In case we forgot, Week 13 wanted to remind us that anything can happen in fantasy DEF/ST. Of last week’s 3 top performances, I actively told you to sit the best team (for the 2nd week in a row…my bad), could have told you to cut the 2nd place Jacksonville Jaguars but disliked other teams more, and would have told you to bench the 3rd, but since only 10% of teams even owned the Giants, I didn’t think it necessary. On top of the that, of the best 12 DEF/ST on the season, only 4 cracked the Week 13 top 12. The NFL is an offensive league and that makes choosing the right DEF/ST hard but nevertheless, we persist. It’s time for the fantasy playoffs and time to reflect upon last week’s wonderful failings and try to right this ship for your playoff lives.
Week 13 Top Performances
Houston Texans: vs Cleveland Browns
Just when Cleveland fans thought they had a dangerous offense, reality came crashing in. Baker Mayfield did put up almost 400 yards in this game, but most of that was desperation. The Texans took control early in this one and picked Mayfield off 3 times, taking one of those to the house in the 2nd quarter. They added a fumble recovery for 4 total takeaways and that was enough for the top spot in Week 13, even without a single QB sack.
Week 14 Matchup: vs Indianapolis Colts
My immediate gut reaction here is that you can’t start the Texans against Andrew Luck. But the Colts did just give up a top 3 performance to the Jaguars. Yet and still, Luck has been red hot this season, hung 34 points on the Texans earlier this season, and the Colts have put negative points on fantasy DEF/ST in 3 of their last 6 games. I’m not gambling on the Texans.
Jacksonville Jaguars: vs Indianapolis Colts
So, the real Jacksonville defense finally shows up (just one week after I told you they would against Buffalo). The Jaguars did what no one else in the league had this entire season, kept Andrew Luck out of the end zone. Luck had thrown for a TD in every game this year, and multiple TDs in every game since Week 3, but was completely shut out by Jacksonville. This was only the 4th shoutout we’ve seen this season, compared to 11 in 2017. Adding 3 sacks and 2 takeaways to zero points allowed put the Jags in the top 3 for the first time this season.
Week 14 Matchup: @ Tennessee Titans
If ever there was a chance for a repeat for the Jaguars, it’s this week. The Titans offense is a non-threat and has given up top 12 performances in each of their last 3 games. Start the Jaguars.
New York Giants: vs Chicago Bears
Coming into this game, the Giants had only one other top 10 finish in DEF/ST, so we can be forgiven for not seeing this one coming. New York was owned in less than 10% of fantasy leagues so not many people benefited from this performance. The Giants had a pick 6 on the second play of the game on an awesome interception by Alec Ogletree. They later added a 2nd INT and a fumble recovery for 3 total takeaways and sacked Chase Daniel 5 times.
Week 14 Matchup: @ Washington Redskins
You didn’t own them before, you can’t gamble on them in the fantasy playoffs. If you are completely desperate, the Redskins offense has given up a top 12 DEF/ST performance in each of their last 3 and will be starting Mark Sanchez, who just signed 2 weeks ago. Those factors make the Giants a DEEP desperation stream option, but you’re probably safer looking elsewhere, even against Sanchez.
Week 14 Starts
Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Oakland Raiders
If you’ve been following along, you know that my favorite start advice this season has been “Any team playing the Raiders” and Week 14 is no different. Oakland gives up the 4th most points to fantasy defenses, have given up 10+ points 6 times this season, and is coming in off a game where they gave up 3 sacks and 3 fumbles. The Steelers are still available in 30% of fantasy leagues and are my Start of the Week!
Los Angeles Chargers: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
With no Andy Dalton and no AJ Green, the Bengals are a DEF/ST dream come true. They’ve given up top 12 performances in each of their last 2 games and the Chargers are playing inspired football. Look for Los Angeles to sack the QB early and often in this one and expect a blowout of the Bengals.
Denver Broncos: @ San Francisco 49ers
Denver gets 2 of the worst offenses in the league in back-to-back weeks. Hopefully, you rostered them for the Bengals matchup last week because their ownership % has shot up to 81%. They’ve scored top 10 DEF/ST points in each of their last 2 games and get a 49ers team that gives up the 3rd most points to fantasy defenses.
Stream of the Week
Buffalo Bills: vs New York Jets
Coming into this season, I thought I would only be mentioning the Bills as a team you stream against, but low and behold, here we are. Buffalo’s defense has 4 top 10 DEF/ST finishes this season and one of them was in Week 10, the last time they played the Jets. New York should get league leader in interceptions Sam Darnold back this week and that just makes this even better for the Bills. With an ownership % below 30%, Buffalo has a chance to shock your league and be the #1 DEF/ST for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
Week 14 Sits
Chicago Bears: vs Los Angeles Rams
I’m pretty sure every season I get to use this phrase but this is the case of the unstoppable force vs the immovable object. Though, calling any defense immovable this year is quite a stretch. All cliches aside, you cannot start the Bears this week. Yes, they are the #1 DEF/ST but they looked mediocre against the Giants and the Rams have the 2nd best offense in the league. However, if you are in the playoffs, do not cut the Bears. Find a roster spot to hold them for their juicy Week 16 game against the 49ers, that is how championships are won.
Minnesota Vikings: @ Seattle Seahawks
Minnesota has not looked great since their Week 10 bye and playing in Seattle is tough for anyone. The Seahawks give up the 9th fewest points to fantasy defenses and at home, they only give up an average of 4 fantasy points per game to DEF/ST. The Vikings’ ceiling is extremely low this week and they cannot be trusted to move you ahead in your bid for a title.
Baltimore Ravens: vs Kansas City Chiefs
It goes without saying at this point, you don’t start DEF/ST against the Chiefs. Not even one of the best defenses in the league. Kansas City has only given up one top 10 performance this whole season. They have hung zero or negative points on fantasy defenses 4 times. Not the odds you want to play in the fantasy playoffs.
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|