Week 8 Rankings (2017): Top 15 Defenses

by Ray Kuhn

This is one of those weeks that we really aren’t working with much. Six teams are on bye, and you might have to work a little harder to find either a replacement or value if DFS is your game. We also need to note that touchdowns are extremely unpredictable, i.e. Chicago last week, and trying to forecast them is a fool’s errand. Let’s take a look at how our options rank:

  1. Minnesota Vikings – at Cleveland
  2. Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
  3. Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Indianapolis
  4. New Orleans Saints – vs. Chicago
  5. Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Denver
  6. Baltimore Ravens – vs. Miami
  7. Atlanta Falcons – at New York Jets
  8. Seattle Seahawks – vs. Houston
  9. Miami Dolphins – at Baltimore
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers – at Detroit
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Carolina
  12. Buffalo Bills – vs. Oakland
  13. Houston Texans – at Seattle
  14. Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
  15. Oakland Raiders – at Buffalo


  • For good reason Cleveland can’t make their minds up for who is going to be under center. All three of their options have disappointed, and it has been an ugly carousel of suffering. To make matters worse, the Browns are now without Joe Thomas for the remainder of the season. All that means is that Minnesota is our top defense for this week. The Vikings have a defense worthy of starting each week to begin with, but we can’t ignore the matchup bump they get. Minnesota has allowed more than 19 points once this season, 26 in Pittsburgh, and they shouldn’t have any issue coming up with turnovers. While the Vikings do have seven interceptions so far this season, they have two games of three each. I would also expect the Vikings to easily build on the 21 sacks they have so far this season.
  • The Saints, a defense to target? Wow things really are different these days around the NFL. For starters they are playing at home, and it has also become abundantly clear that Chicago isn’t looking to pass the ball with Mitch Trubisky under center. The Saints should be able to keep Jordan Howard in check, and if Drew Brees and company get out to a big lead Trubisky will be forced to take it to the air. Even if the Saints don’t generate much in the way of turnovers, the Bears defense doesn’t present risk.
  • Tampa Bay is getting the Panthers and Cam Newton at the right time. Either Newton isn’t truly healthy or he is still impacted by his lack of off-season reps, or likely both, but he isn’t generating any kind of fear in opposing defenses. Over the last two weeks the Buccaneers have been asleep at the wheel allowing a combined 68 points, but they are better than that. Returning home to race a divisional foe should help point Tampa in the right direction. With the Panthers allowing 22 sacks, there is no way the Buccaneers can’t improve on their seven sacks so far this season.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Week 8 Rankings (2017): Top 15 Kickers
Week 8 Rankings (2017): Top 50 Wide Receivers: Is Amari Cooper "Back" & More


  1. House of Pain says:

    Hello Professor;

    Full point PPR: which defense to grab? Lions or Panthers?

    Thank you

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