Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Week 12 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Almost out of time to make that last push for the playoffs--no time like the present to squeak out a win because you picked the right defense.

Below are RotoBaller's Week 12 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 12 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column.

Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver wire pickups 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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

Below 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. Good luck in Week 12 RotoBallers!


Week 12 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues and Tier 5 being desperation plays or good defenses in horrendous matchups.

Returning for this year: Confidence Ratings - 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 a straight point projection. A zero means "do not start," then the confidence rises from there. I take a lot of factors into account here--opponent injuries, home field advantage, weather, etc. We've got four weeks of data to work with now, so we're going to be able to be a bit more precise basing our ratings on hard numbers.

On bye this week: Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals


Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense @ CIN 13.2
2 1 Buffalo Bills Defense vs. DEN 12.65
3 1 New Orleans Saints Defense vs. CAR 12.1

The Steelers swung and missed against the Browns on Thursday, but it's hard to take a Thursday game into account when projecting for the future--they're always kinda wonky. This week we have a top-three fantasy scoring DST going up against a bottom-five offense that's still starting Ryan Finley, who is averaging 141 passing yards a game and has a sexy 1:4 TD-turnover ratio through two starts.

Brandon Allen has played capably since taking over for Joe Flacco, but the Denver offense as a whole is still just 25th in the NFL in total yards per game. An underwhelming receiving corps comprised almost entirely of terrific Courtland Sutton play handicaps the upside of this offense, and they're find tough sledding against the Bills at home in Orchard Park. The Broncos have allowed the ninth-most sacks (32) in the NFL while the Bills pass rush has stepped up recently with 13 sacks across their last three games.


Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
4 2 Baltimore Ravens Defense @ LAR 11.5
5 2 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense @ TEN 11
6 2 San Francisco 49ers Defense vs. GB 10.5
7 2 Chicago Bears Defense vs. NYG 9.85
8 2 Cleveland Browns Defense vs. MIA 9.2
9 2 New England Patriots Defense vs. DAL 8.35

The Jaguars feasted on the Marcus Mariota-led Titans in Week 3, racking up nine sacks while holding the Tennessee offense to just seven points. They may not find as much success against Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the surging Titans, who have won three of their last four games while averaging over 26 points scored per game. Tannehill's 8:4 TD-INT ratio isn't groundbreaking, but between his ability to push the ball down the field and a rejuvenated Derrick Henry running wild, the Titans should be able to keep the Jags on their heels a bit. Don't get it twisted though--this is still the 26th-best offense in football right now, even if they are weighed down by Mariota's awful start to the season. The Jags are firmly in starting territory and have upside, but if there's one trap game for a top DST this week, this is my pick.

Many referred to the Ravens as the "first real test" for the Patriots defense, and sure enough they melted under the blazing heat of God Mode Lamar Jackson. The Pats bounced back nicely in Week 11, holding the Philly offense to just 10 points while tallying five sacks and a fumble recovery. This week's matchup will present an interesting measuring stick--did they simply run into Lamar Jackson on the wrong day, or can they really not hang with elite offenses like Baltimore or Dallas? Dak Prescott is riding an unbelievable stretch right now, and it'll be up to the Patriots to figure out how to contain him if they're going to hold onto their claim as an elite fantasy DST, and not merely a good team with a laughable schedule.


Middle and Lower Tier Defenses

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
10 3 Atlanta Falcons Defense vs. TB 7.9
11 3 New York Jets Defense vs. OAK 7.2
12 3 Houston Texans Defense vs. IND 6.45
13 3 Detroit Lions Defense @ WAS 6.15
14 3 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. JAC 5.55
15 3 Oakland Raiders Defense @ NYJ 5.1

Just when you thought the Falcons defense might be the worst in the NFL...they turn around and post two dominant performances. In Week 10 they beat up on Drew Brees and the Saints offensive line, notching six sacks and holding the powerful Saints offense to just nine total points. They followed that up with a beatdown of the Carolina Panthers, adding another five sacks while picking off Kyle Allen four times--and even added a special teams touchdown. I'm still wary of their LONG track record of being torn up by middling and elite offenses (averaging over 26 points allowed per game), but given they have a date with pick machine Jameis Winston up next, they deserve a spot in my top 10. They should be widely available as well, making them a terrific streaming option in Week 12.

The Raiders present a similar opportunity this week. They've been gashed all season by the pass (262.2 passing yards per game) but over their last two games they've put up ten total sacks and five total turnovers. Granted, those two games were against Philip Rivers, who is literally disintegrating in front of our eyes, and a Ryan Finley-led Bengals offense. There is some optimism here given the overall futility of the Jets offensive line (third-most sacks allowed with 41), but with Sam Darnold averaging a 65% completion rate and and 6:2 passing touchdown ratio over his last four games I am playing it safe. The Raiders are a streamable option this week, but temper your expectations.


Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
16 4 Washington Redskins Defense vs. DET 4.65
17 4 Indianapolis Colts Defense @ HOU 4.2
18 4 Denver Broncos Defense @ BUF 3.75
19 4 New York Giants Defense @ CHI 3.1

The Colts DST has been modestly productive over their last three games, posting five turnovers and averaging just over 16 points allowed per game, but those stats came against the Steelers, Dolphins and Jaguars. They'll truly be tested by Deshaun Watson and the Texans this week, but I'm interested to see how that offense bounces back after getting absolutely thrashed by the Ravens in Week 11. They managed just a single touchdown in garbage time, and yielded seven total sacks. This is a Thursday night game, which typically feature some outlying performances on both sides of the ball, and with the return of Will Fuller a possibility, I'm probably skipping on the Colts DST.

The Giants DST has been brutal for fantasy purposes all season, but there is the possibility that they'll be usable this week given that Matt Nagy has once again committed to Mitch Trubisky as the starter--assuming his hip injury clears up in time. The Bears offense simply struggles under Trubisky--they're 30th in total yards per game--which gives some optimism for the Giants defense. I expect this to be a low-scoring affair, but I'd be much more optimistic if the Giants hadn't yielded 25 or more points in each of their last six games. If you are desperate, and I mean DESPERATE, you can consider the Giants in Week 12.


Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
20 5 Philadelphia Eagles Defense vs. SEA 2.65
21 5 Dallas Cowboys Defense @ NE 2.2
22 5 Los Angeles Rams Defense vs. BAL 2.15
23 5 Carolina Panthers Defense @ NO 1.7
24 5 Green Bay Packers Defense @ SF 1.2

More Fantasy Football 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.

More Recent Articles


QB vs Pass Rush Matchups To Watch - Week 15

Week 15 is here, and the fantasy playoffs are rolling. Some head into the fantasy semifinals as big favorites but others are scrapping to keep their season alive. Real teams start at quarterback, and the position is pretty important for fantasy as well. Quarterbacks have changed the game for fantasy football this year with guys... Read More

Wide Receiver Matchups To Target In Week 15

In Week 14, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas were the high-end options that came through with solid performances, both finishing in the top-five even though they had fairly tough matchups. A.J. Brown finished as the No. 1 receiver on the week, scoring two touchdowns off of just seven targets, while Darius Slayton and Emmanuel Sanders... Read More

Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 15 Lineups

The trend of fresh faces being among the tops of the fantasy scoring leaderboard continued in Week 14. Across the skill positions, we saw players that took advantage of plus matchups and excelled for fantasy owners during the first week of the playoffs. Mitchell Trubisky and Drew Lock came out of nowhere to finish inside... Read More

Inside the Tent - Week 15 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues... Read More

NFL Matchup Ratings Tool - Weekly Player Projections

  If you see the red "Upgrade" button below, then you are not a Premium subscriber, or have not yet logged in. Learn more about our NFL Matchup Ratings and projections system. Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 15

Welcome to our Week 15 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More

Week 15 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 15 Jared Cook (concussion) practiced in full. D.J. Chark has officially been ruled out for Week 15. Adam Thielen... Read More

All-Day For the Win: Why Adrian Peterson Matters Again

I don't think anyone could ever be happy at any sports player getting injured. It just makes no sense, so please leave the hatred out now and forever when it comes to that. That being said, though, we're talking about just a branch of sports here with fantasy football, and we all know what is... Read More

Fantasy Football IDP Rankings for Week 15 (Top 100)

One of the great things about implementing IDP in fantasy football is that it balances out some of the insanity that the offensive players produce in some weeks. If you started a lineup with Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Boston Scott, A.J. Brown, Darius Slayton, and Noah Fant then you undoubtedly crushed your opponent while a... Read More

Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Kenny Golladay, Kenyan Drake, James White

If there was ever a week to have more booms than busts in your fantasy football lineup, it’s this week. The playoffs are either underway or about to start in fantasy football leagues across the nation and around the world. If you are lucky enough to be the proud owner of a playoff team, then... Read More

Show Me The Money! Stashes That Could Win Your League

Success in the fantasy playoffs is all about planning ahead. Your bench is no longer a safe space for high floor players without much of a ceiling; they won't win you the big game. You need to look ahead and stash players with exploitable matchups in the weeks to come so that you don't get... Read More

Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 14 Analysis

Wide receivers are essential components toward your ultimate goal of securing league championships. If you are preparing for Week 15 matchups, an expanding collection of tools are available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge. Those results provide the foundation for this weekly statistical breakdown of the wide receiver position, which is designed... Read More

The King's Week 15 Lineup Rankings and Analysis (Premium Content)

Welcome back, RotoBallers! Below you will find my Week 15 fantasy football lineup rankings for the second round of your playoffs. The ranks are available in PPR, Half PPR, and Standard formats. They will be updated as needed, so make sure to check back for the latest versions, especially on the weekends. Skill Position analysis versus... Read More

Week 15 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that the playoffs are in full swing in most leagues and the final march for a championship has begun, streaming becomes a  necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions could easily be the difference in winning... Read More