I’m not going to lie: week 12 was a tough one. We jump right into it with Washington at #1. They were a one-win team and averaging just over five fantasy points per game as a defense. That’s not exactly a team that inspires confidence. Nevertheless, they handled the Lions and picked up their second win of the season while their rookie QB selfied with fans. Next up we had the New York Jets. New York actually had a decent start to the season (a close loss to Buffalo) before their QB went down with mono. It took a while to get things back on track, but the Jets have now put up three straight good weeks and they have an easy road ahead. This is the kind of defense that might just win you a championship. More on that later though. We had six heavily owned teams this week, a few more surprises (Tampa Bay and Philadelphia), and a couple of our squads made the list. Here is the whole top-12.
|Rank||Team||% Owned||Opponent||Sacks||INTs||Fum Rec||Fantasy Points|
|1||Washington Redskins||6%||Detroit Lions||6||3||1||21|
|2||New York Jets||23%||Oakland Raiders||1||1||1||18|
|3||Seattle Seahawks||36%||Philadelphia Eagles||3||2||3||17|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2%||Atlanta Falcons||6||1||1||16|
|5||Buffalo Bills||91%||Denver Broncos||4||1||0||13|
|5||Baltimore Ravens||92%||Los Angeles Rams||2||2||0||13|
|7||Pittsburgh Steelers||93%||Cincinnati Bengals||4||0||2||12|
|8||San Francisco 49ers||91%||Green Bay Packers||5||0||1||11|
|8||Philadelphia Eagles||39%||Seattle Seahawks||6||1||1||11|
|10||New England Patriots||98%||Dallas Cowboys||0||1||0||8|
|10||Cleveland Browns||83%||Miami Dolphins||4||2||0||8|
|10||Detroit Lions||38%||Washington Redskins||3||1||1||8|
The Steelers were our top find for week 12, but it wasn’t as easy as it should have been. Cincinnati stuck around until the end and almost picked up their first win of the season. Still, Pittsburgh put up 12 points for fantasy and proved useful. Detroit was our successful streamer, putting up 8 points and tying for 10th overall this week. How did the rest of our teams fair? Here was the list from last week:
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 12 points
- New Orleans Saints: 5 points
- Oakland Raiders: 2 points
- Tennessee Titans: 6 points
- Detroit Lions: 8 points
- Atlanta Falcons: 5 points
Honestly, those are all solid except for the Raiders. I finally bought in on Oakland and it immediately bit me in the butt. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the cross-country travel. Perhaps I also underestimated the Jets. Either way, we had one big week and four solid ones. This also puts our season total up to 111 points, good enough for fourth on the year compared to every fantasy defense we could have drafted. I’m happy with how we’re doing, and I think we can chase down third place before this is all done. We are going to have to nail it in week 13 though. Let’s do it!
Cleveland Browns (@Pit, 82%)
Have the Browns finally woken up from their slumber? After sky-high expectations to start the year, the Browns fell to 2-6 as their offense struggled to do much of anything. They looked bad in almost every aspect of the game. Well, fast forward three more weeks and Cleveland sits at 5-6 after a three-game winning streak, including a win over the rival Steelers. Cleveland heads to Pittsburgh this week in what is sure to be a chippy game (don’t worry…we won’t rehash the brawl). I honestly think this one is going to be ugly, and I could see either team coming out on top. There will likely be a lot of penalties as both teams try to prove something. For Pittsburgh, they don’t want to get swept by the perennial doormat of their division. For Cleveland, they want to show that they belong at the table. If you believe in Cleveland, then the Pittsburgh offense is hardly intimidating. They are averaging less than 12 points per game over their last three outings. This is a nice matchup as long as Cleveland’s offense continues to take care of the ball (they have only 1 total turnover in their last four games). The cherry on top is that Cleveland has another good opponent next week: the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jacksonville Jaguars (vs TB, 54%)
The Jaguars are in the midst of a three-game losing streak and they are just about dead in their division race. A loss here would probably finish them. They could really use a get-right game. Welcome to town, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We’ve mentioned the numbers plenty, but here is what Tampa Bay offers as an opponent: multiple sacks allowed in 10 of their 11 games. An interception thrown in eight of 11 games. Fumbles given up in five of eleven games. Per game, Tampa Bay gives up 3+ sacks, almost 2 interceptions, and 0.64 fumbles. I will play almost any defense against Tampa Bay, and that includes the Jaguars behind their home crowd. This is probably only a one-week hold with the Chargers coming to town in week 14, but it’s a great option in week 13. The one caution here would be if Tampa Bay jumps ahead quickly. I don’t think Jacksonville has the firepower to keep up, and it could mean bad things for the Jaguars. Still, I like the odds here as long as Jacksonville can force some turnovers.
