This is a list of the top Defense targets for NFL games based on potential production and price. The teams are split into three tiers based on likelihood of success. Remember that these rankings take potential production and price into account, so some teams may be higher up on the list despite having a lower projected score if the price point is favorable. Here are some options to consider.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
CREAM OF THE CROP
Arizona Cardinals ($3900) – The Cardinals are the most expensive defense this week, but they also have an elite matchup. They take on a 49ers team that only has one starting skill position player left from their early season stalwarts. San Fran has struggled on offense all season long. Anquan Boldin may be back, but he still has Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball. The Running game is down to a fourth stringer and two guys they picked up off the street a few weeks ago. The Line is in shambles and there is really nothing positive to hang your hat on with this offense. The Cardinals defense has been able to get pressure, generate turnovers, and keep the opposition to low scores all season. All of those things are positive for their overall fantasy score and the matchup here is a little too juicy to pass up against the struggling 49ers.
Kansas City Chiefs ($2800) – The Kansas City Chiefs defense has been much better since Welcoming Smith back from his early season suspension. The corner has proven to be what was missing as the Chiefs went from one of the worst in the league at stopping wide receivers to one of the best over the last six weeks. They play a very aggressive style blitzing defense that has done well to get to the quarterback and also generate some turnovers. They face a Buffalo offense that has struggled to move the ball and score in recent weeks. The Bills are down to third and fourth string WRs behind Sammie Watkins. Charles Clay is no longer putting up any decent numbers at the TE spot for them. The running game has been solid, but they will have to give that up when they fall behind here. Tyrod Taylor hurt his shoulder late in the last game. His status is currently up in the air. KC will either face back up EJ Manuel or a banged up Taylor and neither is a solid option against this good defensive unit. The price of only $2800 is the cherry on top and I will definitely be using them in cash and GPP lineups for week 12.
Cincinnati Bengals ($3000) – Case Keenum is in the concussion protocol and Nick Foles stinks. Either way the Bengals get to face a weak QB who thay can pressure and exploit. The Rams will try their best to keep the ball on the ground here with Todd Gurley. Cincy though has been very stout against the run since the return of Vontez Burfect. The Rams tend to play low scoring games anyway and if the Bengals can contain the run, they will be forced to throw. The Bengals offense might also put up a few points and force them to have to throw anyway, so either scenario plays out well for the defense. If they get a chance to pin their ears back and attack the QB, whether it is Foles or Keenum, they should be able to get some positive scoring plays for fantasy.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
Cleveland Browns ($2000) – This is my favorite value defense on the week and they could be one of the sneakiest plays that no one is thinking about. Baltimore lost Joe Flaaco and Justin Forsett last week. They Lost Steve Smith a few weeks back and Perriman has been out all year. That leaves Crockett Gillmore as the only projected starter that is still active and playing. They lost their back up running back in Taliafero a few weeks ago too, so they are starting Javorius Allen at RB with Matt Schaub at QB. Kamar Aiken is his best pass catching option left available and that makes for a very weak offensive core. Cleveland is the favorite here and playing at home. I realize that this whole write up was about their opponent and not them as a defense. They have not been that good, but the price is bare minimum and the matchup is as good as it gets, so I still think they can pay off the price tag.
New England Patriots ($3500) – The Patriots face a Denver offense that made the switch away from Peyton Manning last week. Osweiler has a big arm, but they did not look good through the air in last week’s game. The running game is improving, but has underperformed all year and the WR core is a little banged up with Emmanuel Sanders less than 100%. The Patriots play with a lead often and therefore are able to pin their ears back and go after the QB. This is a major reason why they have so many sacks this year and I think we could see a few more against the young inexperienced signal caller here. The Patriots have eaten young QBs for breakfast in recent years, so it would be no surprise if they make a few plays and confuse the kid here. The Drawback to them is the price jump, but they have been consistent enough all year to warrant mention here.
REST OF THE PACK
Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2500) – If you snicker at the thought of taking the Tamp Bay defense on the road against Indianapolis, let me go ahead and lay out the reasoning for it. First off, Tampa has been shutting down opposing teams on the ground lately and leaving them in long yardage situations. Those are the downs we like for the pass rushers to go after the QB and the DBs to be able to make some plays on the ball. In fact the Bucs have scored double digit fantasy points in 3 of the last 4 and are averaging 11 points per game during this run. That would translate into over four points per thousand of cost and make them one of the best value options on the day. Indy has a banged up Frank Gore, Andrew Luck out, and has not exactly been great on either side of the ball this year. I can envision this red hot Tampa offense getting a lead and attacking the QB for much of the third and fourth quarter. In that scenario, they should be able to pull off some positive offensive plays and be one of the top defensive options on the day.
New York Jets ($3200) – The Jets are at home and favored against a decent Miami team. Miami likes to run the ball and the Jets have been stout against the run this year. That should force Miami to have to throw more. The Jets are also expected to get a lead here and that would force Miami to have to throw more as well. If Tannehill has to drop back 40 times, the Jets defense should have a lot of opportunity for sacks and picks to maximize their fantasy scores. They have been much better at home than on the road so far this season. At home they average just shy of 10 fantasy points and only give up about 18 actual points per game. The price is not great, but the opportunity and game script are in their favor.