Well, you finally made it. Or you kinda made it. Still a week left and anything can happen until you get that asterisk next to your team name and unlike Barry Bonds, getting that asterisk next to it is a good thing. This is gonna be a potpourri post of sorts and by that I don’t mean it’s gonna smell like the insert in a Good Housekeeping magazine. I’m gonna touch on a few strategies as best I can. Unlike other Fantasy Football machine-driven sites, I’m the hard drive, the mother brain, the encrypted file to this whole Razzball rankings game we got going on. Which also leads me down paths some would fear to tread some weeks. I have my moments of striking gold but also moments of hitting my neighbor’s sewage pipe so let’s not freak too much the funk out if you disagree with my musings. But this is a DST post to end all DST posts so let’s not dawdle about. Here’s some playoff strategies for your playoff run for 2013 Fantasy Football…
So you own a Top 5 Defense…
Here I’m gonna look over the playoff matchups and if you need a healthy alternative that’s relatively unowned, I’ll throw it out your way. I’m adhering to yahoo’s current rankings for these team defenses, not total fantasy points just for clarity sake. And just noting that I’m talking yahoo, keep in mind that’s also where the percentage owned numbers come from. Also note I’m doing you a flavor and even throwing in week 17 matchups for those of you who are playing that as your championship week for some godforsaken reason (hint: don’t) because that’s how I roll. And the final note here is I’m doing this research on Saturday before the week 12 games start so any rankings/points references will be based off of week 11. Why? Cuz I got a day job, bros, and this research takes a bit more than a buy/sell column does. The best under-owned defense for each week will be noted below so you can play mix and match on your own time. Or pocket pool, whatever your game of choice may be.
Kansas City Chiefs DST (@WAS, @OAK, IND, @SD) – See? I told you writing this on Saturday was gonna make me look silly. They may be droppable at this point given the difficulties they had against the Chargers. At this time, I’m only really comfortable with trying them in Oakland due to injuries. You may get a few TOs outta RG3 and company but you might also get tagged for 30+ points. Possible weeks of concern: pretty much every single game remaining. Stream away, gents and lady gents.
Cincinnati Bengals DST (IND, @PIT, MIN, BAL) – Probably one of the nicer stretches for a top end defense, Cincy gets 3 of their last 4 games at home which is pretty important for this defense as 74% of their fantasy points on the year have been scored at home. Though it’s not too uncommon for defense to slip a bit on the road, that’s a bit egregious and they’ve actually played more road games than home games so far (6 to 5) so that home/away split is even more rubbernecking. Possible weeks of concern: 15.
Seattle Seahawks DST (@SF, @NYG, ARI, STL) – The ‘hawks defense has been a mixed bag this year for fantasy owners. On the one hand, they’ve only had one game with fewer than 9 points (an odd 2 point showing at home vs the Bucs) but on the other they haven’t blown the doors off anyone since a week 2 performance against the 49ers at home. There’s something to be said for consistency, though, in that you’ve had zero concern to really sit them regardless of matchup. The Seahawks are vying for the top seed in the NFC so unless every other contender falls of the map record-wise down the stretch, I have to say this might be the safest top defense in the final 4. Possible weeks of concern: 14.
Carolina Panthers DST (@NO, NYJ, NO, ATL) – I think we all know which week is the concern here. Sure, week 16 may be worrisome but the Saints offense loses about 10 points per game just by leaving the friendly dome they call home. But lets not forget both of these teams are fighting for the top spot in their division and possible first round byes. In either case, the Jets and the Falcons should be worm food for these guys. Possible weeks of concern: 14 and 16.
Saint Louis Rams DST (@ARI, NO, TB, @SEA) – I can’t make this stuff up, guys. According to yahoo rankings, this is your 5th best team defense on the year as of Saturday, November 23rd, 2013. I’d add in the time stamp here to further the stupidity but I’ve got things that need to be done. There’s a reason they’re only 58% owned. I’d consider them at home against the Bucs and probably skip the rest. And THIS is why you stream, kids.
