Let’s Stream Defenses: Week 12 (2019 Fantasy Football)
The bye weeks are almost over, which means the fantasy playoffs are sooner than you think. If your league’s playoffs start in Week 14, than means you have just two more weeks of the regular season. The time to plan for the playoffs is now. Once byes are over, you don’t really need more than one wide receiver on your bench (in case someone gets injured), and you don’t need a backup tight end or quarterback. Keep the running backs – Alexander Mattison should be owned in all leagues – but you don’t need Deebo Samuel on your bench if you’re not going to use him. That makes some room to stash future streamers. It’s still a little sketchy – Week 16 is a long ways away, and a lot can change in five weeks. The Rams have seemed like a pretty good matchup lately, but they can certainly bounce back.
There are two defenses that I feel good about recommending for all three playoff weeks (14-16). The Steelers (80% owned) face ARI, BUF and NYJ, and the Ravens (48% owned) face BUF, NYJ and CLE. If the Rams continue to play poorly, then the Seahawks (50% owned, LAR-CAR-ARI) and the Cowboys (45% owned, CHI-LAR-PHI) should also be good for all three weeks. As for our two undroppable defenses: San Francisco and New England, both have terrible matchups in Week 14, but good matchups after that. The Patriots’ playoff schedule is KC-CIN-BUF, and the 49ers have NO-ATL-LAR. In both cases you’re in luck if your playoffs don’t start until Week 15, but otherwise, you’ll need another streamer in Week 14.
If you’re like me and just barely hanging on, you have to get to the playoffs first, which might mean planning ahead for Week 13. My favorite Week 13 stashes are Dallas (35% owned, vs BUF), Indianapolis (38% owned, vs TEN), the Jets (9% owned, @CIN), Carolina (46% owned, vs WAS) and Philadelphia (39% owned, @MIA).
This is the last of the bye weeks, with ARI, KC, LAC and MIN all out. Arizona is really the only good offense to target in that group, so we still have quite a few options this week. If you have any questions, feel free to Tweet at me.
|The Start Them With Confidence Tier|
|The Still a Fine Choice Tier|
|The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier|
- DET @ WAS: Washington is the new Miami. The actually had one of their best games last week against the Jets, but it still left New York with a very respectable 9 FPTS, thanks in large part to six sacks. Detroit’s defense is one of many within a standard deviation of the league average, which places them firmly in the group of teams you’re happy to start against Washington, even on the road.
- CHI vs NYG: The Bears’ offense might be hard to watch, but they still have one of the better defenses in the league, and they get to play a weak offense at home. As is usually the case with implied point totals of 17, the Bears are a no-doubter this week.
- PIT @ CIN: If Washington is the new Miami, then Cincinnati is the new Cincinnati, because they’ve sucked all year. Much like the Bears, the Steelers have an excellent defense despite their bad (that is, extremely injured) offense. They’re third in Football Outsiders’ Defensive Efficiency Ratings, my favorite measure of (real-world) defense quality.
- NO vs CAR: Last week, 68% of BettingPros experts agreed on betting over 51 total points for the Falcons-Panthers game. The Falcons did their part, scoring 29 points, but nobody expected that Carolina would be held to just three points by one of the worst defenses in the league. A disaster of that magnitude is unlikely to repeat, but the situation is worse (or for us, better). The Panthers now have to face one of the better defenses in the league, on the road in New Orleans.
- CLE vs MIA: The Browns are going to get their third consecutive home win this week. The Dolphins are only Tier 2 among terrible offenses these days, but that’s certainly bad enough that we’re happy to target them with a defense like the Browns at home, even without Myles Garrett.
- BUF vs DEN: The Broncos pretended to be a real NFL team for an entire half of a football game last week, but fortunately for the Vikings, reality intervened. Journeyman practice squad quarterback Brandon Allen could not overcome an above average NFL defense last week, and he won’t do it this week.
- NE vs DAL: Most of my recommended starters are average or better defenses against horrible offenses, but I start the second tier here because the Patriots are an excellent defense facing a good offense. There’s a chance they get blown up on like they were against the Ravens, but if you’re going to bench one of the best fantasy defenses of all time, you’d better be damn sure about it. I’m willing to tolerate a bit of risk with New England this week.
- DEN @ BUF: Despite being 4.5-point underdogs, the Broncos’ implied point total allowed is just 21. Josh Allen played very well last week, but he did it against the Dolphins, so I would hold off on the MVP talk. While he will surely prove to be the better Allen this week, he’s been mistake prone in his career so far, and the Broncos have enough talent on defense to punish those mistakes. I’m happy starting Denver this week if better options aren’t available.
- JAC @ TEN: It’s not often that road underdogs are usable as fantasy defenses, but this week we have two. A projection of 22 points allowed is nothing to be afraid of, especially from a team with a disaster of a quarterback situations like the Titans have.
- SF vs GB: You didn’t really think I’d tell you to bench the 49ers, did you? Like the Patriots, this is a case of an amazing defense facing a pretty good offense. The fact that Vegas is only giving Aaron Rodgers 21.5 points says a lot about their respect for SF‘s defense, and the lack of a reliable supporting cast around Rodgers.
Jacob Herlin is a Senior Data Analyst for FantasyPros. For more from Jacob, follow him @jacoblawherlin.