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Article:Week 8 Defense/Special Teams Fantasy Rankings

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Must Starts:

1. Washington vs. Detroit. In what is quickly becoming a personal rule of mine, any team that plays the Detroit Lions is worthy of a must start. They don’t run the ball well and now being forced to play with a back-up QB, they don’t pass so well either… with the exception of 95+ yard bombs to freak receiver Calvin Johnson. In this one, we see Washington taking away the running game (although there’s none to really speak of) and using its set of quality corners to contain WR Johnson. Outside of him, there’s not much else to respect. Look for the Skins to put up a top fantasy effort this weekend in Detroit.

2. New York Jets vs. Kansas City. Yes, I know, this is a very high ranking for Mangini’s crew and wouldn’t normally be the case except that the lowly, and I mean lowly, Chiefs are coming to town. Last week, vs. a tough Tennessee defense, they managed 0 points for the 1st 55-minutes of the game before rattling off 10 garbage time points at the end. This week, while not facing a world beater in the Jets, they head to the Meadowlands and they’ve been very bad on the road this season. Look for the Jets to jump on KC early and then Pace, Ellis and Jenkins to get after the QB as KC is forced to play without star RB Larry Johnson once again, who’s been more active off the field of late than on. We see the Jets’ D as a nice play.

3. Carolina vs. Arizona. The one thing the Cards do well on offense is pass; Carolina, before last Sunday, was 3rd in the NFL defensively against the pass. After whipping the Saints 30-7, that number hasn’t dropped. In this game, played in Carolina, we see the Panthers jumping up early on Arizona and once the lead is established, turning up the heat on defense and registering multiple sacks of Warner and a few turnovers.

4. Philadelphia vs. Atlanta. Thus far, rookie QB Matt Ryan has looked anything but a rookie. His play has contributed to Atlanta’s 4-2 start this season. That being said, his two worst performances came on the road against tough defenses - Carolina and Tampa - and this one is being played in Philly, one of the toughest of all. We see DC Jim Johnson incorporating a very heavy blitz package to confuse Ryan while making a concerted effort from the start to contain RB Michael Turner. Look for multiple sacks and if the Eagles jump up by 10, a few turnovers late.


1. Baltimore vs. Oakland. This actually could be defined as another must start, but since we’ve already defined 4 other strong plays, sleepers it is. In this game, being played in Maryland, we see Baltimore bringing heavy pressure early and often and forcing Raiders QB Russell into multiple turnovers. The Ravens are also stout against the run so we don’t see much out of RBs Fargas and McFadden. A very solid play.

2. Buffalo vs. Miami. The Bills defense came on strong last week vs. San Diego and we see that trend continuing this week down in Miami. In this one, we predict a low scoring affair, and we see the Bills making a concerted effort to take RBs Brown and Williams out of the game plan. If they can accomplish this, then look for them to pressure Pennington into a few sacks and turnovers.


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