And it all comes down to this. The final week of the regular season for fantasy owners, and many matchups could be determined by who started the right defense.
There are three scenarios for owners to consider as they strive for a playoff spot. Do you go with your gut after dissecting Week 13’s matchups? Follow the most added defenses like Miami, Cleveland or New England? Or stick with your usual starting defense with bye weeks finally wrapped up?
It’s a trying, stressful decision especially on a short holiday week with six teams playing on Thursday.
The truth is the decision has likely been made for you. If you’re an owner that lucked into Kansas City, Seattle, or Cincinnati’s defense than you already have the answer.
And any owner still working the wire for a defense has been rolling the dice all year and probably won’t change their strategy this late into the game. This week should be no different than any other for selecting a fantasy defense. Study the matchups and make as calculated and risk-averse decision as possible.
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Consider the four teams below as you set your lineups for Week 13, and good luck.
If you have confidence in the rest of your lineup, than a sleeper pick could be Baltimore against Pittsburgh. The Ravens held the Steelers to 19 points, and totaled three sacks and a fumble in the Week Seven loss, but they’ve been a different team ever since. Opponents are averaging 15 points and Baltimore has forced seven turnovers. Baltimore could be a solid nine points for owners this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Their two-game win streak seemed like a fluke until they generated four interceptions and a fumble against Detroit in Week 12, and kept Calvin Johnson out of the end zone. Tampa Bay is also ninth against the run and faces streaking, rush-heavy Carolina this week. The Bucs have likely learned from the mistakes they made in the 31-13 Week Eight loss, and should dominate.
New England Patriots
Forget the 31 points they gave up to Denver last week, and focus on the four turnovers (3 fumbles, 1 INT) the Patriots forced. Then look at the Houston Texans minus-12 turnover ratio, second worst in the AFC.
First in sacks (37) and interceptions (16), and opposing quarterbacks are completing 57.1 percent of their passes against the Bills, the third best mark in the NFL. Couple those incredible stats with Atlanta scoring 13 or fewer points four times during their five-game losing streak.