Week 11 Fantasy Rankings: Defense


Some weeks everything just breaks right in terms of who's on bye and who has favorable/unfavorable matchups; other weeks...well, other weeks look like our Week 11 fantasy defense rankings. A perfect storm of bad offenses on bye and/or facing bad defenses and good D/STs facing good offenses limits potential sleepers and waiver wire pickups. Chances are you'll want a streamer to help with your start 'em, sit 'em decisions, but you won't be able to find one you like.

Don't think it can be that bad? Punching bags Buffalo, the Jets, San Francisco, Cleveland, and the Dolphins are all on bye, while the Cardinals are facing fantasy's worst defense, the Raiders. The Giants and Bucs are facing each other, so there's not much help there either. Conversely, the Rams (vs. Chiefs), Chiefs (vs. Rams) Eagles (@ Saints), Vikings (@ Bears), Jaguars (vs. Steelers), Broncos (@ Chargers), and Seahawks (vs. Packers) all have the kind of matchups that send you to the waiver wire looking for reinforcements.

Week 11 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Kicker

And who will you find on the waiver wire? Umm, well, the Cardinals (vs. Raiders) are OK, and the Colts (vs. Titans) might be able to help, though they just disappointed at home against the Jags and the Titans put up 30-plus on the Pats. If Joe Flacco is out, the Bengals (@ Ravens) will be popular, and there is always the aforementioned Giants, Bucs, and Raiders. Otherwise, you just have to make due with what you have.

Maybe that's fine. Maybe this week will prove that sometimes it's better to trust talent than to play matchups (owners who streamed the Jets against the Bills last week are nodding in agreement); or maybe it will simply serve as a reminder that any defense can make a big play in any matchup and pay off for fantasy owners. Either way, you're likely not going to feel great about things going into Sunday, but will be the case for almost everyone in your league. Embrace it.

Note: These rankings will be updated with analysis during the week, so check back for the latest player movement and news. And for more fantasy content, find out "How You'll Lose in Week 11."

