Week 9 is over. Week 10 begins. Now it's starting to get down to winning time. With the fantasy playoffs on the horizon, this is when all of your fantasy decisions start to take on a greater meaning. Of course, Reading the Defense is still here to tell you what has been and try to predict what's to come. As we hit the double-digit weeks, let's get after it.
Defensive line: Last week, I advocated that anyone streaming defenses should consider the Dolphins against the Jets. Maybe I should have also suggested the same on the IDP level. Cameron Wake was a big part of Miami slowing down the mistake-prone Gang Green offense with four tackles, a pair of sacks and two forced fumbles. Wake's 12-point outing nearly matched the 14.50 fantasy points he'd tallied in his previous four games. He might not be so active against San Diego's much more precise offense.
Linebacker:Thomas Davis has been a playmaker for years -- both on the field and in the box score. Just in case you forgot, the veteran was there to remind you in a win over the Rams on Sunday. Davis posted 11 total tackles with a sack, a forced fumble, and an athletic leaping interception. In the past two weeks, Davis has scored a combined 30 fantasy points and will try to keep it going next week against Kansas City.
Defensive back: It was a busy day for Brandon Flowers and the Chargers defense in Week 9. The veteran corner did a little bit of everything with five tackles, three passes defensed and a pick-six. The much-maligned San Diego secondary has gotten a little better recently, thanks in part to the emergence of rookie Joey Bosa as a pass rusher. It will be fun to see if Flowers and this group can continue to make a fantasy impact going forward.
What went wrong
» It wasn't all good for the Chargers defenders in fantasy football. Melvin Ingram is in the midst of arguably the best season of his career, but he was nearly invisible on Sunday against the Titans. Ingram recorded just a single tackle in 57 defensive snaps on Sunday. Most weeks, the Chargers linebacker had offered a fairly safe fantasy floor but the bottom fell out on Sunday. Hopefully, he can get it back next week against the Dolphins.
Week 10 boomer
Craig Robertson, LB, New Orleans Saints: It's not often that we talk positively about the New Orleans Saints defense, but Robertson has had a season worthy of praise. This could be the week to start paying attention to the fifth-year linebacker if you haven't already as the Saints face a Broncos team that has struggled to run the ball consistently. Look for Robertson to be in position to make a handful of tackles this week.
Week 10 buster
Zach Orr, LB, Baltimore Ravens: Orr is another name that hasn't earned a lot of pub this season, though he should. The young linebacker is the fifth-best player at his position this season but might have a slow go of it this week against the Browns. Sure, it's the Browns ... but it just might not be Orr making the plays. Cleveland doesn't run it all that much but when they do, it's for nearly five yards a pop. That potentially means a lot more tackles made in the secondary and not always by the linebackers.
Week 10 sleeper
Wlll Compton, LB, Washington Redskins: Very quietly, Compton has had a very nice season for IDP managers. The veteran linebacker is averaging nearly eight tackles per game this season and leads the team in stops. But with no sacks, he hasn't quite hit the fantasy radar. But Week 10 offers a date with the Minnesota Vikings and their sputtering run game. Even if he doesn't get near the quarterback, Compton should be around the ball whenever Minnesota goes to the ground.
First down:Clay Matthews missed Sunday's game against the Colts after suffering a "setback" with his hamstring. While his status for Sunday's game is far from decided, Mike McCarthy also wasn't really in a position to speak on it fully. Right now, the signs aren't encouraging but it's a story worth following later this week.
Second down:Derek Wolfe left Sunday's loss to the Raiders with an elbow injury but the Broncos are optimistic about the defensive end's prognosis, labeling him as "day-to-day". Wolfe is a top-15 IDP lineman playing along with the rest of the fearsome pass rush and would be missed if he's not available against the Saints this week.