(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
Week twelve comes to a close and we are getting close to playoff time. In my own leagues, I’ve got a playoff bound team and another right on the edge…I need a win this week to get in. It makes me think about the weeks ahead, and who we should be looking at. If I can pick up a defense for week 13 and hold them for 14 and 15, I have a big advantage. Still, I prefer the best matchup each week since these defenses seem to be readily available. How available? If you managed to find Baltimore out there (our first under-owned unit), you had the #1 unit on the week. New England’s defense would have tied you for eighth, Dallas would have put us in sixth, and Indianapolis gave us 3 points. In the Tampa Bay/ San Francisco matchup, Tampa Bay proved the one to own. They finished with 12 points while San Fran only put up 1. While our stream of the week (Indianapolis) failed us, we still had a lot of good options on the list. Still, I want better for us as we near playoff time. Let’s take a look at last week’s top twelve list.
|Team||Opponent||Fantasy Points||Percent Owned||Interceptions||Sacks|
|Tampa Bay||San Francisco||12||5%||2||4|
|New England||NY Jets||8||91%||1||2|
As the season pushes on, we are starting to see some teams completely and utterly beaten down by their own failure. San Francisco has done far less than they ever hoped they might, no thanks to losing their quarterback. Cincinnati has lost 5 of their last 6 after starting 4-1, and they have only broken 21 points once in that time…their only win. Jacksonville has utterly collapsed in on themselves, unable to win a game since starting 3-1. They have only put up 20+ points in two of the last seven weeks. At this point in the season, I obviously want a good defense if I managed to find one. Chicago was a great early steal of that ilk. If not though, make sure to look at the matchup. Who is your defense playing? Is that opponent hot or cold? What is their QB situation right now? These are the questions we need to answer. Let’s take a look at what we can find in week 13.
Seattle has played well over the last over the last nine weeks despite back to back losses to the teams from Los Angeles. However, that’s nothing to be worried about. The Rams and Chargers are likely two of the top 5 teams in the league right now. Seattle needs to keep winning to keep their playoff hopes alive. They play a very winnable game this week against San Francisco, and I’m sure they are motivated. I would expect Seattle to dominate in every facet of the game, and for the Seahawks to come away with their third straight victory. We haven’t even mentioned yet how generous San Francisco is to opposing defenses yet. Basically, start this one confidently if you’re lucky enough to find it.
Green Bay (58%)
With the Packers, things haven’t been going as well as they have in Seattle. Green Bay has lost 4 out of their last 5, although they have had a decidedly brutal schedule. Still, we have hardly seen the normal level of Aaron Rodgers magic this year that we are accustomed to. That being said, the Packers are still alive which makes this a must-win game. The Packers are playing at home, they face the Cardinals, and they should have their way with this one. I like the Packers to score and I like their defense to frustrate Josh Rosen this week. This is another great option if you can find it.
Kansas City (58%)
The Chiefs defense has not been great this year. We didn’t expect much coming into the season, but they have given up 43, 54, and 37 in their worst outings. Still, they have looked decent lately if we ignore last week’s point fiesta with the Rams. We know KC will score and we know Oakland will have trouble scoring. Assuming KC strikes early, I like that their defense can sit back and wait for the passes. I would be surprised if this one isn’t a double digit win, and if Oakland doesn’t struggle again. This is another great option if you can find it, and it’s the one I’m personally rolling with this week.
Carolina (46%, stream of the week)
The Carolina Panthers, to fit the theme of week 13, are desperate for a win. After starting 6-2, they have lost 3 straight and now hope to right the ship against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have the ability to put up points, but they also make a lot of mistakes. They throw more than 2 interceptions per game, and I’m betting the Panthers take advantage. Tampa Bay knows their season is over and Carolina knows they could be playoff bound. Which squad would you rather bet on? I’ll roll with the Panthers.
The Colts bit us last week, but I’m tempted by another good matchup. This week, they draw Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars who have failed to put up 20 points in five of the last seven weeks. Jacksonville is doing about as poorly as a team could right now while Indy is–say it with me now–desperate for a win this week. The Colts have Houston (8-3) next week so I’m sure they realize how badly they need this one. They’ve won five in a row and Jacksonville will be without Leonard Fournette this week due to a one game suspension. I love this matchup and I would confidently start Indy’s defense.
Let’s finish up with the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins defense has looked good at times, and they are a decent team. They aren’t great like the division rival Patriots, and they aren’t awful like the division rival Jets and Bills. They are simply decent. Well this week, they face off against the Bills who start Josh Allen. I didn’t love Allen’s NFL potential coming into the year as many “big arm” quarterbacks seem to fizzle. Still, he looked good last week and it’s clear that Allen is a gamer. I don’t like this matchup as much with Allen in the mix, but it should still be exploitable for us. Start Miami if all previous options are gone.