Week 12 Fantasy Football Defense (DST) Rankings and Streamers webfi

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One week after nailing eight of the top 10 defenses, we hit on six of ten this week with a few others (Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and Kansas City) finishing just one point out of the top 10. The recent shift in weekly formula to double the emphasis on opponent and also factor in the last four weeks performance of each defense to highlight recent performance seems to have helped the overall weekly accuracy.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that Week 12 is going to bring us more chaos than we anticipate. We have the weird holiday slate that takes players away from their families and has way more teams than usual playing on short weeks. Then we also have lots of injury questions around players like Kenneth Walker, Geno Smith, David Carr, Cooper Kupp, and more. We also have major turnover at the quarterback position with Joe Burrow out for the season, and the Jets finally benching Zach Wilson.

There are just tons of variables that we don’t yet have a firm grasp of, and we have way less time than normal to let those situations play out. As a result, I might be leaning towards those safe floor defenses rather than the risky upside ones this week.

BOD Formula and Philosophy

Just a quick reminder of the BOD formula:

(Pressure Rate) + (Knockdowns) + (Pass Defense Rate) + (%Drives ending in a Turnover x2)

Minus

(% Drives ending in a Score) + (Explosive Plays Allowed Per Game)

It’s important to clarify that the BOD rankings ARE NOT to be treated as weekly rankings. BOD is meant to tell us who the best fantasy defenses are, but depending on the matchup, they might be ranked differently in a given week. That’s why we have this column where I will be breaking down my rankings for each week and an explanation of why I have the defenses ranked the way I do. The rankings will take into account their BOD ranking, opponent, injuries, weather, etc., but I hope my explanation will help make sense of each ranking.

Special shoutout to Arjun Menon, who calculates the explosive plays per game formula. You can check him out on Twitter here.

Season-Long Accuracy

Throughout the season I’ll keep track of how many top 10 defenses we correctly predicted. I know it’s not quite marking down if I nailed the number one defense each week or the number two, but it’s the most logical way I can think of to keep track of how often a defense I predicted would be a good play actually wound up being a good play. I know we always want the top defense, but I think, more often than not, if we get one of the ten performing defenses of the week, we’re not mad at the result.

SEASON RECORD FOR TOP 10 PREDICTIONS: 57-of-110 (51.8%)

So how do things stack up for Week 12?

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This Jaguars and Texans game features two defenses who could be surprisingly playable in most league types. The Jaguars defense has been strong all season and put together a solid effort last week against the Titans. Jacksonville ranks 5th in turnover rate, 5th in opponents’ scoring rate, and 10th in explosive plays allowed per game. The Texans offense has been one of the least-giving fantasy matchups all season, but they’ve shown some cracks of late and now rank 17th in fantasy points allowed to opposing defenses, which isn’t great but is not as much of an avoid situation as they had been.

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Meanwhile, the Jacksonville offense has been very giving to fantasy defenses, allowing the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses over the last month at 10 points per game. They did face the 49ers, Steelers, and Saints over that span, but they’ve allowed nine sacks and seven turnovers over their last four games. Against a Texans defense that’s 9th in pressure rate and 12th in opponents’ scoring rate, that could make Houston a play in deeper formats.

The Jets defense is finally starting to get fed up. After responding all season despite their offense continuing to put them in bad positions, they seemed to get rattled on Sunday against the Bills, giving up big plays and bad penalties, both of which are uncharacteristic for this defense. Now they face off against the Dolphins with Tim Boyle at quarterback. That could put the defense in more bad positions, which makes the Jets riskier than you’d expect given that they rank 3rd in pressure rate, 6th in passes defended rate, 7th in explosive plays allowed per game, and 11th in opponents’ scoring rate. However, the Dolphins also give up the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses over the last month, which six sacks and six turnovers in that span, so the Jets could sneak into the top 10 here in a must win game for them.

