Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 9 Defenses That Will Carry You to Victory

Jeff BellCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21: Defensive end Osi Umenyiora #72 of the New York Giants sacks quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

ESPN Fantasy Football players love it when their defense begins a game because it means an instant 10 points. But for most owners, that number starts to dwindle, and the end result is frustration when the defense nets five points or less.

But some defenses will actually give you more points as the game goes on, and it often means the difference between winning and losing.

The key to starting a defense is all about who they are going up against. You may start a mediocre San Diego Chargers defense over the mighty Houston Texas if the Chargers were playing, say, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

At this point in the season, most of the exceptional defenses are off the board, so don't expect to get lucky and land the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks or the Texans.

But many stout units remain up for grabs, and if your starting D is on a bye or has been struggling, now is the time to pick up a new one.

Here are four units that you should consider adding to your team in Week 9.


Denver Broncos

The Broncos, despite all of the talent they possess on the defensive side of the ball, are available in almost 70 percent of ESPN's fantasy leagues.

They didn't have the best outing against the San Diego Chargers a couple weeks ago, but they ended the game with a pick-six of Phillip Rivers to the delight of their fantasy overs.

Last week, they held the New Orleans Saints in check for most of the game. The Saints may be having a down season, but holding them to 14 points is never easy.

The reason you should check on their availability in your league is that they are facing the Cincinnati Bengals next weekend. The Bengals are passing the ball fairly well under Andy Dalton, but they don't have much of a running game.

This means Von Miller and company will have plenty of chances to pin their ears back and get after Dalton. It also means more opportunities for interceptions.

The Bengals should be rested coming off their bye week, but Denver is playing as well as anybody lately, and the defense will have another strong performance this weekend.


New York Giants

With availability in almost half of ESPN's fantasy leagues, snagging the Giants defense should be at the top of your priorities if your D has been struggling recently.

The Giants have had a topsy-turvy year on defense, but there's no doubt about the talent they have. Jason Pierre-Paul is monster on the defensive line, and the defense intercepted Tony Romo on four occasions this past Sunday on their way to amassing 19 fantasy points.

They face the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend, and Ben Roethlisberger isn't quite the turnover machine that Romo is. But with the Steelers still struggling to find a consistent running game, Big Ben will be on the move against the Giants.

I expect New York to sack the Steelers QB at least a handful of times, perhaps leading to a fumble or two. And even if the Giants give up a lot of points as they did against Dallas last weekend, they still have the ability to create turnovers.

Picking up the Giants D is a solid move at this point in the season whether it's just for Week 9 or the rest of the year.


Detroit Lions

I realize the Lions are a risky choice at this point, but with an upcoming matchup against the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars, now is the time to buy.

The defense is available in almost half of ESPN's fantasy leagues.

They tend to play an aggressive, emotional style of football, sometimes to the detriment the team. But against Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert, the D-line is going to have a field day.

Jacksonville is struggling to develop any kind of consistency in its offense. While the Lions D may not be a great long-term solution with future games against the Texans and the Green Bay Packers, it is a decent option in Week 9.


Washington Redskins

The Redskins are the team to watch each week, but that's mostly due to Robert Griffin III. Their defense, while nothing special this season, is a great option for Week 9 if you're regular unit has a bye.

It is available in most of ESPN's fantasy leagues, and it has a date with the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.

Before the season, this looked like a scary matchup for Washington, but the Panthers haven't delivered on their promises thus far. If you're nervous about Cam Newton, it's understandable. Newton had a brilliant rookie season and appeared ready to take his offense to the next level.

But that hasn't happened. Carolina put up a fight against the Chicago Bears last weekend, but it is still a team looking for answers.

Like the Lions, the Redskins aren't a good option for the rest of the season. But they should have a solid Week 9, and if you're in need of a one-week solution for your defense, this may be the unit for you.