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Week 14 Defensive Rankings

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff time is here for many leagues, so picking the right defense has taken on an even bigger level of importance. You may want to start the defense that has gotten you to this point, but if you are an owner of a team like say, the Bengals, you may want to take a peek at the unowned defenses in your league. Chances are, there is a better play for this week out there.

Green = must start.

Blue = Sleeper/Streamer picks

Red = Defenses with good value on DraftKings.

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

The 2015 Seahawks defense has not been the same defense we saw over the past two seasons, despite many of the same names being healthy and starting. However, they have still been a consistently startable option for fantasy, and they should have a great week against Matt Schaub. Let’s not forget the Seahawks are playing for a spot in the playoffs while the Ravens already know their season ends in week 17. Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin have been clicking with each other so if I had to guess, the Seahawks would climb to a lead just like they did with the Vikings this past week, and force the Ravens to throw the ball. The difference between the Vikings and Ravens is that the Vikings are actually a team to be reckoned with.

After a poor outing against a strong Seahawks defense, the Vikings have another challenging NFC West opponent. This time it’s the 10-2 cardinals who are tough to run on. The Vikes will look to get Adrian Peterson going, but that will be easier said than done. Their pass defense is among the best in the league as well, as they give up the eighth fewest passing yards per game.

Remember when the Chiefs went to San Diego and held the Chargers to just three total points and collected 20 fantasy points? If you don’t, you should, because it happened just a few weeks ago. Now they face the offensively depleted Chargers at home, where you can expect a similar type of performance. They may not be able to score a touchdown for a second time against them, but they should be very tough to score on and force some turnovers.

Many fantasy football rankings websites have the Panthers as the number one defense this week, which is fair to say. But I’m just not ready to abandon the Falcons offensive potential despite them struggling and the Panthers racking up defensive fantasy points. I do think, however, that they will be a top five play for this week.

I do see the Broncos as a top 5 defense this week, but not necessarily a must start based on their matchup. Derek Carr has only gotten sacked 18 times which is the third lowest amongst all teams. Interception wise, they are middle of the pack, but they are a team with offensive options, including the underrated Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, and occasionally Seth Roberts helps give this team a third option in the passing game.

The Detroit Lions get a juicy matchup against the Rams, who will play their first game with new offensive coordinator Rob Boras. It’s safe to say his strategies will not be perfected from the get-go and the Lions defense collected seven and nine fantasy points against the offenses of the Raiders and Eagles in weeks 11 and 12. They should be trusted against the Rams, but beware, if Todd Gurley is finally able to get going again, this sleeper pick could backfire.

The Jets have cooled off quite a bit in terms of defense. The last time they scored double digit fantasy points was against the Jaguars in week nine. Since then, they have faced the Bills, Texans, Dolphins, and Giants and have averaged six fantasy points in those games. It’s a respectable number but it isn’t how we have expected them to play. Part of that has to do with the recent play of defensive back Antonio Cromartie. They have a nice matchup this week against the Titans, but the thing is, the Titans have played fairly well recently. Don’t expect the Jets to be among the top five defenses of the week, but top 12 is possible.

The Bears have been consistent on defense as of late, and you could expect that to continue against the Redskins. The Chicago D has been tough on tight ends this year, and Jordan Reed is the main target for Kirk Cousins.

The Texans have been all over the place this season defensively, but they get a weakened Patriots offense without the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edleman. They are also just $100 more than the cheapest defenses on DraftKings.

The Bengals have scored double digit fantasy points against their previous two opponents, but that was against the Browns and Rams. This week they get the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a game where he threw four touchdowns and no interceptions. Cincy will be tough to trust this week, but they have earned a spot in the top 16 with how consistent they have been this season.