Justin Bailey

Getting Defensive

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Getting Defensive: Week 14

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The defenses I touch on are not my ranks, but my overall thoughts on the defenses I find notable. The goal of these pieces is to give you a concise, actionable rundown on defenses for the upcoming week.

Defensive order is based on their opponents implied team total, from lowest to highest. The team in parenthesis is the defenses opponent.

Worth Mentioning  

Defenses that are highly owned (60+ percent), or worth noting overall.


Lions (@ Buccaneers — No Line)


The Lions defense has been bolstered by scoring seven defensive touchdowns and their ninth-best turnover rate this season, but the turnover have slowed down with two interceptions over their last six games, compared to nine within their first games — they also have the seventh-lowest sack rate in the NFL. That said, per Rotoworld’s Nick Mensio, Jameis Winston does have 50 turnovers in 41 career games.


Steelers (vs. Ravens — 16.8-point implied team total)


The Steelers have the benefit of playing at home against a Ravens team that is implied for just 16.8 points. They should garner a solid floor in this one as the Steelers generated the second-most sacks this season and boast a top-10 turnover rate (prior to Monday night).

Update: LB Ryan Shazier was taken to the hospital during Monday night's game with a back injury, which is a big loss for their defense for the upcoming week. Thoughts and prayers with Shazier, hopefully he is okay.


Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting the Rotoworld Beat the Writers Series, where you can play against five Rotoworld football writers for your chance at cash prizes and free entry into their Sunday Million. Put your knowledge to the test!


Patriots (@ Dolphins — 18-point implied team total)


The Patriots' streak of holding opponents to 17 or fewer points continued last week. They’re now going on their eighth-straight game of allowing 17 fewer points to opposing offenses. They head to Miami this week, who they just played two weeks ago, allowing 221 total yards and forcing three turnovers to Matt Moore. They’ll face Jay Cutler this time, but he has a 3.6 percent interception rate this season, tied for the fifth-highest rate among quarterbacks.


Vikings (@ Panthers — 19.25-point implied team total)


The Vikings are road favorites against a Panthers team that is implied to score just 19.25 points. The Panthers could struggle to move the ball as PFF ranks the Vikings as a top-ten team in run defense, pass coverage, and pass rush. It could be a long day for Carolina if the Vikings can generate pressure on Cam Newton. The Viking have the 14th-ranked sack rate and Cam Newton has been sacked 28 times — the eighth-most in the league. He also boasts a bottom-eight interception rate.


Jaguars (vs. Seahawks — 18.3-point implied team total)


This could be close to matchup downgrade, but Russell Wilson can tend to struggle on the road and Jags are the best defense in the league. They’re stout against the pass, but susceptible against the run and against tight ends. If Wilson can consistently move the ball with his legs, with Jimmy Graham, or Mike Davis, it’s possible the Jags could underperform here. On a positive note, the Jags have forced a league-high 45 sacks, while Wilson has taken 28 sacks, the eighth-most in the league. The Jags have scored 172 fantasy points this season, which ranks 19th overall among all positions in standard leagues. You’re not sitting them here.


Chargers (vs. Redskins — 19.75-point implied team total)

The Redskins will be on the road against one of the best pass rushes and secondaries in the league. The Chargers rank as PFF’s third-best pass rushing unit thanks to Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and the second-best secondary as Casey Hayward, Trevor Williams, and Desmond Kings have been exceptional. This could be a good spot for Samaje Perine as the Chargers have allowed the second-most rushing yards along with 4.8 yards per attempt and nine rushing touchdowns.


Texans (vs. 49ers — 20.5-point implied team total)


The Texans have the benefit of playing at home and the 49ers are implied for just 20.5 points. They’re not great overall as they can be beaten through the air, as they’ve allowed 6.9 net yards per attempt, 23 passing touchdowns, both are bottom-five marks in the league. Their 9.5 percent turnover rate ranks 23rd among defenses and they’ve forced a middling 28 sacks this season.


