Week 7 DST & K Rankings
Week 7 DST Sleepers
Week 7 Start N' Sit
Week 8 Waiver Wire Tips

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Seattle Seahawks defense

By Steven Sherwoodphoto of journalist Steven Sherwood
Steven is an economics major at Columbia University in the City of New York. He graduates in May of 2016 and hopes to one day become the general manager of a major sports franchise. He uses his knowledge of markets to break down the economics of fantasy football.
Year after year I enter drafts and watch as defenses fly off the board starting in round 10, and each year I cringe. Sure there is something to be said for a set it and forget it defense such as Seattle or San Francisco, but following this strategy leaves points on the board my friends. It’s incredibly difficult to identify the top scoring defense for a year, just look at Kansas City last year or Philadelphia this year; however, identifying a top scoring unit for a week is an easier task, which is why I employ a streaming defense strategy each year and the results are largely favorable. I know what you’re thinking waivers have already passed what’s your point? My point is sometimes fantasy points can come from the most unlikely sources, and in this case any team going up against the Jaguars, Rams, or Vikings have averaged more fantasy points per week than every defense other than Philadelphia, so while a defense might not sound flashy on the surface on any given week they can be a game breaking position for your team. Before my ranks here’s one last note, with Philadelphia on bye if a team dropped them I would not hesitate to pick them up, sure defensive touchdowns are fluky and hard to predict, but they have an incredible pass rush and force offenses to make mistakes as they try to keep pace.

The DST rankings are based on a standard league where fumble recoveries and interceptions count for 2 points each and sacks count for 1 point with a typical sliding scale for points and yardage allowed, while the K rankings are based on field goals counting for 3 points (with 5 points awarded for 50+ yard FGs) and extra points counting for 1 point. Now for the ranks:

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Buffalo Bills
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Arizona Cardinals
  5. Cleveland Browns
  6. Houston Texans
  7. Denver Broncos
  8. San Diego Chargers
  9. Baltimore Ravens
  10. Detroit Lions
  11. Dallas Cowboys
  12. Chicago Bears
  13. Washington Redskins
  14. Tennessee Titans
  15. Indianapolis Colts
  16. Minnesota Vikings
  1. Justin Tucker
  2. Nick Novak
  3. Adam Vinatieri
  4. Steven Hauschka
  5. Stephen Gostkowski
  6. Matt Bryant
  7. Mason Crosby
  8. Dan Bailey
  9. Robbie Gould
  10. Cairo Santos
  11. Chandler Catanzaro
  12. Brandon McManus
  13. Caleb Sturgis
  14. Greg Zuerlein
  15. Shaun Suisham
  16. Phil Dawson
Buffalo Bills defense

By Steven Sherwoodphoto of journalist Steven Sherwood
Steven is an economics major at Columbia University in the City of New York. He graduates in May of 2016 and hopes to one day become the general manager of a major sports franchise. He uses his knowledge of markets to break down the economics of fantasy football.

Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills defense
To this point in the season the Buffalo Bills are a top 5 fantasy defense. This unit is much underrated both in real life and in the fantasy world. Their 67.5 yards allowed rushing per game leads the NFL and this week they are licking their chops at the chance to face the 4th-friendliest matchup for defenses in the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are facing a quandary - do they start the more explosive rookie, Jerick McKinnon, and get their quarterback killed by the Bills fierce pass rush or stick with the slow, plodding Matt Asiata, who offers more in pass protection? Last week they gave the inexperienced rookie, McKinnon, the lions' share of touches and Teddy Bridgewater got sacked eight times. Even if Asiata's brought in for most of the passing downs, I'm still expecting the Bills to bring the heat with Bridgewater coming off of a 3 interception game. The Bills are a must-start option this week.

Houston Texans
Texans DST
The Texans are the second-highest scoring fantasy defense to date. Not only is a healthy Brian Cushing a gigantic upgrade to this unit from a year ago, but JJ Watt is the only defensive player who is a legitimate threat to score a touchdown every play he’s on the field. Many fantasy pundits, ourselves included, made the mistake of suggesting you sit this unit last week against the Colts, but this unit proved itself match-up proof. Couple that with the fact, that there’s a chance freak-of-nature Clowney returns this Monday and this unit is a no-brainer start.

New York Jets
Jets DST
It’s a Thursday night game, which means it’s almost guaranteed to be a blowout, and the smart money is on the Patriots. The Jets are one of the more overrated defensive units in the league this year, giving up the league's 25th-most points per game and 15th-most passing yards per game. Even their stout run defense has given up back-to-back 100 yard rushing performances to the likes of back-ups Ronnie Hillman and Brandon Oliver. With Tom Brady playing like vintage Brady right now no way you can feel good about starting this defense.

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals defense
Coming off back to back weeks in which the defense scored negative fantasy points, this is a hard unit to trust playing on the road in Indy. Andrew Luck might be the best player in the league right now not named Demarco Murray and T.Y. Hilton thrives on the home turf. While I expect this unit to bounce back at some point soon this season, it’s not gonna happen this week.

Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys DST
I know, believe me, I’m a Cowboys fan and I’m shocked I’m saying this. But this Cowboys defensive unit, which was predicted to be one of the worst in history of the NFL, is not so bad after all. While they rank in the middle of the pack for both passing and rushing yards allowed per game, this team is top ten in points allowed. The Cowboys rank among the top ten fantasy defenses against QBs, WRs, and RBs. Pair that with the fact the Giants are missing their two best playmakers, Cruz and Jennings, and this defense has some serious upside this week.

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns helmet
I realize that this team might not be such a sleeper, seeing as they are playing the Jaguars, but they are still only being started in 37% of Yahoo Fantasy Leagues. Guys, this number needs to skyrocket the next few days, they’re playing the Jaguars, after all! They have largely underwhelmed to this point in the fantasy season, ranking as only the 23rd-best defense, but seriously guys, it’s the Jaguars.

Dolphins DST

By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
Don't get too discouraged if your draft didn't work out as you planned. Fantasy success isn't the exclusive result of a solid draft - often it's the in-season waiver wire moves that determines who makes it to the post-season. We've got some hot tips for you that should help you improve your roster and catch up to those lucky sons-of-guns who always seem to draft the right players:

Defenses to Add

Miami Dolphins
The Fins are our streaming defense play of the week. They hit the road to play the sad sack Jaguars, who are allowing the most fantasy points a game to opposing defenses, and you can pretty much count on rookie QB Blake Bortles to toss up a few Nilla wafers that'll be gobbled up by the cookie monsters in the Dolphins secondary.

Dallas Cowboys
The Boys are playing much better defense under their new coordinator Rod Marinelli. A year ago I would've shied away from recommending this defense regardless of the match-up but now I'm comfortable recommending that you pick them up and start them against a Redskins team that's allowed a generous 9.7 points a game to opposing defenses and will be starting a 3rd-string QB. Judging from his past performances, Colt McCoy's capable of putting up good numbers but is equally capable of being a turnover machine. I'm betting on the latter, since the game's in Dallas and the Cowboys should be able to shut down Alfred Morris.

Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs DST is only available in 37% of NFL.com leagues and 18% of ESPN leagues, so this may fall on deaf ears but if you play in a league where an owner has dropped them, they make an excellent waiver wire target. They have a home game against a Rams team that's allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points a game to defenses. The Rams offense has played better of late but this is a match-up I still like.

Defenses to Drop

Cincinnati Bengals
This defense has gone down the tubes over the last 3 weeks, yielding 37 points to the Patriots, 37 to Carolina, and 27 to Indianapolis and scoring just a single fantasy point in the process. Geno Atkins is playing like a shadow of himself, the aging secondary's been exposed, and Burfict can't stay healthy, which has impacted their ability (or lack thereof) to stop the run. This may have been a top 5 defense at the beginning of the season but it's not going to be even a top 15 defense when all is said and done. They've got a tough match-up with a Ravens team that'll be out for vengeance after a Week 1 loss. Baltimore's only been allowing 5.0 fantasy points a game to defenses, so drop the Bengals in favor of another DST with a better match-up or better prospects going forward.

Seattle Seahawks
I never thought I'd say this, but if you're still holding onto the Legion of Boom now might be a good time to drop them in favor of a streaming defense with a good match-up this week. The 'Hawks haven't been a bad real world defense this year, ranking 7th in the league in yards allowed, but they're not getting the sacks or turnovers they had last year and that's making them a bad fantasy defense. They currently rank just 30th in the league in fantasy points scored (yes, I said that right). Star DEs Michael Bennett and especially Cliff Avril just haven't been getting to the quarterback this season and Byron Maxwell, who took over as the starting RCB when Brandon Browner and Walt Thurmond left in free agency, has been exposed all year long in coverage. Just hold your nose and do it and don't even think about that 8th or 9th round draft pick you spent on them!

Kickers to Add

Shaun Suisham
If your kicker has a bye week, I've got a couple of suggestions for you. Suisham is currently the 9th-highest scoring fantasy kicker in my league. The Steelers play the Colts at home in a game that should feature plenty of scoring, so don't be afraid to pick him up and start him.

Randy Bullock
Following in the same vein, Bullock has been the 11th-highest scoring fantasy kicker this season. The Texans rank just 20th in scoring but since their quarterback has a pop-gun arm, many of their drives have stalled out in the red zone, which has provided plenty of opportunities for field goals. Bullock's not the most accurate kicker but does have a strong leg, which can pay off in leagues that award extra points for 50+ yarders. He's got a nice match-up this week against a Titans team that's allowed 8.9 fantasy points a game.

Kickers to Drop

Phil Dawson
I never advise anyone to hold onto a kicker during bye weeks, so even though Dawson is tied for fifth-place in fantasy scoring, I suggest dropping him in favor of another kicker instead of tying up a valuable spot on your bench. The output of kickers is just too unpredictable for you to keep the seat warm for Dawson, especially if it means dropping a promising young player or valuable back-up at a more important position.