Week 13 Fantasy DEF/ST Strategy
67%. That is the ownership of the Week 12’s top-4 fantasy defenses. Combined. Each of the week’s top-4 D/ST 12 was owned in fewer than 50% of fantasy leagues. The Redskins (#1) and Buccaneers (#4) were owned in 6% or fewer leagues. You gotta love late season fluke football.
While I missed badly on the Oakland DEF/ST, I did mention that the Jets and Redskins were nice streaming options and once it was announced that all of Philly’s firepower was hurt, Seattle shot up there too. Basically, while it looked fluky, the week shook out pretty predictably. But it’s Week 13 now and we have no time for flukes or non-flukes that look like flukes. The playoffs are on the line and you need a fantasy DEF. Let’s go get you that championship.
Week 12 Top Performances
Washington Redskins vs DET
I’d personally like to congratulate the 6% of you psychos that started Washington this week. My guess, backed by the forecasts on the best offshore sportsbooks for US players, is at least 3% only did so because they stopped checking their lineups. Washington tied for the league-lead in sacks this week with six and added three interceptions and a fumble recovery. To put a cherry on top of their #1 finish, they returned a kickoff for a TD in the 2nd quarter, the only return TD in the NFL this week.
Week 13 Matchup: @ CAR
You didn’t play them last week, you aren’t playing them this week. Week 12 was only the 2nd time this season that the Redskins scored 10+ fantasy points. The Panthers have only given up 10+ three times this season.
Seattle Seahawks @ PHI
Once the inactive list came out, the writing was on the wall for Philadelphia. Without their top-2 WRs and Jordan Howard, the Eagles had their TEs and not much else. Seattle didn’t exactly shut down Ertz but they did enough to beat up the Eagles’ offense. They led the league with five takeaways in Week 12 and sacked Carson Wents three times. The Eagles offense only scored nine points and, if not for a very late TD by Ertz, this could have been even better for the Seahawks D/ST.
Week 13 Matchup: vs MIN
This is not the matchup you want with your playoff hopes on the line. Minnesota gives up the 4th fewest points to fantasy DEF and is coming off a bye. That means they should have a fresh Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs, plus a returning Adam Thielen. it’s unlikely Seattle will be able to slow all three down.
New York Jets vs OAK
I thought this game could be a blowout, but I thought it would be Oakland scoring the points. Instead, Oakland was held to three points scored and the Jets finished with one sack, one INT, one fumble recovered, and one defensive TD. If you put all those ones together, you get the #3 fantasy DEF on the week. Math is fun.
Week 13 Matchup: @ CIN
Even if Andy Dalton returns, the Bengals are a fine fantasy matchup. They were giving up points before Ryan Finley took over for Dalton, during Finley’s time, and they will give up them up this week, no matter the QB. The Bengals give up the 4th most points to fantasy defenses and have given up 9+ in each of their last five games.
Week 13 Starts
Philadelphia Eagles @ MIA
Philly could be considered my Stream of the Week, considering they were available in more than 50% of leagues. But it’s the Dolphins, so it’s my Start of the Week. The Dolphins still allow the most points to D/ST and the Eagles defense hasn’t allowed more than 17 points scored in any of their last four games. If Philadelphia’s offense can get healthy, this game will be a blowout, and that means plenty of sacks and turnovers. Plus, if you land the Eagles, you should be able to ride them right to the championship with great matchups through Week 15.
Los Angeles Chargers @ DEN
If this game were at home for Los Angeles, it would be close to my Start of the Week. The Chargers are coming off a bye and should be more than ready for Brandon Allen. Denver’s offense gives up the 9th most points to fantasy D/ST on the season and was just held to three points scored against Buffalo.
Cleveland Browns @ PIT
Two weeks ago, I was singing the praises of the Pittsburgh DEF and writing Cleveland off as a lost cause. 14 days is a long time in the NFL. The Browns flipped a switch against the Steelers on their Week 11 Thursday game and the Steelers offense has looked terrible, even giving up six fantasy points to the Bengals D/ST. Pittsburgh has allowed multiple sacks in four of their last five games and just put the Browns in the weekly top-3 two weeks ago.
Stream of the Week
Carolina Panthers vs WAS
Carolina’s run defense is suspect but so is the Washington running game so it should all balance out. Carolina has hit a rough patch as of their last three games, facing three tough offenses, but the Redskins are a “get-right” game. Carolina has multiple QB sacks in every game since Week 2 and Washington has given up multiple sacks every game since Week 7. The Redskins give up the 6th most points to fantasy D/ST and the Panthers are available in 65% of fantasy leagues.
Other Streaming Options: PHI, NYJ, TEN, IND, DET
Week 13 Sits
Green Bay Packers @ NYG
Call this a gut-feeling but I think the Giants pull the home-upset this week. Daniel Jones has scored multiple TDs in three of his last four games and has only thrown one INT during that span. Chicago’s vaunted D/ST only scored five fantasy points vs the Giants and I expect more of the same this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs TB
I know what you’re thinking…Jameis gonna Jameis. I’ve been saying it for weeks myself. But just like against Atlanta, Winston is as likely to throw 3 TDs as he is 3 INTs. If the Jags don’t score a defensive TD, they will not finish in the top-10. Too much at stake to be gambling on a defensive TD.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs CLE
This is more of an indictment on the Pittsburgh offense than their defense. After the way the last game between these two ended, Cleveland has a chip on their shoulder and should have Pittsburgh’s subpar offense on the ropes all game long. That means Pittsburgh’s own defense will be in tough spots all game long. The Browns haven’t allowed more than five fantasy points to a D/ST in their last four games.
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=”162219″ style=”default”]