If Week 10 was a valley for fantasy defense, Week 11 may very well have been the peak. We went from 1 DEF/ST touchdown last week to 6 scored this week. There were a ton of QB sacks, lots of multi-turnover games and one of the greatest oddities I can remember seeing. If you stayed up to watch the Monday night game, and I hope you did, you saw 2 teams combine for 105 points scored. Somehow, both of the those DEF/ST finished in the weekly top 6 for fantasy purposes. It was the strange kind of week that we have grown accustomed to in fantasy DEF/ST. My Week 11 Start recommendations all did pretty well but I must admit defeat on my Sits. Of the 4 teams that I told you to Sit in Week 11, 3 finished inside of the top 10…and 2 of them finished with top performances…oops.

Week 11 Top Performances

Los Angeles Rams: vs Kansas City Chiefs
This was a game for the ages. As I mentioned, the 2 teams scored 105 total points and it was fun to watch from start to finish. Aaron Donald made his case for league MVP, forcing 2 fumbles on 2 sacks of Patrick Mahomes. The Rams managed 3 sacks and 5 takeaways as a team and found their way to the top of the fantasy rankings despite allowing 45 offensive points. That’s the power of 2 DEF/ST touchdowns.

Week 12 Matchup: Bye Week
If you held onto the Rams this long and somehow had the courage to play them last night, there is no way you’re cutting them on their bye. The good news is that they finish the fantasy season against 4 teams that should struggle mightily against this juggernaut. If you have the roster spot and can keep the Rams through this bye week, you should be able to start them the rest of the season and fantasy playoffs.

Houston Texans: @ Washington Redskins
Houston came into this game ready to get after the QB and it worked out well. The quite literally destroyed Alex Smith and finished with 5 QB sacks and 2 INTS. They took one of those picks back the entire length of the field for a 101-yard touchdown. After Smith broke his leg, Colt McCoy came in and played pretty admirably, putting the Redskins in position for 2 second half TDs, otherwise, we may have been talking about the Texans as the top DEF/ST in Week 11.

Week 12 Matchup: vs Tennessee Titans
Pretty easy start recommendation here. You have a solid defense starting to play their best football against one of the worst offenses in the league. The Titans give up the 12th most points to fantasy defenses, have given up multiple sacks every game since Week 5, and are coming off of a beatdown by the Colts. Houston should cruise to an easy victory here.

Chicago Bears: vs Minnesota Vikings
The Bears defense in Week 11 can best be described as bend but don’t break. They gave up a lot of passing yards, especially to Stefon Diggs, but kept the Vikings offense relatively in check, holding them to 20 points scored. A big part of this was Chicago’s ability to stop the run, as Minnesota only managed 22 rushing yards. Chicago finished with 2 QB sacks, 3 takeaways, including a 4th quarter pick 6, and comes out still atop the fantasy DEF/ST overall rankings.

Week 12 Matchup: @ Detroit Lions
The Lions offense continues to be a train wreck but managed to do enough to ruin Week 11 for the Panthers defense. With the probable loss of Kerryon Johnson, Week 12 should look very different. On Thanksgiving, look for the Bears to destroy the Lions for the second time in 3 weeks.

Week 12 Starts

Jacksonville Jaguars: @ Buffalo Bills
Finally, a plus matchup for that defense you wasted an 8th round pick on…assuming you didn’t cut them yet. The Jaguars played 3 quarters of excellent football against the Steelers last week and will find the going incredibly easier in Week 12. This should be a beatdown reminiscent of their 2017 dominance. Look forward to the return of #Sacksonville against a Bills team that gives up the 3rd most sacks in the league.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Sport

Baltimore Ravens: vs Oakland Raiders
Baltimore’s defense has been down the last 4 games but there is not better “get right” matchup than the 2018 Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have traded away or watched every bit of talent on this team get hurt. Baltimore’s run first, second, and usually third offense should lead to game control and low scoring. This could be the first shutout we’ve seen in a while.

Los Angeles Chargers: vs Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals offense is showing signs of life since the dismissal of Mike McCoy but they are still being led by a rookie QB, and that typically means turnovers. Josh Rosen has thrown 9 interceptions in his last 5 games and that should play right into Los Angeles’ hands. With the return of Joey Bosa, the Chargers should bounce back from their 0 sack Week 11 performance.

Stream of the Week

Dallas Cowboys: vs Washington Redskins
Dallas hasn’t had many great defensive performances this season but this is an excellent Thanksgiving day matchup. To start, just one month ago, the Cowboys held the Redskins offense to just 14 points in Washington. Now, they get a home game against a decidedly more banged up Washington team being led by Colt McCoy. Dallas is owned in fewer than 20% of fantasy leagues and looks like a great stream for Week 12.

Week 12 Sits

Minnesota Vikings: vs Green Bay Packers
On paper, this appears to be a decent matchup for all of you Vikings owners. It’s not. Even with a banged up Jimmy Graham, Aaron Rodgers will find a way to score. The Packers beat on Minnesota back in Week 2 and with the emergence of Aaron Jones, this should be more of the same. Green Bay hasn’t given up a top 10 finish since Week 5 and is playing for their playoff lives. That is not a matchup you want any part of in fantasy football.

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Denver Broncos
The Steelers defense is up and down for fantasy purposes. They only have one top 10 finish in their last 5 games and that was at home. This game is not. In their 4 top 10 finishes this season, they average 5 sacks per game. The Broncos only give up about 2 sacks per game and gave up none in Week 11. Denver gives up bottom 16 points to fantasy DEF/ST and is not the matchup you want when hunting for the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles: vs New York Giants
One of my biggest frustrations when talking about fantasy DEF/ST is convincing you guys to let go and stream your defense. It’s almost always the best strategy unless you own both of the top defenses and can alternate matchups. But over 60% of you still own the Eagles, a defense in the bottom 10 of fantasy DEF/ST and that hasn’t finished in the weekly top 10 since Week 6. Do not start them this week, when Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley are going to torch them…and cut them.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Ranks vs Pass/Run are based on Yards per Game allowed.

Team Fantasy Points Weeks in Top 12 Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Bears 126 7 195 32 18 9 5 0 0 11 1
2 Rams 105 7 276 29 10 10 4 2 2 20 22
3 Texans 90 4 205 28 9 8 3 0 1 8 7
3 Vikings 90 6 211 32 10 7 3 0 0 6 4
3 Redskins 90 6 192 28 11 10 1 0 0 24 6
6 Chiefs 87 7 280 36 11 6 4 0 1 32 20
7 Steelers 83 6 225 37 6 6 3 2 2 7 9
8 Dolphins 76 5 244 17 15 4 3 0 2 19 30
9 Broncos 75 3 235 31 10 4 2 0 3 18 27
10 Cardinals 74 5 234 33 6 6 2 0 0 4 29
10 Packers 74 3 235 34 6 6 1 0 1 5 26
12 Patriots 73 3 236 15 11 6 3 0 1 25 16

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