Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 10: Who to start, sit at D/ST in fantasy football



Our Week 10 fantasy defense rankings feature most of the usual studs at the top, but the sleeper D/STs that always emerge are tougher to pin down that usual. Not only are several favorable matchups out because of byes, but a few more potential waiver wire streamers hang in the balance while we wait to see who starts at quarterback for couple teams. 

Fortunately, only one D/ST, Cincinnati, that’s even a semi-regular start is off this week because of byes. No one will miss the Giants, Texans, or Bears’ defenses, but we’ll certainly miss being able to play D/STs against those offenses. That takes away at least a few high-end options and potential sleepers.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker

There are still several favorable matchups; unfortunate, most go to D/STs that are already owned in the majority of leagues.  This likely means fewer owners will need to hit the waiver wire to find a streaming option, but if you’re in the group that does, you could try the Eagles (@ Broncos), Raiders (vs. Chiefs), or Titans (vs. Saints).

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker

Of course, the Titans’ sleeper status probably depends on who’s starting under center for New Orleans. Taysom Hill isn’t a great passer, but his running ability limits potential sack and INT opportunities for defenses. Tennessee isn’t an overly strong defense, so it really needs the big-play opportunities that Trevor Siemian is more likely to provide. The same is true for the Packers (vs. Seahawks), who would vault into the top 10 if Geno Smith is starting in place of Russell Wilson (finger) again. The Seahawks themselves would jump up into streamer territory if Jordan Love is starting in place of Aaron Rodgers (reserve/COVID list) again.

Perhaps no defense would see a bigger shift in rankings based on opposing QBs than Carolina (@ Cardinals). If Kyler Murray (ankle) starts, the Panthers are virtually unusable despite several big weeks this year. If Colt McCoy is under center, Carolina has top-10 upside. For now, we’re expecting Murray to start, but stay on top of that throughout the week. 

There aren’t too many regular starters knocked out of consideration by tough matchups. Miami and San Francisco saw upticks in ownership levels last week, but with matchups against the Ravens and Rams, respectively, neither should be considered this week. New Orleans (@ Titans) is also in a tough spot, but a Derrick Henry-less Tennessee offense isn’t nearly as scary.

There are plenty of good D/ST options this week, but there could be even more depending on injury news. Be ready to upgrade if the opportunity presents itself, even if that means carrying two D/STs for part of the week. 

Note: We’ll be updating these D/ST rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest analysis and player movement.

Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 10: Who to start, sit at D/ST in fantasy football

