Week 14 Fantasy Rankings: Defense
D/ST, perhaps more than any other position, is reliant on matchups. Sure, you can stick with “who got you there”, but it’s more than a little risky. Our Week 14 fantasy defense rankings are here to help with your tough start ’em ,sit ’em calls in the first round of the fantasy playoffs, including what to do with the Bears and finding a sleeper defense that might be available as a waiver wire pickup.Chicago has been a rock for its owners all season, but this week it gets the second-worst matchup for fantasy D/STs when it faces the Rams on Sunday night. If you want to start the Bears, there are two angles you can lean on: It’s a home prime-time affair, and the Rams have allowed five sacks three times this year. If those narratives don’t sell you, you need to hit the wire. WEEK 14 DFS GPP LINEUPS: Yahoo | DraftKings | FanDuel6Detroit Lions @ Cardinals. Detroit has been among the worst fantasy D/STs this year, but a look at its game log reveals very few favorable matchup. In fact, after facing the Jets and 49ers in Weeks 1 and 2 (when the Lions had eight sacks, two takeaways and a D/ST touchdown), it’s been nothing but mediocre to tough opponents. The Cardinals have played much better the past couple weeks, but they’ve still been among the five most generous offenses to D/STs all season. Detroit still has a lot of upside in this one.7Washington Redskins vs. Giants. When these teams met in Week 8, the Redskins had seven sacks, two takeaways and limited New York to 13 points. At home, Washington has similar upside despite some injuries. The Redskins’ pass rush alone will give Eli Manning problems.8Tennessee Titans vs. Jaguars. Cody Kessler’s Jags starting debut ended with six points, three sacks, and one turnover — not a trainwreck but not great either. Tennessee has trouble producing takeaways, but its pass rush has been better lately and its done a great job keeping RBs out of the end zone. Leonard Fournette might be able to crack the code and limit the Titans’ ceiling, but we’ll take our chances against Kessler in a prime-time road matchup. 9Los Angeles Rams @ Bears. The return of Aqib Talib helped the Rams limit the Lions passing game last week, and we know the pass rush is always going to be a problem (11 sacks the past three games). If Mitchell Trubisky is out again, the Rams will be a top-five play, but as it stands, they still have plenty of upside, as Trubisky could be rusty/limited.10Dallas Cowboys vs. Eagles. The Eagles don’t turn it over often, but they’ll allow sacks and can become one-dimensional. Dallas has posted 14 sacks and eight takeaways over its past five games, giving the Cowboys a fairly high floor in front of a raucous home crowd. WEEK 14 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endWeek 14 Fantasy Defense RankingsThese rankings are for standard, non-PPR leagues1New Orleans Saints @ Buccaneers. Tampa QBs haven’t thrown an INT in two games, which is crazy considering they had at least two in every game from Weeks 3 through 11. New Orleans owes the Bucs some payback after giving up 48 to them in the season opener, and with 20 sacks and 11 takeaways in the past four games, you be hard-pressed to find a hotter D/ST right now. 2Los Angeles Chargers vs. Bengals. The Jeff Driskel Era didn’t get off to a great start, with Cincinnati allowing four sacks and three takeaways while scoring only 10 points at home last week. Now headed to L.A., the Bengals will have a tougher time against the Joey Bosa-led Chargers, who have disappointed a bit lately but have demonstrated big-play ability most of the year. 3Buffalo Bills vs. Jets. Josh McCown has only thrown one INT in each of the past two games, but with Sam Darnold due back to face the Bills, expect the picks to be flying. Even if the Jets can manage to hang onto the ball, they’re not going to score, as shown by their average of 12 points per game over their past six. Buffalo has had nine sacks and five takeaways while allowing 17.3 ppg over its past three, and that includes a 10-point, three-sack, two-takeaway showing against the Jets in Week 10. A home matchup should only give the Bills a higher ceiling.4Denver Broncos @ 49ers. The Broncos have looked like the Broncos of old lately, racking up nine sacks and nine takeaways in their past three games. A hot start by Nick Mullens has given way to what we all expected (seven sacks, seven takeaways over past three games), making this a prime opportunity for Denver.5Pittsburgh Steelers @ Raiders. Pittsburgh isn’t quite as takeaway happy