The defenses I touch on are not my ranks, but my overall thoughts on the defenses I find notable. The goal of these pieces is to give you a concise, actionable rundown on defenses for the upcoming week.
Defensive order is based on their opponents implied team total, from lowest to highest. The team in parenthesis is the defenses opponent.
Defenses that are highly owned, or worth noting overall.
Seahawks (@ 49ers — No Line)
The Seahawks are missing an abundance of defensive pieces and Shaquille Griffin left Monday night’s game against the Falcons, so they may also be down another cornerback. The 49ers’ offense certainly isn’t imposing, but this defense is no longer what it once was as they’re decimated by injuries.
Steelers (vs. Packers — 13.75-point implied team total)
The Packers are coming off a game where they were just shut out by the Ravens. Brett Hundley took six sacks against the Raven's pass rush. Things won’t get easier against the Steelers and their second-highest sack rate in the league. Green Bay is implied for just 13.75 points.
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Bengals (vs. Browns — 15-point implied team total)
There is virtually no downside in starting a defense against an offense that boasts the league’s lowest scoring rate and the highest turnover rate among offenses.
Eagles (vs. Bears — 15.25-point implied team total)
The Bears are in for a challenging outing as they head to Philadelphia, implied for just 15.25 points. Mitch Trubisky has already taken 17 sacks (Eagles have forced seventh-most sacks) as a starter and he’s completing just 53.1 percent of his passes with a 6.7 adjusted yards per attempt.
Ravens (vs. Texans — 15.25-point implied team total)
The Texans head to Baltimore with Tom Savage against a Ravens defense allowing the third-lowest scoring rate to offenses and they boast the league’s highest turnover rate, forcing offense a turnover on 18.5 percent of drives.
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Jaguars (@ Cardinals – 17-point implied team total)
Blaine Gabbert and his injured offensive line will have their work cut out for them against a Jaguars defense that has forced a league-high 40 sacks. The Jaguars have also allowed the league’s lowest scoring rate and second-highest turnover rate. As if you needed a bunch of reasons to start the Jaguars…
Panthers (@ Jets — 18.25-point implied team total)
It’s not ideal the Panthers are on the road, but they should garner a high floor as the Jets have allowed the sixth-most sacks this year, while the Panthers have forced the fifth-most sacks amd the Jets are implied for just 18.25 points.
Vikings (@ Lions — 21-point implied team total)
The Vikings could be on the verge of a matchup downgrade as the Lions have a capable offense, but the Vikings should have a decent floor as PFF grades them with the ninth-best pass rush and the Lions’ offensive line has allowed the third-most sacks this season. The Vikings are also slight favorites.
Broncos (@ Raiders — 24-point implied team total)
The Broncos’ defense hasn’t looked great lately, but the Raiders’ 24-point implied team total seems a little high for Derek Carr’s middling 4.4 percent touchdown rate and 23rd-ranked adjusted yards per attempt. However, the Broncos have done a poor job at generating turnovers this season as they have forced a turnover on just 5.8 percent of their opponents offensive drives. Only the Raiders defense has been worse.
Highly Owned Defenses with limited upside in the current matchup.
Lions (vs. Vikings — 23.5-point implied team total)
The Lions are home underdogs against the Vikings, which doesn’t happen often. The Vikings are firing on all cylinders right now. They currently boast the league’s sixth-highest scoring rate and they’ve done an excellent job at limiting turnovers, turning the ball over on just 8.8 percent of their drives — the sixth-best mark in the league.
Saints (@ Rams — 53-point Over/Under)
I put these two defenses under one category for a few reasons. For starters, this game opened with the week’s highest over/under at 53 points, which is five points ahead of the next highest game. The Saints will also likely be without stud CB Marshon Lattimore. The Rams and Saints currently boast the league’s second and third-highest scoring rates in the league and they each rank in the top-eight in turnover percent. So, not only are they scoring at a high clip, but they’re each limiting turnovers.
Falcons (vs. Buccaneers — No Line)
The Falcons will be in streaming consideration against a subpar Buccaneers offense that will be without Jameis Winston for another week.
Patriots (vs. Dolphins — 15.5-point implied team total)
The Patriots return home after their stint in Mexico City. Their defense has been playing better as of late, holding offenses to 17 or fewer points in their last seven games. They’re currently massive 17-points favorites against the Dolphins.
Chiefs (vs. Bills — 17.75-point implied team total)
Sean McDermott is the only human on earth who isn't sure who should start at quarterback for the Bills in Week 12. If Nathan Peterman draws the start again, the Chiefs will.. You know, I don’t know. I don’t know what to call a defense who will be facing a quarterback who had a 20.8 percent interception rate in his first start. I’ll just call them a good play. The Chiefs will be a good play.
Redskins (vs. Giants — 18.25-point implied team total)
The Redskins have the benefit of taking on a lackluster Giants offense on Thanksgiving. The Giants will be on the road and are implied for just 18.25 points. However, the Redskins aren’t that strong of a defense overall, grading out as PFF’s No. 31 rush defense and 29th overall. They’ve also allowed the second-most points to opposing offenses this season — only the Colts have allowed more.
Chargers (@ Cowboys — 24-point implied team total)
Both teams in this game are currently implied for 24 points. It’s not ideal the Chargers are on the road, but if LT Tyron Smith misses this game, the Chargers should have a high floor. Dak Prescott has been sacked 12 times over the last two games without Smith and they’ll have a heck of a time trying to contain Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, PFF’s No. 1 and No. 2-ranked pass rushers among edge defenders.
Kickers in Order of Implied Team Total
Kicker fantasy points have a strong correlation to Vegas implied team totals. Here are the top kickers who garner low-to-medium ownership (70% or lower) in order of implied team total (minimum 22-point implied team total) in order to help you find possible streamers.
Harrison Butker (27.5-point implied team total)
Chris Boswell (27.25-point implied team total)
Stephen Hauschka (24-point implied team total)
Cowboys Kicker (24-point implied team total)
Giorgio Tavecchio (24-point implied team total)
Randy Bullock (23-point implied team total)
Graham Gano (22.25-point implied team total)