#LongLiveLindley, am I right?
Here’s to hoping you plugged and played the Jets’ defense last week against what could very well be the league’s most lifeless offense; even worse, somehow, than the Jets.
New York didn’t exactly fill the stat sheet, recording two sacks and an interception against Arizona’s rookie quarterback, but they managed to finish as a top-8 fantasy defense in Week 13.
If you rolled with Carolina, my condolences.
Probably if you’re reading this, you made your faux football playoffs (if you didn’t, and you’re reading this, probably you’re drunk and/or crying). This is the time of season, I think, to let it fly, to take thought-out gamble here and there and avoid the conservative, risk averse tendencies that have kept Reggie Bush in your lineup, week after week, while your league mate cashes in on Bryce Brown.
How does this relate to fantasy defenses?
Especially for those who snuck into the playoffs after a ho-hum start to the season, it’s time to take a little gamble on mediocre defenses with – you guessed it – dreamy Week 14 matchups. It’s OK to bench a slightly more consistent defense for one with an irresistible matchup. Yes, like anything in fantasy, it could backfire and leave you with a six-month fake football hangover, but this isn’t the time of year for the faint of heart. Get out of here with your faint heart.
Which brings me to the Brownies.
Cleveland Browns vs. Chiefs – Kansas City smoked the Panthers. Carolina didn’t seem all that interested in stopping the Chiefs’ running backs – failing to get off blocks and missing tackles throughout the game — and rarely applied even a little bit of pressure on Brady Quinn, even in obvious passing situations. The Panthers, in fact, have proven almost useless as a streaming option if they don’t score a fluky return touchdown.
The Browns aren’t the Panthers.
Cleveland has forced the second most turnovers in the AFC this year, trailing only the opportunistic Patriots’ defense. The Browns, with a secondary anchored by burgeoning shutdown cornerback and egomaniac Joe Haden, have collected 14 interceptions and recovered 12 fumbles. They’ve played well of late, even if the box score doesn’t reflect it. The Browns shut down the Dallas offense for much of their Week 11 matchup, followed by their eight-turnover masterpiece against Pittsburgh the following week.
Cleveland kept the dysfunctional Oakland offense in check for three quarters last week, only giving up chunks of yardage and a score in Carson Palmer’s weekly garbage time fantasy point dump. What you didn’t see – unless you were one of the two dozen people watching the Browns-Raiders game – was that the Cleveland defense had a trio of very near turnovers.
The Browns’ defense has been a different animal at home this year, averaging 10.1 fantasy points in their past four tilts in the Dog Pound, including two games of more than 15 fantasy points.
The Chiefs are still allowing 11.9 fantasy points per contest to opposing defenses, despite their dismantling of the Panthers. Remember: Kansas City has given up 12 or more fantasy points to defenses not once, not twice, but seven – seven! – times this season. I think Jamaal Charles could still get his this weekend, but we’re looking for turnover potential in this streamer’s dream. There’s lots of that to go around.
You may have heard this week that the Browns, for the first time since 1989, are coming off back-to-back games in which they allowed fewer than 65 rushing yards. Coaches have said in recent weeks that players are adjusting to the team’s 4-3 defensive scheme, as the front seven has stymied opposing runners with the return of Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin.
“Once you taste success it’s like a drug,” Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said in an interview with Cleveland.com, “and you want to do anything you can to get it again.”
Indulge in the Cleveland defense this week. You may want more.
The Browns’ defense is owned in 10 percent of ESPN leagues and 7.7 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Jets – It doesn’t matter who starts under center for the Jets, Mark Sanchez or rookie Greg McElroy. If there are living, breathing defenders who aren’t zombies standing on the other side of the ball, they’ll be a viable streaming option for the remainder of the season.
I like both the Jaguars’ and Jets’ defense in this one. The Jags, after looking like a legitimate offense for a couple weeks, mutated back into the Jags we all know and do not love last week in Buffalo. The weather was crappy, sure, but Chad Henne and company looked out of synch, and at times, disinterested in matriculating the ball downfield.
Neither of these defenses will be a top-10 option in Week 14, but if your league mates have ravaged the waiver wire and have wisely stashed defenses for a playoff run, you could do much worse than these two defenses.
The Jets have allowed 11.3 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses, while the Jaguars have given up 10.3 points per contest, including six in double digits.
Before you go, some preliminary thoughts on Week 15’s prime streaming options: The Lions travel to Arizona in the next episode of #LongLiveLindley. Probably Detroit should be stashed in any league with a deep bench. The Bengals get a home game against the team formerly known as the Eagles. Pick up the Cincinnati defense if they’re floating about your local waiver wire.
Here are my Week 14 rankings, for your consumption.