Broncos (vs. Jets — 20.75-point implied team total)


At this point, it seems like the Broncos have given up on the season. They were missing Aqib Talib last week, but they still hadn’t been great before that. They’ll be at home, but they don’t offer much upside as they have the 16th-ranked sack rate and the third-worst turnover rate among defenses, trailing only the Raiders and Falcons.


Seahawks (@ Jaguars — 21.3-point implied team total)


The Seahawks head to Jacksonville as three-point road underdogs. They’re decimated on defense but have been able to hold opponents to 16 or fewer points in three of their last four games. They could be serviceable in this game as this game has the week’s lowest over/under at 39.5 points.

Matchup Downgrade

Highly Owned Defenses with limited upside in the current matchup.

Panthers (vs. Vikings — 21.75-point implied team total)

The Panthers are 2.5-point home underdogs against the Vikings. They may not offer much upside here as the Viking have the seventh-highest scoring rate and the third-lowest turnover rate among offenses.

Eagles (24.25) @ Rams (26.25) — 50.5 over/Under

I’m putting these two defenses together as they’re both highly owned and they play each other in a game that is is implied for the second-highest total this week at 50.5 points, 3.5 points above the next highest game. It’s interesting as both of these defenses rank in the top-five in fantasy scoring among defenses, but they also face one of the most efficient offenses in the league as the Rams have scored on 48.9 percent of their drives (second-best) and the Eagles have scored on 43.3 percent of their drives (fourth-best).

Ravens (@ Steelers — 24.3-point implied team total)

This will be a tough spot for the Ravens as they just lost CB Jimmy Smith (Achilles) for the season and they head to Pittsburgh to take on a Steelers offense that has historically played well at home. They do have the benefit of JuJu Smith-Schuster being out, but they'll still need to contend with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Le'Veon Bell. 

Potential Streamers

See Above.

Bills (vs. Colts — No Line)

There is currently no line for this game, but the Colts will be in a difficult spot playing outdoors at the Ralph. The Colts’ offense has the eighth-worst scoring rate and their offensive line has allowed a league-high 50 sacks.

Bengals (vs. Bears — 16.3-point implied team total)

The Bengals are in a solid spot at home against a Bears team that is implied for 16.3 points. Their offense has struggled with Mitch Trubisky and his 30th-ranked 2.6 percent touchdown rate.

Packers (@ Browns — 18.5-point implied team total)

The Packers defense isn’t one I am jumping out to get as they’re on the road and they have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. That said, DeShone Kizer has a league-worst 4.3 percent interception rate and the Browns have the league’s worst scoring offense, scoring on just 22.1 percent of their drives. I wouldn’t be shocked, however, if Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon are able to exploit this brutal secondary. It would help if DeShone Kizer could complete more than 60 percent of his passes for the first time since Week 7.

Jets (@ Broncos — 19.75-point implied team total)

The Broncos didn’t look much better with Trevor Siemian last week and they’re implied for just 19.75 points against the Jets. The Broncos. Are at home. As underdogs. Against the Jets. What a season.

Kickers in Order of Implied Team Total

Kicker fantasy points have a strong correlation to Vegas implied team totals. Here are the top kickers who garner low-to-medium ownership (70% or lower) in order of implied team total (minimum 22-point implied team total) in order to help you find possible streamers.


Travis Coons (26.25-point implied team total)

Harrison Butker (25.25-point implied team total)

Jake Elliott (24.25-point implied team total)

Randy Bullock (23.3-point implied team total)

Dan Bailey (23.25-point implied team total)

Ka’imi Fairbairn (22-point implied team total)

Mason Crosby (22-point implied team total)

Justin Bailey has been working with Rotoworld since 2015. His stat-forward analysis can also be found on FantasyLabs and 4for4. Follow him on Twitter - @justinbailey32.
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