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Fantasy football rankings, Week 12: Defense/special teams

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When picking a defense, be careful of giving too much weight to the first few weeks. A bunch of stuff has changed.

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There are 32 teams in the NFL. You might have heard that before. So far this season, 26 of those 32 teams have put up at least one defense/special teams fantasy score of fewer than zero points. Three other teams have bottomed out at zero exactly. That means, through 11 weeks, only Baltimore, Detroit and Kansas City have at least contributed to fantasy numbers every week.

But defenses can change in a few weeks' time, often far more quickly than an individual player can. So now that every team has played 10 games (except stupid Carolina and Pittsburgh, throwing the numbers off slightly), I figured it would be a good time to look at the differences in performances from the first five weeks to the last five.

Through the first five games, Detroit and Philadelphia were averaging double-digit fantasy points. In the last five, both of those have fallen off (though not by much), while Arizona, Green Bay and Miami are up over 10 now.

Let's look at the numbers. Below, we'll look at all 32 teams, with their first-five average fantasy performance, their second-five average (second-six for Carolina and Pittsburgh, the jerks) and the difference between the two.

Team First five
average
Last five
average
Difference
Miami 8 14.6 6.6
Jacksonville 0.2 6.2 6
New Orleans 0 5.6 5.6
Cleveland 3.8 8.6 4.8
Minnesota 5 9.4 4.4
Arizona 6.8 11 4.2
Baltimore 5.6 9.4 3.8
Green Bay 6.8 10.4 3.6
St. Louis 3.4 7 3.6
Seattle 5 8 3
Tennessee 2.4 5.2 2.8
Kansas City 5.4 7.8 2.4
Atlanta 3 4.8 1.8
Cincinnati 3 4 1
Dallas 5.2 6.2 1
Tampa Bay 3.8 4.8 1
Washington 3.1 4.2 1
Oakland 1.2 2 0.8
San Francisco 7.8 8.2 0.4
Buffalo 9.6 9.2 -0.4
Pittsburgh 6.6 6.2 -0.4
Houston 8.4 7.6 -0.8
NY Jets 4.4 3.4 -1
Denver 6.8 5.2 -1.6
Detroit 10 8.4 -1.6
Philadelphia 12 9.6 -2.4
New England 9.8 6.8 -3
Chicago 6.2 2.8 -3.4
Carolina 5.6 1 -4.6
NY Giants 5.2 0.4 -4.8
Indianapolis 7.8 2.2 -5.6
San Diego 9 0 -9

If you're streaming defenses, as I often recommend, the basic way to look at a defense is just to sort teams by full-season fantasy point total. That lets a team like San Diego, which started out really strong, look much better than it has been in recent weeks. At the same time, a full-season look sells short a defense like Jacksonville, who has actually been fairly competent in recent weeks.

And then there's Miami, which is just good no matter how you look at it.

Anyway, on to the Week 12 rankings:

Defense/special teams rankings, Week 12

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

Rank Consensus Opponent DK DC JD SK
1 Kansas City Chiefs @OAK 4 1 2 1
2 San Francisco 49ers WAS 7 2 1 2
3 Indianapolis Colts JAC 2 4 5 5
4 Buffalo Bills NYJ 3 5 4 4
5 Seattle Seahawks ARI 1 3 8 7
6 Philadelphia Eagles TEN 5 6 6 3
7 Green Bay Packers @MIN 8 7 3 6
8 Denver Broncos MIA 11 8 9 8
9 Arizona Cardinals @SEA 6 12 7 12
10 Houston Texans CIN 15 9 12 9
11 San Diego Chargers STL 9 14 15 10
12 St. Louis Rams @SD 13 15 10 14
13 New England Patriots DET 16 11 19 11
14 Dallas Cowboys @NYG 18 13 13 13
15 Cincinnati Bengals @HOU 19 10 14 15
16 Detroit Lions @NO 10 18 16 19
17 Baltimore Ravens @NO 14 19 11 20
18 New York Jets @BUF 20 16 18 16
19 New Orleans Saints BAL 17 17 21 18
20 Cleveland Browns @ATL 12 22 17 23
21 Miami Dolphins @DEN 23 21 20 17
22 Chicago Bears TAM 21 20 22 21
23 Atlanta Falcons CLE 22 24 23 24
24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @CHI -- 23 -- 22
25 Jacksonville Jaguars @IND 24 -- 24 --
-- Minnesota Vikings GB 25 -- 25 --
-- New York Giants DAL -- 25 -- --
-- Washington @SF -- -- -- 25

★★★

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