San Francisco 49ers DST (SEA, @TB, ATL, @ARI) – Bonus track! Sorry, couldn’t let the Rams thing happen…just couldn’t. I’m a bit worried about the 49ers down the stretch, in all honesty. Only game I’d start them with confidence in would be against the hapless Falcons at home. Tampa Bay may not be the best team in football but they’re much improved and the 49ers are gonna have to prove something to me this weekend before I trust them against a ‘hawks team with Percy and a Cardinals team that might be fighting for their playoff lives. Possible weeks of concern: 14, 15, and 17.
Defenses For Your Weeks Of Concern
Finally, let’s go over some of the team defenses to plug the gaps for you down the stretch. You’re playoff bound, grab them now and set yourself up for success. Since there’ll be repeats on this list no doubt, pardon me if I’m light on words and heavy on Gruden’ing you and saying ‘these guys’ a lot. I’ll specifically be targeting teams that are under 50% owned. That means I can’t even suggest the Bears if I wanted to because they’re 91% owned in yahoo leagues. And let that be a firm reminder to you of how many abandoned leagues there are in fantasy football. Be thankful you play with those who care.
New York Jets DST (14% owned) – Their secondary is atrocious, they’re middle of the road in sacks and Geno continually puts them in bad spots defensively. Why am I suggesting them, you ask? Because they’re at home facing the Raiders who are either gonna be lead by McGloin or Pryor, neither of whom do I trust and the Jets should still be fighting for their playoff lives. Intelligent or no, there is life here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST (24% owned) – Normally I go only with the home team but week 14 might be good for both in this matchup in Buffalo. Bucs have woken up a bit and the Bills offense hasn’t exactly been the most intimidating force this year. Picking up one or the other and hope for minimal scoring from both.
Buffalo Bills DST (21% owned) – See 1/4 inch above. Really, normally I go with the home team but this is a tough set up for both teams and it could go either way. Bills defense throttled the Jets week 11 at home so they have the slight edge for me if I had to choose between the two.
Buffalo Bills DST (21% owned) – Yeah, it’s an away game. But it’s in Jacksonville. Could be in Botswana for all I care, I’d play them against the Jags.
Indianapolis Colts DST (43% owned) – I have nothing against Keenum (if Kubiak hasn’t already pulled and started him 5 times before this post even goes live) but Indy is in the playoff hunt, needs wins and is playing at home.
Philadelphia Eagles DST (7% owned) – Yeah, we’re scraping here for sure but it’s a team surging for the playoffs going against a Minnesota team that doesn’t even know who its QB is from week to week right now. Pretty big gamble since it’s on the road but they’ve been decent since week 8…yeah, I’m not gonna oversell this one. Definitely not for the faint of heart.
New York Jets DST (14% owned) – Here these guys are again. Home again, this time against the Browns. You’ll know full well if they’re a viable option by their record and whether the New York Post says Rex Ryan should be fired after the season or have his contract extended RIGHT THE FRICK NOW.
Buffalo Bills DST (21% owned) – Why haven’t I just said to pick them up for their entire playoff push? Good question. Maybe I just like repeating myself. At home and against a Miami-coached team by crazy-eyed egghead Philbin. If for some insane reason the Dolphins are still in contention this game, Bills will play spoilers in a big way.
Miami Dolphins DST (14% owned) – Yeah, clearly I love the Bills defense at home just as much as I hate their offense in general. The Dolphins offense has been shaky all year due to the issues I mentioned in the Bills blurb but the defense has been strong and a good stream here and there. This could be one of those weeks.
Miami Dolphins DST (14% owned) – Playing the Jets at home. Game, set, blouses. A little concerned the Jets get their run on but a Geno fumble here, a Geno pick-6 there and you’re looking pretty swag, my Razzball bros and bronettes.
New York Giants DST (28% owned) – Odd as it is to say, Giants are still in the playoff hunt. Even odder as it is to say, the Redskins started out almost the same as them and are not, at least on the surface. You just never know with the NFC (l)East but the Giants could be surging for a playoff spot, playing at home against a team that looks like a complete mess. Gamble for sure but a team that has played much improved ball over the last few weeks heading into week 12.
And with that, I’m spent and can’t believe you read the whole thing. It’s about team defenses for cripes’ sake. That’s just silly. But I’m glad you made it through with me. Peace out and looking forward to thinking forward *pinkie to mouth* about week 15 with you next week.