Lions or falcons?

Which defense would you play this week?

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I’d play the Falcons. It’s the right play because the Falcons D is playing well (last two weeks), at home, Winston is a turnover machine, and the Lions D sucks. I still have reservations about starting the Falcons - have the same decision myself.

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I’m starting the falcons this week. They put up good numbers against the Saints and destroyed against the panthers. Winston offers a lot of turnover upside and the falcons have looked legit.

This is a fascinating question, so apologies in advance for the long answer.

First, my model based on season-long data projects Detroit to be the DST9 and Atlanta to be the DST13 this week. However, there are mitigating circumstances with both of these teams to consider:

-In the first 8 weeks of the season, Atlanta scored an average of 5.6 points below expectation according to my model (based on opponent-adjusted fantasy points allowed). In the two weeks since their bye, they have scored 8.7 points above expectation. When there are situations like this, it’s important to see if there are any changes that could explain such a swing to see if it’s likely “real” and can be sustained. Atlanta had a much-publicized shake-up in their defensive play-calling, so there is certainly optimism that their improvement could last (though it’s probably not likely it will stay at such a high level).

-Detroit’s opponent is Washington who also has an interesting set of splits. You can see in the Stream Finder that in the weeks Case Keenum played at QB (Weeks 1-4 & 6-7) opposing defenses were, on average, the DST15 that week. In weeks Haskins has started (Weeks 5 & 8-11), opposing defenses were the DST6 on average. It makes sense that DSTs would generally do better against a struggling rookie QB, and the numbers bear that out here.

In both cases there is cause for optimism that the defensive units will outperform their projections. So is one more significant than the other? Full disclosure, I don’t have any empirical data to say confidently one way or another. But, in my experience, I think a good match-up against a struggling rookie QB is pretty reliable, so I would stick with Detroit over counting on Atlanta’s two-game surge to continue. The Ballers also have Detroit ranked higher, but they are back-to-back in their rankings (DSTs 8 & 9). So a tough decision for sure, but the good news is that both are probably good plays.

I don’t know if this helped or not, but I enjoyed looking into it. :grinning: My DST model is below for reference. Good luck whatever you decide!

-Dan
Please check out my Week 12 streaming post here where I provide weekly and rest-of-season rankings, scoring projections and waiver recommendations for QBs, TEs and DSTs. Comments and feedback are welcome. Good luck!

Give this man a raise damnit

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Probably my biggest choice this week is Robby Anderson or Amari Cooper UGH. What would you do sith?

He was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, so I’d take my chances with Cooper despite the match up.

Well I am in a must win situation going against the #1 seed. So might as well throw the studs out there

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