Jeff Ratcliffe

Three And Out

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Getting Defensive: Week 13

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I’ve been saying it all season. Defense wins championships.


At this point in the season, you need every edge you can get. A few extra points out of your team defense can be the difference between advancing to the next round or getting sent packing.


Before I get to the Week 13 matchups, let’s take a look at the best plug-and-play defenses for the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16).



Three to Grab

New York Jets – Yes, the Patriots just spanked them on Thanksgiving, but come on. It’s the Patriots. The fact is that the Jets have an extremely strong schedule over the next four games, starting with the Cardinals this week (which I’ll get to in a moment). From there they get Jacksonville, Tennessee, and San Diego during the fantasy playoffs. As crazy as it sounds, the Jets are a phenomenal plug-and-play for the stretch run.


Cincinnati – If they haven’t already been snatched up in your league, the Bengals make for a very strong D/ST in the fantasy playoffs. With games against Dallas and Philly in the first two rounds, Cincinnati sets up well for fantasy owners. In Week 16 they get the Steelers, who could prove a much tougher matchup with Big Ben in the lineup.


San Diego – The Chargers are one of the most up and down fantasy defenses in the league, but the stars align for them in the fantasy playoffs. Next week, they face a Pittsburgh team that could still be without Ben Roethlisberger. We saw how that worked out for the Browns last week. From there the Chargers have the Panthers and Jets. There’s only one or two other matchups I like more than the Jets for the fantasy championships in Week 16.



One to Avoid

Oakland – The Week 14 matchup against the Broncos isn’t exactly the most desirable, but from there they get two top-ten matchups in the Chiefs and Panthers. However, the Raiders have scored negative fantasy points in each of their last four games, so this would be an extreme gamble that you may not want to stake your fantasy playoff life on.



The Usual Suspects

Teams you’re not even thinking about benching this week include – Chicago (vs. Seattle), San Francisco (at St. Louis), Houston (at Tennessee), Seattle (at Chicago)



Preferred Plays

Your solid D/STs with a weekly matchup upgrade. They're just below the Usual Suspects tier.

1. New England (at Miami) – In their last two games, the Patriots defense have recorded eight turnovers and five touchdowns, scoring a combined 45 fantasy points. Wow. Miami held the strong Seahawks D/ST to just 6 fantasy points last week, but they gave up 19 to the Bills and 21 to the Titans in their previous two games. The Pats D/ST continues to roll in this one.    


2. Cincinnati (at San Diego) – Don’t look now, but the Bengals have put up double-digit fantasy points in each of their last three games. In that stretch, they have recorded 12 sacks and seven turnovers, while holding their opponents to an average of 9.7 points per game. This week the Bengals get a struggling Chargers offense that gives up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs.


3. Arizona (at New York Jets) – The Jets have given up double-digit fantasy points in six of their last eight games, and are coming off a five-turnover, two-touchdown thumping from the Patriots on Thanksgiving. Arizona hasn’t shown a very high ceiling this season, but they should have no problem against Mark Sanchez and the Jets’ offense.


4. Baltimore (vs. Pittsburgh) – With Charlie Batch at the helm, the Steelers turned the ball over eight times last week to the Browns. It’s looking like there’s a good chance he get the nod again this weekend. If Ben Roethlisberger sits, get the Ravens in your lineup.




Your don't want to rely on these D/STs on a weekly basis, but their matchup is too juicy to pass up.

1. New York Jets (vs. Arizona) – Arizona currently yields the second-most fantasy points to D/STs on a per game basis, and have let up double-digit points in seven of their last eight games. The Jets have motivation to redeem themselves after their Thanksgiving debacle, and Ryan Lindley traveling east is just the guy to help them out with that.

2. Dallas (vs. Philadelphia) – The last time these two teams met, the Cowboys D/ST went nuts, scoring three touchdowns and 23 fantasy points. This one may not be as big, but an inexperienced Eagles offense led by Nick Foles makes for a very strong fantasy matchup.


3. Buffalo (vs. Jacksonville) – Sure, the Jaguars do look like a better team with Chad Henne at quarterback (I can’t believe I just said that), but they still gave up seven sacks to the Titans last week. Buffalo has been solid over their last two games with a combined seven sacks, five turnovers, and a punt return touchdown. With their pass rush finally starting the produce, the Bills should have no problem putting together a productive fantasy day this weekend.


4. Carolina (at Kansas City) – Carolina put up a solid, but unspectacular seven fantasy points on Monday night against the Eagles. It’s not what you may have hoped for, but you’ll take it. They face another nice matchup here against the fantasy friendly Chiefs offense. It may not be a huge game, but the Panthers will get you solid points in this one.



Matchup Downgrade

They shouldn't be dropped, but a tough matchup limits the fantasy upside of these D/STs.

1. San Diego (vs. Cincinnati) – San Diego has been one of the better scoring D/STs this season, and currently rank sixth in standard scoring leagues. It’s tough to drop them due to their playoff schedule, but they do get a downgrade this week. The Bengals have given up negative fantasy points in each of their last two games and did not turn the ball over during that span. Donald Butler likely being sidelined for this one certainly doesn’t help the Chargers’ cause.


2. Denver (vs. Tampa Bay) – Only the Texans and Patriots yield less fantasy points per game than the Bucs do to opposing D/STs. Tampa has turned the ball over just four times in the last six games, and just one team has reached double-digit fantasy points on the Bucs during that span. This matchup bodes quite poorly for the red hot Broncos D/ST, so be sure to temper your expectations for them this week.


3. New York Giants (at Washington) – The Giants are another hot team defense, scoring double-digit fantasy points in four of their last six. Last week, they held the always-dangerous Packers offense to just ten points. However, they get a matchup downgrade this week against a Redskins team that seems to be hitting their stride on offense. They’ve yielded zero fantasy points in each of the last two weeks, and have only turned the ball over once in their last four games.



Can I Kick it?

Here’s my top-12 kickers for Week 13:

1. Stephen Gostkowski (at MIA)

2. Matt Bryant (vs. NO)

3. Shayne Graham (at TEN)

4. Dan Bailey (vs. PHI)

5. Sebastian Janikowski (OAK vs CLE)

6. Lawrence Tynes (at WAS)

7. Matt Prater (vs. TB)

8. Jason Hanson (vs. IND)

9. David Akers (at STL)

10. Justin Tucker (vs. PIT)

11. Garrett Hartley (at ATL)

12. Rian Lindell (vs. JAC)     



D/ST Standard Scoring System

Any Touchdown

6 pts


0 points allowed

5 pts


Under 100 yards allowed

5 pts


2 pts


1-6 points allowed

4 pts


101 to 199 yards allowed

3 pts

Fumble Recovery

2 pts


7-13 points allowed

3 pts


200 to 299 yards allowed

2 pts

Blocked Kick

2 pts


14-17 points allowed

1 pt


300 to 349 yards allowed

0 pts


2 pts


18-27 points allowed

0 pts


350 to 399 yards allowed

 -1 pts


1 pt


28-34 points allowed

 -1 pts


400 to 449 yards allowed

 -3 pts


35-45 points allowed

 -3 pts


450 to 499 yards allowed

 -5 pts


46+ points allowed

 -5 pts


500- 549 yards allowed

 -6 pts


550+ yards allowed

 -7 pts

Jeff Ratcliffe is a football writer and IDP analyst for Rotoworld as well as the Assistant Managing Editor of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. He can be found on Twitter.
Email :Jeff Ratcliffe

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