Week 12 Team Defense Rankings & Projection
A lot of the defenses that were in good spots came through in a major way this week. The Browns destroyed the Eagles on the defensive side and once again had a little weather to aid them. The Steelers took care of business against the Jaguars and Washington came through late against the Bengals. We also saw the Chargers post a touchdown against the Jets and the Saints have a monster game against a hapless Falcons offense. Looking at Week 12 we have nobody on bye and three Thursday games for Thanksgiving. There are a lot of options to look at this week on the defensive side and a couple of big defenses to stay away from.
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Week 12 Top Options
The Denver Broncos continue to give up big points to defenses as the turnovers fly high in Mile High. The Saints come into town this week and have been playing very well of late. They shut down the Falcons offense, and have been winning games almost defensively in the last few weeks. The Broncos have allowed the most fantasy points per game to defenses this season. The Saints are top-five in defensive scoring over the last five weeks. The Miami Dolphins just got back from Denver and will face the Jets this week. New York continues to be an easy target for defenses and Miami has played well in terms of fantasy scoring on the defensive side over the last few weeks. I would bank on them as a top option again.
You can certainly go back to the well with the Browns in Week 12. While Gardner Minshew should return, that doesn’t change much for me given the Jaguars continue to be in shambles. Cleveland has a strong pass rush and as we saw last week they can certainly produce some turnovers. Staying in the same division, the Steelers put up a big number against the Baltimore offense last time out. The Ravens continue to struggle offensively and the pass protection continues to be worrisome. That isn’t good facing this Steelers front seven and their ability to get to the quarterback. I expect this to be a usual slugfest, especially on a short week.
The Colts faced a real test this week and fell a bit short as you would have expected. Overall they have been one of the top defenses this season, ranking inside the top-eight in points. The Titans offensive line is missing key members and that was an issue against the Ravens. We have seen this quite a bit this year where offensive lines have imploded and offenses can’t get moving. While the Titans have some strong options at their skill position players the Colts are in a spot to make it tough.
The Rams (54%) have not been picked up much this week, despite being a strong option. I would expect them to be looked at more as the week continues. They get the 49ers who are still without Jimmy Garoppolo and now have to face one of the top secondaries in football. This is also a lethal pass rush and will face a 49ers offense that has been banged up most of the year and has allowed 25 sacks. The 49ers have also allowed the 9th most fantasy points per game to defense son the season.
Chicago continues to be an offense to pick on because of the horrendous quarterback play and average offensive line. The Packers (36%) will get them this week, and while they are generally not a defense to target, they have had a couple of streaming options of late. The Bears have allowed 25 sacks this season and have struggled to run the ball, which is the Packers biggest weakness. Over the last five weeks, the Bears have allowed the 7th most fantasy points per game. I would start this Packers unit this week with confidence.
This is a deep league option and the Cardinals (20%) bring some upside to the table. The Patriots are not built to play from behind, which is what I find them doing this week. They are not a good defense and the Cardinals should be able to put up points against them. The Patriots offensive line struggled against a lackluster Texans offensive line and that has been the case for a while now. Arizona has some athletic linebackers and a good pass rush to cause Cam Newton to struggle.
Defenses To Avoid
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a great defense but I have little faith in any defense starting against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, especially on a week where there are actually a lot of defenses with quite a bit of upside. Opposing defenses have scored just 3.4 fantasy points per game against the Chiefs this season. Mahomes isn’t someone who turns it over and we likely get a pass-heavy Chiefs team against this Buccaneers run defenses that have been strong all season. There are better plays this week and the probability of them just laying the hammer on the Chiefs and causing multiple turnovers is unlikely.
Los Angeles was a defense to use last week but now they travel to Buffalo to face a good Bills offense that will give the Chargers some issues. Los Angeles isn’t a good defense as we streamed them simply for playing the Jets. This is a different story as the Bills have allowed 4.6 fantasy points per game to defenses this season. Their secondary isn’t built to cover this trio of wide receivers and while Josh Allen can still have a few turnovers, they will put up enough points to still cause a mediocre outcome if that were to happen.
Philadelphia is a team that continues to slide, yet they are still in contention for the playoffs. Defensively they get a Seattle team that hasn’t been clicking of late but still have to face Russell Wilson and two of the top wide receivers in football. They should also get Chris Carson back and the Eagles have been struggling against the run over the last few weeks.
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