NFL Fantasy Football Defense Rankings Week 11: Sleepers And Top Picks, Who To Start, Sit

 @gptweet
on November 14 2013 10:46 AM
Tavon Austin St. Louis Rams
Receiver Tavon Austin and the St. Louis Rams defense and special teams posted their best performance of the season last week, and it won't happen again. Reuters

The St. Louis Rams obliterated the Indianapolis Colts, 38-8, in Week 10. All told, the Rams defense recorded season-highs of five turnovers and 11 passes defended, on top of three sacks and another seven quarterback hits.

They held the Colts to a dismal 2-for-12 third down rate, 1.3 yards per rushing attempt, a season-low eight points, and scored two touchdowns with a fumble returned 45 yards by defensive end Chris Long and a 98-yard punt return by rookie receiver Tavon Austin.

Despite all those gaudy stats, fantasy owners are lucky the Rams are on a bye so they'll avoid any rush to pick them up.

While the win and defensive performance over the Colts was impressive, it was really an anomaly and St. Louis’s only quality win of the season. The Rams' three other wins came over lowly Jacksonville and Houston, and in Week One against an Arizona team that has played far better since.

Of those three teams, the Cardinals are the highest in points scored per game at 22nd, and the Jaguars are last at 12.8 ppg.

Not to mention the Rams are a middling 16th in the league on third down, allowing opponents to extend drives 38.2 percent of the time, and is eighth in penalties with 62 flags for a loss of 610 yards.

Then there’s the remaining schedule. After the bye they host Chicago then hit the road to San Francisco and Arizona, followed by visits from New Orleans and Tampa Bay (the only likely victory) and end the year at Seattle.

There’s no doubt the linebacker corps of James Laurinaitius and rookie Alec Ogletree, Long and fellow defensive end Robert Quinn, and secondary leaders Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins are some of the most talented players at their positions. But the Rams need another year to become a consistently dominant unit both in reality and fantasy.

Instead, check out the teams below for Week 11.

Byes: Dallas and St. Louis.

Chicago Bears

The Bears are second in the NFC in turnover ratio at plus-eight, and host a Baltimore squad that’s 1-4 on the road this year. Also, opposing quarterback Joe Flacco has seen his passer rating and accuracy slide in three consecutive weeks, while throwing three interceptions. The Bears are probably available in your league, and are worth a start in Week 11. They're a much better play than Cincinnati or Pittsburgh this week.

Buffalo Bills

One of the most added defenses in fantasy, Buffalo forced two turnovers in a Week Three 27-20 loss against the Jets. Strangely, the Bills weren’t able to sack quarterback Geno Smith, when they averaged a minimum of three against every other opponent and the Jets have surrendered a fourth-worst 31 sacks this year. The Bills should win this game, but how well they break through New York’s offensive line will determine whether they’re the top-scoring defense in fantasy this week.

Carolina Panthers

During their five game win streak, the Panthers have given up 11.4 points and 268.8 yards per game, a 31.2 percent third-down rate, forced 12 turnovers, and in their best victory held San Francisco to 2.9 yards per play. The Panthers continue to get better, and should push around New England in Week 11. If you don’t own them already, consider trading, especially if you are in a keeper league.

Arizona Cardinals

They won the Jacksonville sweepstakes in Week 11, and are likely a solid 10 points in any league format. A slight red flag is the Jags relieving pressure last week with their first victory of the year. They could have some confidence and rack up a few extra points. Look at the Cardinals as a second or third option.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A bit of a sleeper start until you consider that their Week 11 opponent the Falcons have averaged 11 points the last three weeks. In that same span, the Falcons have given up nine turnovers (7 INTs), and seven sacks.

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