Matthew Judon and the Ravens D sacked Deshaun Watson seven times last week
When a team picks up seven sacks against one of the NFL's most productive offenses, they are worthy of consideration for the No. 1 spot in my fantasy defense/special teams (DST) rankings. And for Week 12, that honor goes to the Baltimore Ravens.
Lost in all the Lamar Jackson MVP fervor is how much this defense has improved. Outside linebacker Matthew Judon is playing like a man possessed or at least someone in a contract year, which he is. His six sacks might not be as statistically impressive as others, but he's becoming an absolute terror like his predecessors in Baltimore. But the secondary is performing just as well. Since the acquisition of Marcus Peters, the Ravens' back end has gone from questionable to one of the best. Peters is averaging the most coverage snaps of any CB in the league and allowing one of the lower catch rates. He's hauled in multiple interceptions already, including a pick-six.
Which brings us back to those seven sacks. I watched last Sunday's 41-7 demolition of Houston and what jumped out at me was not so much the sack total, but how the Ravens got them. Yes, there were a couple where the Ravens brought seven or eight players. But most of those sacks were coverage sacks where four or five guys went after Deshaun Watson. And remember, it's not like the Texans' signal-caller is exactly a statue in the pocket.
This week, Baltimore is out in Los Angeles to face the Rams on "Monday Night Football." The defending NFC champions have been a bit of an enigma this year and it starts with Jared Goff, who is tied for fourth in the league with 10 interceptions. The Ravens may not finish as the top-scoring fantasy DST in Week 12. However, their high floor and ceiling make them my No. 1.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota
NFL DST Rankings: Week 12
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.
(Top photo by Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens, courtesy of baltimoreravens.com)