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Fantasy football rankings, Week 11: Defense/special teams

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Have we driven home the point that defenses aren't producing as much this year? Let's try one more time.

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The third-best fantasy defense/special teams so far this season is Detroit, with 88 points. Through the same stretch of games last season, that would have ranked eighth. No matter how you break it down, fantasy defenses this season are lagging way behind the same units of a year ago. To illustrate, the following chart shows the number of defenses scoring in each set of 10 through 10 weeks in 2013 and 2014:

Point range 2013 2014
10-19 0 1
20-29 2 2
30-39 3 10
40-49 4 1
50-59 4 4
60-69 8 5
70-79 3 4
80-89 1 3
90-99 4 0
100-109 1 1
110-119 1 1
120-129 0 0
130-139 0 0
140-149 1 0

The bulk of teams had scores in the 50s and 60s last year; this year they're grouping up in the 30s. This year's top defense would have been behind last year's No. 2, No. 2 behind No. 3, and so on.

I've been pushing this point for weeks. But I still regularly get questions like "I have X defense, is it time to stream?" The answer, with little exception, is "yes." Individual defenses aren't difference-makers over the course of the season. To wit, there have been 12 games this season in which a defense put up 20 or more fantasy points; only Miami and Philadelphia have done it more than once, and only Miami has paired those two outings inside of the same month.

Atlanta has put up 20-plus fantasy points in a game. Green Bay, Minnesota. If your defense is facing Denver, facing Indianapolis, facing Green Bay, just drop them. The upside just isn't there.

At the least, fantasy owners can stop stressing over the byes, as they relate to defenses. The teams on a bye in Week 11 -- the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens -- and Week 12 -- the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers -- are average-to-below fantasy defenses. If you have any unit on that list, go ahead and cut them loose even more quickly.

I'll try not to stress this topic again next week. I think I've made my point. On to the Week 11 rankings:

Defense/special teams rankings, Week 11

(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; JD: John Daigle; SK: Scott Kaliska)

Rank Team Opponent DK DC JD SK
1 Denver Broncos @STL 2 1 1 1
2 Detroit Lions @ARI 4
2
4
2
3 Miami Dolphins BUF 6
5
5
3
4 Seattle Seahawks @kAN 1
3
11
5
5 Buffalo Bills @MIA 5
7
8
9
6 San Francisco 49ers @NYG 13
10
2
10
7 Arizona Cardinals DET 7
9
12
7
8 Cleveland Browns HOU 3
8
17
8
9 Kansas City Chiefs SEA 10
15
3
11
10 Pittsburgh Steelers @TEN 8
6
21
4
11 San Diego Chargers OAK 11 4 23 6
12 New Orleans Saints CIN 15 13 6 12
13 Minnesota Vikings @CHI 9 16 10 15
14 Houston Texans @CLE 14 14 13 14
15 Green Bay Packers PHI 21 12 7 16
16 Philadelphia Eagles @GB 12 20 14 17
17 Washington TAM 20 11 25 13
18 New England Patriots @IND 17 22 9 22
19 Carolina Panthers ATL 18 17 20 19
20 Cincinnati Bengals @NO 16 23 16 24
21 Atlanta Falcons @CAR 23 18 24 20
22 New York Giants SF -- 19 -- 18
23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @WAS 25 25 15 25
24 Indianapolis Colts NE 19 -- 19 --
25 Chicago Bears MIN 22 21 -- 21
-- Oakland Raiders @SD 24 -- 18 --
-- Tennessee Titans PIT -- 24 22 23

★★★

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