Week 12 Team Defense Recap

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Sometimes picking which DEF/ST to play is as easy as “Follow the bad QB play”. Of the top 10 teams in Week 12, 7 played opponents with less than exceptional QBs. The Browns make an appearance in our top performers for the 3rd time in as many weeks…unfortunately, they’ve been the opponent all 3 times. But, for the first time all season, all 3 of our top performances were turned in by teams not ranked in the top 10 overall. My predictions were a bit shaky last week, I hit on all of my Sits but my Starts faltered. With Week 12 now in the rearview, let’s look at those top teams and try to guess what Week 13 has in store.

Week 12 Standout Performances

New York Giants: @ Cleveland Browns
This was not the hardest outcome to predict. The Browns have problems at QB, no running game as of late, and only 1 real weapon on offense. Terrelle Pryor ate, no other Brown was even at the table. The Giants finished with 7 sacks, 1 interception, and 3 fumble recoveries, one of which JPP walked into the end zone. The end result was another Browns loss and the Giants atop the DEF/ST fantasy rankings for Week 12.

Week 13 Matchup: @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh hasn’t given up points to fantasy defenses in 3 weeks. This is not the Browns or Bears offense and you do not want to start the Giants defense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: vs Seattle Seahawks
For the 2nd time in 3 weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers find themselves in the weekly top 3.  This game was even more impressive than their dismantling of Chicago 2 weeks ago. They held Russell Wilson out of the endzone for the entire game and only surrendered 3 points to the Seahawks all day. They kept the Rawls Royce in Neutral most of the game and sacked Wilson 6 times. Throw in their 3 turnovers and you have the 2nd best performance of Week 12.

Week 13 Matchup: @ San Diego Chargers
I want to trust the Buccaneers DEF/ST as much as Mike wants to be verified. But if I tell you to start them we will all be disappointed next week (including Mike). If you even own them, bench Tampa Bay.

Oakland Raiders: vs Carolina Panthers
While bad QB play is the leading cause of “Top DEF/ST” syndrome, sometimes it just takes a special defensive player. Khalil Mack became the 1st player since 2009 to record a forced fumble, fumble recovery, sack, interception, and TD in one game. Oddly enough, besides one other sack, those were the only numbers the Raiders defense put up in this game. So technically, Khalil Mack was a top DEF/ST in Week 12.

Week 13 Matchup: vs Buffalo Bills
Let’s hope the rest of the Oakland defense decides to show up in Week 13 because I don’t think Mack can slow Tyrod, Shady, and Sammy all by his lonesome. I think this will be a high-scoring game so I wouldn’t start either DEF/ST but definitely, sit the Raiders.

Week 13 Starts

As stated before: If you have a top 10 defense and I don’t tell you to bench them, start them. These streamers will help those in need.

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New England Patriots: vs Los Angeles Rams
The Patriots have played pretty well over the last 2 weeks and get one of the best punching bags for fantasy defenses in Week 13. The Rams offense has given up 8 or more fantasy points to DEF/ST  in each of their last 5 games, that includes Week 12 even after they scored 2 TD in the 1st quarter. You can trust New England at home.

Miami Dolphins: @ Baltimore Ravens
After a rough week against Colin Kaepernick, you may be considering benching Miami. Don’t. Week 13 is going to be tough on DEF/ST and you need to look for low scoring games. Vegas is projecting this to be the lowest scoring game of the week and both defenses should be good starts in Week 13.

Dallas Cowboys: @ Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota’s offense continues to be the toughest opponent their defense faces every week. They have given up at least 5 fantasy points in their last 6 games and, as long as Stefon Diggs is not 100%, this offense has no real weapons. The Cowboys have been bad as of late but they should get Barry Church back for this Thursday night matchup.

Week 13 Sits

Kansas City Chiefs: @ Atlanta Falcons
This more about the Falcons offense than the Chiefs defense. The Chiefs are solid and, with the addition of Justin Houston, they are getting better seemingly every week. The Falcons are bottom 5 in Fantasy Points Against DEF/ST and only average 1 point to fantasy defenses in home games. Bench the Chiefs to avoid the Falcons.

Arizona Cardinals: vs Washington Redskins
This is a combination of avoiding the Cardinals defense and the Redskins offense. Unlike Kansas City, the Arizona DEF/ST has been terrible as of late, allowing opposing teams to score 30 ppg over the last 4 weeks. The Redskins offense is red-hot right now, forcing negative DEF/ST fantasy points in 3 of their last 4. It’s the perfect storm and you want nothing to do with Arizona DEF/ST in this one.

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.

[lptw_table id=”33614″ style=”default”]

As I said before, Week 13 is going to be tough on DEF/ST. You shouldn’t start any of last week’s top 3, some of the best units have tough road matchups, and the Browns are on bye. I know what’s at stake for you, the fantasy playoffs are on the line. Make sure you are scouring the waiver wire for teams with good matchups and don’t just start a DEF/ST because of what they did for you in Week 3, you only get those points once, you need a win this week!

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