There are several intriguing matchups in Week 6 that involve some of the highest scoring DSTs: New England at Buffalo, Green Bay at Miami, Carolina at Cincinnati, and N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia. Fantasy owners will have some tough decisions to make this week, but let’s delve into these matchups and try to make those choices a little easier.
Patriots at Bills
The Bills have thus far been the darling of the season, leading the NFL with 17.0 sacks, tied for fourth with 11 takeaways and wreaking havoc on owner’s running backs by allowing only 71 rushing yards per game and haven’t let up a single rushing TD. Buffalo’s D seems like the real deal considering they shutdown both Chicago and Detroit. They’re also one of only five teams letting up 17 or fewer points a week. But many are going to trump all that with Tom Brady’s career 22-2 record against his AFC East rival.
The Patriots have actually won more games due to their defense more than Brady this season, Week 5’s victory over Cincinnati being the only exception so far. They’ve forced 11 takeaways, and generated 10 sacks, all to the delight of fantasy owners.
Pick: Start either one. The Bills are at home, and have the pass rush to breakthrough New England’s o-line. With quarterback Kyle Orton still settling into his starting role, Buffalo should run the ball for most of the game, and no Bill has committed a fumble all season. Still neither team should put up big scoring numbers, which could mean eight to 10 points for owners.
Packers at Dolphins
Green Bay and Miami have two of the 10 best pass defenses in the league, with the former tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions, along with 12 sacks. The Dolphins have been equally impressive with 3 INTs and 11 sacks, and they’re coming off a bye week. Yet Miami’s 2-3 coming off the bye since 2009, allowing 24.4 points. The Packer’s drawback is there last place rushing defense.
Pick: The Packers offense, and offensive line, looks to finally have found its way and should punish Miami. The Dolphins have the fifth best run game in the league, but quarterback Ryan Tannehill will have to throw at some point to keep from falling too far behind, and Green Bay’s secondary is just too strong.
Giants at Eagles
The Eagles blew past every other DST with their sixth and seventh defense/special teams touchdowns in Week 5 vs. St. Louis, and despite his recent play, Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s interception rate will follow him wherever he goes. New York’s D is leading the NFL with eight INTs, but most of those came against a hapless Washington squad on a short week. And the Giants are still allowing more than 22 points per game.
Pick: Sit both. It’s highly unlikely Philly’s DST can stay on this kind of pace, and in division games most anything can happen. New York also has won three straight with a running game that’s averaged 157 yards during the streak, and that should limit Manning’s chances of committing turnovers. The Giants are fifth against the run, but the Eagles LeSean McCoy can blow up at any time and Philly has other weapons that hurt them too like receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, as well as sparkplug running back Darren Sproles.
Panthers at Bengals
Carolina’s 3-2 record can be easily explained. When their defense forces turnovers they win, with 10 total in victories compared to zero in losses. On the flip side, the Bengals had managed to take care of the ball and won three straight, before committing all three of their giveaways on the season against New England in the 43-17 debacle of Week 5. None which came from quarterback Andy Dalton.
Both of these squads were expected to be major DST scorers this season, but they’re hovering between 6 to 5 points depending on your league.
Pick: One team has to break, and it will likely be Carolina. The Panthers running back situation is in dire straits, and Cam Newton doesn’t have an explosive weapon like Dalton has in A.J. Green. Go with the Bengals at home. [UPDATE 2:27 p.m.EST] Green was hurt in practice Wednesday and his status for Week 6 is unknown. Still, Bengals have more weapons that can hurt Panthers DST.
Week 6’s Starts/Sits
Sit: Baltimore, N.Y. Jets, Carolina, Cleveland, Miami, Chicago, N.Y. Giants, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Minnesota
Start: Tennessee, Denver, Detroit, Buffalo, New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, San Diego, Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco
Byes: Kansas City, New Orleans