In a surprising turn of events, the Atlanta Falcons were the top-ranked fantasy defense/special teams (DST), by far, in Week 12, although Baltimore and Pittsburgh are set to play on Wednesday. The Falcons have been atrocious on defense throughout this season, and Las Vegas' Derek Carr was predicted to have a big game this past Sunday. Instead, the Raiders scored three points. Atlanta generated five turnovers, including an interception returned for a touchdown, and five sacks. The Falcons were one of nine teams to score a defensive/special teams TD in Week 12 (entering Wednesday's game). Despite this success, Atlanta is not a recommended fantasy option for this week's game against New Orleans, even though the Falcons are hope and it's Taysom Hill, not Drew Brees, at quarterback.
Ironically, a defense to stream (if you were lucky enough to have and start the Carolina Panthers and their two defensive touchdowns in Week 12) for Week 13 just happens to be the Raiders. Even though the DST gave up 37 points last week, Las Vegas is an appealing option for Week 13 because of the matchup. The New York Jets are winless and an absolute mess in all phases of the game. Not surprisingly, the Jets are the most generous when it comes to fantasy points scored by opposing DSTs. New York has Sam Darnold back, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. At some point, the Jets may win a game, but even if they do, they aren't going to put up enough points to bring down an opposing defense. The Raiders are ranked No. 9 for Week 13.
Teams on bye: Carolina, Tampa Bay
NFL DST Rankings: Week 13
— Rankings by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Top photo by Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders, courtesy of raiders.com)