Jeff Ratcliffe

Three And Out

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Getting Defensive: Week 17

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The fantasy gods giveth, and the fantasy gods taketh away.


The fantasy gods continued to smile down upon Seattle owners, as the Seahawks put up double-digit fantasy points for the third-straight game. Yet, the fantasy gods dashed the hopes of many 49ers owners in the very same contest. San Francisco had arguably their worst defensive performance of the season, and managed zero fantasy points.


We can't say that the writing wasn't on the wall for that one, but it really stings if you lost due to a dud out of your D/ST. If you’re league is still playing, hopefully we can steer you clear of any fantasy duds for Week 17.



The Usual Suspects

Teams you’re not even thinking about benching this week include – Chicago (at Detroit), Houston (at Indianapolis), Denver (vs. Kansas City), San Francisco (vs. Arizona), Seattle (vs. St. Louis)



Preferred Plays

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

1. New York Giants (vs. Philadelphia) – The Giants D/ST has been dreadful over the past two weeks with negative points in both games. However, their backs are against the wall in a must-win game, and get to face the turnover-prone Michael Vick. This has the makings of a big game for the G-Men.


2. New York Jets (at Buffalo) – They haven’t been flashy, but the Jets have been one of the more consistent D/STs over the second half of the season. You don’t get an enormous ceiling here, but you will get a solid high floor D/ST in a strong matchup against a Bills team that has yielded double-digit fantasy points in five of their last six games.


3. Baltimore (vs. Cincinnati) – The Ravens D/ST hasn’t done anything worth writing home about in the last month, but this is just the matchup to turn things around. The Bengals have turned the ball over nine times and Andy Dalton has been sacked 18 times in their last four games.




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

1. Buffalo (vs. New York Jets) – The quarterback change mattered little for the Jets as a D/ST fantasy matchup last week. The Chargers sacked Greg McElroy a whopping 11 times and put up 24 fantasy points on the Jets. Buffalo hasn't reached double-digit fantasy points since Week 11, but the odds are in their favor to do so this week.


2. Oakland (at San Diego) – It’s tough to recommend the lowest-scoring D/ST, but the Raiders have improved over the last two weeks, putting together strong performances against the Chiefs and Panthers. The Chargers currently yield the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs and have given up double-digit points in five of their last seven games.


3. Tennessee (vs. Jacksonville) – The Titans scored nine fantasy points the last time these teams met back in Week 12. Aside from two stinkers against the Texans and Packers, Tennessee has been very strong over the second half of the season. They’re a sneaky high-upside play in this one.


4. Cleveland (at Pittsburgh) – Cleveland torched the Steelers for eight turnovers the last time these two faced off back in Week 12. Of course, Charlie Batch was the quarterback in that one, but the Steelers have still been a fantasy-friendly matchup with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. Last week, Big Ben and company yielded 21 fantasy points to the Bengals.



Matchup Downgrade

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

1. Cincinnati (vs. Baltimore) – The Bengals have been on fire over the last two months with double-digit fantasy points in six of their last seven and twenty-plus points in each of their last two outings. It’s very tough to sit them here, but the Ravens are a poor fantasy matchup and are coming off a zero sack, zero turnover performance against the Giants.


2. St. Louis (at Seattle) – Over the last three weeks, Seattle has scored 150 points. That unbelievable total is fantasy kryptonite for D/STs. Despite the Rams strong performance over the second half of the season, it’s a good idea to sit them this week.


3. Minnesota (vs. Green Bay) – This Vikings defense has come on strong down the stretch this season, and have recorded double-digit fantasy points in each of their last three games. Unfortunately, they struggled against the Packers back in Week 13, managing just one fantasy point. Green Bay is also coming off a 55-point game last week, which makes it very tough to trust the Vikings.



Can I Kick it?

Here’s my top-12 kickers for Week 17:

1. Garrett Hartley (vs. CAR)

2. Stephen Gostkowski (vs. MIA)

3. David Akers (vs. ARI)

4. Matt Prater (vs. KC)

5. Lawrence Tynes (vs. PHI)

6. Matt Bryant (vs. TB)

7. Olindo Mare (at DET

8. Shayne Graham (at IND)

9. Steven Hauschka (vs. STL)

10 Shaun Suisham (vs. CLE)

11. Justin Tucker (at CIN)

12. Kai Forbath (vs. DAL)


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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