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Week 13 and Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

This is your last shot at the playoffs--don't miss out because you neglected something as important as your DST! That's only half-sarcastic. Below are RotoBaller's Week 13 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 13 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 13. Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker. Below we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 13 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 13 RotoBallers!

I've also included a bonus list of my top playoff streamers--I'm not including the top dogs who likely aren't available in most leagues (less than 50% owned in ESPN).

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


Top Playoff Defenses To Start & Stream: Rankings

DST Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
New York Jets Defense vs. MIA @ BAL vs. PIT
Dallas Cowboys Defense @ CHI vs. LAR @ PHI
Philadelphia Eagles Defense vs. NYG @ WAS vs. DAL
Kansas City Chiefs Defense @ NE vs. DEN @ CHI
Seattle Seahawks Defense @ LAR @ CAR vs. ARI
Oakland Raiders Defense vs. TEN vs. JAC @ LAC

Week 13 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.


Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 New York Jets Defense @ CIN 11.55
2 1 New England Patriots Defense @ HOU 10.65
3 1 Los Angeles Rams Defense @ ARI 10.1

Holy cow, never thought I'd see the Jets up here. The pieces all add up though--the Bengals have allowed the fourth-most sacks in the NFL (40), while the Jets have tallied 13 across their last three games. The Jets are coming off three huge fantasy weeks against bad opponents, and they'll now get the winless, 29th-ranked Cincy offense. Some slight caution here--Andy Dalton's return to the starting lineup may invigorate the offense a bit (especially Tyler Boyd), but he was benched for a reason. Bengals aren't getting their first win here.

Prior to running into God Mode Lamar Jackson (from whom none are safe), the Rams DST had rattled off four great outings in a row. I expect them to bounce back in a big way against the Cardinals, who should be near full health minus David Johnson. With Kenyan Drake, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and Chase Edmonds all at his disposal, Kyler Murray will look to push the ball down the field early in this one--but Arizona has allowed the eighth-most sacks in the NFL (36). The Rams front seven should make life difficult for the talented rookie all day.


Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
4 2 Carolina Panthers Defense vs. WAS 9.5
5 2 Chicago Bears Defense @ DET 9.2
6 2 Los Angeles Chargers Defense @ DEN 8.95
7 2 Philadelphia Eagles Defense @ MIA 8.7
8 2 Cleveland Browns Defense @ PIT 8.35
9 2 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense vs. CLE 7.6

If there was ever a get-right spot for the Bears defense, it's here. On the short Thanksgiving week, they'll get either a banged-up Jeff Driskel, who's coming off a three-INT performance, or they'll get undrafted rookie David Blough under center. I know, I had to Google him too. If they can't get to double-digit fantasy points in this one...I just don't know.

The Chargers DST has been the definition of mediocre this season, as they sit right around 15th in the total points category. I have high expectations for them against Denver, as the Bills just showed a blueprint for how to baffle Brandon Allen (and the Bills aren't the only team to do it). Allen simply can't move the ball down the field effectively, and between his ineptitude and the injured Joe Flacco's, it's no wonder the Broncos have the 26th-ranked offense in football. Start the Chargers with confidence here, hope Courtland Sutton doesn't haul in a couple big bombs.

The Steelers defense got back to their dominant ways against the lowly Bengals in Week 12, but in the last week of the fantasy regular season they'll get a much more challenging draw. Baker Mayfield has the Browns offense as a whole rocking at the moment, with Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. all stepping it up in the last few weeks. I still like the Steelers as a top-10 option thanks to the talent they trot out every week, but my expectations are tempered.

The Browns on the other hand get Mason Rudolph, who is #notgood. This one certainly has the makings of a vicious AFC North grinder on both sides of the ball, so you can start either DST with relative confidence that this won't devolve into a shootout. Maybe someone tries to run Baker over with the injury cart, who knows what'll happen?


Middle and Lower Tier Defenses

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
10 3 Baltimore Ravens Defense vs. SF 7.2
11 3 Dallas Cowboys Defense vs. BUF 6.9
12 3 Buffalo Bills Defense @ DAL 6.75
13 3 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense vs. TB 6
14 3 Seattle Seahawks Defense vs. MIN 5.85

The Ravens defense has been red-hot, and they're coming off a savage beatdown of the beleaguered Rams offense heading into Week 13. This will truly be a case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, as the 49ers offense has also been on a tear, and is coming off a whooping of the Green Bay Packers. Ultimately I've got the Ravens as a top-10 option, as they've simply been too good as a whole since Marcus Peters joined the secondary. Good luck keeping pace with Lamar, Jimmy Garoppolo!

The Bills are 8-3, and they've got a chance to make a major statement on national television as they travel to Jerry World for Thanksgiving. This defense is loaded with young talent, from Shaq Lawson, Ed Oliver, and Tremaine Edmunds to soon-to-be-Pro Bowler Tre White, and they're going to make it a game against the Cowboys no matter what. Unfortunately, I also think that the Bills' offensive struggles aren't going to stop on the road in a short week. Josh Allen has been much more careful with the ball in the last month and a half, and Devin Singletary has certainly arrived on the scene, but the offense still stalls in the red zone far too often. I think either defense is an acceptable play this week, as I foresee something like a 17-10 final.


Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
15 4 Green Bay Packers Defense @ NYG 5.45
16 4 San Francisco 49ers Defense @ BAL 5.15
17 4 Detroit Lions Defense vs. CHI 4.9
18 4 New Orleans Saints Defense @ ATL 4.4
19 4 Kansas City Chiefs Defense vs. OAK 3.7

The 49ers are lucky to still be in this tier given that they've got Lamar Jackson on deck, but it's impossible to ignore how truly dominant they've been. As I mentioned before, it'll be an unstoppable force versus an immovable object, and unfortunately I see this one going the way of the Ravens offense. I don't think the 49ers allow Jackson to put up video game numbers like the Rams just did, but I don't see them holding that offense under 21 points.

I would love to rank the Saints higher, but they were just smashed by the Falcons in Week 10 and showed us a collapse for the ages against the Panthers in Week 12. My confidence in this unit simply isn't high, and with the Falcons offense starting to look capable once again it's hard to like much about the Saints this week. They're a desperation streamer at best, and you better hope Julio Jones' apparent injury is real or that Matt Ryan has an off day.


Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
20 5 Indianapolis Colts Defense vs. TEN 3.25
21 5 Tennessee Titans Defense @ IND 2.6
22 5 Washington Redskins Defense @ CAR 2.15
23 5 Denver Broncos Defense vs. LAC 1.8
24 5 Minnesota Vikings Defense @ SEA 1.15

More Fantasy Football Analysis

Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

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.

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