There wasn’t a ton of defensive fantasy production to go around in Week 9, as only four units posted double-digit performances. Detroit (11 points) and the Jets (10 points) were both streamer options heading into this week, but instead, we went with Miami (9 points), Seattle (8), and Kansas City (4), with our honorable mentions including Arizona with 9 points and Cincy and Minnesota with 6 points.
Looking ahead to Week 10, we have bye weeks for three teams — the Patriots, Ravens, and Jets — that are top 10 in D/ST scoring average, along with Cincinnati, who’s owned in 84% of leagues. Combine that with some tough matchups for the league’s top defenses, and the D/ST streamer market could be a crazy one this week. Let’s check out our top options off the Week 10 Waiver Wire.
TENNESSEE TITANS (20% ROSTERED)
Week 10: vs. Denver, 1 PM EST
Week 9 was a weird one for Tennessee — their defense put up seven fantasy points in a close OT loss in Kansas City, but they yielded over 500 yards of total offense and most of it to Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes looked like he was back at Texas Tech, finishing with an insane line of 43/68 for 446 yards and a TD to go along with 63 yards and a touchdown on the ground. It wasn’t exactly a banner day statistically for Mike Vrabel’s defense, but things get easier in Week 10 as they host Denver, who’s coming off their post-London bye week.
Tennessee can still hang their hat on their incredible run defense, which now sits at no. 2 in the league after holding KC rushers not named Mahomes to 14 yards on 13 carries. It was this run defense that forced Mahomes to throw nearly 70 times on Sunday night, and if Tennessee can put the Broncos in a similar position this week, they’ll likely bait Russell Wilson into some costly mistakes.
Denver remains near the bottom of the league in scoring at 15.1 PPG and relied on touchdowns from Latavius Murray and Melvin Gordon III to squeak past Jacksonville in Week 8. They likely won’t have as much luck on the ground in this matchup, giving Tennessee a chance to shut them down and turn in a solid performance on defense.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (15%)
Week 10: vs. Indianapolis, 4:05 PM EST
As someone who was high on the Raiders going into the season, it’s finally become time to admit that Josh McDaniels is as bad a coach as the numbers indicate. In his last 20 games as a head coach, he has a record of 5-15. Yikes. Sitting at 2-6 on the year in a competitive division, the Raiders are in desperate need of a tide-turning win. And luckily for them, Week 10 brings a matchup with one of the few other NFL teams who can rival them in terms of dysfunction.
Indianapolis was a defensive coordinator’s dream matchup even before firing head coach Frank Reich this week. Now, they’ve brought in none other than Jeff Saturday as their interim HC. Saturday is many things — a likable guy, a former All-Pro center and Super Bowl Champion, and a Colts Ring of Honor inductee, to name a few. Whether he’s qualified to be an NFL head coach, however, remains to be seen.
Even if Saturday works out long-term for the Colts, you have to assume there will be some growing pains bringing in a guy who’s never coached above high school, especially when your quarterback is making his third career start. I’m expecting Vegas to take advantage of the Colts’ inexperience and lack of familiarity with their new coach and wreak some havoc in the form of a couple of takeaways — a category where they currently sit dead last in the NFL through nine weeks.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (37%)
Week 10: @ Pittsburgh, 1 PM EST
Coming off a tough loss to Baltimore, the Saints will host a Steelers team that hasn’t scored 21 or more points since Week 1. Since coming in at halftime of Week 4, Kenny Pickett has just two TDs to go along with eight interceptions and has been sacked 12 times in four starts. New Orleans has just two interceptions and 22 sacks on the year, but both of those numbers could be set to increase in a matchup with a stagnant offense and a porous offensive line protecting their rookie QB.
The Saints have one fewer weapon to worry about in this one with Chase Claypool having been dealt to the Bears last week. This will increase George Pickens‘ role in the offense considerably, but we will see if Pickett can actually get him involved or not. The Saints would also love to finally get Marshon Lattimore back, who’s missed four straight games with an abdomen injury.
OTHERS TO TARGET
Pittsburgh Steelers (12%): After a bye week of their own, Pittsburgh hosts a Saints team that’s allowed the 4th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses and is tied for first in the NFL with 17 giveaways. The Steelers have eight interceptions of their own this year and may need a few to stay in this one. They also reportedly expect to get TJ Watt back for this one, which may help put them closer to their 26-point Week 1 output (seven sacks, four INTs, and a touchdown) than their 2.1 point per game average since.
Denver Broncos (46%): Denver is coming off a bye week and will face a Tennessee offense that lives and dies with the run game. Denver’s run defense is below average, but their secondary is one of the league’s best. The key will be if they can get Tennessee into long-yardage situations and force them to throw the ball.
New York Giants (7%): The Giants fell back to Earth a couple of weeks ago in a loss to Seattle, but now host a Houston team that’s scoring just 16.6 points per game. If New York’s 25th-ranked run defense can step up and slow down Dameon Pierce, they’ll be in a good spot.