Week 14 Team Defense Recap

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The fantasy playoffs have started and Week 14 is in the books. My predictions last week were a microcosm of my entire season, some teams I expected to have a hard time did great (Chiefs and Giants), some teams I predicted to have solid weeks failed (Jaguars), but I also predicted that the Falcons would make Goff miserable and man, did I get that one right! Hopefully, you did not face Le’Veon Bell last week and are still alive in your race to a championship. Time to look at the best of Week 14 and which Week 15 matchups are going to get you into the championship.

Week 14 Standout Performances

Atlanta Falcons: @ Los Angeles Rams
To be more specific, I predicted that Vic Beasley was going to make Jared Goff miserable… and he did. Beasley had 3 sacks and a forced fumble that he recovered and returned for a TD. The Falcons started fast, getting a fumble recovery on the game’s opening kickoff, and were able to force the Rams to pass the ball all day. Making the Rams one-dimensional made them a sitting duck. Los Angeles didn’t even score til the 4th quarter and the Falcons DEF/ST finished as the #1 unit for Week 14. Oh, and they finally did something no team has been able to do in many years…they got Jeff Fisher fired. Every Todd Gurley owner owes them a debt of gratitude.

Week 15 Matchup: vs San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is not the best matchup as of late, except in that weather game in Chicago two weeks ago, but I like how the Falcons matchup with them. Vic Beasley looks like the kind of player that is going to win some people a championship singlehandedly. There are better streamers to be had but if you can’t get them I wouldn’t be afraid to start Atlanta again in Week 15.

Carolina Panthers: vs San Diego Chargers
Don’t think this was on anybody’s radar but 5 sacks, 5 turnovers, and a safety gave the Panthers the best week they’ve had all season. The Panthers harassed Philip Rivers all day, and he was responsible for every one of the turnovers. Considering that Carolina was only owned in about 55% of leagues, I doubt many people benefited.

Week 15 Matchup: @ Washington Redskins
There is no way you’re making this start with the playoffs on the line. Look elsewhere.

Green Bay Packers: vs Seattle Seahawks
If you had told me that one DEF/ST from this game was going to be top 3, I would not have picked Green Bay. Alas, another surprise. Green Bay couldn’t be stopped on offense and Seattle couldn’t get anything going. The Packers sacked Russell Wilson 3 times and forced 6 turnovers. But, like the Panthers, the Packers were owned in less than 50% of leagues, so it’s unlikely they helped anyone move on in the playoffs.

Week 15 Matchup: @ Chicago Bears
This is a desperation toss up. The Bears are beatable but so is the Packers defense. If you have no better options and you believe the last 3 weeks is who the Packers really are, then go ahead and take a flier…just make sure nobody else from my Start list is available first.

Week 15 Starts

Buffalo Bills: vs Cleveland Browns
The Bills have slid in recent weeks but there may not be a better matchup heading into Week 15. I’m more confident in Buffalo than any of the current top 5 teams in Week 15.

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Houston Texans: vs Jacksonville Jaguars
A solid pass defense against Blake Bortles in Week 15? Yes, please. Bortles has thrown 6 interceptions in his last 5 games and the Texans have 5 picks in their last 5 games. I like those odds.

Oakland Raiders: @ San Diego Chargers
The Raiders are built to harass San Diego just like Carolina did in Week 14. If Melvin Gordon misses time, this could be a banner game for Khalil Mack and the Raiders.

Miami Dolphins: @ New York Jets
The Dolphins looked great in Week 14, though I suspect the weather helped, and the Jets look bad regardless of who is playing QB. Throw in an injured Matt Forte and Miami starts to look like a good stream option.

Week 15 Sits

Denver Broncos:  vs New England Patriots
I love the Broncos defense but an injured Chris Harris and a date with Tom Brady is not where I’ll be placing my playoff hopes.

Arizona Cardinals: vs New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is due to rebound soon and this is not the hot potato you want anything to do with.

San Diego Chargers: vs Oakland Raiders
As the Chargers offense continues to get hurt, their defense will be under more and more pressure. Despite a dud in Week 14, I still don’t want to face Oakland, who is giving up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to DEF/ST.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
Team Fantasy Points Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Vikings 139 225 35 12 10 6 1 1 3 16
2 Broncos 133 238 38 12 11 4 0 2 1 29
3 Ravens 115 233 29 15 10 2 0 4 11 1
4 Chiefs 114 255 27 14 11 7 1 0 18 27
5 Cardinals 108 259 32 12 11 1 2 1 2 10
6 Eagles 98 272 28 10 9 4 1 2 13 15
7 Giants 96 242 30 13 6 3 0 2 23 8
8 Buccaneers 92 280 30 14 11 3 1 0 16 21
9 Seahawks 90 232 32 11 5 1 1 3 9 13
10 Chargers 87 321 23 16 9 4 1 0 25 7
11 Dolphins 82 295 28 13 8 3 0 3 10 30
12 Panthers 81 317 39 15 7 3 1 1 30 5
13 Patriots 80 230 28 8 6 0 3 3 15 6
14 Bears 78 282 33 7 3 3 1 1 6 19

As we inch closer to the championship, I hope I haven’t led you astray. I think it goes without saying, Week 15 is the most important week so far. Start your studs but don’t be afraid to throw in a streamer DEF/ST if the team that got you here has a bad matchup. It’s been a long, largely unpredictable season. Good luck to all of those whose championship hopes are still alive.

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