Atlanta Falcons defense proved to be large for fantasy owners who ran with them last week (2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 3 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries for a whopping 26 fantasy points in standard leagues). Carolina Panthers defense finished top three along with Tampa Bay and Tennessee recording solid double digit production games. Here are my defense / special teams picks for week 15. The strength of schedule wasn't as hard as we though headed into the season.
Atlanta (vs. SF)
I actually took my own advice here, and picked up the Falcons this week in one of my leagues (51% owned in standard leagues). The 49ers are a horrible football team right now giving up the 8th most fantasy points to team defenses. Compounded by the fact a couple weeks ago the Chicago Bears defense got to the 49ers quarterback six times. I expect much of the same this weekend inside the dome. You could probably find some sleeper picks in this game.
VERDICT: PICK UP/START UNLESS YOU HAVE A TOP TIER DEFENSE IN A GOOD MATCHUP
New York Giants (vs. DET)
Just ranked outside the top five fantasy defenses, the Giants D looks poised for another strong game:
- Playing at home again this week
- Opposing QB banged up heading into the game (Matthew Stafford-finger injury)
- Giants defense almost single handily won the game last week alongside a very sub par Eli Manning performance at QB -in spite of the win
- Double digit FPPG in two of the last three games/two or more sacks in the past eight games
Per Rotoworld: Theo Riddick (wrist) is listed as doubtful for Week 15 against the Giants
VERDICT: MUST START AT HOME VERSUS OPPOSING QB PLAYING THROUGH INJURY
Houston (vs. JAX)
This game is the gold lock spread of the week for me (opened at Hou -6.5). The Texans defense was mentioned a bunch going into fantasy drafts this season (dropped off production wise after week 2). Even though a bottom tier ranked defense and only owned in around 57% of leagues, the Texans are primed for a huge day versus Jacksonville's anemic offense (they have given up the 6th most fantasy points to defenses) . Houston should control the ball on the ground (126.1 yards per game-5th in NFL) playing at home in a dome controlled environment.
VERDICT: SNEAKY STREAMER OPTION PLUS LONG LOOK AT IN DAILY FANTASY LINEUPS
Other match-ups I like:
BUF (vs. CLE) The Bills are playing at home for a second straight week (coming off a tough loss last week). Expect a fired up Rex Ryan amid coach firing talk #112. This would be a typical look ahead game for the Bills here, but they need this win badly for their playoff hopes prior to facing another must win in a division rival game versus the Dolphins. Buffalo's defense stock has risen this week from mid 60% owned to now around 74% owned... ohhhhhhh Cleveland.
GB (@ CHI) The Packers have seemed to resolve their 30 and 40 point games allowed in late October/majority of November. The past three weeks: 13 points or less allowed. Packers D readily available on the waiver wire.
BAL (vs. PHI ) The Ravens want to make an example of the Eagles prior to the grudge match on Christmas versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Baltimore boasts the top ranked rush defense in the NFL (75.5 yards per game). They will force rookie Carson Wentz into charlie check-down mode at times holding onto the football far too long. Editors note: Jimmy Smith is out for the Ravens. I still like BAL in a rainy game but Smith's absence will be felt.