If you're reading this that probably means you made the playoffs in your league so i'll start this out with a congratulations but don't get too happy now is the time to separate the contenders from the pretenders.
Teams are still playing for their playoffs lives and the teams that have already guaranteed their spot in the big show are still looking to lock up home field advantage. It is always beneficial to play guys or team defenses for that matter that have something to play for still, but on the flip side it is interesting to see which "unknown" players emerge as they finally get some playing time.
Bottom line is it's playoff time and it isn't the time to get cute (still my favorite line of the season) play the defenses that have solid match ups.
Seattle at home has been a beast of a defense this year
So here are the week 14 team defense rankings lets get you to the second round.
1. Seattle Seahawks - Seattle is still a whole different beast when they are playing in front of the 12th man in Seattle. This week the Seahawks welcome an Arizona team that still doesn't know who their QB is and Beanie Wells really isn't striking fear into the hearts of many defenses. The Seahawks should have no problems this week.
2. San Francisco 49ers - The 9ers are playing to lock up a playoff spot and last weeks debacle vs. St. Louis didn't help one bit. This week the 49ers are at home vs. a Miami offense that is ranked 28th overall in the NFL. With Jake Long out I like the 49ers defense to get to Ryan Tannehill early and often causing what every fantasy owner wants.....turnovers.
3. Denver Broncos - Von Miller is a man on fire right now. His pick 6 last week just adds to an already great season. This week the Broncos head to Oakland for a Thursday night match up. I can see Peyton Manning getting the Broncos up early forcing Carson Palmer to air it out which leads to turnovers. Oakland's passing game is currently ranked 8th in the league but the last two weeks have been somewhat of a struggle. On top of that Denarius Moore was benched last week due to a poor performance.
4. New York Jets - The Jets bring their 4th ranked passing defense to Jacksonville this week. Since Chad Henne has taken the reigns the Jags have been able to put together a somewhat decent offense. I don't think that will be the case this week. JAX backfield is currently a mess filled with injury ridden players and it doesn't seem likely MJD will be back this week. All that being said JAX will become one dimensional and that is very dangerous vs. the Jets pass defense. Once again this is looking like a good scenario for turnovers.
5. Chicago Bears - Bears defense is definitely starting to show their age here towards the end of season. Every game is now a "must win" for Chicago. This week they head into Minnesota where they are basically facing Adrian Peterson. I say that because Christian Ponder has gotten progressively worse and it doesn't look like Percy Harvin will be playing again this week. Last time these two teams meet the Bears were able to get AP to cough up the ball twice and they will be looking to do the same again in week 14.
6. Cleveland Browns - I like the match up this week for the Browns vs. Kansas City. I still don't buy Brady Quinn as a legit NFL starter and the Browns secondary have been ball hawks lately. I like the Browns to pick Quinn off at least once in this match up.
7. Minnesota Vikings - The Bears offense is bad no way around it. Chicago's offensive line is basically a patch job of big guys playing out of position. This game is going to be very "testy" after Jarred Allen ended the season of Lance Louis with a block on an INT that was debatable if it was dirty or not. I think the Vikings front 4 will get to Jay Cutler causing turnovers and bad decisions.
8. Atlanta Falcons - After picking Drew Brees off 5 times the Falcons secondary is feeling very confident heading into their match up vs. Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Panthers run game is pretty much non-existent besides Cam and that should allow Atlanta to sit back on the pass more. I like the ATL secondary to pick Cam off once or twice this week.
9. Tampa Bay Bucs - I am well aware of how bad Tampa's pass defense has been this year but they are also the top ranked running defense in the league. So with that being said I like Tampa's D vs. a Philly team that is very run heavy as of late. Bryce Brown has been a force but as previously stated Tampa is the best rushing D in the league so he'll have his work cut out for him. Nick Foles isn't quite there yet and Tampa should be able to get to him.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers and their number 1 ranked defense host San Diego and their 26th ranked offense. If those numbers don't do it for you, you can at least get excited to see the long haired safety Troy Polamalu patrolling the secondary again. Polamalu instantly brings the probability of turnovers up.
11. St. Louis Rams - The Rams haven't gotten a lot of respect with regards to these rankings this year so I feel like it's time to give them their due. St. Louis's secondary has been great at not only creating turnovers but returning them for touchdowns. Combine that with the pass rush of Chris Long and James Laurinatis and you have yourself a pretty good D. I would have ranked them higher but they have a tough match up vs. Buffalo in Buffalo this week.
12. Houston Texans - The low ranking is strictly due to the Texans match up this week. It's almost playoff time so any team facing Tom Brady is in for a challenge. The Texans D had a monster fantasy week in week 13 but I really don't think they will be able to repeat that performance vs. Brady and his crew. If you have the Texans D check your waiver wire for one of the defenses listed above. The Texans are the worst play this week but i'd avoid it if I could.
13. Buffalo Bills - It seems like the Bills defense is finally starting to live up to the hype surrounding them going into the season. I even had a Mario Williams sighting in week 13. I like the Bills match up vs. a St. Louis team in Buffalo. St. Louis's offense has been slowed down a little and the Rams offense is currently ranked 25th overall.
14. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals and their 8th ranked defense have a tougher match up at home this week vs. Dallas. Tony Romo seems to have a new best buddy in Dez Bryant and the two have been producing in recent weeks. The return of DeMarco Murray also helps the Cowboys offense a lot. Cincinnati's defense has been a pleasant surprise this year but if you have other options this week you might want to use them.
15. Green Bay Packers - Should be a shoot out this week in Green Bay. The Packers are looking to lock up the NFC North. This week the Packers host Detroit in what should be a very pass heavy game. Usually pass heavy games are locks for turnovers. If you haven't caught on by now turnovers are the name of the game this week.
16. New York Giants - Tough match up at home this week vs. the Saints. Drew Brees is looking to bounce back from a dismal week 13 performance. I still like the Giants front 4 to get to Brees and create some hurries as well as get some sacks. Not a horrible play but it definitely is my HIGH RISK/HIGH REWARD play of the week.
17. Baltimore Ravens - Baltimore's D has looked better as of late. The lower ranking is due to the fact they are facing a red hot Robert Griffin III in Washington this week. RG3 has been extremely tough to contain the last couple of weeks and has breathed new life into the Redskins.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars - No you aren't reading this wrong Jacksonville made my top 20 this week playing the Jets will do that for you. Rex Ryan still won't tell us who is going to be the starting QB for the Jets but I can assure 1 thing he will be bad. If you are desperate this week (which hopefully your not seeing as how it's the playoffs) Jacksonville isn't the worst plug and play.
19. San Diego Chargers - Very tough road match up going into Pittsburgh. It will be interesting to see how Big Ben comes back from injury. This is also a risk reward play this week. Big Ben could very easily light up SD or he can not be 100% and SD could get the best of him so consider the Chargers my BONUS HIGH RISK/HIGH REWARD play this week.
20. Indianapolis Colts - Colts are playing a Tennessee team that has made a hobby of making opposing defenses look good. Houston racked up 22 fantasy points vs. the Titans last week and I think the Colts should be able to put up double digit numbers vs. the Titans this week.
Bonus team this week is the Washington Redskins. The skins played well vs. Eli Manning on Monday night and this week they welcome Joe Flacco who is just awful on the road this year. If you are hurting for a defense this week take a look at the Redskins they should be available on your waiver wire.
Best of luck in the playoffs to all of you and remember to be back here at Fantasy Knuckleheads 90 minutes before kick off to get your line up questions answered by the best looking panel of fantasy gurus out there.