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Week 13 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2022 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

We had another solid week, with six of the top 10 defenses again and all of the top 10 defenses were ranked inside my top 15. The biggest issue was that we whiffed on Dallas and Philadelphia, which were both inside my top five and both finished outside of the top ten. I still believe the defenses are solid and the matchups were good, but the fantasy points didn't follow. Sometimes it breaks that way.

We're also far enough into the season that we need to keep in mind season-long rankings but also recent performance. In the writeups below you'll hear me mention season-long stats as well as fantasy performances over the last six weeks to try and create a balance analytical approach.

I will also be creating a rest-of-season article later this week where I look at defenses with great rest-of-season schedules and also defenses that could pair well with one another to give you the best possible performance week in and week out, so keep an eye out for that.

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As a reminder, every week I do a YouTube DST video called Pick 3(DST) where I give you three defenses I like during the week and one that I'm fading. We have some fun with it, but I think it gives a lot of the same reasoning I present here, so check it out for some video fun. And my BOD Leaderboard is available on Public Tableau, where you can see my updated BOD rankings, plus a leaderboard for the individual defensive stats I use for the BOD formula, and some of the offensive stats that I think can help us determine which DST to play or not. Also, make sure to always check back with this article over the weekend because I will my updated rankings as the week goes on when we get injury news or troubling weather information, etc.

 

What is the BOD Ranking Formula?

Last year I introduced my Best Overall Defense (BOD) rankings formula, and I'll be using it again this year. I'll give a quick overview of the formula below, followed by my general strategy for streaming defenses, and then my Week 13 fantasy football defense (DST) rankings. Good luck in Week 13 everyone!

The BOD (Best Overall Defense) formula takes into account my favorite stats for picking the right defenses (both positive and negative) and weighs them in a formula. You can view the RANKINGS AND COMPLETE LEADERBOARD of all the stats I use here. I tweaked the formula as the season went on last year, and I feel like it gives us a pretty good indicator of who has the best defenses for fantasy purposesIf you don't want to click that link, the formula is:

(Pressure Rate x 2) + (Sacks) + (QB Hurry Rate) + (Pass Break-Ups) + (%Drives ending in a Turnover x 2)

Minus

(Missed Tackles)+ (% Drives ending in a Score x 2) + (Yards per play)

It's important to clarify that the BOD rankings ARE NOT to be treated as weekly rankings. BOD is meant to tell us who the best fantasy defenses are, but depending on the matchup, they might be ranked differently in a given week. That's why we have this column where I will be breaking down my rankings for each week and an explanation of why I have the defenses ranked the way I do. The rankings will take into account their BOD ranking, opponent, injuries, weather, etc., but I hope my explanation will help make sense of each ranking.

 

Picking The Right Defenses To Pickup and Start

Just a quick recap of my general philosophy and what we discussed at length last year: when choosing a defense, you want to look for defenses that get consistent pressure and takeaways. Sacks and turnovers are more valuable for fantasy defense than preventing yardage and even, to a certain extent, preventing points. If a defense allows a stingy yards-per-play number, that's great and I'll cite some of those numbers below. However, they better also be able to get into the backfield or force turnovers, or else it won't really matter in the long run.

Essentially, we need to move away from points against as being the most important factor in choosing a fantasy defense. In 2021, NFL offenses gained 343.6 yards per game and scored 23.0 points per game. While that's down from the 24.8 scored in 2020 (most likely because of the deep safety defenses), it's still the third-most in the Super Bowl era.

With offenses putting up video game numbers, it means that we can't continue to judge a defense solely by the number of points they allow or the number of yards they give up. Those numbers will naturally be higher than we're used to. Instead, we need to look for which offensive lines are truly weak points and which defenses will either be blitz-heavy or get consistent pressure with their pass rush. These are all incredibly important pieces of information in determining which defenses to play in any given week.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so remember to check back here during the week as I will make updates once we get more information on some of these injuries and also get a better sense of the weather for the game.

 

Season Record

64-57 correctly predicting top-10 defenses

I want to track how correctly I pick the top 10 this year, so I'll keep track using FantasyPros total points. If anybody has other suggestions, let me know.

 

Week 13 Defenses To Start and Stream: Tiered Rankings

Confidence Ratings (out of 15) - 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 just a point projection. This is the best way to see just how much I like one team over another. Not all one or two-spot differences are the same.

A zero means "do not start," and then the confidence rises from there. Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues.

 

Tier 1 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 13

The Cowboys didn't deliver for us last week, but they're the number-two ranked defense over the last six weeks, averaging 11.6 points per game. They're 1st in the NFL in pressure rate, 1st in tackles for a loss, 1st in sacks, and 8th in turnover rate and now get to face a Colts team that gives up the third-most points per game to opposing defenses at 12.3 points per game. The Colts have been a bit less giving since Jeff Saturday took over and they've become more run-heavy, but this is still a mediocre team and one that Dallas should be able to take advantage of.

After riding high early in the season, the Eagles are just the 9th-ranked defense over the last six weeks, averaging 8.4 points per game. However, they remain 1st in the NFL in turnover rate, 7th in quarterback pressure rate, and 4th in sacks. Meanwhile, the Titans give up the seventh-most points per game to opposing defenses at 10.9 points per game. With Ryan Tannehill and Treylon Burks back over the last few weeks, they have been better, but this is going to come down to Derrick Henry against an Eagles run defense that has gotten better since adding Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh.

