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Week 12 Defensive Rankings

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If you didn’t pick up the Kansas City defense last week, it might be too late now. Before putting up 20 points against Philip Rivers, they were floating around 50% ownership in Yahoo leagues. Now they are at 71% and that number is only going to go higher with their amazing playoff schedule. They get the offensively depleted Chargers, the offensively depleted Ravens, and the Browns in week 16. You can also start them this week against Tyrod Taylor and the Bills, who have significantly cooled off after the hot start.

Green = must start.

Blue = Sleeper/Streamer picks.

Red = Defenses with good value on Draft Kings.

Rank Team Opponent
1 Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
2 Cincinnati Bengals St. Louis Rams
3 Kansas City Chiefs Buffalo Bills
4 New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
5 New York Jets Miami Dolphins
6 Seattle Seahawks Pittsburgh Steelers
7 Cleveland Browns Baltimore Ravens
8 Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys
9 Green Bay Packers Chicago Bears
10 Denver Broncos New England Patriots
11 Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans
12 Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks
13 Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
14 Atlanta Falcons Minnesota Vikings
15 Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
16 Jacksonville Jaguars San Diego Chargers

The New York Jets didn’t do very well against Houston last week, a matchup they should have scored decently in. Instead they got just three points, and Darrelle Revis was getting lit up on DeAndre Hopkins island for the majority of the time. This week against Miami should be a safe play however, as Ryan Tannehill has been sacked at least twice every game this season. The Jets like to pressure the QB so you can pencil them in for at least two points right off the bat. If they collect an interception and hold them to under 20 points (20.5 is the Dolphins average points per game this season) they should have a decent game.

The Seattle Seahawks are probably not a must start anymore. They played the 49ers last week at home and scored six points. Against Blaine Gabbert that was a matchup they should have feasted on but they couldn’t even collect an interception or fumble. Give Gabbert credit, but this is not what you expect out of a defense that is 99% owned. Now they face the Steelers, making them no easy bet for double digit points this week.

The Denver Broncos get a scary matchup against New England this week, but it’s hard to picture how Tom Brady will attack the Denver defense. There are surely some fantasy owners panicking about the matchup and looking for a defense on the waivers, but Denver is startable. Danny Amendola will probably not get a lot of playing time with a knee injury, Brandon Lafell has a nightmare challenge against Aqib Talib, and running on Denver has been no easy task this year. They have also been very consistent against tight ends as the highest scoring tight end against them was Gary Barnidge, who scored 18. The next best on the season is 10. Last week, Buffalo proved  that you can take Rob Gronkowski out of the picture.

The Oakland Raiders get the Tennessee Titans this week, who have given up the second most points to fantasy defenses. The Raiders have also collected four sacks in each of their last two games. Marcus Mariota was sacked four times in his last game against the Jaguars. The Titans have also given up seven sacks two times this season - once in week two to the Browns, and again in week eight to the Texans.

Thomas Rawls exploded last week with 209 rushing yards on 30 attempts. Those sound more like Madden numbers. The Steelers however, have been tough to run on this year, and given that all the Seahawks can do is run the ball, I’d expect Pittsburgh to have a decent fantasy game. They are owned in 37% of Yahoo leagues. I’d say they are a good option for teams who are staring Houston or the Rams this week.

Speaking of the Rams, their defense has been awful for fantasy lately. In the last three weeks, their highest point total was six. In weeks nine and ten, they scored three points against the Vikings and two against the Bears - a couple of lower tier offenses. Part of their recent woes has been due to their inability to stop the run. Adrian Peterson collected 125 rushing yards against them on 29 attempts with a touchdown. Jeremy Langford was a threat in the rushing and passing game as well, collecting 73 yards on the ground and 109 through the air. He also scored a rushing and receiving touchdown. Last week, Justin Forsett looked like he was on his way to a big game, gashing the Rams for a few long runs on the first drive. After he broke his arm, Buck Allen took his place and proceeded to score 16 fantasy points against them in PPR leagues. Gio Bernard looks like a safe start this week, and the fact that the Bengals have two running backs to scheme against makes the Rams even more untrustable right now. Since this game is not a prime time game, we can assume Andy Dalton will go back to being a good quarterback.

The Green Bay Packers defense probably have the scariest top 10 defense to start. Their fantasy point totals fluctuate every week. Last week they got 12, but before that, they scored three, negative two, and two. At the same time, the Bears best wide receiver option, Alshon Jeffery, is questionable as always. Matt Forte is questionable as well. So many questions in this one! If you can avoid starting the Green Bay defense, you should.