Rank Team
1 Buffalo Bills @ NYJ
2 Arizona Cardinals vs. CAR
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ WAS
4 Indianapolis Colts vs. JAX
5 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. DET
6 Los Angeles Rams @ SF
7 New England Patriots vs. CLE. Cleveland’s offense has been inconsistent most of the season, shown by the 13.7 offensive points per game the Browns averaged in Weeks 6-8. However, last week against a solid Cincinnati defense (and in their first game without Odell Beckham Jr.), the Browns put up 35 offensive points. The Patriots don’t have quite as high of a floor as usual, but there’s still plenty of upside here. New England has racked up six sacks, seven takeaways, and two D/ST touchdowns over the past three weeks. We know how dangerous the Pats can be when they get on a roll, so it’s tough to fade them in a neutral matchup like this.
8 Tennessee Titans vs. NO. Even with Trevor Siemian primarily under center last week, the Saints continued to be one of the most fantasy-unfriendliest offenses in the NFL, allowing just one sack and one turnover. That said, a matchup against Atlanta isn’t exactly the best litmus test. Siemian should still be viewed as turnover prone, and Tennessee’s defense has really raised its game over the past five weeks. In that span, the Titans have racked up 15 sacks, 11 takeaways, and three defensive TDs. That includes games against the Bills, Chiefs, and Rams, so the matchup isn’t too concerning at all.
9 Cleveland Browns @ NE. With multiple sacks in all but one game this year, Cleveland’s pass rush has been a constant. Takeaways haven’t been quite as consistent, but the Browns are coming off a three-takeaway, one-TD defensive showing against a better offense in Cincinnati. New England has been better since a mostly rocky start to the year, but rookie QB Mac Jones is still capable of some big mistakes, as we saw last week when he turned it over twice. The Browns have a solid floor and high ceiling in this matchup.
10 Baltimore Ravens @ MIA. The Ravens allow their fair share of big plays, but facing either Jacoby Brissett or a banged-up Tua Tagovailoa (finger) on a Thursday night is a great recipe to get back on track. In the five games in which Brissett has seen extensive action, he’s taken 16 sacks and turned it over seven times. Tagovailoa has thrown at least one INT in each of his four full games, too. Whoever starts will likely have trouble against Baltimore’s big-play defense.
11 Dallas Cowboys vs. ATL. To say Dallas is “due” for a takeaway or two this week is an understatement. After starting the season with multiple takeaways in each of the first six games, Dallas hasn’t had any in the past two contests. The Cowboys D/ST mostly disappointed last week against Denver, but it still managed four sacks. If Dallas can combine its solid pass rush with its early-season ball-hawking ways, it should post a decent amount of fantasy points against an Atlanta offense that’s turned it over multiple times in three of the past four games.
12 Philadelphia Eagles @ DEN. The Eagles have been an all-or-nothing D/ST this year, best shown by their past two games: Six points allowed, six sacks, one takeaway, one D/ST touchdown in Week 8, and 27 points allowed, zero sacks, and zero takeaways in Week 9. Despite a strong showing in Dallas last week, Denver still allowed four sacks and is a favorable matchup overall. The Eagles should be able to bounce back with a decent defensive performance this week. 
13 Las Vegas Raiders vs. KC. The Chiefs finally held onto the ball in Week 9, allowing zero takeaways after turning it over 19 times in Weeks 2-8. Still, the once high-powered offense scored just 13 points. The Raiders continued their run of decent play against the Giants, allowing just 16 offensive points and registering three sacks and a takeaway. Vegas has multiple sacks in every game this year and seven takeaways in the past three. Put it all together, the Raiders should be able to produce a decent amount of fantasy points in a home prime-time game. Just hope Kansas City doesn’t remember it’s Kansas City this week.
14 New Orleans Saints @ TEN. Tennessee’s first post-Derrick Henry game has to be qualified as a success, as it scored 22 offensive points, allowed three sacks, and turned it over once. That was against the mighty Rams on the road, so it’s tempting to think it will be even better at home against the Saints. New Orleans’s pass rush hasn’t taken any time off, registering 12 sacks the past four games, but its ability to create turnovers has been inconsistent. The Saints have multiple takeaways in four games this year, including two of the past four, but with just two total in the other four games, you never know what you’re going to get. Overall, the Saints have a decent floor, but their ceiling is lower than usual this week.
15 Green Bay Packers vs. SEA. The Packers’ overall outlook depends on whether Russell Wilson (finger) or Geno Smith is under center. Wilson, even at less than 100 percent, is a dangerous foe. Smith, despite just one turnover in his three starts, provides an easier path to points (as shown by his 13 sacks taken). Green Bay had racked up multiple takeaways in six-of-seven games prior to Week 9, but even after a turnover-free game, the Packers still allowed fewer than 15 offensive points for the third time in the past four contests. There’s still upside here no matter who starts for Seattle.
16 Carolina Panthers @ ARI. Colt McCoy impressed last week, taking just two sacks and failing to turn it over. Still, if he’s starting again, he’ll be vulnerable to sacks and takeaways against an aggressive defense like Carolina’s. If Kyler Murray (ankle) is under center, the Panthers will be a boom-or-bust D/ST that still might have some value thanks to its big-play potential.
17 Los Angeles Chargers vs. MIN
18 Miami Dolphins vs. BAL
19 Denver Broncos vs. PHI
20 Minnesota Vikings @ LAC
21 Detroit Lions @ PIT
22 San Francisco 49ers vs. LAR
23 Seattle Seahawks @ GB
24 Jacksonville Jaguars @ IND
25 Kansas City Chiefs @ LV
26 Atlanta Falcons @ DAL
27 New York Jets vs. BUF
28 Washington Football Team vs. TB


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