Week 11 Team Defense Recap

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As much as I love to tell you that defenses are unpredictable, every now and then the fantasy gods throw me a bone. In Week 11, the #1 unit played the Browns and every one of my Starts finished in the top 10. If you played the matchups this week, you probably ended up with a high score out of your DEF/ST. With the fantasy season dwindling, wins are at a premium. Let’s review the teams that helped you get that W in Week 11 and figure out who we’ll be talking about after Week 12. Interesting side note: All 3 of last week’s top performers play on Thanksgiving in Week 12.

Week 11 Standout Performances

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Cleveland Browns
The one week I decide to not pick on Cleveland, they decide to allow the most points to DEF/ST. If you’ve been following along with this article then starting Pittsburgh was a no-brainer. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I was tooting their horn right up to game time. The Steelers punished Cleveland in a game that was heavily influenced by the high winds of Lake Erie. They sacked the QB 8 times, eventually giving him a concussion. They also picked him off once and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD. It was a thorough beat down of a dead horse.

Week 12 Matchup: @ Indianapolis Colts
I was all set to tell you not to start Pittsburgh in this game. Their defense is not great and they will be playing on the road in a short week. Then the news came out the Andrew Luck is concussed and will likely miss the game. If you need a streamer, you can feel much more confident about Ryan Shazier and friends getting after Scott Tolzien. I still don’t love the matchup, but you can start them if necessary.

Minnesota Vikings: vs Arizona Cardinals
It had been 5 long weeks since the Vikings popped on this list. After their Week 6 bye, this defense seemed unable to contend with its own offense’s ineptitude. It actually wasn’t a great game by the Vikings on Sunday but, as I’ve pointed out before, touchdowns hide many flaws. The Cardinals scored 24 points and had almost 350 yards of offense, but the Vikings had Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson. Rhodes returned a pick 100 yards for a TD and Patterson took the opening kick of the 2nd half back 104 yards for a TD. The end result was Minnesota back near the top after a long drought.

Week 12 Matchup: @ Detroit Lions
With the Lions running game being virtually non-existent and the WRs looking average as can be as of late, I think that you can start the Vikings with confidence on Thanksgiving Thursday.

Detroit Lions: vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Speaking of the Lions. Detroit had a dream date with Blake Bortles coming out of their bye and he did not disappoint. Bortles donated 2 interceptions and Chris Ivory threw in a fumble to the Detroit cause. The Lions returned one of those picks for a TD and added a punt return TD to capture their spot as the Week’s 3rd best performer.

Week 12 Matchup: vs Minnesota Vikings
It’s not as if the Vikings offense is scaring anyone but I just don’t trust the Lions here. The Lions have been average all season long and would have been again in Week 11 without those TDs. I’m sure there are better streamers (see below).

Week 12 Starts

Quick Reminder: If you own a top 10 defense and I do not tell you to bench them elsewhere in this article-Start them.

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Tennessee Titans: @ Chicago Bears
The Bears have become a dream fantasy matchup for DEF/ST. With Zach Miller out for the season and Alshon Jeffery suspended, they basically have no one to throw to. On top of that, Jay Cutler may also be gone for the year, so they have no one to throw the ball anyway. Jordan Howard by himself just isn’t that scary. The Titans held their own against the Packers and Colts over the last 2 weeks. They should find the going much easier in this one.

New England Patriots: @ New York Jets
The Patriots defense has played well enough despite their lack of a pass rush. The Jets give up the most points to opposing DEF/ST. Match made in heaven for the Patriots to get on track.

New York Giants: @ Cleveland Browns
Not going to make this mistake by the lake twice. The Browns are bad. It also sounds like they are down another QB. So it’s Josh McCown…or Kevin Hogan…or maybe RG3 against the Giants on Sunday. The Giants give up some of the fewest points to WRs so I’m guessing they can contain Prior. It should be a boring game with the Giants cruising to a 28-10 victory.

Week 12 Sits

Arizona Cardinals: @ Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are fantasy defense killers this season, they’ve forced negative points in 4 different games so far. The Cardinals DEF/ST hasn’t had a “great” game since Week 6. With Tevin Coleman returning and the entire team coming off of bye at home, I do not want to challenge the Atlanta offense in Week 12. Sit the Cardinals.

Carolina Panthers: @ Oakland Raiders
The Panthers have been pretty solid over the last 4 weeks and have crept into the top 12…bench them. They do almost all of their damage at home against bad offenses. In Week 12, they get neither. Their young corners should struggle with Cooper and Crabtree and the Raiders are only giving up about 1 sack per game. Oakland also gives up less than 1 fantasy point-per-game to fantasy defenses. Bench the Panthers.

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 Games Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Vikings 119 10 176 26 12 8 6 1 0 3 13
2 Broncos 103 10 181 29 10 10 3 0 2 2 29
3 Cardinals 94 10 172 26 9 8 1 2 1 1 10
4 Ravens 92 10 187 23 11 6 2 0 4 7 1
5 Eagles 89 10 186 26 9 7 3 1 2 9 19
6 Chiefs 84 10 187 19 13 10 4 0 0 16 27
7 Bills 76 10 213 31 8 6 3 0 1 11 20
7 Seahawks 76 10 173 31 9 3 1 0 3 10 11
9 Dolphins 70 10 210 23 9 4 3 0 2 8 30
10 Chargers 69 10 260 19 11 8 4 1 0 28 5
11 Rams 64 10 169 20 6 6 1 0 1 6 15
11 Panthers 64 10 232 30 10 4 3 0 1 27 2
13 Texans 61 10 215 19 5 4 2 0 0 4 21
14 Giants 55 10 200 18 10 1 2 0 2 20 8
15 Lions 54 10 225 20 6 4 3 2 1 17 18

Do not get cute in Week 12. Almost all of the top 15 DEF/ST have favorable matchups or are playing at home. If you don’t own one of those teams, there are still streamers out there to be had. Don’t get lazy and start a team just because they are already on your roster. Play the matchups. Most leagues are down to the last 2 games of the regular season so, more than likely, you need these wins.

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