Fantasy Football: Week 14 DEF/ST Recap
As a writer, I don’t mind admitting my mistakes at all…but this is getting ridiculous. My Starts/Sits didn’t do terrible last week but for the 3rd week in a row, I told you not to start the defense that would go on to be the #1 fantasy DEF/ST that week. That is the worst kind of efficiency that I can think of. Transgressions aside, I hope your chase for a #FootClanTitle has continued to Week 15. Time to look at what made teams successful in Week 14 and what Week 15 matchups will help extend your season for one more week.
Week 14 Top Performances
Chicago Bears: vs Los Angeles Rams
While parity has been the overwhelming king of fantasy defense in 2018, the Bears still sit on the throne. Since Week 2, Chicago has been either the #1 or #2 overall DEF/ST and has been #1 since Week 9. They proved their dominance once again in Week 14, holding the #2 offense in the NFL to just 6 total points. Chicago registered its first safety of the year on one of their 3 QB sacks. Most notably, they picked Jared Goff off 4 times in the game. Offensive football has won out most weeks in 2018, but Chicago showed what a truly dominant defense is capable of.
Week 15 Matchup: vs Green Bay Packers
If I wrote this article last week, I’d have said that you don’t start defenses against elite QBs…but then the Bears dismantled the Rams. While Jared Goff isn’t near the QB that Aaron Rodgers is, there is no way you can bench the Bears this week. They are by far the best fantasy DEF/ST and Green Bay isn’t as stingy to fantasy defenses as you might think.
New York Giants: @ Washington Redskins
I thought the Giants would be a good but risky stream option after their Week 13 win over Chicago. They found a whole new gear in Week 14. This game got out of hand early and the Giants were up 34-0 at halftime. New York just plain destroyed Mark Sanchez in the first half, sacking him 5 times and intercepting him twice, including a pick-6. This got Sanchez benched and the Redskins offense found some life in the 2nd half with Josh Johnson at the helm. While they didn’t register another sack, they did intercept Johnson once. Overall, it was 5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and a defensive TD for the Giants, and that’ll make the top 3 ten times out of ten.
Week 15 Matchup: vs Tennessee Titans
This is a tough call. First and foremost, I don’t trust the Giants. They have been great for 2 weeks but were pretty terrible for the preceding 12 weeks of the season. And while the Titans, namely Derrick Henry, looked awesome in Week 14, they were a solid matchup for DEF/ST before that. In other words…I don’t know. If it was my team, I would not be starting the Giants.
Detroit Lions: @ Arizona Cardinals
Defensive success in this game was more of a product of bad offense. Neither of these teams looks good on the offensive side of the ball this season and Detroit took advantage of a young QB without many weapons. Darius Slay was able to slow Larry Fitzgerald most of this game and Detroit’s defense is pretty good against the run when they know it’s coming so they were able to hold David Johnson in check. Slay intercepted Rosen for a 2nd quarter pick-6 which propelled this performance up to the top 3. When all was said and done, Detroit held Arizona to only 3 points, registered 3 sacks, and had that house call INT. Not a bad week.
Week 15 Matchup: @ Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen is really starting to look like a one-man wrecking crew and I don’t think Detroit is up to the task of stopping him. Last week represented the first time since Week 5 that Lions finished in the top 15 of fantasy defenses. Don’t expect a repeat performance.
Week 15 Starts
Houston Texans: vs New York Jets
The Texans have shut down far bigger and better offenses than the Jets and this is just plain perfect timing for this matchup. The Jets have only managed more than 20 points once in their last 7 games and are 3rd in the league in interceptions thrown. Houston is easily my Start of the Week for your semifinals matchup.
Jacksonville Jaguars: vs Washington Redskins
Trusting the Jaguars is just about as risky as it gets in fantasy football right now but here we go again. Just 2 weeks ago the Jaguars gave us a glimpse of their 2017 form and raised hopes. Last week, they made Derrick Henry look like Jim Brown and just plain embarrassed themselves (and me). This Washington offense is as “get right” a matchup as any in the NFL right now. The Jags will have a week to prep for Josh Johnson and should have no problem getting after the inexperienced QB early and often.
Buffalo Bills: vs Detroit Lions
Despite an excellent DEF/ST performance, this Lions offense was still very, very bad in Week 14. Matt Stafford barely cracked 100 yards. Kenny Golladay struggled against an elite corner and gets another one this week with Tre’Davious White. The Lions give up the 10th most points to fantasy defenses and should be very generous in a cold weather game in Buffalo. Even better is that the Bills are only owned in 50% of fantasy leagues.
Stream of the Week
Atlanta Falcons: vs Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals offense hasn’t scored more than 22 points in any game this season and is coming off of 3 point effort against a mediocre Lions defense. Atlanta is also mediocre but has the right players to make things hard on Josh Rosen. I think the Falcons offense gets up big and we see the Falcons defense go all out after Rosen. Expect a lot of QB sacks and at least 2 takeaways for the Falcons defense. Atlanta is owned in fewer than 20% of leagues on all platforms.
Week 15 Sits
Los Angeles Chargers: @ Kansas City Chiefs
If you’ve been following along with my article or the NFL season you know that you cannot start the Chargers this week. They were a nice stream option against the Bengals in Week 14, and are owned in almost 90% of leagues right now…but you can go ahead an cut them.
Denver Broncos: vs Cleveland Browns
This Cleveland offense really let me down the last time I told you not to start against them but I don’t think history repeats itself here. Baker Mayfield looks as comfortable as any QB in the league right now and as he is getting on the same page with Jarvis Landry, this offense is starting to look really good. Denver is owned in 90% of leagues despite only having 4 weeks in the top 10 this entire season. You can’t play them against Cleveland but they may be worth a hold, if you have the roster spot, with a juicy Championship Week matchup against Oakland.
Both Teams: New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m willing to bet that this will be the highest scoring game of Week 15. Both of these teams have a lot of firepower on offense and a ton of motivation to win. The Steelers are elite at home and the Patriots offense is heating up, scoring 24+ in each of their last 3 games. Both of these defenses are owned in more than 80% of leagues and neither can be trusted in Week 15.
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.[lptw_table id=”158385″ style=”default”]