Let’s Stream Defenses: Week 13 (2022 Fantasy Football)
With National Football Day (aka Thanksgiving) behind us, we’re getting down to the wire in fantasy. Most leagues start their fantasy playoffs in Week 15 or 16, meaning there are just 2 or 3 weeks of the regular season left. When streaming defenses we like to target backup quarterbacks, so it’s valuable to stay up to date on who’s starting for each team. As such, here are the movers and shakers in the QB landscape this week:
- Bears QB Justin Fields missed last week with a shoulder injury. While we don’t yet know if he’ll be healthy for Week 13, my current assumption is that backup Trevor Siemian will play. Siemian himself suffered an injury during pre-game warmups and Nathan Peterman was briefly named the starter, but Siemian ended up being able to play, so I assume he’ll be available again this week.
- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers left last week’s game with a chest injury. He had an MRI and CT scan on his ribs yesterday, but there’s no real update on his status for Week 13 yet. Will it finally be time for Jordan Love to take the wheel?
- Browns QB Deshaun Watson, who hasn’t played in the NFL in two years, was officially reinstated from suspension on Monday. He will start this week against his former team, the Texans. Jacoby Brissett will be relegated to being the best backup QB in the league once again, so that the Browns can tank their reputation even further to start a QB who might be marginally better.
- Texans QB Davis Mills was benched for Kyle Allen last week, and it appears that Allen will be the starter for the foreseeable future.
- Last week, the Jets benched Zach Wilson for Mike White, who was excellent, leading the Jets to a 31-10 win over the bears, with three passing touchdowns and no turnovers. If he keeps playing like that, his job is secure.
- Rams QB Matthew Stafford missed last week with a neck injury, and we don’t yet know if he’ll play in Week 13. Bryce Perkins started in Stafford’s absence, and my current expectation is that Perkins will play again in Seattle this week.
Week 13 D/ST Projections
With just two teams on bye (ARI and CAR), this is a pretty good week for streaming, though the list of defenses I feel good about dries up quickly, hence the “Maybe You Can’t Find Something Better” tier. Fortunately, there are two teams with under 20% rostership in my top tier, so your chances are high of getting one of them. Rostership numbers are from Yahoo. You can find me on Twitter.
A quick note on touchdowns: I decided to remove the TD column from the projections table, because it just wasn’t all that informative. They still contribute to the projected FTPS total, but the TD projections themselves are always between 0.09 and 0.12. The problem is that defensive touchdowns are extremely random, and often the result of fumbles, which are themselves very random. So there’s no real basis for predicting much deviation from the average.
|The Start Them With Confidence Tier|
|The Still a Fine Choice Tier|
|The Maybe You Can’t Find Something Better Tier|
|The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier|
- BAL vs DEN: If you’re paying any attention to football at all, you know the Broncos offense is uniquely bad. They’re the lowest-scoring team in the NFL – the only one to average fewer than 15 points per game. We can argue the extent to which it’s Russell Wilson‘s fault, but one thing is clear: even at the height of his powers, he took a lot of sacks. This year, he hasn’t had fewer than 3 sacks in a game since Week 1. Pair that tendency with an offense that can’t score, and you have a perfect storm for fantasy defenses. For Balitmore’s part, they’re an above-average defense playing at home – way more than enough to take advantage of this matchup.
- SEA @ LAR: After leaving Week 11 to enter concussion protocol, Matthew Stafford missed Week 12 with a strained neck. In his absence, QB Bryce Perkins, who the Rams signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020, made his first career start. Sean McVay is hasn’t said if Stafford will play in Week 13, but it seems unlikely – I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets shut down for the season. As such, my projections are based on the assumption that Perkins will play again. Perkins’ performance last week was about what you expect from a backup QB without much pedigree: two interceptions to just one touchdown, and three sacks. Unless he surprises us, the Rams will be a good DST target as long as Perkins is starting.
- CLE @ HOU: Going in to last week, Texans QB Davis Mills was benched for Kyle Allen, who made his first start for the Texans. Previously, Allen started most of the 2019 season for the Panthers in relief of an injured Cam Newton, and started 4 games for Washington in 2020 before his own season-ending injury. Allen is not the worst backup in the league, but he is still a backup, and it showed last week, with two interceptions, five sacks, and just 15 points. As far as we know, Allen will start the rest of the season. The Texans should remain a good defense target, whoever they start.
- DAL vs IND: The Matt Ryan-led Colts are generally a good but not great matchup for fantasy defenses. They don’t score that much, and Ryan has taken a healthy 3.2 sacks/game so far, but he’s not particularly turnover-prone. A good matchup still feels great for Dallas, because they have the best defense in the league.
- TB vs NO: The Andy Dalton-led saints got shut out by the 49ers last week. Sure, San Francisco has a great defense, but so does Tampa Bay. They literally can’t do worse this week, but I’m still expecting very little from the Saints on the road against the Buccaneers.
- PHI vs TEN: While my top tier is filled with bad offenses facing average or better defenses, you can’t have both in Tier 2. The Eagles have a great defense, and they’re at home facing an average offense. The Eagles are rostered in most leagues, and if you’re one of those people (a) congratulations; and (b) there’s no reason to bench them now. It’s not the most juicy matchup, but certainly one where a defense this good is viable.
- BUF @ NE: Since their bye in Week 10, the Patriots have managed to win with 10 points and lose with 26 points. This is a great defense against an average defense, but one I feel pretty good about, because Mac Jones has been on a roll with sacks, taking 19 in his last four games.
- WAS @ NYG: The Daniel Jones-led Giants put up a fight against the Cowboys’ defense last week, but it still only amounted to 20 points. While the Commanders aren’t quite as exalted as the Cowboys, they’re still pretty strong on defense. They’re especially effective against the run (ranked 4th by Football Outsiders’ DVOA), which is good news against a Giants team that’s top 5 in rush to pass ratio, and whose best player is Saquon Barkley.
- ATL vs PIT: The Kenny Picket-led Steelers offense has shown signs of life in the last couple of weeks, but not enough yet for me to really be scared of them in fantasy. Pickett still takes a solid 2.9 sacks per game, and has only managed three passing TDs in eight starts. This is my “backup plan” pick of the week. A defense I’m not really excited about, but one with very low rostership, meaning you can almost certainly get them if better options aren’t available.
- GB @ CHI: Bears QB Justin Fields missed last week with a shoulder injury, giving the start to Trevor Siemian. There’s no real news on Fields’ status for Week 13 at the time of writing, but my assumption is that Siemian will start another week. The veteran backup didn’t do a whole lot, leading his team to just 10 points against a pretty good Jets defense. The Packers are a fine play against Siemian, but if Fields returns, I’m no longer interested.
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