The Bucs haven't been great for us lately, but I like the matchup against a Saints team that gives up the sixth-most points per game to opposing defenses at 11.5 points per game. The Saints looked pitiful last week against the 49ers, and the Bucs need this game to feel more comfortable about their chances to win the division. This Tampa defense continues to be strong against the run, and I'm not sure Andy Dalton can do enough damage through the air, so I like Tampa here.

The Ravens are the number-four ranked defense over the last six weeks, averaging 9.8 points per game, which we kind of expected to happen with Roquan Smith in town. Now they get a dreamy matchup against an inept Broncos offense that gives up the eighth-most points per game to opposing defenses at 10.1 points per game. The Broncos will run often, so the ceiling might not be that high, but I also don't trust Russell Wilson to take advantage of this inconsistent Ravens secondary, which makes Baltimore a strong play for me.

 

Tier 2 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 13

The Bills got some bad news on the injury front with Von Miller sidelined for the next couple of weeks with a knee injury. However, Tre'Davious White also played his first snaps of the season last week and all of Tremaine Edmunds, AJ Epenesa, and Gregory Rousseau were back to full practice on Monday, so the Bills should be relatively healthy on the defensive side of the ball. Losing Von Miller hurts, but this is a defense that's 3rd in the NFL in turnover rate and 6th in the NFL in opponent's scoring rate, so I expect them to be able to handle a pretty mediocre Patriots offense.

Seattle had a really poor showing last week against the Raiders, but Josh Jacobs also fumbled a ball in the fourth quarter that wasn't reviewable because the refs had (apparently) ruled his forward progress was stopped even though they didn't actually rule that at the time. 14 points later, the Seahawks lost and their defensive day looked even worse. However, they get a much softer landing this week as the Rams give up the most points per game to opposing defenses at 15.1 points per game. They also just lost Allen Robinson for the season to go along with a season-ending injury to Cooper Kupp and a potential season-ending injury to Matthew Stafford. With Bryce Perkins under center, it's possible that the Rams are the worst offense in the NFL.

I'm not sure why people continue to discount the Commanders, who are the number-five ranked defense over the last six weeks, averaging 9.3 points per game. They're 4th in the NFL in pressure rate, 2nd in tackles for a loss, and 6th in opponent's scoring rate. Plus, they should actually get Chase Young back this week. We've been saying that for two weeks now, but he was sick last weekend and unable to play. His presence against this mediocre Giants offensive line will be a huge boost.

I don't like the Browns' defense. I don't think it's particularly good at all, outside of the pass rush they can get from Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. However, the Texans give up the second-most points per game to opposing defenses at 13.7 points per game. They made the switch from Davis Mills to Kyle Allen last week and it was possibly worse for this offense, so I think the Browns can become a top-ten defense for this week.

The 49ers are down in tier two because this is not an easy matchup against a good Dolphins offense. However, there are some things to consider here. Both Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert were dealing with injuries yesterday, so we don't know if either of them will be cleared to play. The Dolphins will also be without left tackle Terron Armstead, who has a partial tear of his pec, which is a big loss when you're about to face Nick Bosa. Also, the Dolphins' last five games have been against the Steelers, Lions, Bears, Browns, and Texans, so the 49ers are a MASSIVE step up in competition. I think getting eight points from the 49ers' defense is feasible this weekend.

 

Tier 3 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 13

A lot of these defenses are ones I like in matchups I hate.

The Patriots are the number-one ranked defense over the last six weeks, averaging 11.8 points per game; yet, the Bills give up the fourth-fewest points per game at just 6.2 points allowed on average. Josh Allen practiced in full for the first time since hurting his elbow, so perhaps we see a more efficient version of him. However, keep an eye on the status of left tackle Dion Dawkins, who didn't practice on Monday with an ankle injury. That would be a huge boost for this Patriots' defense.

The Steelers have been much better since T.J. Watt came back, but the Falcons give up the 11th-fewest points per game at just 6.9 points allowed on average. They run the ball so often that it's hard to see a high-ceiling game here for Pittsburgh.

The Chiefs are the seventh-ranked defense over the last six weeks, averaging 8.6 points per game, but Cincinnati should get back Joe Mixon and Ja'Marr Chase for this game, which makes me feel like this could be a high-scoring affair.

The Jets and Vikings are both in play here, and while the Jets' defense has been better, the Vikings give up the eighth-fewest points per game at just 6.7 points allowed on average, which makes it hard to really trust New York. Meanwhile, this Jets offense looked much better with Mike White under center, so they might not be as tasty a matchup as they were with Zach Wilson throwing interceptions all over the place.

Lastly, Green Bay should have a plus matchup here because the Bears give up the fifth-most points per game to opposing defenses at 11.8 points per game. However, the loss of Rashan Gary has really hurt this defensive line, and if Aaron Rodgers doesn't play, this offense could put the defense in bad spots throughout the game.

 

Tier 4 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 13

 

Tier 5 Defenses - Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 13



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