been horrible and MIN's offensive line looks horrible. There is sleeper potential here, but they need their secondary to step up and increase that 4 interception total.

20

Carolina Panthers

vs. ARI

--

This ranking for CAR may be part poor play and me being spiteful because I wanted them to be good. Let's look at the numbers. 29th in points allowed, 24th in total yards per game allowed and 1 defensive touchdown. If you're still hanging on to them hoping they turn it around, it's time to cut ties.

21

Jacksonville Jaguars

@TEN

24

The Jags have been up and down. One week they'll only surrender 17 points and the next it's 30+. The inconsistency is not something you can bank on. They're 9th in yards allowed per game, but that's about as good as it gets with this defense.

22

Detroit Lions

@HOU

27

In ESPN Standard Scoring leagues, DET has only scored 22 total fantasy points. Good for an average of 3.1 points per game. Save for an outlier game that might come down the pipe, this team won't score you more than 6 points in any given week. Even against a struggling Brock Osweiler.

23

Indianapolis Colts

vs. KC

29

Indianapolis is tied for last in interceptions with 2, but they do have a knack for forcing fumbles. They're tied for the lead league (9) in that category. The Chiefs passing attack hasn't always been the best, but the rushing game has averaged well over 100 ypg.

24

Oakland Raiders

@TB

16

OAK is 28th in defensive DVOA and even though TB isn't the offensive powerhouse, OAK is allowing 80 ypg to WR1s. Mike Evans is the definition of a WR1. I called on Cameron Wake last week to help out MIA and he answered with 1.5 sacks. Would the real Khalil Mack please stand up?

25

New Orleans Saints

vs. SEA

30

The ranking says 25th, but consider it a tie for last cause I can't in good conscience rank this defense above anyone. BUT they do play the Seahawks who just came off a long OT battle and only managed 6 points.

26

Cleveland Browns

vs. NYJ

28

The lowest amount of points that the Browns have allowed this season is 25 to the Ravens. Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor are also both on the injury report. At least JR Smith season has started.