Fantasy Football: Week 12 Team Defense Recap

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We’ve reached the most exciting time of the year in fantasy football. This week, teams will be scrambling, hoping, and praying to get that one last win it’s going to take to make the playoffs. This is likely the last week where everyone in your league will still be setting an active roster so, whether you are playing spoiler or jockeying for a better playoff seed, Week 13 should be a blast. Week 12 was interesting. We saw 2 defenses make the top 3 for their first time all season and 6 of our top 12 fantasy defenses didn’t even manage 5 fantasy points. So let’s get into who dominated Week 12 and who I think will dominate Week 13.

Week 12 Top Performances

Los Angeles Chargers: @ DAL
As easy a prediction as I’ve had this season. Dallas is falling apart at the seams and the Chargers are surging right now. The Cowboys didn’t score until the 4th quarter and were held to 6 points on Thanksgiving. So, while 2 sacks and 2 interceptions isn’t the greatest stat line, the Chargers found themselves as kings of the fantasy defense, propelled by a 90-yard interception return for a TD in the 4th quarter. It was a good Thanksgiving for the Bolts.

Week 13 Matchup: vs CLE
Do I even have to write anything here? Start the Chargers.

Carolina Panthers: @ NYJ
Despite being ranked in the top 10 in both passing and rushing defense, this is the first time the Panthers have cracked the fantasy top 3 this season. Helped along by 2 DEF/ST touchdowns within 2 minutes of each other in the 4th quarter, the Panther totaled 3 sacks and one takeaway. Not the greatest stat line but TDs are lifesavers for fantasy defenses.

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Week 13 Matchup: @ NO
If you’re playing fantasy football in Week 13 then you know what this Saints offense is capable of. Alvin Kamara looks unstoppable right now and, as good as the Panthers are and have been, you cannot start them in fantasy playoff crunch time.

New England Patriots: @ MIA
This was the beatdown Patriots owners had been waiting on. With Matt Moore taking back over for the again injured Jay Cutler, New England came out ready to attack. They sacked Moore 7 times, second-most in the league for Week 12, and forced 3 turnovers. They held the Dolphins to one offensive TD and one FG and finished in the top 3 for the first time this season.

Week 13 Matchup: @ BUF
I spent a good deal of this season dogging the Patriots DEF/ST but it seems they have turned things around. They have found the top 12 in each of their last 4 matchups and a division game with the dumpster fire in Buffalo should make that 5 in a row.

Week 13 Starts

Jacksonville Jaguars: vs IND
Yes, this is super chalk. But the Jacksonville did get beat by Arizona last week so maybe you were hesitant? Of course you weren’t, but it’s a tough week for DEF/ST so I’ll take the chalk. Start the Jaguars.

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Los Angeles Rams: @ ARI
Though the Cardinals did give the Jags all they could handle in Week 12, I think the Rams will do just fine. Arizona is still giving up a lot of fantasy points to DEF/ST and this Los Angeles offense will score enough actual points to put their defense in a better situation than the Jags last week.

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Denver Broncos: @ MIA
Now I see why 65% of you have held on to this train wreck…this “juicy” Week 13 matchup against the Dolphins? The Broncos have failed you time and again but with the Dolphins losing Damien Williams, this offense has very little firepower outside of the WR position, which is something Denver is good at stopping.

Stream of the Week

New York Giants: @ OAK
Oakland will be without one or both of its top WRs for this game and the Giants have been solid over the last 2 weeks. New York cracked the fantasy top 5 last week for the first time since Week 6 and has a good chance to be there again in Week 13.

Week 13 Sits

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ CIN
The Steelers have delivered all season long but this Bengals offense has been getting stingy with opposing DEF/ST. The Bengals haven’t turned the ball over in 2 weeks, haven’t thrown an interception in the last 5, and are not the right matchup to hinge your playoff hopes on.

Seattle Seahawks: vs PHI
At this point, I’m not starting any defense against the Eagles. Carson Wentz is having an MVP-like season and the Seahawks will be without Richard Sherman and (likely) Kam Chancellor. Wentz should go off in this one.

Arizona Cardinals: vs LAR
The Rams offense is far, far better than the Jags. I think that Blaine Gabbert will find the going much tougher this week and will put his own defense in bad situations. The Cardinals defense has feasted on bad offenses this year and faltered against competent teams. The Rams are much more the latter.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

The table is arranged by YTD fantasy points but all categories are sortable. Also, I have ranked teams on a Yards-per-Game basis in Passing/Rushing.

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 Jaguars 160 8 168 41 14 11 7 0 0 1 19
2 Ravens 144 7 187 30 18 8 5 0 0 2 23
3 Chargers 116 6 202 32 14 5 4 0 1 7 32
4 Eagles 115 7 191 31 16 5 3 0 2 16 1
5 Rams 112 6 206 31 12 7 4 1 2 9 27
6 Lions 111 7 264 23 11 8 7 0 3 23 24
7 Saints 103 6 222 31 11 3 4 0 1 14 18
8 Seahawks 97 8 212 29 9 7 3 2 1 10 9
9 Steelers 95 7 193 38 12 4 1 1 2 3 6
10 Panthers 90 6 207 32 5 5 2 0 1 6 3
11 Bears 85 3 252 30 4 11 3 1 1 12 16
12 Texans 79 5 285 26 10 4 4 1 0 24 7