Let’s Stream Defenses: Week 14 (2022 Fantasy Football)
By this point in the season, the QB situations across the league have mostly stabilized, but Week 13 shook things up, with a couple of unfortunate injuries. That means we have a couple unexpected new members to the “teams we target with fantasy defenses” club:
- Ravens QB Lamar Jackson suffered a knee injury early in last week’s game against the Broncos. We don’t really know when he’ll return, but it seems very likely that he’ll miss at least one more week, and Tyler Huntly will start. Huntly is a good runner, but in a handful of games across three years as Jackson’s backup, he hasn’t been impressive as a passer. That means the Ravens are a solid target for defenses until Jackson returns.
- For the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending broken foot in the first quarter last week. Enter 2022’s Mr. Irrelevant, Brock “The Next Tom Brady” Purdy, who became the first Mr. Irrelevant to ever throw a touchdown pass. Given the nature of Garoppolo’s injury, Purdy will start for the rest of the season (and probably the playoffs). Purdy exceeded all expectations, but he’s still someone we should target with fantasy defenses until he shows us he can play that well consistently.
- After a few weeks of uncertainty, Rams QB Matthew Stafford has been placed on IR, with a spinal cord contusion. While Stafford is technically eligible to return in Week 17, given that the Rams are 3-9, there’s no reason to rush him back. That means John Wolford will start for the rest of the season, and the Rams will be a viable target for fantasy defenses.
- Deshaun Watson played pretty badly in his season debut for the Browns, though it was enough for a win against an even worse Texans team. Watson will probably remain the starter going forward, and will be a reasonable target for defenses until he can shake the rust off.
- The Panthers have waived Baker Mayfield. Sam Darnold, who played for the first time this season in Week 12 before the Panthers’ Week 13 bye, will be the starter going forward, with PJ Walker serving as backup. Walker didn’t really impress in five starts earlier this season, so Darnold can probably keep this job as long as he plays decently.
Week 14 D/ST Projections
This week is the grand finale of the bye weeks, with six teams out for only the second time (ATL, CHI, GB, IND, NO and WAS). That means it’s kind of a tough week for streaming, with only six teams I really feel good about, with only one of those six being widely available. Rostership numbers are from Yahoo. You can find me on Twitter.
|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|
- DAL vs HOU: Texans QB Kyle Allen did not play well against Cleveland last week, throwing two interceptions and not scoring a passing TD until garbage time. The Browns’ defense is not very good, and now Allen has to face the best defense in the league. As always, fire up those Cowboys.
- PIT vs BAL: Ravens superstar Lamar Jackson was knocked out of last week’s game against the Broncos with a knee injury. While Jackson hasn’t technically been ruled out for Week 14, it seems likely that Tyler Huntley will get the start. Huntley didn’t do all that much against a good Broncos defense, but he did score a rushing touchdown, and it turns out 10 points is enough to beat the Broncos. Huntley played a handful of games last year, in which he took a lot of sacks, but didn’t throw that many interceptions or touchdowns. The Ravens are a good matchup for most teams as long as Jackson is out, including a pretty average Steelers defense.
- KC @ DEN: At this point, Broncos QB Russel Wilson is in real danger of having fewer passing touchdowns than bathrooms in his house this season. The Broncos have the worst offense in all of American sports, and the rival Chiefs are certainly strong enough on defense to profit from Broncos fans’ misery.
- TB @ SF: Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy exceeded all expectations, throwing two passing TDs and just one interception en route to a solid win over a good Miami Dolphins team (with a little help from his defense scoring a fumble six). The hype is fun and I think we all want to see Purdy succeed, and this 49ers team might be the best possible situation for a player like him to succeed in, he’s still a backup QB without an NFL track record or a draft pedigree. This week he’s facing a very good Buccaneer’s defense, that we’re happy to start against a backup.
- BAL @ PIT: After a rocky start, Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is on a 4 game streak of no interceptions, though he does only have three touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing) in that time. Pickett is not the kind of disaster that makes a super juicy target for fantasy defenses, but he is the leader of an offense that can’t score very consistently, making them a good (but not great) matchup for a good (but not great) Ravens defense.
- PHI @ NYG: While he does take a respectable number of sacks, Daniel Jones isn’t typically a player we want to target with fantasy defenses. He is, however, in the category of quarterbacks weak enough that we can target them with a top-tier defense like Philadelphia. The Eagles will remain a good defense to start for the next two weeks, but you might want to find a replacement for when they face the Cowboys on Christmas Eve.
- LV @ LAR: With Matthew Stafford officially on injured reserve, John Wolford is the Rams’ starter, probably for the rest of the season. He did not impress last week, throwing two interceptions and taking four sacks. The Raiders’ defense is actually pretty bad, but they do profile better against the run than against the pass, and running seems to be the game plan with Wolford at the helm.
- SF vs TB: I did a double take when I saw that the Buccaneers’ implied point total is just 16.5, but Tampa Bay’s offense has been struggling – they scored just 17 points in each of their last two games against worse defenses than San Francisco. It’s actually against the rules to sack Tom Brady, and Brady’s not likely to give up multiple turnovers. For those two reasons the upside is limited here, but this is still an OK play because the 49ers’ excellent defense should keep the scoring to a minimum.
- SEA vs CAR: Sam Darnold, who did very little against an admittedly great Broncos in his first start of the season in Week 12, will start again in Seattle. (Turns out “very little” is more than enough to outpace the Broncos’ offense.) While Darnold didn’t take any sacks from the Broncos, he’s been a sack magnet in his career, including in 12 games with the Panthers last year. So I’m expecting a solid day, with some upside, for a decent Seahawks defense in a good matchup at home.
- BUF vs NYJ: After an excellent season debut in Week 12 against the Bears, Jets QB Mike White took a step back in Minnesota last week, where he threw two interceptions and scored just one touchdown (with his legs). This will be his toughest test yet, against an excellent Bills defense. The catch is that White appears to be pretty good at avoiding sacks. He’s only really played six games in his career so far, but he’s yet to take more than two sacks in a game (and that only happened once). So the Bills are a fine play, albeit one with limited upside.
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