Week 12 Rankings (2019): Top 15 Defenses


At this point in the season things truly are what they are. More than half of the year is behind us, and that also means injuries are beginning to take hold. We pay a great deal of attention to injuries on the offensive side of the ball, due to their obvious fantasy impact, but the same is also true for defenses.

Now this isn’t going to be the place where we nitpick or break down each and every injury, but in reality it is already priced into the rankings. What that also means is it is getting harder and harder to find streaming opportunities or value, as fantasy owners have certainly become wise to what is going on around the league. With that being said, let’s jump into the rankings:

  1. Chicago Bears – vs. NY Giants
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cincinnati
  3. Buffalo Bills – vs. Denver
  4. New Orleans Saints – vs. Carolina
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tennessee
  6. Cleveland Browns – vs. Miami
  7. Seattle Seahawks – at Philadelphia
  8. Detroit Lions – at Washington
  9. Denver Broncos – at Buffalo
  10. San Francisco 49ers – vs. Green Bay
  11. Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  12. San Francisco 49ers – vs. Green Bay
  13. Oakland Raiders – at NY Jets
  14. New York Giants – at Chicago
  15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Atlanta


  • Not only have the Giants made their opponents a top-five defensive option, but Daniel Jones has shown an increasing propensity to fumble. Couple that with Saquon Barkley, who is banged up along with Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, and things are looking good for Chicago this week. The Bears would be worthy of a starting spot regardless of their opponent, but facing the Giants really elevates them. While they have 25 sacks on the season things have calmed down over the past few weeks, but that should change on Sunday as Chicago is also primed to build on their 14 turnovers (seven interceptions and seven fumble recoveries).
  • Entering the season there was a great deal of buzz surrounding the Jaguars defense, but that has seemed to trend downward. Overall they still have managed to be a middle of the road option from a fantasy perspective, but it is also a reminder as to why we shouldn’t use a high draft pick on a defense. Jacksonville has come a long way since the start of the season, and they are still available in about 44% of ESPN leagues, and Tennessee is a worthy opponent. While we know that the Titans will focus their game plan on Derrick Henry, it also speaks to the fact that Tennessee isn’t all that explosive. The Jaguars do need to build on their eight interceptions, but their 33 sacks do generate some optimism.
  • For those streamers out there I present the Lions for this week. At about eight percent available Detroit is readily available, however that also speaks to their ranking as a bottom five option. Washington has turned opponents into top-five options, and that means there is opportunity for value. With just three interceptions on the season Detroit hasn’t shown the ability to make much happen but Washington has been an offense in disarray, and even if there isn’t much reward here the risk is also minimal (or at least it should be).

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends



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