Getting Defensive: Week 10

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It seems like just a week or two ago that the 2021 NFL season was getting underway. And yet here we are, headed into the 10th week of the regular season. Before you know it, the fantasy football stretch run will be here.

For quite a few fantasy managers whose playoff aspirations are hanging by a thread, it essentially already has.

As is usually the case with team defenses, what we thought would happen and what has actually happened diverged by about Week 3.

Some things have gone according to plan. The Los Angeles Rams are a top -five defense in terms of total points. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have managed to retain solid fantasy value despite a litany of injuries on the back end. The Buffalo Bills, who were drafted seventh among defenses per the ADP data at Fantasy Pros, have spent most of this season at the top of the AFC in fantasy points.

But there have also been plenty of surprises. The Washington Football Team has gone from top-five pick in most drafts to waiver wire fodder after completely imploding. The Pittsburgh Steelers rank outside the top-10 in fantasy points per game. The Arizona Cardinals have gone from draft-day afterthought to leading all team defenses in fantasy points.

It has been a wild ride—and we haven’t even gotten to crunch time yet.

You may want to buckle your safety belt.

THE NO-DOUBTERS

Buffalo Bills (at New York Jets)

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The Bills got stunned by the Jacksonville Jaguars last week (seriously, how the heck did that happen?), but that doesn’t take away from what the Bills have accomplished defensively this season. Nine weeks in, the Bills lead the league in total defense (just 262.6 yards per game) and scoring defense (14.8 points per game) and rank second in takeaways (19). The Jets were able to stun the Cincinnati…

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