Week 13 marks the point in the season where injuries can really wreak havoc on our fantasy defense rankings. Sleepers can rapidly emerge based on key offensive injuries, while normally solid D/STs can plummet based on who they’re missing. We’ve seen that happen with the Steelers this year, and we know it will happen more often down the stretch.
We’re losing several solid D/STs because of byes this week, as all of the Packers, Panthers, Titans, and Browns have been in fantasy lineups on a fairly regular basis, at least lately. However, removing most of these offenses helps more than it hurts, as only the Panthers were an “exploitable” D/ST matchup.
WEEK 13 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker
We mentioned the Steelers earlier, and they continue tumbling down the rankings with a matchup against the Ravens. Pittsburgh still has enough talent to come up with a big play or two, but it’s tough to roster it, never mind start it this week. The Patriots (@ Bills), Broncos (@ Chiefs), Saints (vs. Cowboys), and Bengals (vs. Chargers) are the other notable D/STs with particularly tough matchups this week. We’d stick with the Patriots because their high floor and ceiling, but the rest should be on benches. A few weeks ago, we would’ve said stick with the Broncos, too, but Kansas City seems to have ironed out some of its offensive woes, and we know Andy Reid is lethal coming off a bye, especially at home.
WEEK 13 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker
If you need a streamer to sub into your lineup, the Dolphins (vs. Giants), Vikings (@ Lions), Chiefs (vs. Broncos), Giants (@ Dolphins), and Raiders (vs. Washington) are all in play. The Giants and Raiders are your high-risk, “boom-or-bust” options if you think you’ll need big points, but the other three should have fairly solid floors. We wouldn’t have said that about the Chiefs even a few weeks ago, but with just 47 total offensive points allowed the past four games — plus 11 sacks and seven takeaways in that span — Kansas City is back on the map in favorable matchups like this.
WEEK 13 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo
Overall, there are plenty of decent D/STs this week. Not all will pan out, of course, but you should at least feel good about your defense heading into Sunday. Playing the matchups — and watching the injury report — is especially important at this point in the season, and picking the right defense can make the difference between contending for a title or being relegated to DFS contests over the final few weeks of the season.
WEEK 13 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em
Note: We’ll be updating these D/ST rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest analysis and player movement.
Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 13: Who to start, sit at D/ST in fantasy football
|1||Los Angeles Rams vs. JAX|
|2||Indianapolis Colts @ HOU|
|3||Philadelphia Eagles @ NYJ|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ ATL|
|5||Arizona Cardinals @ CHI|
|6||Buffalo Bills vs. NE. Mac Jones and the Patriots offense have come a long way since earlier in the season when D/STs were rolling up big points against them, but the Bills are still an elite fantasy defense. Even with Tre’Davious White (knee) out, they have enough playmakers to rattle the Pats rookie. Buffalo has allowed fewer than 18 offensive points in four of its past five games, and its 25 takeaways are tied for second in the NFL.|
|7||Miami Dolphins vs. NYG. Miami’s D/ST is rolling, allowing an average of 11.5 offensive points per game while racking up 16 sacks and 10 takeaways over its past four contests. The Giants aren’t quite as bad as you might think on offense, but with an average of 14.3 offensive points per game, nine total sacks allowed, and five total turnovers over their past four games, they’re also not very good. Miami is in a great spot to keep its mojo going.|
|8||Dallas Cowboys @ NO. Prior to last week, the Cowboys D/ST had been at least decent in virtually every game this year. Takeaways are its calling card, but it’s also done a fairly good job keeping scores low some weeks or generating sacks. Even last game saw Dallas rack up three QB takedowns for the second straight week. With the Saints struggling (six sacks allowed, five turnovers, one D/ST touchdown allowed over its past three), Dallas has enough defensive firepower to give Trevor Siemian problems, even on the road. (Update: With Taysom Hill now expected to start, Dallas has a slightly lower ceiling, but the floor and general outlook remain high.)|
|9||Minnesota Vikings @ DET. The Lions still haven’t scored more than 19 offensive points in a game since Week 1, and while the turnovers and sacks allowed usually aren’t alarmingly high, the general lack of offense leads to good days for D/STs (sixth-most fantasy points per game allowed to the position). The Vikings racked up four sacks and two takeaways against Detroit in Week 5, and a similar outing feels likely here.|
|10||New England Patriots @ BUF. Despite a recent rash of turnovers, Buffalo is still one of the five toughest offenses for D/STs to generate points against. That could change with the Patriots, who are in the top five in sacks, takeaways, and points allowed per game. If Buffalo continues turning it over at its recent rate (11 over its past four games), the Pats could very well be a top D/ST again this week.|
|11||Baltimore Ravens @ PIT. Pittsburgh is a bit of an up-and-down offense. In Weeks 10 and 12, it scored 26 points and allowed six takeaways. In Weeks 9 and 11, it scored 66 points and allowed one takeaway. Also, to be fair, that Week 10 game was with Mason Rudolph under center (but it was against the Lions, so that sort of cancels things out). One thing about this offense is that it allows sacks, shown by the three QB takedowns in three of the past four games. Baltimore has generated 10 sacks while allowing just 39 total offensive points in its past three games, so it’s well equipped for a high-floor outing against its rival.|
|12||Kansas City Chiefs vs. DEN. This ranking for the Chiefs would have seemed crazy a month ago, but over the past four games, Kansas City has averaged 11.8 offensive points allowed, 2.8 sacks, and two takeaways. That’s starting D/ST material. With a home matchup against Denver, who allows the ninth-most FPPG to D/STs, the Chiefs are squarely in play and actually have more upside than we’re giving them credit for here.|
|13||Las Vegas Raiders vs. WAS. There’s no doubt Vegas is reeling, but it’s run into a gauntlet of the Chiefs, Bengals, and Cowboys. Washington can score, but it’s not as potent, and with 17 sacks allowed in its four games prior to Week 12, it’s clearly susceptible to a good pass rush, which is the one thing Vegas has (multiple sacks in all but two games). Given the home matchup and quick turnaround for Washington, the Raiders have sleeper potential here.|
|14||New York Giants @ MIA. Miami’s offense is looking good, so perhaps we’re putting too much stock into stats from earlier in the year when Tua Tagovailoa was either out or hobbled. Still, we know Tua can be prone to bad sacks and turnovers, and the Giants have racked up 10 takeaways in their past four games. Throw in some surprisingly low scores along the way, and the G-Men should have a better-than-you-think floor and higher-than-you-think ceiling this week.|
|15||Denver Broncos @ KC. Is the Chiefs offense really “back?” In two of its past three games, it’s scored fewer than 20 offensive points, and in that three-game span, it’s allowed four sacks and turned it over three times. Obviously, those aren’t terrible numbers, but Kansas City might still be prone to issues against good defenses. The Broncos certainly looked good with Bradley Chubb back last week, holding the Chargers to 13 points while racking up three sacks, two takeaways, and a D/ST touchdown. The Broncos are certainly risky this week, but given the options below, they’re still in play if you’re in a bind.|
|16||Pittsburgh Steelers vs. BAL|
|17||San Francisco 49ers @ SEA|
|18||Chicago Bears vs. ARI|
|19||New Orleans Saints vs. DAL|
|20||Cincinnati Bengals vs. LAC|
|21||Seattle Seahawks vs. SF|
|22||Los Angeles Chargers @ CIN|
|23||Houston Texans vs. IND|
|24||New York Jets vs. PHI|
|25||Washington Football Team @ LV|
|26||Detroit Lions vs. MIN|
|27||Jacksonville Jaguars @ LAR|
|28||Atlanta Falcons vs. TB|