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Week 11 NFL Defense (DEF) Tiers

With only two teams on bye this week (Dallas and St. Louis), there are a multitude of defensive options to choose from, but we see one defense that stands out above the rest.


Tier 1: Seattle Seahawks

For our Week 11 defensive rankings, only the Seahawks are able to reach Tier 1.  Seattle has a prime matchup this week with the Vikings and injured quarterback Christian Ponder, whose struggles have been well documented.  In his six starts this season, Ponder has thrown seven interceptions and only five touchdowns.  Seattle also has the comfort of being at home where they dominate the opposition, allowing only 14 points a contest and generating 10 takeaways in those four games.  The defense also has nine straight games of two or more sacks and they should be able to take advantage of a weak Minnesota offensive line.  Losing corner Brandon Browner will hurt in the long run, but not in this game against an awful Minnesota passing attack.


Tier 2: Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers

Tier 2 is studded with teams that match up against fill-in quarterbacks.  The Colts (Fitzpatrick), Jets (Manual), Bengals (Campbell) and Cardinals (Henne) all face quarterbacks who were not QB1 on their teams to start the season.  The outsiders in this group are the Saints, Lions and Panthers, but these three teams all rank in the top ten in take/give margin this year at +5, +1, and +8 respectively.  The Panthers matchup against New England does not look initially good, but they currently are second in the NFL in rushing-yards­-against and points-allowed-per-game (12.8).  Overall, any team in this group should provide solid production with the upside to be the top scoring fantasy defense of the week.


Tier 3: Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots

Perhaps no other group of teams listed has as much potential upside or downside this week as does Tier 3.  A team like Kansas City provides a great case study, as the Chiefs lead the league giving up just 12.3 points a game and play a Broncos team scoring over 41 a game.  Do you believe a team with 23 takeaways and seven defensive scores can tame Peyton and company?  The Chargers and Dolphins face off this weekend in Miami in a game featuring no standout group of offensive or defensive players.  A sneaky play in this group could be Buffalo as they take on the Jets and Geno Smith.  Smith has been about as inconsistent as most rookie quarterbacks are, and Buffalo has multiple sacks in all but one game this year.  In that same game the Jets bring in the number one rushing defense (73.8 yards per game), and they should make life difficult for Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.


Tier 4: New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders

For the six teams listed in this class, their inability to stop most teams is combined with the glimmer of hope that they can turn in an effective performance at very low cost.  At the start of the season, the game featuring New York and Green Bay would have one of the most anticipated offensive showdowns. However, with Eli Manning struggling and Aaron Rodgers down with an injury, the game suddenly opens up for the defenses to figure heavily in the outcome.   Manning has a thrown a league-high 16 picks and Green Bay will trot out Scott Tolzein who just a few weeks ago was on the practice squad.  Similarly, Tampa Bay and Atlanta came into the season with high hopes that were dashed with devastating injuries to their best offensive players, Doug Martin and Julio Jones.  Also in this group are the Jaguars, whom many will not give the time of day to, but it is worth noting that last week they forced four turnovers and scored a touchdown. The team has not had more than three sacks in any one game this year-- pressure is not their strong suit, so keep expectations low.


Tier 5: Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers

The last tier includes four teams who are all in the bottom third of the league in points allowed per game, with Minnesota and Washington ranking 30th and 31st.  To make matters worse for this group, all of them are facing teams in the top 10 in scoring on the offensive side.  With Washington and Philadelphia playing each other on Sunday, this could be the shootout of the weekend with a red-hot Nick Foles and improving Robert Griffin III under center for each team.  The Steelers only gave up 10 points to Oakland last week, but are just two weeks removed from giving up a franchise-record 55 points to New England.  If you play in a yearly league, none of these defenses should be owned, and if you play in weekly leagues do not get caught up with the cheap price tag for these teams-- the risk far outweighs the reward.



Below you can find some more Week 11 articles written by RotoBaller’s team of writers. Check them out as you prepare for your Week 11 fantasy matchups:



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