It’s Week 17 of the 2020 NFL season and the final week of season-long fantasy football. For many, it’s the Super Bowl! The 2020 season was full of difficult decisions in selecting the right waiver wire claims and knowing when to drop a player. Navigating COVID-19 outbreaks add a layer of complexity plaguing each week.
It’s time to make the most crucial decision of them all–setting your lineups! Let’s about the Team Defenses!
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From daily games to season-long leagues, people want to know which defenses are worth streaming. Good team defense plays rely on teams getting turnovers, sacks and some kind of scoring whether it’s on special teams or at the end of said turnover. Most are scoring under 10 points, and that goes for the so-called “elite” squads. The “points allowed” measurable is such a difficult category to cash in on because most teams should score at least 20 points per game. It’s extremely difficult to hold teams to less than 10 points, and even rarer to shut them out.
So if I have a consistent strategy to share, it’s to look for defensive line vs. offensive line matchups (for sacks), look for opposing quarterbacks and running backs who are careless with the ball (turnovers), and yes even which team defenses have good special teams players (for return touchdowns). More sophisticated leagues that utilize options such as 3 and outs, 4th down stops and yards allowed give you more to consider. Let’s see which ones do NOT pass the grade for Week 17.
Cleveland Browns Team Defense vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns’ first playoff berth in 18 years is not a lock. They’ll need to win against their biggest rivals, amidst a breakout of Coronavirus in their locker room. Last week their top four receivers missed helping clinch a crucial 11th win of the season. Defensively they were missing two starting linebackers, including B.J. Goodson, who will miss this week too. The Browns got an even bigger blow though when Denzel Ward was placed on the COVID/reserve list. The only bright spot is that they’ll get their best safety Ronnie Harrison back from injury.
Without Goodson and Ward, two of their top-five defensive players, the Browns face an offense that has playmakers at every skill player position. Ben Roethlisberger is sitting this game out, but all Mason Rudolph has to do is get the ball to Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, Juju Smith-Schuster, or James Washington. They can do the rest. It’s a lot of weight on the shoulders of the Browns’ defensive line and if they’re going to win this game, Cleveland will have to light up the scoreboard.