Week 14 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2017 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

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It's Week 14, which is the playoffs for most leagues. If you haven't looked ahead with defenses, it's more important now than ever to stream effectively. Below are RotoBaller's Week 14 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 14 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 14.

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 14 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 14 pickup or add.

Just as a heads-up, when I mention DST scores, I am referring to ESPN's default PPR scoring. Let me know what you think on Twitter (@Roto_Dubs). Good luck in Week 14 RotoBallers!

Editor's note: Our friends at DraftEasy are giving you a FREE shot to win $50. Just pick four correct NFL player matchups and win! Try It Now!

 

Week 14 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1 Defenses (The "Duh" DSTs)

1. New England Patriots (@ MIA)

Remember when we all used to make fun of the Patriots DST for being absolute booty? Those days are long gone. The Patriots DST is averaging 12.2 fantasy points per game over the last five weeks, and they'll draw a Miami Dolphins offense that ranks 29th in the NFL in total offense. This game should be a bloodbath, and there's almost no way the Pats don't pick off Cutler at least twice and toss in a handful of sacks. Ultra-high floor with plenty of ceiling is enough to take the one-spot this week.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)

The Steelers will be without Ryan Shazier for the foreseeable future after a violent collision in their game on Monday night against the Bengals, and that definitely affects how vulnerable they'll be over the middle. However, the Ravens are still 30th in the NFL in total offense and will likely be playing from behind against the powerful Steelers offense. Add in the fact that the Steelers are at home and there is no reason not to love the Pittsburgh DST this weekend despite Shazier's absence.

3. Seattle Seahawks (@ JAX)

The Seahawks still boast a top-seven run defense and should have no problem neutralizing Leonard Fournette--or at the very least holding him in check. Forced to rely on the passing game, Jacksonville should struggle to put points on the board, despite Bortles coming off one of his best games of the season. He shredded the Indianapolis secondary for 300 yards and two scores--but the Seahawks ain't the Colts.

4. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. WAS)

The Chargers might be the most dangerous team in the NFL down the stretch thanks in large part to their resurgent defense. After a very slow start to the season, this unit has been unstoppable in every way. Since Week 7, this DST is averaging over 14 fantasy points per game, almost three sacks per game, and has tallied 15 total turnovers in that time frame (thanks Nathan Peterman). This week they get a Washington team that has allowed the eighth-most sacks in the NFL. Start this DST with confidence.

 
 
Tier 2 Defenses (Rock-Solid Starts)

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SEA) 

There is still plenty of reason to like the Jaguars top-ranked DST despite what would appear to be a tough matchup against the Seahawks. Russell Wilson is still playing at an MVP level, but his offensive line will be hard-pressed to stop the Jags front seven led by Calais Campbell. I don't see any way the Jags finish with fewer than three sacks, and if any secondary is going to give Wilson fits it's the Seahawks, who allow the seventh-fewest yards per attempt to quarterbacks (6.6).

6. Green Bay Packers (@ CLE)

Stream against the Browns. They lead the league in turnovers, are third in sacks allowed, and are 24th in total offense. Green Bay has done nothing impressive this season, but you simply can't miss streaming against the Browns. Josh Gordon can only do so much by himself!

7. Buffalo Bills (vs. IND)

The Bills actually did a better job against the Patriots than the score would indicate. They pressured Tom Brady all game and got to him for three sacks and a pick, and actually kept him under 300 yards passing and out the end zone. Little victories, alright? They should have no trouble maintaining that pressure against the comically-bad Colts offensive line, which is currently nine sacks ahead of the next-closest team in sacks allowed for the season (51). High floor here in what should be a relatively low-scoring game.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CHI)

The Bengals faltered against the Steelers (as most teams do), but they are still very much alive in the playoff race, and they'll be bringing everything they've got at home against the Bears. They'll be without George Iloka who was suspended one game this week, but the Bears simply don't have enough weapons to overcome the Bengals stingy secondary, which is currently eighth in the NFL in passing yards allowed. Mitch Trubisky has only surpassed 179 passing yards once this season, so there is almost no chance of a blow-up here. If you just need a solid outing from a DST in the playoffs, the Bengals are a nice streaming option.

9. Dallas Cowboys (@ NYG)

The Cowboys have been a hit-or-miss streaming option for 2017, but I think it's safe to bank on them being a "hit" this week against the dysfunctional Giants. The entire organization is in flux, and while Eli Manning will start once again his confidence is likely at an all-time low. The potential for turnovers is huge here, and Eli still has very little to work with outside of Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard (kinda). The Cowboys should be available everywhere, making them a true streaming option for those who haven't stashed away DSTs for the playoffs.

10. Chicago Bears (@ CIN)

Andy Dalton has quietly had a terrific second half, with a 9:0 TD-INT ratio over his last four games. He and A.J. Green are lighting it up like the days of old--but this Bears defense is trickier than most. They're 12th-best in preventing passing offense, and 10th in total sacks. Cincinnati isn't great at protecting Dalton, as they've given up the 12th-most sacks in the NFL this season. The big key here is that the Bengals could be without Joe Mixon, their dynamic rookie running back, due to a concussion. If Mixon plays, move the Bears to the top of Tier 3. If he doesn't, I like them as a streamer.

11. Detroit Lions (@ TB)

I'm not sure I'm ready to trust Jameis Winston yet, despite his impressive showing in his return from a shoulder injury in Week 13. The Lions DST has been particularly underwhelming in recent weeks, only producing usable point totals if and when they score a DST touchdown. It's impossible to count on touchdowns, and therefore the Lions are on the weaker side of streaming options this week. The possibility of a Jameis meltdown exists, but the Lions simply haven't been putting up points outside of the DST touchdowns.

 
 
Tier 3 Defenses (Decent Streamers)

12. Minnesota Vikings (@ CAR)
13. New Orleans Saints (@ ATL)

14. Philadelphia Eagles (@ LAR)
15. Houston Texans (vs. SF)
16. Los Angeles Rams (vs. PHI)

 

Tier 4 Defenses (Deep Streamers)

17. New York Jets (@ DEN)
18. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK)
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. DET)
20. New York Giants (vs. DAL)

 

Tier 5 Defenses (Desperation Plays)

21. Baltimore Ravens (@ PIT)
22. Tennessee Titans (@ ARI)
23. San Francisco 49ers (@ HOU)
24. Arizona Cardinals (vs. TEN)

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis


Check out all of RotoBaller's 2017 fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.