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With the playoff push in full swing, streaming knowledge is essential now more than ever! Below are RotoBaller's Week 12 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 12 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to drafting defenses, making waiver wire pickups/adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 12.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 12 defenses have good matchups and are not widely owned, representing fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 12 pickup or add.

I've been trying out a new format lately, touching briefly on each team that I have ranked instead of picking just a few to analyze in depth. And just as a heads-up, when I mention DST scores, I am referring to ESPN's standard PPR scoring.Let me know what you think on Twitter (@Roto_Dubs). Good luck in Week 12 RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Try our exclusive Premium Lineup Tools for free! Our proprietary Matchup Rating projections, Lineup Optimizer, DFS value picks, waiver wire rankings and more. Sign Up Now!


Week 12 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Note: I do not expect Nathan Peterman to play against the Chiefs. Should he play, the Chiefs will jump to the top of Tier 2.


Tier 1 Defenses (The "Duh" DSTs)

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (@ ARI)

Blaine Gabbert did an admirable job of filling in for Drew Stanton filling in for Carson Palmer, and has earned another start in Week 12 against the Jaguars. But the Jaguars are the best fantasy DST and it's not even close. Gabbert did toss two picks in his first start, and the Jaguars are even more likely to be able to capitalize on his mistakes. The Jaguars are a must-start, plain and simple.

2. Seattle Seahawks (@ SF)

The Seahawks DST has posted at least eight fantasy points in each of their last six games, and they now get the 22nd-ranked San Francisco 49ers offense. I would downgrade the Seahawks slightly should Jimmy Garoppolo draw the start instead of C.J. Beathard, but they would still be in the first tier given that it's his first game leading the squad. Carlos Hyde is the only real threat on this team, and the Seahawks have more than enough talent to keep him contained.

3. Baltimore Ravens (vs. HOU)

Look at Tom Savage! Two touchdowns and only two turnovers in a winning effort, which is just about as good as you can ask for. Unfortunately for Tommy Boy, he gets the third-ranked Ravens passing defense in Week 12. The Ravens DST has six games of 15+ fantasy points so far this season, and this one smells like it could be another.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. GB)

The Steelers have still allowed 18 points or fewer in all but one game so far (Week 3 at Chicago; 23 points allowed), and Brett Hundley is not going to break that streak. Hundley is coming off an atrocious game against the aforementioned Ravens, in which he turned the ball over four times. Pittsburgh is the fourth-ranked passing defense, and is tied for fourth in interceptions--oh boy, Brett. This ain't gonna go well.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. CHI)

The Eagles DST is red-hot right now, albeit their schedule over the last three games has been against some laughable offenses (Sand Francisco, Denver and an Ezekiel Elliott-less Dallas team). Fortunately for them, the Bears aren't much better than any of those teams. Mitch Trubisky has actually been pretty careful with the ball lately, but in that caution he has been very conservative. There is a very high floor for the Eagles defense, which is why they rank so high here.

Tier 2 Defenses (Rock-Solid Starts)

6. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CLE)

[Insert team playing Cleveland analysis here]

But for real, the Bengals only allowed seven points when they took on Cleveland in Week 4, and this time they get them at home. Beat your homies to the waiver wire and stream away.

7. Houston Texans (@ BAL)

The Texans have some real stinkers on their resume this season, but ultimately they are ranked this high because this is such a low-risk matchup. Joe Flacco is currently rocking a 9:11 TD-INT ratio on the year, and the Ravens are currently dead-last in the NFL in total offense. Don't expect fireworks, but this is a gimme streaming option.

8. Los Angeles Chargers (@ DAL)

The Cowboys have looked awful without Ezekiel Elliott, and they are coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Eagles in which Dak Prescott threw for only 145 yards and three interceptions. The Chargers DST has at least eight points in four of their last five games, and the only one in which they fell short of that mark was at New England (and they held the Patriots to under 20 points). The Cowboys can't block for dookie right now, and Joey Bosa and the Chargers should eat in this game.

9. Carolina Panthers (@ NYJ)

The Panthers defense looked very off in their Week 10 matchup against the Dolphins, in which they notched zero sacks. Despite that effort they're still ranked fourth in the NFL in total sacks. The Jets on the other hand are fourth in the NFL in total sacks allowed. Assuming Josh McCown doesn't pull some sort of magic like he has been, the ceiling is nice and high for the Panthers in Week 12.

Tier 3 Defenses (Decent Streamers)

10. New England Patriots (vs. MIA)

Those damn Patriots. They have turned it around since an abysmal first four games and now have at least eight points in each of their last three games. The Dolphins might be better off if Jay Cutler can't make it through the concussion protocol, but they aren't a risk for any kind of offensive eruption no matter who is under center. The Patriots should win this one handily, and as the Dolphins try to play catch-up there will likely be mistakes.

11. Minnesota Vikings (@ DET)

The Vikings just shut down one of the NFL's best offenses in Week 11, holding the Los Angeles Rams to seven points. The risk here is the matchup in Detroit. Matthew Stafford has a 7:1 TD-INT ratio over his last three games and the entire offense is clicking right now. The ceiling is likely limited because the Lions should put up points one way or another, but you could certainly do worse than Minnesota in Week 12.

12. Detroit Lions (vs. MIN)

On the other side of the ball, the Lions have kept up their DST touchdown streak. I have been saying all year that you can't predict or account for DST touchdowns, but what do I know, right? I'll still advise not to count on a touchdown, but at this point you have to roll with the Lions upside if you're lower in the waiver wire order.

13. Washington Redskins (vs. NYG)

The Redskins are coming off of two BAD games, and have given up 72 points collectively. However, those games were vs. the Vikings and at New Orleans. They now have a home game against the Giants, who are currently a dumpster fire as an entire organization. This one is all about the matchup--Eli can melt down with the best of them and he still has almost nothing around him for weapons. Trust the matchup here.

Tier 4 Defenses (Deep Streamers)

14. Los Angeles Rams (vs. NO)
15. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. BUF)
16. Atlanta Falcons (vs. TB)

17. New York Jets (vs. CAR)
18. New Orleans Saints (@ LAR)
19. Dallas Cowboys (vs. LAC)
20. Tennessee Titans (@ IND)
21. Denver Broncos (@ OAK)

Tier 5 Defenses (Desperation Plays)

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ ATL)
23. Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)
24. Cleveland Browns (@ CIN)
25. Chicago Bears (@ PHI)


More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis

Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.