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Week 13 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2018 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

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.

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 13 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 13 RotoBallers!

New for this year: Confidence Rating - since every league's DST scoring is different, projections don't 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. Initial rankings do not factor in Monday Night Football stats. Ranks may be re-evaluated after that game.

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Week 13 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Chicago Bears @ NYG 13.1
2 1 Kansas City Chiefs @ OAK 11.85
3 1 Denver Broncos @ CIN 11.2

The Bears have been positively unstoppable in 2018--12 or more fantasy points in all but three games, fourth in yards allowed per game, second in points allowed per game. This week should be no different with the Bears visiting the Giants. No matter how good Saquon Barkley is, Khalil Mack and the rest of the Bears pass rush should have a field day making Eli Manning's life hell.

The Chiefs have quietly been a serviceable DST in the last month or so, and in Week 13 they'll draw the Ghost of Contenders Past, the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders will send out the 24th-ranked offense led by Derek Carr, who has not thrown an interception since Week 5...he's just also only thrown six total touchdown passes since then. The Chiefs will be well-rested coming off the bye, and this one could get out of hand quickly. Wouldn't be shocked to see Kansas City's non-starters out there in the fourth quarter.

The Broncos have been faced with some tough tests in the last month, squaring off against the Chiefs, Texans, Chargers, and Steelers in their last four games. In that time frame, they averaged just 22 points allowed, which is respectable given the opponents. This week they'll get a break when they travel to Cincy to face the Jeff Driskel-led Bengals. That makes the Broncos a no-brainer Tier 1 DST, but I honestly think the upside doesn't match the other two I have here--the Bengals will not ask Driskel to do much, and they'll lean the offense on Joe Mixon. Broncos should keep points off the board, but their run defense is beatable--they're 24th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (123.1).


Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
4 2 Seattle Seahawks vs. SF 10.75
5 2 Los Angeles Rams @ DET 10.3
6 2 Green Bay Packers vs. ARI 9.85
7 2 Washington Redskins @ PHI 9.4
8 2 Philadelphia Eagles vs. WAS 8.95

The Seahawks are coming off a really rough stretch of opponents--in the last four weeks they've played the Chargers, Rams, Packers, and Panthers, and their DST scores have reflected those tough matchups. I fully expect them to bounce back against Nick Mullens and the 49ers, particularly given that they're at home in this one. Mullens managed just 221 yards and one touchdown along with two interceptions against the Bucs 27th-ranked pass defense last week, and he certainly isn't going to improve against the Seahawks secondary. I fear I may have the Seahawks ranked too low.

The Packers DST hasn't been impressive this year, but their ranking here is all about the matchup. Josh Rosen has certainly shown flashes of his first-round pedigree this season, but he is still very, very raw, and his stat lines have shown that. Rosen has thrown nine interceptions in his last five games, and he's also thrown for under 200 yards in all but two of his starts this season--he simply can't move the offense forward consistently yet. David Johnson is an ever-looming threat, but as we saw last week if the game gets out of hand, he can become a victim of the game script. Start the Packers with confidence this week.

The Eagles have been a dreadful disappointment this season on both sides of the ball, but particularly on defense. They've been victimized by the injury bug, but regardless of how they've got there, they've been borderline useless as a fantasy DST. That should change this week against the Redskins, who are similarly crippled by injury. The huge losses to their offensive line loom larger than the injury to Alex Smith (Colt McCoy has performed admirably in his absence), and they're hemorrhaging sacks every week now. That's where the upside is for the Eagles this week--sacks and (hopefully) fewer points allowed.


Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
9 3 Houston Texans vs. CLE 8.5
10 3 New Orleans Saints @ DAL 7.75
11 3 Miami Dolphins vs. BUF 7.2
12 3 Buffalo Bills @ MIA 6.5
13 3 Tennessee Titans vs. NYJ 6.15

The Texans DST is behind only the Bears in fantasy points through 12 weeks, and for good reason--they're tied for sixth in sacks (34), tied for seventh in takeaways (18), and they're fifth in points allowed per game (20.2). I would love to rank them higher, but the new-look Cleveland Browns offense gives me pause. Since Freddie Kitchens took over as the Browns head coach, Baker Mayfield has looked like an MVP--over his last two games, he's thrown for 474 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions. Nick Chubb has rushed for 260 yards and two scores in that time frame, along with two receiving touchdowns. The Texans should still win this game and tally a few sacks, but their upside is simply limited with the Browns offense humming on all cylinders.

The Bills all of a sudden can't be slept on. Josh Allen returned with a vengeance against the previously elite Jaguars defense, tossing 160 yards and a score while also shredding on the ground with 13 rushes for 99 yards and another score. The Dolphins have yielded 27 or more points in five of their last six games, and if you don't count their Week 9 game against the Jets they've been dreadful in the DST scoring categories as well. They still hover in Tier 3 as startable because generally speaking the Bills offense under Josh Allen has been awful, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Bills manage to win this game and spoil the Dolphins DST.

Back-to-back thrashings at the hands of the Colts and Texans have left the Titans defense reeling, but they're in a get-right spot against the Jets this week. It looks like Sam Darnold will be out once again, leaving Josh McCown under center. That should limit the Titans DST's upside, as Darnold was probably more likely to throw interceptions. Regardless of who is under center, the Jets are a bottom-five offense and are on the road, so there's still streaming appeal for the Titans for sure.


Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
14 4 Indianapolis Colts @ JAC 5.75
15 4 Cincinnati Bengals vs. DEN 5.5
16 4 Los Angeles Chargers @ PIT 5.2
17 4 Carolina Panthers @ TB 4.85
18 4 New York Jets @ TEN 4.5
19 4 Cleveland Browns @ HOU 4.15

The Los Angeles Chargers have been excellent in the back half of the season, putting up double-digit fantasy points in five of their last seven games--and that's mostly WITHOUT a fully-healthy Joey Bosa. As much as I would love to rank them higher, it's extremely difficult to bet against the Steelers at home, especially Ben Roethlisberger. While the "Road Ben" narrative has dissipated in 2018, he is still unbelievable at home--so far this year he boasts a 14:3 TD-INT ratio along with a 107.9 rating when playing in Heinz Field. He still has a fully healthy complement of weapons at his disposal, and I simply don't see a route to success for the Chargers in this one.

Not sure what to make of the Jets DST anymore--they've had some really solid outings this year, but in the past two weeks they've gone negative against the Patriots (acceptable) and Bills (not acceptable). This week they get the Jekyll-and-Hyde Titans offense, and unfortunately, I have to fade them here. Marcus Mariota is a complete enigma--he just went 22-of-23 for 304 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans, a week after leaving early against the Colts after throwing for just 85 yards and a pick. I won't be betting against him here, as the Jets simply don't have the personnel to force the mistakes you want from a DST streamer. The Titans do lead the NFL in sacks allowed (39), so if you're desperate the Jets might be a workable option, but don't expect any kind of fireworks.


Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
20 5 Baltimore Ravens @ ATL 3.5
21 5 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. LAC 3.3
22 5 Jacksonville Jaguars vs. IND 2.9
23 5 New England Patriots vs. MIN 2.6
24 5 Minnesota Vikings @ NE 2.25
25 5 New York Giants vs. CHI 1.75
26 5 Atlanta Falcons vs. BAL 1.45
27 5 Arizona Cardinals @ GB 1.1

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