If a defense recorded 4.0 sacks, another six quarterback hits, and forced and recovered two fumbles, you’d think they’d be one of the most added or owned fantasy defenses in Week Two. But as of today the Miami Dolphins are still one of the more underrated DSTs in fantasy football, owned in only 14 percent of Yahoo and 7.5 percent in ESPN leagues (a bump of 6.4 percent no less).
Many are right to call Miami’s demolition of the New England Patriots a Week One fluke, but this could be a DST worthy of a start for the rest of the season. The Dolphins took advantage of a weakened Pats offensive line (following the trade of Logan Mankins), forcing quarterback Tom Brady to keep his head on a swivel throughout the game, and Brady’s average completed pass was for only 4.45 yards, only the third time its dipped below 5 yards since 2010.
It also serves to reason that if the Dolphins offense hadn’t committed three turnovers, defensive end Cameron Wake and his crew could have kept the Patriots to fewer than 20 points (all scored in the first half).
Taking a look at Miami’s schedule over the next few weeks, they could string together some 10-plus fantasy point weeks. In Week Two Miami next faces the Buffalo Bills, who are coming off an equally impressive performance against the loaded Chicago Bears offense. With both defenses playing well, this could be a very low scoring matchup with both teams vying for at least a share of the early AFC East lead.
In Week Three the Dolphins hosts a Kansas City squad who’s offense looked very shaky against the Titans, then they’re at Oakland (Derek Carr looked good against the Jets early but faded), and after they’re Week Five bye they’ll take on an injury plagued Packers o-line followed by two straight roadies at Chicago and Jacksonville.
For now, with no major injury concerns, Miami is one DST worthy of a start this week. Here are five others owners should look at before the start of Week Two. Remember, always do your research, and start/sit at your own discretion.
The Titans put together a terrific all-around display (4 players with 1.0 sack, 6 with tackles-for-a-loss) against Kansas City, picking off Alex Smith three times, and sacking him four times with another five QB hits. Now, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has taken a ton of heat for not giving Jamaal Charles the ball more, which could be reason enough to doubt Tennessee (owned in 11 percent of Yahoo, 5.7 percent of ESPN leagues) this week. But the Titans are playing a hapless Dallas squad coming off a terrible offensive performance against San Francisco. Tony Romo threw three interceptions, and the Cowboys o-line gave up 3.0 sacks and another 4 QB hits. The Titans DST could put of up huge numbers in Week Two.
Again, their matchup against the Dolphins in Week Two could be very low scoring, and with both sides capable of forcing turnovers (the Bills forced two interceptions and recovered a fumble while sacking Chicago’s Jay Cutler twice) they could be ripe for more than 10 points apiece in Week Two.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If it wasn’t for their offense committing three turnovers, the Bucs DST would have had a much better performance than Week One’s 20-14 home loss to Carolina. They held the usually run-first Panthers to 3.3 yards per carry, and to a 1-for-3 rate in the red zone. Their matchup in Week Two against St. Louis presents a much easier challenge. The Rams o-line gave up 5.0 sacks, and their quarterback woes (Austin Davis, Shaun Hill, Case Keenum, pick your poison) won’t be any better after one week.
New Orleans Saints
So much for that super-expensive secondary right? New Orleans gave up 568 total yards (445 in the air) and 37 points in a crushing Week One loss to Atlanta. But in Week Two they’ll face a much less dangerous group of Browns receivers. Andrew Hawkins had a nice game as Cleveland came back and nearly won at Pittsburgh, but they’re likely to miss top tight end Jordan Cameron due to a shoulder injury, further weakening quarterback Brian Hoyer’s weapons. Owners haven’t given up on the Saints DST either, with an increase of 16.9 percent adds in ESPN leagues already.
It wasn’t the prettiest of victories for Arizona, but in Week One they still managed to hold San Diego to only 290 offensive yards, picked off Philip Rivers once, and allowed only 52 rushing yards. The Cards didn’t pick up any sacks, but that’s likely to change against a New York Giants o-line that surrendered 2.0 sacks, three tackles for a loss, and another nine QB hits. The Giants offense looked dreadful through much of their 35-14 loss to Detroit, going 3-for-13 on third down and Eli Manning tossing two INTs against one of the league’s subpar secondarys. Arizona has one of the top secondarys in the league, and should Tyrann Mathieu return next to Patrick Peterson, the Cards should punish New York.
Week Two’s Starts/Sits
Sit: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Minnesota, New England, Cleveland Start: Seattle, Houston, Miami, Buffalo, Carolina, Arizona, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Tennessee