Playoffs are in full force, and it appears the fantasy defense forecast is clearing up. Outside of the Panthers drenching the Falcons with a 38-0 final score, there were few surprises among defenses. Jacksonville was great against old man Matt Hasselbeck, Arizona and the Jets cracked double digits against the Vikings and Titans, and Cleveland held the 49ers to 10 points while collecting nine sacks. Okay, those nine sacks were surprising, but hopefully the surprises remain in check. Of course, that might be a tall order to ask for this time of year.
Green = must start.
Blue = Sleeper/Streamer picks
Red = Defenses with good value on DraftKings.
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||at Baltimore Ravens|
|2||Seattle Seahawks||Cleveland Browns|
|3||New York Jets||at Dallas Cowboys|
|4||Cincinnati Bengals||at San Francisco 49ers|
|5||Carolina Panthers||at New York Giants|
|6||New England Patriots||Tennessee Titans|
|7||Arizona Cardinals||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|8||Houston Texans||at Indianapolis Colts|
|9||Pittsburgh Steelers||Denver Broncos|
|10||Minnesota Vikings||Chicago Bears|
|11||St. Louis Rams||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|12||Denver Broncos||at Pittsburgh Steelers|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||at St. Louis Rams|
|14||Buffalo Bills||at Washington Redskins|
|15||Detroit Lions||at New Orleans|
|16||Indionapolis Colts||Houston Texans|
Kansas City has been on a roll as of late, trailing only Carolina for most fantasy points in the last four weeks. They get yet another good matchup against Matt Schaub, who has thrown four interceptions in the two games he has started for the Ravens. Baltimore has turned into the team that you target to stream a defense against, unfortunately for streamers, Kansas City is owned in 87% of Yahoo leagues. As you will notice, picking a streamer this week is not going to be as easy as others, so hopefully you have a clear cut starting defense for your fantasy playoff matchup.
The Seahawks are my number two ranked defense as they are facing the 3-10 Browns. This one is probably going to get ugly as Seattle is one of the toughest defenses to run and pass on, and the Browns are ranked in the bottom of the league in both. Denver is the only team who allows fewer offensive yards per game than Seattle.
Speaking of Denver, they are going up against the offense that averages the second most yards per game. The Steelers are going to present them with one of their toughest challenges of the year, but Denver is still a startable playoff defense. However, if the Steelers, who are owned in 43% of leagues, are available, you may want to start them instead. They have a bend but don’t break type of defense, as evident by their five red zone interceptions this season.
The Jets are a top option this week going up against the Cowboys, as Matt Cassel has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns since filling in for the injured Tony Romo. He will need to lean on the run game, but the Jets run defense has given up the fewest rushing yards and touchdowns this season. Dez Bryant was held to one catch last week against Green Bay, and going up against Darrelle Revis won’t be any easier of a matchup. Catching an accurately thrown pass from Cassel with Revis on you is a challenge in itself. Throw in the fact that there will be a good amount of safety help and it’s likely a performance similar to last week’s is in store for Bryant. It’s going to hurt to watch how the 4-9 Cowboys will attack this defense with the NFL world watching on Saturday night.
The Colts are a risky option for streaming, but their bottom of the barrel price tag does give them some decent value as a daily play. They go up against the Texans, who will be without Brian Hoyer who is out with a concussion. The next man up is T.J. Yates, who hasn’t thrown an interception in his 47 passing attempts this season, but he has also only completed just 47% of those passes.
The Carolina Panthers have been the hottest fantasy defense, and they have just the guy to cover Odell Beckham Jr, who seems to be the only weapon of choice Eli Manning feeds. Josh Norman has been incredible this season, and is truly the top corner in the NFL. The most yardage a receiver has gained on him this season is 33 yards. That was Julio Jones, who currently has over 100 more receiving yards on the season than Beckham.
The St. Louis Rams appear to be back to normal after a mini defensive skid. This week they are a top 12 option against the Bucs, who will be without Vincent Jackson due to a season ending injury. On top of that, Jameis Winston has struggled to throw for multiple touchdowns in a game all season, only accomplishing two or more four times in 13 games. The Bucs defense is also a good option as they go up against Case Keenum, who has a 68.1 passer rating in the three games he’s played in this season.