The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons’ fantasy D/STs fared better than anticipated in a matchup of high-powered offenses on Thursday Night Football. Atlanta registered double-digit fantasy points for the fifth time this season (ESPN standard scoring) while the Saints’ awful defense managed to record a positive fantasy output.
That’s actually progress—New Orleans’ D/ST recorded less than zero fantasy points in three of its six games prior to Thursday night.
Fantasy owners as a whole wisely handled the situation, with 59.8 percent of ESPN.com users starting the Falcons D/ST and 0.8 percent rolling with the Saints in Week 13. There are plenty of favorable matchups for other fantasy defenses this week. Here’s No. 6 through No. 15.
6. Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers).
7. Cincinnati Bengals (at San Diego Chargers).
8. Cleveland Browns (at Oakland Raiders).
9. Seattle Seahawks (at Chicago Bears).
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (at Baltimore Ravens).
11. Carolina Panthers (at Kansas City Chiefs).
12. San Francisco 49ers (at St. Louis Rams).
13. Buffalo Bills (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars).
14. Indianapolis Colts (at Detroit Lions).
15. Houston Texans (at Tennessee Titans).
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been putting points up in bunches, terrorizing fantasy D/STs in the process. But here’s the thing: None of the defenses that they’ve played since their 22-plus PPG streak started is as good as that of the Denver Broncos.
Denver’s defense is experiencing much success lately, with at least one turnover forced in each of its last seven games. It has also scored five touchdowns in that span.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ ailing offensive unit will be without DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy because of injuries. Nick Foles hasn’t scared anyone in Vick’s absence and, despite having a great game in terms of yards (178) and touchdowns (two) in his first career start last week, Bryce Brown put the ball on the carpet twice.
The Dallas Cowboys should also be able to force Philly into playing from behind.
With Ryan Lindley under center, the Arizona Cardinals appear to be an even better fantasy matchup for D/STs than the Kansas City Chiefs. The rookie QB has thrown for 376 yards and four interceptions in his last two starts.
The New York Jets have a cornerback in Antonio Cromartie who should be able to hang with Larry Fitzgerald while the rest of the defense breezes by Arizona’s horrible offensive line to get sacks.
The New England Patriots have yet to play against rookie Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins, but their defense has all sorts of momentum on its side. In just the last three games (since their Week 9 bye), the Patriots have forced 12 turnovers and scored five touchdowns defensively.
That’s Chicago Bears-esque.
Of course, having a Chicago Bears-esque run does not make a team the Chicago Bears. Da Bears have not scored a defensive touchdown since Week 9 and failed to turn Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11, but that’s the exception.
In every other game this season, Chicago has forced opposing offenses into coughing the football up twice or more. It is as sure a bet as any to force Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks into giving the ball away on Sunday.
For more fantasy football advice, follow Jamal on Twitter: Follow @StatManJ.