Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 14
I can’t imagine many people reading articles about DEF/ST for fun, so congrats on your playoff berth! It has been an interesting season, to say the least, but you are one step closer to landing yourself a #FootClanTitle. Last week gave us some interesting performances on D/ST, and I can honestly say that I did not see two of our top-3 coming. Let’s did into what got them there and take our guess at what DEFs might have you back reading this article in Week 15.
Week 13 Top Performances
New England Patriots @ LAC
What a game by New England! This was only the 3rd shutout of the season and to top things off, the Patriots DEF/ST scored two of their own TDs in the game. The Pats DEF literally beat the Chargers on their own. Overall, the Patriots sacked Justin Herbert three times, picked him off twice, and scored those two TDs, one on a blocked kick. They filled up the stat sheet and allowed no points. That is a recipe for a DEF1 finish.
Week 14 Matchup: @ LAR
You’re not benching New England after their Week 13 performance and I’m not asking you to. The Patriots certainly seem to have the Rams’ number (Super Bowl 53, anyone), and the Rams give up the 13th most fantasy points to D/ST. Another thing to consider is that Miami and New England run a similar defensive scheme and Miami was the DEF1 against the Rams back in Week 8. If New England can slow this running game down, they could be a top-3 play again in Week 14.
Miami Dolphins vs CIN
While I was surprised by the Patriots’ dominance, this outcome was much more expected. The Miami defense has been playing great and the Bengals are playing a 3rd string QB. The Bengals only managed seven points scored and Brandon Allen was sacked five times and threw one INT. The Dolphins put Allen out of the game and Ryan Finley took over and was sacked once and threw an INT of his own. If you’re keeping score that’s six sacks and two INTs for the Dolphins’ DEF, good enough to finish 2nd in Week 14.
Week 14 Matchup: vs KC
Miami has been a solid play of DEF all season long and they have been top-10 in each of the last two weeks. YOU CANNOT START THEM HERE. Even in a “mediocre” game against Denver, where they only scored 22 points on offense, they still only allowed one fantasy point to the Denver D/ST. You’ll want to start Miami in Weeks 15 and 16, so avoid cutting them if possible, but avoid starting them for sure in Week 14.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ MIN
The Jags are rostered in 1% of fantasy leagues…nobody saw this coming. The Jags managed to keep Dalvin Cook from scoring and survived TDs from both Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. They sacked Kirk Cousins four times and forced a fumble and INT from the QB. Joe Schobert picked Cousins off in the 3rd Quarter and took that pick back for a TD. Four sacks, two takeaways, and a defensive TD helps the Jags crack the top-3 for the first time this season.
Week 14 Matchup: vs TEN
My go-to phrase here would be that you want no part of Derrick Henry in December, but he looked very mortal against Cleveland and the Jags just held their own against Dalvin Cook, keeping him out of the endzone while still rushing for 120 yards. There is a saying about lightning striking twice. Avoid the Jags at all costs.
Week 14 Starts
New Orleans Saints @ PHI
The Saints have been one of, if not the best fantasy DEF since Week 8. Philly gives up the 4th most points to fantasy DEF/ST and will be starting a rookie QB in his very first start. This game could get ugly and the Saints D/ST has a good chance to the overall DEF1 for Week 14.
Green Bay Packers @ DET
The Packers have played solid defense for five straight games and should keep that streak rolling in Detroit this week. When these teams played in Week 2, the Packers’ DEF put up a top-10 fantasy score and the Lions are allowing the 12th most points to fantasy D/ST on the season. There is a chance that Kenny Golladay and D’Andre Swift both miss this game, making the Packers an even better play in Week 14.
Indianapolis Colts @ LV
The Raiders’ offense is far from an ideal matchup but they should struggle much more against Indy than they did against NYJ. We saw the Raiders struggle against ATL two weeks ago and the Colts have a much better defense than what they have faced recently. It is likely Josh Jacobs misses this game, taking another weapon away from Las Vegas. The biggest threat will be Darren Waller, coming off of his best game of the season, but the Colts are one of the best defenses against the TE.
Stream of the Week
Washington Football Team @ SF
To say that advising people to put their playoff run in the hands of the Washington DEF is “risky” is an understatement. But, the process correctly picked the Raiders last week and I’m sticking with it. The 49ers give up the 10th most fantasy points to D/ST and are coming off a two turnover performance against Buffalo. In fact, this offense has turned the ball over at least once in each of their last six games. They also average just over 2 sacks allowed per game and the Washington defense averages just over two sacks per game, so two sacks and turnover feel like a safe prediction. The Washington Football Team is available in 76% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
Other Streaming Options: 49ers, Buccaneers, Titans, Cardinals
Week 14 Sits
Las Vegas Raiders vs IND
This is kind of a “gimme”, but the Raiders are currently rostered in almost 60% of fantasy leagues due to their Week 13 matchup with the Jets. While they had a solid enough game in Week 13, you want nothing to do with them against the Colts. Philip Rivers has been playing better and the Colts give the 11th fewest points to fantasy D/ST.
Minnesota Vikings @ TB
The Vikings are another team that had a nice Week 13 matchup and it pulled their rostership over 50%. Don’t get complacent because they did well by you last week. The Buccaneers allow the 12th fewest points to fantasy defenses and you want no part of this secondary vs Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski.
Buffalo Bills vs PIT
The Bills have been hot or miss this season as a fantasy DEF and this week feels like a miss. The Steelers allow the 2nd fewest points to fantasy DEF/ST and are still a formidable matchup, even after a rough Week 13 against WAS. The Bills didn’t look great against San Fran and are still rostered in over 60% of Yahoo fantasy leagues. You cannot put your playoff hopes on their shoulders.
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.