Picking a good fantasy football defense is all about the matchups. Everyone knows that. But sometimes, you have to look beyond the numbers.
Such was the case in Week 10, where the Atlanta Falcons, of all teams, were the highest-scoring D/ST against a normally formidable Dallas Cowboys offense. Explanation? Well, the Cowboys were without stud running back Ezekiel Elliott and Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith, so Atlanta’s success shouldn’t be all that surprising.
So, what matchups and late developments are worth exploiting this weekend? Here are our top five fantasy defense plays for Week 11.
Jacksonville Jaguars (at Cleveland Browns)
The No. 1 defense in fantasy facing one of the worst offenses in football without its top lineman in Joe Thomas. Enough said.
Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Buffalo Bills)
The Chargers already were a potential streaming option against the struggling Bills. Now, their stock gets a huge boost against rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman, whose first NFL start comes on the road on the other side of the country. L.A. is unowned in many leagues and is a great streaming option.
Houston Texans (at Arizona Cardinals)
Houston’s D isn’t the same without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, but it still has tallied eight sacks over the last three games. The Cardinals are down to their third-string quarterback in Blaine Gabbert and shouldn’t be able to generate much offense Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles (at Dallas Cowboys)
You saw what the Falcons did to Dallas last week. The Eagles’ pass rush has amassed 11 sacks in its last three contests, and if Smith is out again for the Cowboys (he had yet to practice as of Wednesday) it could be another long day for Dak Prescott and Co.
Cincinnati Bengals (at Denver Broncos)
If the Chargers already are scooped up, take a close look at the Bengals. The Broncos’ inept offense has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing D/STs this season, and Cincinnati’s solid pass rush should translate into a solid effort, even on the road.