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Week 11 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2022 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Ravens Defense - Fantasy Football DST Rankings, Draft Sleepers, IDP Targets

Quite a weird week for fantasy DSTs when you see Detroit and Carolina in the top ten plus Minnesota and Washington, who played Buffalo and Philadelphia, respectively. There were technically 11 teams that finished in the top ten since New Orleans and Philadelphia tied for 10th, and we picked six of those 11, so not a bad week. Pittsburgh and Arizona rewarded our faith, and Tennessee showed that, even down five starters, this Denver offense is nothing to be afraid of.

I want to come back quickly to that Minnesota game as just an example of how random DST scoring can be. Minnesota finished as the number-one defense of the week against the Bills. However, based on most league scoring systems, they scored half of their points on one play where all Josh Allen had to do was take a snap and fall forward. That play had a 99.1% success probability, but instead, he fumbled and the Vikings fell on it for a touchdown. It was an incredibly fluky play that you'll rarely ever see, but it took the Vikings from being outside the top ten to being the number one defense. Especially when you add in that they added more points in overtime with an interception even though the game would have been over if Allen had held onto the snap. This is all just a way to say that we need to keep sticking to the process, even if the results aren't there every week. It's OK if you didn't play the Vikings this week. They were one incredibly rare play away from being an average defense for the week and you would have been fine with not having them in your lineup.

As a reminder, every week I do a YouTube DST video called Pick 3(DST) where I give you three defenses I like during the week and one that I'm fading. We have some fun with it, but I think it gives a lot of the same reasoning I present here, so check it out for some video fun. And my BOD Leaderboard is available on Public Tableau, where you can see my updated BOD rankings, plus a leaderboard for the individual defensive stats I use for the BOD formula, and some of the offensive stats that I think can help us determine which DST to play or not. Also, make sure to always check back with this article over the weekend because I will my updated rankings as the week goes on when we get injury news or troubling weather information, etc.

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What is the BOD Ranking Formula?

Last year I introduced my Best Overall Defense (BOD) rankings formula, and I'll be using it again this year. I'll give a quick overview of the formula below, followed by my general strategy for streaming defenses, and then my Week 11 fantasy football defense (DST) rankings. Good luck in Week 10 everyone!

The BOD (Best Overall Defense) formula takes into account my favorite stats for picking the right defenses (both positive and negative) and weighs them in a formula. You can view the RANKINGS AND COMPLETE LEADERBOARD of all the stats I use here. I tweaked the formula as the season went on last year, and I feel like it gives us a pretty good indicator of who has the best defenses for fantasy purposesIf you don't want to click that link, the formula is:

(Pressure Rate x 2) + (Sacks) + (QB Hurry Rate) + (Pass Break-Ups) + (%Drives ending in a Turnover x 2)

Minus

(Missed Tackles)+ (% Drives ending in a Score x 2) + (Yards per play)

It's important to clarify that the BOD rankings ARE NOT to be treated as weekly rankings. BOD is meant to tell us who the best fantasy defenses are, but depending on the matchup, they might be ranked differently in a given week. That's why we have this column where I will be breaking down my rankings for each week and an explanation of why I have the defenses ranked the way I do. The rankings will take into account their BOD ranking, opponent, injuries, weather, etc., but I hope my explanation will help make sense of each ranking.

 

Picking The Right Defenses To Pickup and Start

Just a quick recap of my general philosophy and what we discussed at length last year: when choosing a defense, you want to look for defenses that get consistent pressure and takeaways. Sacks and turnovers are more valuable for fantasy defense than preventing yardage and even, to a certain extent, preventing points. If a defense allows a stingy yards-per-play number, that's great and I'll cite some of those numbers below. However, they better also be able to get into the backfield or force turnovers, or else it won't really matter in the long run.

Essentially, we need to move away from points against as being the most important factor in choosing a fantasy defense. In 2021, NFL offenses gained 343.6 yards per game and scored 23.0 points per game. While that's down from the 24.8 scored in 2020 (most likely because of the deep safety defenses), it's still the third-most in the Super Bowl era.

With offenses putting up video game numbers, it means that we can't continue to judge a defense solely by the number of points they allow or the number of yards they give up. Those numbers will naturally be higher than we're used to. Instead, we need to look for which offensive lines are truly weak points and which defenses will either be blitz-heavy or get consistent pressure with their pass rush. These are all incredibly important pieces of information in determining which defenses to play in any given week.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so remember to check back here during the week as I will make updates once we get more information on some of these injuries and also get a better sense of the weather for the game.

 

Season Record

52-49 correctly predicting top-10 defenses

I want to track how correctly I pick the top 10 this year, so I'll keep track using FantasyPros total points. If anybody has other suggestions, let me know.

 

Week 11 Defenses To Start and Stream: Tiered Rankings

Confidence Ratings (out of 15) - Since every league's DST scoring is different, projections don't always make a ton of sense. The confidence rating is a guideline for how much more I like one team over another instead of just a point projection. This is the best way to see just how much I like one team over another. Not all one or two-spot differences are the same.

A zero means "do not start," and then the confidence rises from there. Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues.

 

Tier 1 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 11

We're back to an incredibly small tier one, but I really just think the Eagles are ahead of the pack this week. Yes, they struggled against the Commanders last night, but even in that effort, they were a top-ten defense. Matt Ryan being back under center for the Colts means lots of sacks since he remains a statue in the pocket. I think you can fire up the Eagles with confidence.

