The Houston Texans led all D/STs in Week 11 with the Bears and Rams following closely behind. Despite there being few good matchups, seven teams scored in double figures in ESPN’s basic D/STs scoring. Several of these seven teams have been near the top lately, including the three mentioned above as well as Washington and New Orleans.
In Week 12, there are many good defensive matchups, but will owners be willing to drop their holds to add for just one week. My picks below are likely not playoff holds for most owners though the Cleveland Browns have the best schedule of the three going forward. Following my picks for Week 12 are my IDP Targets from these games for the week and recommended playoff holds for D/STs. Best luck this week and in your fantasy playoffs.
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals ($2,800- DK / $3,100 – FD)
Cleveland’s defense played well early this season and appears to be righting the ship once again. Prior to their bye week, they held the Falcons to sixteen points and cruised to a twelve point win. This week’s opponent the Bengals are once again likely to be without playmaker A.J. Green and things have not gone well under these circumstances. Quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown for 153 yards and 211 yards in his last two games against the Saints and Ravens. Running back Joe Mixon has also been held in check. The Browns are coming off of a bye week and should be relatively healthy and prepared for Cincinnati this week. They have the players to continue to make things difficult for the Bengals, especially against the pass, and should take another step closer to their first non-losing season in eleven years.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets ($3,100 – DK / $4,100 – FD)
Like the Browns, the Patriots are coming off of a bye week and hope to play better than they did going into the bye week in a blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans. They have been dealing with several injuries, most notably to future hall of fame tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Jets are also coming off of a bye week after being totally dominated by the two win Buffalo Bills and will still be without rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. The Patriots should dominate this game both offensively and defensively despite being on the road this week with little to fear from a Jets offense that has failed to break ten points in a month. In the last two games alone, the Jets have surrendered seven sacks and thrown six interceptions against Miami and Buffalo who have defenses no better than the Patriots. If you add or have the Patriots, you’ll want to keep them for the playoffs with matchups against the Dolphins and Bills in Week’s 14 and 16.
Indianapolis Colts vs Miami Dolphins ($2,900 – DK / $4,400 – FD)
The Colts are on a roll winning four games in a row and completely dominating the Tennessee Titans in Week 11. The Colts D/ST had five sacks and two interceptions in an impressive performance — limiting the Titans to only 290 yards of offense. This week, the Colts face a Dolphins team that is getting their quarterback back after missing five games. However, Ryan Tannehill is returning to a team with fewer receivers than when he left. Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson have been put on injured reserve and Danny Amendola and Devante Parker are both questionable after being limited all week during practice. This leaves Kenny Stills and others who have little to no playing time this season. The offensive line is in a bit better shape with the return of Laremy Tunsil, but could still be missing right tackle Ja’Wuan James this week. All of this sets the Colts up for another good defensive week for fantasy teams and consideration as a hold for fantasy playoffs.
Jamie Collins (LB/Browns)
Collins, the former Patriots linebacker, has played well of late for the Browns. He is their best coverage linebacker and also adept at rushing the quarterback. I’d expect several tackles for a loss this week though the Bengals have trouble sticking to the running game. Collins’ ability in coverage should lead to a quality tackle total this week.
Jessie Bates III (S/Bengals)
Bates has had a great rookie year at safety for fantasy teams. He should be very busy this week again trying to stop the Browns short passing game and Nick Chubb from running the ball.
Trey Flowers (DE/Patriots)
Flowers is the Patriots best defensive lineman and is likely to lead them against the Jets this week in sacks and quarterback hits. He is also a good all-around player and will get in on several tackles against the running game in the Jets backfield.
Jamal Adams (S/Jets)
Adams is likely to lead the Jets in tackles this week. Avery Williamson would be my other choice, but the Patriots are less conventional than most teams so I expect Adams to have many opportunities against James White and Julian Edelman as the Patriots get back to the passing game that has made them great for most of the season.
T.J. McDonald (S/Dolphins)
McDonald is questionable, but game script should allow him to lead the Dolphins in tackles this week if active. The Colts throw a lot especially in first halves and though this game may not be close in the second half, McDonald is also good against the run.
Darius Leonard (LB/Colts)
Leonard is active and fast and should have a great game this week with the Dolphins down to just a few receivers and forced to lean on Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake to make plays out of the backfield.
Playoff D/ST Holds
In addition to the Bears, Rams, Vikings, Steelers and Texans think about the teams below to pair with them for the best matchup. If you don’t have one of these five don’t worry because there are several teams to stack that will give you good matchups throughout the playoffs.
New England Patriots – Week 14 @ Miami, Week 16 vs Buffalo
Washington Redskins – Week 14 vs NY Giants, Week 15 @ Jacksonville, Week 16 @ Tennessee
New Orleans Saints – Week 14 @ Tampa, Week 15 @ Carolina
Los Angeles Chargers – Week 14 vs Cincinnati, Week 16 vs Baltimore
Buffalo Bills – Week 14 vs NY Jets, Week 15 vs Detroit
Denver Broncos – Week 14 @ San Francisco, Week 15 vs Cleveland, Week 16 @ Oakland
Dallas Cowboys – Week 14 vs Philadelphia, Week 16 vs Tampa Bay