as we’d like, but it gets sacks. Oakland can’t block, as shown by its 22 sacks allowed over the past five games. Pittsburgh will get pressure and force the Raiders into a few mistakes. MORE WEEK 14 DFS: Stacks | Values | Lineup Builder17Carolina Panthers @ Browns18Cleveland Browns vs. Panthers19Minnesota Vikings @ Seahawks20Houston Texans vs. Colts21Kansas City Chiefs vs. Ravens22Philadelphia Eagles @ Cowboys23Arizona Cardinals vs. Lions24Indianapolis Colts @ Texans25San Francisco 49ers vs. Broncos26Baltimore Ravens @ Chiefs27Green Bay Packers vs. Falcons28Miami Dolphins vs. Patriots29Atlanta Falcons @ Packers30Cincinnati Bengals @ Chargers31Oakland Raiders vs. Steelers32Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Saints Week 14 Rankings:Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | KickerFortunately, there are options. The top of our rankings is filled with widely available sleepers, from the Bills (vs. Jets) to the Lions (@ Cardinals) to the Jets (@ Bills). The underrated Redskins (vs. Giants) and Titans (vs. Jaguars) also look good, and the resurgent Saints (@ Bucs) are also available in more than half of Yahoo leagues. Even on the road, they’re in play against turnover-prone Jameis Winston.In addition to the Bears, the Vikings (@ Seahawks), Ravens (@ Chiefs) and Texans (vs. Colts) are solid D/STs taking a tumble. Only the Ravens appears truly unplayable out of that group, but the other two have lower ceilings than usual.Note: These rankings will be updated with analysis during the week, so check back for updates. WEEK 14 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings11New England Patriots @ Dolphins. The Patriots always seem to find a way to get defensive fantasy points even though they’ve had more than two sacks only twice all season. They’ve made up for that lately by keeping the score low, allowing fewer than 18 points in four of their past five games. The Dolphins scored only seven points while allowing a pair of sacks and takeaways in New England in Week 4, and even though Ryan Tannehill has looked good the past two weeks, but consistency has always been an issue for him.12Chicago Bears vs. Rams. Chicago has feasted on mostly favorable matchups this year, but the few times they’ve had unfavorable matchup on paper, they’ve shown upside. Even if we throw out Weeks 1 and 2 against Green Bay (because of Aaron Rodgers’ injury) and Seattle (offensive line issues) when the Bears had 10 sacks, four takeaways and two D/ST touchdowns, Chicago still racked up three takeaways in Week 7 against New England (though it did allow 38 points and only managed one sack). This matchup figures to be similar, so if Chicago can keep the Rams under 28 points (a tall task but very doable), it should still be usable. Factor in the home prime-time aspect, and Chicago has some upside.13New York Giants @ Redskins. This is not a drill — Mark Sanchez is expected to start for the Redskins this week. The Giants have been mostly awful for fantasy purposes this year, but they’ve been hot lately, racking up nine sacks, eight INTs, a fumble receovery and a defensive TD in the past four games. That includes a big performance against backup Bears QB Chase Daniel last week. They can come through again this week.14New York Jets @ Bills. Perhaps amazingly, the Jets only have one takeaway since Week 6, and when these teams met in Week 10, Buffalo torched the Jets for 41 points. With Josh Allen playing fairly well, it might not look like there are many reasons to trust the Jets, but Allen is still a rookie prone to mistakes, which we saw last week when he took two sacks and Buffalo turned it over three times against the Dolphins. 15Jacksonville Jaguars @ Titans. Jacksonville is coming off its best defensive performance of the season, shutting out the Colts and producing three sacks and two takeaways. The Titans have allowed 14 sacks in its past three games, and when these teams met in Week 3, Jacksonville limited them to nine points and sacked Tennessee QBs three times. We still question how much fight Jacksonville will have in a road prime-time matchup, but there’s obvious upside here.16Seattle Seahawks vs. Vikings. Like the Jaguars, this proud-but-disappointing defensive just had its best performance (three sacks, three takeaways, defensive TD). The Vikings — specifically, Kirk Cousins — have been inconsistent lately, allowing multiple takeaways in four of their past five games. Once again, we have a “home prime-time factor” in play here, and we all know that means even more in Seattle.