 

Tier 2 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 11

This Bills defense played much better than their 33 points allowed indicate. In reality, if Cam Lewis bats down the pass that Justin Jefferson miraculously caught, the Vikings end with 23 points on the day and nobody is that worried about the Bills. However, this Bills ranking is contingent on the health of Jordan Poyer, Tre'Davious White, Gregory Rousseau, and Tremaine Edmunds who all either missed last week or were hurt last week. Given that this week calls for snow and wind, I think it could be an ugly game, and I have faith in the Bills' defense if they can get healthy.

The Commanders' defense showed up against the Eagles, getting four turnovers and keeping Jalen Hurts relatively in check. They are now, most likely, set to get Chase Young back for the first time all season just in time to take on a mediocre Texans offense that allowed the Giants to finish as a top-ten defense last week. Heading into Monday night, the Commanders were 3rd in the NFL in pressure rate, 4th in tackles for a loss, and 9th in the rate of opponents' drives that end in a score, so they've been fairly solid all year long, and I like this matchup for them.

I'm not sure why people have the Jets outside of the top ten this week. Did people see that defense play against the Bills two weeks ago? This is a legit unit that's 4th in pressure rate, 8th in turnover rate, 7th in the rate of opponents' drives that end in a score, and 12th in sacks.  There is nothing about the Patriots' offense that scares me. In fact, the Patriots allow more fantasy points per game to opposing defenses than the Jets, so I don't believe it's a lock that the Patriots are the better play. I think you can fire up both of these defenses against quarterbacks Zach Wilson and Mac Jones who have been making poor decisions with the football throughout the year.

This Ravens ranking is a bit of guesswork, but they've now had two weeks to get stud linebacker, Roquan Smith, up to speed and had a bye week to prepare for this Panthers offense that will now start Baker Mayfield under center. Mayfield has been a disaster so far and should actually hurt this offense overall. If we believe Smith will now play a full complement of snaps and be integrated into the Ravens' defense then I think this unit will really take a step forward.

 

Tier 3 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 11

The Bengals have tons of injuries in the secondary, so even though I like the matchup against the Steelers, who give up the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses, I really need to see the injury report before I move the Bengals up higher. I also have some concern that, without Ja'Marr Chase, the offense will have some struggles against this now-healthy Steelers defense, which could put the defense in some precarious spots.

The Saints have been playing much better defense of late, ranking as the 11th fantasy defense over the last month. They will now face a Rams team that is giving up the most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses and will also likely be without Cooper Kupp, who sprained his ankle on Sunday. Oh, and Matthew Stafford is also coming off of a concussion so we're not sure what his status is. If Stafford is out again, which I'd doubt, I might even move the Saints up even more. SATURDAY UPDATE: The Saints will be without Marson Lattimore, Cameron Jordan, and Marcus Davenport, which lowers their ceiling a bit, but they remain a solid play. 

The Cowboys are 49ers both make tier three because they have been strong defenses all year but they just don't necessarily have the best matchups. Minnesota allows the 7th-fewest points per game to opposing fantasy defenses at 6.4 points per game. Meanwhile, Kyler Murray was close to playing on Sunday, so I expect him back for Arizona and the 49ers are down two key cornerbacks in Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley, which could be a problem against DeAndre Hopkins and company. Losing Zach Ertz hurts Arizona, and I'm still playing the 49ers, but they just aren't as high on my list as they might have been if they were full-strength.

The Steelers are simply a different defense with T.J. Watt back, and this Bengals team is without Chase, as we mentioned above. However, I would urge you not to expect a repeat of their first game of this season. Joe Burrow is playing much better football, and this Bengals offense still has good weapons in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgings. Pittsburgh is a fine play, but I'm not yet ready to totally forgive all their struggles without Watt, especially with Minkah Fitzpatrick not yet 100% after an appendectomy.

Tennessee and Green Bay is a battle of two fringe top-ten defenses against two offenses that love to give up fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Titans were down five starters on defense against the Broncos, so we want to keep an eye on their injury report, but they're also the number one defense in football over the last month, averaging 11.8 points per game. Meanwhile, Green Bay gives up the 8th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses at 10.20 a game.

If the Titans are healthy then I think they're a good play this week, but you can also fire up Green Bay since the Titans give up the 4th-most points to opposing fantasy defenses at 11.16 points per game.  They're obviously better with Ryan Tannehill and Treylon Burks back, but it's still an offense that I think we can take advantage of, and the Packers have been just outside the top ten on the season. Not having Rashan Gary hurts, but this team is 10th in pressure rate, 13th in the rate of opponents' drives that end in a score, 13th in yards allowed per play, and 14th in tackles for a loss, so they've been a solid unit who are in a plus matchup now.

SATURDAY UPDATE: Denver has moved into this tier because of the injury to Davante Adams, he was a limited participant all week, so there's a good chance that he's not at 100% on Sunday, even if he plays. Considering Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow are also out, those a lot of firepower gone for the Raiders. If Adams is out, I'd probably move Denver up more. 

The Rams' defense scored two points last week when Colt McCoy was under center for Arizona, so I'm actually not confident I should have the Rams this high. However, New Orleans gives up the 7th-most points to opposing fantasy defenses, and the Saints could be down three starting offensive linemen on Sunday. That gives the Rams a bit higher of a ceiling, but I still don't really love this defense.

The Vikings also proved last week, even with the flukey touchdown, that they can be a solid play against any offense. I don't think they have the ceiling to be the top defense in the week again, but we just covered that weird stuff can always happen. The Cowboys give up the 3rd-fewest points to opposing fantasy defenses, so it's not a good matchup at all, but I think the Vikings can give you a solid floor game of around six points that could keep them just outside the top ten.

 

Tier 4 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 11

 

Tier 5 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 11



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