Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 11
This year continues to give us situations that are just plain weird. Normally, scoring a TD on defense, or on a kick/punt return, all but guarantees a spot in our top performances. This week, we had three teams score a TD on the defense or special teams. Not one of them ended up as one of the top-3 DEF/ST in fantasy for the week. Instead, we had unlikely teams finish 1st and 3rd with a very predictable 2nd place. Let’s try to make sense of Week 10 and see if we can guess what we’ll be talking about after Week 11.
Week 10 Top Performances
Las Vegas Raiders vs DEN
After starting the year slowly, the Raiders have played pretty solid defense in their last three games. This game was all about turnovers. Vegas allowed the Broncos to score just 12 points and sacked Drew Lock twice. Those stats are nice but not top-3, let alone DEF1 material. What propelled them was the four interceptions that Lock threw plus a lost fumble by DaeSean Hamilton. This was the 2nd game this season where DEN gave up five turnovers, the other was in Week 7 against Kansas City.
Week 11 Matchup: vs KC
The Raiders went from no top-12 finishes to three-in-a-row. It won’t be four. Yes, they played well against Kansas City in Week 5 but we cannot expect that twice. The Chiefs should put up a ton of points and won’t allow many sacks or turnovers. Nobody started the Raiders for Week 10’s #1 performance and nobody should start them for their return to earth in Week 11.
New Orleans Saints vs SF
New Orleans was the DEF1 in Week 9 and I said in last week’s article to expect to read about them again this week. The 49ers’ offense is just too depleted to put up a good fight. San Fran scored just 13 points and allowed two QB sacks, two INTs, and two lost fumbles. Fitting that all those twos made New Orleans the DEF2 for Week 10.
Week 11 Matchup: vs ATL
There are a couple of issues with hoping for a repeat performance from the Saints. First off, the Atlanta offense has A LOT more weapons than San Francisco. Second, Jameis Winston has been known to put his own DEF in some precarious situations. Jameis gonna Jameis and the Falcons already allow the 5th fewest points for fantasy D/ST.
Los Angeles Rams vs SEA
I got this one very wrong. Seattle should have been too much for the Rams D/ST to handle but they did a great job. They held this high-powered offense to just 16 points and sacked Russell Wilson six times. Mr. Unlimited also accounted for three turnovers: two interceptions and one lost fumble. It was a game to forget for Wilson and a great divisional win for the Rams.
Week 11 Matchup: @ TB
This should be a great game but it could end up high-scoring, which is a red flag for fantasy D/ST. Tom Brady and Co have been known to turn the ball over but they don’t allow many sacks and the Rams have been hot and cold. If you need good points from your DEF this week, I’d look elsewhere.
Week 11 Starts
Pittsburgh Steelers @ JAX
The Steelers have been the safest option for fantasy D/ST this season. They have finished in the top-12 in eight of nine games this year and even the game that they missed wasn’t terrible. Jacksonville gives up the 13th most points to fantasy DEF on the season and has averaged five points allowed with Jake Luton at QB.
Los Angeles Chargers vs NYJ
It’s the Jets, so I’m not sure how much explanation is needed. New York allows the 2nd most fantasy points to D/ST on the season and the Chargers need a “get right” game. Los Angeles hasn’t had any terrible games this year but they have struggled to get turnovers and sacks, the Jets should fix that right up. Los Angeles is a great option for streamers too, as of this writing they are available in 55% (FIFTY-FIIIVE) of leagues.
Miami Dolphins @ DEN
The Miami defense has been so surprisingly good this season and should continue their run this week. At the very least, they will be facing a hurt Drew Lock, though it could end up being a backup and that could be very bad for Denver. The Broncos already give up the most fantasy points to D/ST this season and, with a backup QB, that won’t change this week.
Stream of the Week
Cleveland Browns vs PHI
The Browns defense has been getting after the QB all season long. They have 22 sacks on the season and at least one in every game. The Eagles allow more sacks-per-game than anyone in the NFL. Much has been made of the Browns’ poor play in the secondary but the fantasy D/ST make their points on sacks and turnovers. Cleveland should end up with at least two of each. The Browns are going to be a great option for many of you, as they are available in over 80% of leagues.
Other Options: Chargers, Washington, Bengals, Vikings
Week 11 Sits
Indianapolis Colts vs GB
I’m going out on a limb here. The Colts have played well against good offenses and the Packers just gave up a top-10 week to Jacksonville. The Jaguars landed there on the back of a D/ST touchdown and you just can’t bank on that every week. Starting your fantasy DEF against a red-hot Aaron Rodgers with Aaron Jones and Davante Adams on the team is a recipe for disaster.
Tennessee Titans @ BAL
The Titans DEF is actually far more suspect than you’d expect for a team rostered in over 50% of leagues. They had a nice Week 9 against Chicago but have also had three games with zero or negative fantasy points. Baltimore’s offense isn’t what it was last year but they still don’t allow many points to fantasy DEFs.
New England Patriots @ HOU
The Patriots D/ST hasn’t really had a bad game yet this season but they also haven’t cracked double-digits since Week 3. Houston is basically middle of the road when it comes to points allowed to D/ST so, don’t expect a huge game in Week 11 either. Looking at the Pats’ schedule moving forward, there aren’t many games you’re going to feel great about starting them.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
*All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Rank vs Pass/Run based on yards allowed.