Philadelphia Eagles (@Mia, 42%) Stream of the Week
The Eagles feel like an underrated team right now. They have been heavily injured on offense, they have played a string of strong opponents, and they’ve played every game tight. In their last four outings, they’ve averaged a turnover and close to four sacks per game. This came against the Seahawks, Patriots, Bears, and Bills (combined 32-12 record). The Eagles are 5-6 and are heading into a three-game stretch against the Dolphins, Redskins, and Giants. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say these are must-win games if Philly wants to keep pace with the Cowboys (6-5). I could see the Eagles winning all three easily, and I expect them to start by blowing out the Dolphins. The Eagles look like a great hold option heading into the playoff stretch, and they are only 42% owned. Grab them if you can and enjoy the ride. This is my stream of the week and an excellent option for weeks 13-15.
Carolina Panthers (vs Was, 35%)
The Carolina Panthers, like the Eagles, are a victim of their schedule. On the surface, they were 1-4 in their last five games and they are circling the drain. Let’s dig deeper though. Four of those five games were at the 49ers (10-1), home against the Titans (6-5), at the Packers (8-3) and at the Saints (9-2). I think the Panthers are a decent team, and they could easily be in the playoff hunt if they were in another division (like the NFC East or the AFC South). Their defense has looked excellent at times, and they force almost four sacks per game on the season. They take on the Washington Redskins this week. Dwayne Haskins is getting sacked an average of 4+ times per game and he is responsible for five turnovers in his three starts. I expect the Panthers to take advantage and to grab an easy win here. If things go well, we could always hold with the Panthers as they face Atlanta in week 14.
New York Jets (@Cin, 26%)
Quick: name the #2 scoring fantasy defense over the last three weeks. Yup, it’s the Jets. Over that span, New York has forced more than four sacks per game and almost two turnovers per game. True, the schedule was pretty easy. It stays easy though with Cincinnati and Miami waiting ahead. The Jets look like they are coming alive after three straight wins, and I’m a believer. No, I don’t think they are “playoff good”. However, I think they are ready to beat up on some bad teams. They head to Cincinnati this week to take on the winless Bengals. The Bengals give up two turnovers per game while watching their quarterback get sacked nearly four times per game. They haven’t scored 20 points in any of the last six weeks and they haven’t scored 14 in the last four weeks. The average fantasy defense puts up almost 11 fantasy points per week against the Bengals. That means that if we simply started the Bengals opponent each week, we would currently have the #4 defense overall. I love the Jets this week, and I think they make for a great two-week hold if things go well this week. They were my second favorite streamer for week 13.
Green Bay Packers (@NYG, 25%)
Let’s finish things up with the Packers. Green Bay was one of my sneaky-good defenses heading into this year, and they got off to a hot start. However, they haven’t done much since week five. Part of this can be blamed on tough opponents, but the Packers also haven’t been forcing enough turnovers. In their first five games, they averaged 3.0 sacks and 2.2 turnovers per game. In their last six outings, this drops to 2.2 sacks and 0.8 turnovers per game. They need to get back to that early-season form if they want to be in the Super Bowl hunt. After an embarrassing loss on national television to the 49ers, I think the Packers are going to come out extra motivated. They were destroyed, and I don’t think that represents what they truly are. It’s fair to say they want to wash the bad taste out of their mouths. This is bad news for the 2-9 Giants. New York, for its part, gives up sacks and fumbles like it’s their job. I love this game as a get-right opportunity for Green Bay, and the Giants are in the wrong place at the wrong time. If the Packers look good, hold them for week 14 against the Redskins.
(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)