WEEK 11 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiverTight end

Week 11 Fantasy Defense Rankings

These rankings are for standard, non-PPR leagues

1 Chicago Bears vs. Vikings. The best defense in fantasy has had multiple takeaways in all but one game, and the Vikings have been surprisingly generous to fantasy D/STs this year, allowing four sacks four times, multiple takeaways four times, and three D/ST touchdowns. You gotta like the Bears in a home prime-time game. 
2 Pittsburgh Steelers @ Jaguars. Turnovers have been tough to come by for the Steelers this year, but they're coming off their second multiple-takeaway game and have done a good job limiting points lately (18.6 over their past five games). Jacksonville looked better after its bye with Leonard Fournette back in the lineup, but in the previous four games, it allowed 16 sacks and 11 takeaways while averaging 11.5 ppg. Pittsburgh's pass rush gives it a high floor in this tough week.
3 Arizona Cardinals vs. Raiders. Perhaps surprisingly, Arizona's two best defensive showings have come on the road this year, but this is a good spot for them against a Raiders offense that's scored fewer points (9) than the number of sacks its allowed (12) over the past two games. Arizona's pass rush has produced at least four sacks in four of the past five games, so consider the Cardinals a "safe" starting option.
4 Baltimore Ravens vs. Bengals. The Ravens has been grounded over the past three games, totaling two sacks and one takeaway against the Saints, Panthers and Steelers. Coming off a bye and with a more favorable home matchup, look for them to get back on track. They didn't do anything against the Bengals back in Week 2 (34 points allowed, no sacks or takeaways), but Cincinnati is a different offense without A.J. Green, as we saw last week when it managed only 14 points while yielding four sacks and turning it over twice against the Saints.
5 Minnesota Vikings at Bears. The Vikings have really turned it on of late with 20 sacks, 10 takeaways, and two defensive TDs over their past five games. There have been some favorable matchups in that span -- and the Bears in Chicago do not qualify as a favorable matchup -- but we're betting on talent winning out and Minnesota continuing to put up good numbers. 
  ​WEEK 11 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
6 Los Angeles Chargers vs. Broncos. After a slow start, the Chargers have ridden favorable matchups back to fantasy relevance, posting 18 sacks and seven takeaways while allowing only 13.2 ppg over their past five games. Case Keenum has thrown an INT in all but one game this year, but Denver has done a relatively good job limiting fantasy points to D/STs. Still, in a tough week with few reliable options, the Chargers look good playing at home.
7 Houston Texans @ Redskins. Houston has quietly turned up its defense over the past five games, allowing an average of 15.2 ppg and while posting 12 sacks and 10 takeaways. Washington doesn't turn the ball over much (only seven turnovers all season), but its banged-up offensive line has allowed three sacks in each of the past two games, and that was against the lowly defenses of the Falcons and Bucs. Houston has a better pass rush than either, and with Washington averaging only 16 ppg over its past four contests, this isn't a bad spot for the Texans at all.
8 Green Bay Packers @ Seahawks. The Packers are tied for the league lead in sacks (31), and Seattle has allowed four sacks in back-to-back games after seemingly fixing their O-line issues earlier this year. While we normally like the home defense in Thursday games, we'll make an exception for the Packers in what could be a sloppy affair.
9 Carolina Panthers @ Lions. The Panthers will have had 10 days to lick their wounds after the pounding the Steelers put on them last Thursday. Fortunately, the Lions are a great team to get right against, as they've yielded 16 sacks and four takeaways the past two weeks. It's fair to expect them to be better back at home, but the Panthers, who were averaging three sacks and two takeaways per game in their three contests prior to Week 10, still have a fairly high floor.
10 New York Giants vs. Buccaneers. Yes, the Giants defense has been terrible this year, but to be fair, they've faced a brutal schedule. Prior to Monday night's game in San Francisco, the only time the Giants faced a truly favorable matchup was all the way back in Week 1 (Jacksonville). (Update: They had a respectable showing on the road against the 49ers, causing two turnovers.) More important, the Bucs offense has been just as bad, at least when it comes to allowing sacks (2.9 per game) and turnovers (2.8). Tampa can score in bunches, but few teams provide as many opportunities for defenses to make big plays. Perhaps it's foolish to think the Giants can take advantage, but we'll take our chances since they're at home this week.
  WEEK 11 DFS GPP LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Giants. As poor as Tampa's defense it is, it can still get after the passer, posting 12 sacks in its past four games. Prior to Monday night, New York had allowed 15 sacks in its past three games. That alone makes the Bucs an interesting flier in a down week.
12 Washington Redskins vs. Texans. Washington has produced multiple takeaways and held offenses under 18 points in four of its past five outings. It disappointed last time it was at home against the Falcons, but Houston is a slightly more favorable matchup.
13 Cincinnati Bengals @ Ravens. Cincinnati is a total boom-or-bust defense that came through in this same matchup back in Week 2 (four sacks, three takeaways). To be fair, that was a Thursday night game in Cincinnati, but with Joe Flacco (hip) hurting and possibly out for this week's game, Cincinnati has plenty of upside this week, too.
14 Indianapolis Colts vs. Titans. The Colts disappointed last week in a home matchup against the Jaguars, and their once promising pass rush has really slowed down (four sacks in the past five games). Tennessee has been prone to offensive lapses, though it's gotten going with 62 points against the Cowboys and Patriots the past two weeks. Indy still has some upside at home this week, but this matchup isn't nearly as good on paper as it looked even a week ago.
15 Oakland Raiders @ Cardinals. It doesn't get much worse than the Raiders when it comes to fantasy D/STs, but it also doesn't get much worse than the Cardinals offense when it comes to allowing points to fantasy defenses. Even last week with David Johnson getting 28 touches and having a monster game, Arizona allowed five sacks, two turnovers, and only scored 14 points. Even the Raiders might be able to take advantage of this matchup.
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16 Los Angeles Rams vs. Chiefs
17 Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Steelers
18 Philadelphia Eagles @ Saints
19 Seattle Seahawks vs. Packers
20 Denver Broncos @ Chargers
21 Tennessee Titans @ Colts
22 Detroit Lions vs. Panthers
23 Dallas Cowboys @ Falcons
24 Kansas City Chiefs @ Rams
25 Atlanta Falcons vs. Cowboys
26 New Orleans Saints vs. Eagles