The Saints continue an impressive run of facing mediocre offenses. With Desmond Ridder announced as the starting quarterback, the Falcons are back to being an offense that doesn’t really strike fear in a defense when it comes to pushing the ball down the field. He should be a tantalizing matchup for a Saints defense that ranks 1st in passes defended rate, 8th in opponents’ scoring rate, and 9th in turnover rate. I don’t think the ceiling is incredibly high here, but I like the safe floor.

I’d rather play the Giants defense in a matchup against a Patriots team that seems to have totally lost faith in Mac Jones. The Giants’ defense isn’t great, but they’re 11th in passes defended rate, 13th in opponents’ scoring rate, and 19th in turnover rate, so they’re better than any of the other poor defenses in this tier and the next also get a good matchup against a Patriots offense that has allowed the 10th-most points to opposing defenses over the last month.

If you also wanted to play the Patriots against Tommy DeVito, I wouldn’t blame you, but the rookie looked better on Sunday and this Patriots defense ranks 16th in pressure rate, 28th in turnover rate, and dead last in knockdowns per game. They don’t allow a lot of big plays and don’t give up a ton of points, so it’s not as if the Giants are going to have a huge game, but I’m just not sure there’s the upside that people expect with a Patriots defense that is averaging just 6.3 fantasy points per game over the last month.

The Vikings have a good matchup against the Bears but one that is a little riskier with Justin Fields back. Fields is still prone to making a bad throw or questionable decision, but he makes far more plays than Tyson Bagent. This is a Vikings defense that ranks 1st in the NFL in explosive plays allowed and then middle of the pack in most everything else, so if they’re able to keep Fields from making big plays then they could certainly be playable in deeper formats.

The Bills and Eagles matchup features two defenses that we generally like to play against two offenses that we really don’t really want to attack. The Bills offense looks much more dynamic under Joe Brady, using lots of pre-snap motion to create easy targets for Josh Allen. Meanwhile, their defense easily handled the Jets, but they also lost Dane Jackson, Taron Johnson, and Taylor Rapp to injury on top of all the other injuries they suffered. Their defense has responded all season and ranks 6th in turnover rate against an Eagles offense that likes to turn the ball over, but I’d rather not play either of these defenses if I didn’t have to.

The Steelers finally fired Matt Canada and, as we saw with Buffalo on Sunday, sometimes changing visions when it comes to running an offense can have an immediate impact. That being said, the Steelers look lost with Pickett under center. This Bengals defense is solid, ranking 4th in turnover rate, 11th in pressure rate, and 14th in passes defended rate. They do tend to give up big plays, but the Steelers don’t really hit on big plays, which means the Bengals could be a solid play this week, albeit a risky one if the offense puts them in some bad spots. It should also be noted that, for as bad as Pittsburgh’s offense has looked, they rank 23rd in the league in fantasy points allowed to defenses over the last month, allowing just 5.0 points per game, which has a lot to do with how much they run and how few sacks and turnovers they allow.

I know everybody wants to play the Ravens, and they’re a good real-life defense, but this is not a good matchup against a Chargers team that have given up the 2nd-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing defenses over the last month, even with all their injuries. The Ravens don’t give up big plays and can certainly get after the quarterback, but they don’t force a lot of turnovers, so I think their ceiling is lower than many want to believe.

This is where we get to the point in our rankings where we have bad defenses going up against bad offenses. The Panthers and Titans are the two lowest-ranked defenses in my BOD formula; however, over the last month the Panthers have allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points to opposing defenses and the Titans have allowed the 8th-most. The Titans get more pressure on the quarterback and have forced slightly more turnovers per game, so I guess I prefer them, but this is a complete crapshoot because it’s hard to tell which defense will implode more.

I would prefer not to play any of these defenses this week if I had my choice. Keep an eye on the Rams’ injury situation as all of Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and Puka Nacua were banged up on Sunday. Depending on how they look in practice, that could drastically change our Cardinals ranking.

As I mentioned above, I will update and repost this article on Sunday morning in case there are any changes with injuries or weather reports, etc. Until then, good luck to all this week!

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