Week 14 was a (not-so) friendly reminder that we can speculate on the future, but we can’t predict it.
Last weekend featured some surprising performances on the fantasy football defense front, as the lowly Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals both delivered solid efforts while D/ST stalwarts like the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars underwhelmed.
Don’t let that deter you, though. The success of fantasy defenses still is strongly correlated to their matchups, and there are some great options this week as you continue your playoff run.
Here are our top five fantasy defense plays for Week 15.
Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Houston Texans)
Jacksonville didn’t dominate against the Seattle Seahawks, but it did intercept the red-hot Russell Wilson three times. Expect the sack-happy Jags to go right back to racking up the points this week when they welcome the Houston Texans and backup quarterback T.J. Yates to town.
New Orleans Saints (vs. New York Jets)
Speaking of backup quarterbacks… The Jets are rolling with Bryce Petty in New Orleans this week in place of the injured Josh McCown. Petty has three career touchdown passes to seven interceptions and completed just 22 percent of his passes last weekend. Please start the Saints’ D if it’s available.
Baltimore Ravens (at Cleveland Browns)
Yes, the Ravens just allowed 39 points last week. Yes, the Browns nearly won a game with Josh Gordon back in the mix. But that’s certainly not deterring us from tabbing Baltimore a top-five defense against a Cleveland team it recorded three sacks and four interceptions against earlier this season.
Washington Redskins (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
This a pretty gross matchup on paper, but it gives us a great streaming option in Washington. The Redskins have decent defensive numbers outside of points allowed and should be able to contain an anemic Cardinals offense that’s scored 16 points or fewer in its last two games while allowing 15 sacks in that span.
Minnesota Vikings (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)
Minnesota is a much better defense in real life than in fantasy, as its sack and interception numbers are relatively low. But this could be the Vikings’ breakout week at home against a struggling Bengals offense with nothing left to play for.
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