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Week 13 Defense Rankings

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time this season, the Bengals are the number one ranked defense, thanks in part to the Brownshaving typical Browns problems, especially at the quarterback position. Austin Davis did a viable job filling in forJosh McCown, but the Bengals defense should be a much tougher task. The Browns run game is also abysmal and won’t help Davis to get settled in.

Green = must start.

Blue = Sleeper/Streamer picks.

Red = Defenses with good value on Draft Kings.

Rank Team Opponent
1 Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
2 Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
3 Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
4 New England Patriots Philadelphia Eagles
5 Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
6 Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
7 Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills
8 Chicago Bears San Francisco 49ers
9 Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
10 Pittsburgh Steelers Indianapolis Colts
11 Minnesota Vikings Seattle Seahawks
12 Washington Redskins Dallas Cowboys
13 New York Jets at New York Giants
14 Miami Dolphins Baltimore Ravens
15 Buffalo Bills Houston Texans
16 Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers

Arizona is one of the toughest run defenses in the league and have given up the fourth lowest total rushing yards. Todd Gurley appears to be in a rut, as evident by his 2.1 and 2.6 yards per carry numbers in the Rams last two games. The Cardinals secondary has also contributed to a team total of 15 interceptions, good enough for second in the league. The shaky Nick Foles should have trouble putting up a clean stat sheet against them.

It looks like the Patriots will be facing Sam Bradford instead of Mark Sanchez, which is unfortunate based on how poorly of a job Sanchez has done filling in for the concussed Bradford. But the Patriots are still a safe bet for fantasy points as they have been one of the more consistent defenses. They’re vulnerable to the run right now as their linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower have missed time, but both were reported practicing this week.

For the past four weeks, the Broncos and Rams defenses have significantly cooled off. In that time span, they have scored the fourth and third lowest point totals, respectively. I still think the Broncos are trustworthy going up against the slumping San Diego Chargers, but the Rams are harder to trust. Their defensive unit is too heavily depended upon to carry the team with Nick Foles and Todd Gurley struggling. Now they face a fresh running back in rookie David Johnson, who I expect to wear them down. Carson Palmer should also be able to find holes in the defense with three quality receiving options.

A few weeks ago I prematurely declared the Broncos as the defense who will surely end the year with the most fantasy points. Now the Carolina Panthers are just two points behind them with plenty of fantasy left to play. They get a fishy matchup this week against the Saints, who failed to record a touchdown against the Houston Texans. I expect Drew Brees to perform better in this division rival match - but you can’t sit the Panthers with how they have performed over the past four weeks as they lead all defenses with 54 points. The next best is 44 by Kansas City.

Speaking of Kansas City, they face the Raiders who have not been kind to fantasy defenses. Only two have scored double digit points against them. Those two are the Bengals with 10 points in week one, and the Broncos with 22 in week five. Three defenses have totaled negative points versing them - those three being the Ravens, Chargers, and Jets. Despite being late in the year and in the same division, these two teams have yet to face each other, and there isn’t much of a basis to go off of. The Chiefs have been performing well, so they should at least be started in 12 team leagues.

Trusting the Dolphins defense is extremely hard to do, especially after scoring negative points last week against the Jets. But their matchup against the Matt Schaub led Ravens has defensive streamers salivating. They almost have to record at least one pick six. Schaub is essentially working with backup wide receivers, a backup running back, an inconsistent tight end, and a depleted offensive line. Yes, the Dolphins have been awful, but will they really score in the negatives like they did against the Jets? The height difference of Brandon Marshall and cornerback Brent Grimes played a big part in why the Dolphins struggled to keep the Jets off the board. The Ravens don’t have such an advantage in that respect.

The first place Redskins have the pleasure of facing Matt Cassel and the Cowboys. In the four games Cassel played in place of Tony Romo, the Giants, Eagles, and Buccaneers all scored double digit points. Oddly enough, it was the Seahawks who were kept under 10 fantasy points. Cassel has a quarterback rating of 78.8 this season. The current price for the Washington defense on Draft Kings is $2,300, which is the fourth cheapest.

I can’t go a week without including at least one of the Thursday night defenses in my top 16. I put the Lions in the number 16 spot as they face the Packers at home. Despite Eddie Lacy rushing for over 100 yards against the Bears, Chicago was still able to score 10 fantasy points against the Packers. The Lions have been tough against the run, so if they continue that trend and hold Lacy down, Aaron Rodgers will have to return to his old form - something we have been waiting on for weeks.

The Packers defense was very close to grabbing that 16th spot, and if Calvin Johnson is ruled out for tomorrow’s game, then they should be bumped up ahead of Detroit’s defense.