Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 12
It’s always a lot more fun writing this article when your Stream of the Week pick ends up being the #1 DEF/ST. I’m not saying I went out on a limb picking the Browns…but they were far from chalk. We haven’t talked much accountability in this article but for reference: Of my 11 Stream of the Week DEFs, all available in more than 50% of Yahoo leagues after waivers had run, eight of them have finished as a top-12 DEF for their week and overall, the 11 picks have scored 101 fantasy points on the season, or equivalent to the DEF3. Stop spending draft picks on DEF and live this stream with me. But enough about me and my great picks (wink), let’s talk DEF/ST.
Week 11 Top Performances
Cleveland Browns vs PHI
When Cleveland announced that Myles Garrett would miss this game, I was nervous for my Stream of the Week. I forgot that I had one thing going for me that has been an asset for the Cleveland D/ST recently: Ohio weather. I’m from Ohio, so I know how bad it is this time of year and now, Carson Wentz does too. The Browns sacked Wentz five times and one of them was for a safety. They also picked him off twice and took one of those back for a TD. The rain played a part in just about all of this and added a Miles Sanders fumble early in the game too. It was an ugly game for Philly and a fun one for the Browns’ D/ST.
Week 12 Matchup: @ JAX
The Browns may be down Myles Garrett again and will definitely be down Denzel Ward. Won’t matter. Jacksonville gives up the 9th most fantasy points to D/ST and it doesn’t matter which QB starts this game. Could be the return of Gardner Minshew-Magic. Could be another Jake Luton start, but he did throw four picks on Sunday. Might be Mike Glennon after how Luton has looked recently. Either way, it will be good for the Browns’ defense. The Browns were my Stream of the Week last week and will be another great start in Week 12.
Carolina Panthers vs DET
When the Lions injury report showed that they were missing their starting RB and two of their three best WRs, the Panthers must have smiled. Carolina didn’t allow a single point scored by Detroit, just the 2nd shutout this season, and sacked an already-hurt Matt Stafford five times. They had just one takeaway in the game but that, combined with a rare shutout, was good enough for top-3 this week.
Week 12 Matchup: vs MIN
Minnesota’s offense isn’t great, but they do have Dalvin Cook and Carolina cannot stop RBs. Cook may outscore the Panthers himself in this game. Stay far away.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ JAX
With a 6th Round rookie QB facing one of the best DEF in the league, this was an expected outcome. The Steelers picked Jake Luton off four times in the game and sacked him twice as well. The Jaguars could only manage a single field goal scored as the Steelers D/ST tied for 2nd place in fantasy football this week.
Week 12 Matchup: vs BAL
You are not benching the Pittsburgh D/ST any time soon and I wouldn’t expect you to. They may not end up in the top-3 again but they should get after Lamar Jackson enough for a top-12 finish.
Week 12 Starts
New Orleans Saints @ DEN
Can’t imagine this needs much explanation. The Saints have been red-hot for three straight games and haven’t looked bad this season outside of their game with Green Bay. Denver gives up the 2nd most fantasy points to DEF and is just about a Lock (see what I did there?) for multiple turnovers and sacks.
Miami Dolphins @ NYJ
Even after a slightly down game in Week 11, the Dolphins still flashed talent and had two takeaways against Denver. The Jets are the Jets and give up the most points to fantasy D/ST. Sam Darnold may be back but La’Mical Perine is out, and a Frank Gore revenge game doesn’t carry much weight at this point in his career.
Green Bay Packers vs CHI
The Packers DEF has not set the world on fire this season but their offense keeps them in good situations, outside of that debacle against Tampa Bay. However, the bad games they’ve had have come against superstars. Tom Brady and Tampa Bay. Dalvin Cook and Minnesota. The Bears have no one to worry about and they have Nick Foles at QB so: advantage Green Bay DEF. The Bears give up the 8th most points to D/ST in fantasy and Green Bay was a Stream of the Week candidate at 65% availability.
Stream of the Week
New York Giants @ CIN
Let me start by saying the Giants’ defense is better than you think, at least for fantasy purposes. They are the DEF11 on the season and have scored at least 4 fantasy points in every game since Week 4. The Bengals were already giving up the 5th most fantasy points-per-game with Joe Burrow and it will only get worse with Brandon Allen or Ryan Finley. The Bengals gave up the 4th most fantasy points-per-game in 2019 with Finley at the helm and Allen was on the practice squad after playing three games for Denver in 2019.. The Giants are available in almost 80% of fantasy leagues.
Other Options: CLE, GB, SEA, WAS
Week 12 Sits
Baltimore Ravens vs PIT
Yes, Baltimore is a top-3 DEF this season. Yes, they’ve scored 6+ fantasy points in seven weeks this season. They haven’t done much of anything in the last two games and will face their toughest test since Week 8…when they faced Pittsburgh and only scored 4 fantasy points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs KC
The Bucs defense is coming off of one of their worst performances of the season and that was against the Rams. No possible way you can trust them against a Patrick Mahomes and Co.
New England Patriots vs ARZ
The Patriots D/ST hasn’t put up double-digits since Week 3 and haven’t scored more than five fantasy points since Week 7. The Cardinals are not the offense to break the streak. Arizona gives up the 7th fewest fantasy points to D/ST.
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.