by Ray Kuhn
With five (hopefully five) weeks left in your fantasy football season, now is the time to get prepared… Prepared for the playoff semifinals in Week 15 and the championship game in Week 16 that is. While you need to maximize your defensive for this week, you should try to do so with one eye on the future (unless you are in a must win situation, then you do what you have to do to get there). Until then, let’s take at how our options rank for this week:
- Jacksonville Jaguars – at Arizona
- Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Green Bay
- Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
- Baltimore Ravens – vs. Houston
- Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Buffalo
- Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Chicago
- Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
- Carolina Panthers – at New York Jets
- Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
- Tennessee Titans – at Indianapolis
- Houston Texans – at Baltimore
- Cleveland Browns – at Cincinnati
- Minnesota Vikings – at Detroit
- Oakland Raiders – vs. Denver
- New Orleans Saints – at LA Rams
- Picking on the Browns is repetitive at this point, and the Broncos are another team that is getting close to garnering that same reaction. After watching their first two choices at quarterback struggle, Denver is now turning to Paxton Lynch. Yes, that is the same Lynch who was selected in the first round last season and promptly struggled. It is safe to say that we don’t expect much this week. In fact it is a trend we have seen all season, as fantasy defenses have scored the third most points against them. The problem is that the Raiders are currently ranked as the worst fantasy defense in the league, and they are coming off a performance against New England that saw them allow 33 points. So far Oakland has yet to allow less than 16 points, but what is perhaps the most crazy is the Raiders have yet to have an interception this season. Despite their struggles Oakland fired their defensive coordinator on Tuesday, so maybe that changes.
- Brett Hundley has effectively taken away any fantasy value from Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, and that provides opportunity for opposing defenses. Hundley has struggled to move the ball through the air, and things won’t get any easier this week. Green Bay travels to Pittsburgh to face a team who is generally better at home so Hundley figures to struggle. The Steelers have allowed more than 18 points just once this season, 23 in Chicago in a total mess of a game, and they are coming off a week in which they intercepted Marcus Mariota four times and sacked him five times. Consistently a top defense all season, there is no reason not to expect it to continue against Green Bay on Sunday night.
- If you are playing the Thursday slate, and let’s face it most of us are, you need a defense. That brings us to the Redskins, who happen to be owned in about 10% of leagues. While the Giants did look a little better this past Sunday, their offense still leaves a lot to be desired and they lack many explosive weapons. Last week they were forced to utilize Evan Engram as a pass blocker, so that greatly reduced New York’s offensive effectiveness. This might seem like an odd recommendation since the Redskins have allowed an average of 36 points over the last two weeks, but they offer the most upside of the bunch.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings: