1. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have gone to one of the least-owned defenses at the beginning of the season to one of the best fantasy defenses. Luke Kuechly and the rest of the Panthers’ defense are consistently pressuring opposing quarterbacks, leading to errors and overall poor performance. Carolina has only scored in the single digits three times this year, forcing 31 sacks and over an interception per game. They shouldn’t have much of a problem with the Miami Dolphins offense. Ryan Tannehill has thrown 11 interceptions in 10 games, and has lost six fumbles. Carolina will break double digits again this week against an underwhelming offense.
Projected Statistics: Nine points allowed, six sacks, one interception
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, the Chiefs scored -1 point last week on Sunday night against the Denver
Broncos. But keep in mind that before that, they only had one game of less than eight fantasy points, including a 16-point performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 9. Granted Philip Rivers isn’t throwing as many interceptions as he did last year, but the Chiefs will fare well against the San Diego Chargers. Kansas City ranks in the top-10 in sacks, interceptions, and fumble recoveries. They’ll be fine here.
Projected Statistics: 12 points allowed, five sacks, one fumble recovery
3. Baltimore Ravens
At this point in the season, most fantasy defenses are based upon matchup play, and the Ravens make the best case this week for getting the start because of a matchup. The New York Jets frankly have a sloppy and ineffective offense. Only the Jaguars and Giants are allowing more points to fantasy defenses than the Jets. In five games this year, the Jets have allowed double-digit points to defenses as Geno Smith continues to find himself as a quarterback. Smith has thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns, and as a rating of just 65.1. The Ravens will have a field day against Smith and the rag tag core of receivers that New York has.
Projected Statistics: 14 points allowed, two sacks, two interceptions
4. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have been an incredibly capable real defense this year, and it will occasionally translate to fantasy production. The Saints have put up 13 fantasy points three times this season, and have broken seven points five times. They should have one of their better performances this week against the struggling Atlanta Falcons, who, between Weeks 8 and 11, only broke 13 points once. Matt Ryan has thrown an average of just over an interception per game, and has been sacked about twice per game.
Projected Statistics: 17 points allowed, three sacks, one interception
5. Houston Texans
The Texans round out this list as one of the worse teams in the league, but a strong fantasy option. Teams facing the Jacksonville Jaguars average 12.4 fantasy points per game this year, which is the second-highest average in the NFL. Houston has had five games where they haven’t forced a single turnover, Jacksonville has turned the ball over 19 times, including 16 interceptions in 10 games. It’s all about the matchup here.
Projected Statistics: 21 points allowed, two sacks, two interceptions