Welcome to Week 13! While millions got their fill of turkey and trimmings, all three of our picks from last week produced quite the harvest, as the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, and Tennessee Titans all scored double-digit points for us last week. This week, six teams are on a bye, so the pickings will be much slimmer. Crazy thought: this isn’t even the last week of byes this season, so some leagues will start their playoffs with players on a bye!
The New York Giants are one of the six teams enjoying a week off this week, so we can’t pick on them for an easy W to stream in our D/ST slot, as usual. We know our options are going to be limited, so let’s dive in and see a few of our streaming options this week as we look for teams that are rostered in around 50 percent of leagues or fewer.
Please note: there’s a decent chance that better teams above this 50 percent threshold are out there in your league, but we can’t assume they’re out there for everyone. We have to draw the proverbial line somewhere, so stay active and monitor the league home page; someone might drop a desirable defense after waivers clear.
Opponent: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
ESPN % Rostered: 28%
Yahoo % Rostered: 26%
The Jacksonville Jaguars now have eight sacks and two turnovers over their last three games and is coming back home after successfully holding a hot Texans offense to only 21 points. They will now host the Cincinnati Bengals, who will trot out Jake Browning for his second NFL start in place of the injured Joe Burrow, who is out for the rest of this season. This Bengals offense has been held to 20 or fewer points in their last two games, and I don’t believe that’s a coincidence given their switch at quarterback. Cincinnati is bleeding sacks, giving up an average of 4.5 per game over their last three contests. The Jaguars are in a bit of a slump of late, but before their bye week, they had been on a roll; Jacksonville was averaging over two turnovers per game while placing in the Top 10 in yards allowed per rush. They’re also fourth-best in rushing yards allowed as well as residents in the Top 10 for both blitz rate and QB hurries. Look for them to test Browning often this weekend.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Opponent: vs. Carolina Panthers
ESPN % Rostered: 5%
Yahoo % Rostered: 33%
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come home after a two-game road stretch to host a Carolina Panthers offense that happens to be Top 5 in fantasy points allowed to opposing D/STs. The rudderless Panthers also just fired head coach Frank Reich, quarterbacks coach Josh McCown, and assistant head coach Duce Staley, who also served as the team’s running backs coach. That’s a lot of turnover in one week, but to be fair, turnovers have become all too common in Carolina: the Panthers have coughed up the ball six times in their last four games.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are averaging three sacks per game and the Panthers have allowed 14 over their last three. The Buccaneers are Top 10 against the run in addition to being Top 10 in opponent drives ending in turnovers. Look for the Buccaneers to stop the run while bringing the fury of the league’s third-highest blitz rate against QB Bryce Young in order to force mistakes out of the rookie.
Opponent: @ New York Jets
ESPN % Rostered: 5%
Yahoo % Rostered: 6%
Despite not being the strongest defensive option this week, the Atlanta Falcons now have seven sacks and five turnovers generated over their last three games. Yet I want to focus more on their opponent, the New York Jets, who have given up 20+ fantasy points to opposing D/STs in three of their last four games. Journeyman QB Tim Boyle is now set to make his second start for his fourth team in his five-year career. In his two games played, he has thrown for one touchdown and three interceptions. The Jets have allowed 13 sacks and turned the ball over six times in their last two games. Atlanta is a Top 10 defense in QB Pressures this season which looks to favor them in this matchup.
Bonus Consideration: The Los Angeles Rams (E:4% Y!:8%) have now had three straight good-but-not-great performances and will host the Cleveland Browns next. The Browns are allowing double-digit fantasy points to opposing teams on average and now have a big question mark at quarterback. Their de facto starter, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, is in concussion protocol, leaving uncertainty as to whether he or P. J. Walker will get the start. Either quarterback makes an attractive target from a D/ST perspective.
Watching the Wire (for the playoffs)
If you find yourself with rock-solid odds to make the postseason, perhaps consider dropping your least valuable depth player for a team with a potentially good matchup in the future.
If your playoffs end earlier in the season:
Green Bay Packers (E:25% Y!:15%) – Week 14: @ New York Giants; Week 15: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons (E: 16% Y!:11%) – Week 14: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Week 15: @ Carolina Panthers
If your playoffs finish at the end of the season:
Chicago Bears (E:6% Y!:7%) – Week 16: vs. Arizona Cardinals; Week 17: vs. Atlanta Falcons
Jacksonville Jaguars (E: 26% Y!:35%) – Week 16: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Week 17: vs. Carolina Panthers
Philadelphia Eagles (E: 58% Y!:75%) – Week 16: vs. New York Giants; Week 17: vs. Arizona Cardinals
If you see something I don’t leave a comment or hit me up with feedback @MikeoftheFF on Twitter!
Photos by Zach Bolinger & Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)