Fantasy football championship week is finally here. It’s entirely possible that you’ve made your title game and have been streaming D/STs most of the season. If that’s been your strategy, you’re obviously not going to stop now, and our Week 16 fantasy defense rankings point to some interesting waiver wire sleepers.
The Colts (vs. Panthers), Broncos (vs. Lions), Jets (vs. Steelers), and Texans (@ Buccaneers) all offer varying degrees of upside and sit fairly high in our rankings. The four defenses in the Giants-Redskins and Bengals-Dolphins games also have favorable matchups on paper, and the Redskins stand out as the top option from that group, but any of them are a gamble.
WEEK 16 NON-PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker
Of course, so are widely owned D/STs like the Vikings (vs. Packers), Eagles (vs. Cowboys), Saints (vs. Titans), Bears (vs. Chiefs), and Bills (@ Patriots) this week. Even the Rams (@ 49ers) aren’t a sure thing, though it’s tough to sit a D/ST with that much talent and big-play potential.
We’ve been proponents of streaming defenses all season, so we’d suggest taking a shot with someone like the Colts or Broncos ahead of even the Rams, but we understand that all owners have different strategies. And, as we see every week, any defense can put up points in any matchup. All it takes is one play — like, say, the Falcons recovering a fumble in the end zone on a kickoff lateral sequence on the last play of the game against the 49ers — for a D/ST to have value.
WEEK 16 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
Generally, the numbers and matchups don’t lie, but at this point in the season, it’s important to look at recent stats in addition to overall numbers. Offenses and defenses could be moving in opposite directions, and we’ll highlight below the trends you need to know (coming soon).
WEEK 16 DFS LINEUPS:
FD Cash | FD GPP | DK Cash | Y! Cash | Y! GPP
Reminder: These rankings will be adjusted throughout week, so check back often for updates and analysis!
MORE WEEK 16:
Waiver pickups | FAAB planning | Stock watch | Snap counts | Fantasy playoff tips
Week 16 Fantasy Defense Rankings
WEEK 16 DFS: Lineup Builder
|1||Pittsburgh Steelers @ Jets. Pittsburgh didn’t have a great D/ST showing last Sunday night against Buffalo, but it still managed a sack, two takeaways, and 17 poitns allowed. When that’s the floor against an efficient offense, you know the ceiling is sky high against a shaky offense that allowed two takeaways and a blocked kick just last week.|
|2||Baltimore Ravens @ Browns. Baker Mayfield has thrown at least one INT in each of the past four games, and while he’s taken one or fewer sacks in three of those contests, he’s still struggling overall right now. The Ravens continue to wreak havoc on defense, creating another two takeaways last week and allowing 13.5 points per game over their past six contests. You know they’ll be looking to avenge their worst game of the season, a 40-25 loss to the Browns back in Week 4.|
|3||New England Patriots vs. Bills. The Patriots are back to taking advantage of favorable matchups, and while the Bills aren’t exactly “favorable”, at least in terms of silly turnovers, they don’t score a lot and can give up a lot of sacks (10 in Weeks 13 and 14). Pittsburgh’s elite defense managed a pair of takeaways against the Bills last week, and New England should be able to do the same at home this week. When these teams met in Week 4, the Pats had five sacks, four takeaways, a defensive TD, and a blocked kick while allowing just 10 points. We don’t expect that good of a performance, but New England still has a high floor here.|
|4||Indianapolis Colts vs. Panthers. The Panthers won’t name a starting QB until Wednesday, so the Colts are either getting Kyle Allen, who’s turned it over 18 times in the past eight games, or Will Grier, who’s never thrown a pass in the NFL. Either way, you have to like the Colts at home here, especially after totaling seven sacks and six takeaways in Weeks 13 and 14.|
|5||Seattle Seahawks vs. Cardinals. The Seahawks D/ST has been a big-play machine lately, creating 16 takeaways and scoring two D/ST touchdowns over its past five games. However, it hasn’t been all good, as it has just one total sack and 25.3 points per game in its past three contests. Arizona had been struggling, turning it over six times and allowing 15 sacks in Weeks 11, 13 and 14, but it broke out of its funk last week, scoring 38 points with no sacks allowed and just one turnover. Overall, the outlook is more good than bad for Seattle, but the floor might be a little lower than you think.|
|6||Denver Broncos vs. Lions. The Broncos have had at least one takeaway in each of the past five games, totaling nine in that span. They’ve also had at least three sacks in four out of five games in that span. David Blough has taken nine sacks and thrown five INTs in his three starts, leading the Lions to just 18 offensive points per game in that span. With this game in Denver, the Broncos are in good position to have a big performance.|
|7||Washington Redskins vs. Giants. We’ve been saying it all year — Washington has done just fine in favorable matchups (of which it hasn’t had many). Against the Giants, Dolphins, Jets, Lions, and Panthers this year, the Redskins have posted at least two takeaways in every game (14 total) and 20 total sacks, including five or more three times. They’ve allowed 21 offensive points per game in those five contests, which isn’t great, but that number is inflated by a 34-point Jets outburst. The Giants continue to struggle regardless of who is under center, with Eli Manning throwing three INTs in Week 15 and Daniel Jones throwing three in Week 13. There’s a relatively high floor and high ceiling for the Redskins here.|
|8||Kansas City @ Bears. The Bears have turned it over five times in the past two games, and Mitchell Trubisky has thrown at least one INT in each of the past five games (seven total). Kansas City has had multiple sacks in each of the past four games and nine total turnovers in that span, all while allowing 11.3 offensive points per game. With this game in prime time, when Trubisky often struggles, the Chiefs are looking like a solid option.|
|9||San Francisco 49ers vs. Rams. The Rams offense is one of the toughest to handicap. Even when it plays poorly (like last week), it can limit D/STs (like last week), but Jared Goff has also made some critical mistakes that result in big plays. The 49ers seem to be reeling a bit (three sacks, three takeaways in past three games) largely because of brutal matchups and key injuries, but this is still a talented and aggressive defense that is always capable of big plays. Ultimately, this is a low-floor, high-ceiling spot for the 49ers, and you can there’s a good chance you can do better with the Colts or Broncos on the waiver wire.|
|10||Houston Texans @ Buccaneers. The Bucs can’t run, always throw at least one INT, and have receivers dropping like flies. That’s a good recipe for a fantasy D/ST. Unfortunately, the Bucs also score a lot — and Houston has done next to nothing on defense all year — but this is still a good upside spot for the Texans. They’ve had one INT in each of the past three games, so against Jameis Winston, who’s turned it over 24 times in the past nine games, Houston has a good shot at a couple takeaways.|
|11||Los Angeles Rams @ 49ers. Much like their offense, the Rams defense has been all over the place lately. In six of the past eight games (Falcons, Bengals, Steelers, Bears, Cardinals, Seahawks), they’ve held opponents to fewer than 12 offensive points per game, totaling 27 sacks and eight takeaways in those contests. In the other two games (Ravens and Cowboys), they’ve given up 89 offensive points with three sacks and zero takeaways. The 49ers are generally stingy against D/STs, but they have had some major clunkers, turning it over multiple times in six times, including in Week 6 against the Rams. We’ll bet on the talent and include the Rams in our top 12, but the floor is lower than usual and the ceiling isn’t quite as high.|
|12||New York Jets vs. Steelers. The Steelers haven’t committed to a QB for this week, but it will likely be Devlin Hodges again, who threw four INTs last week. The Jets aren’t nearly as good defensively as the Bills, but they’ve shown a knack for big plays, scoring three D/ST touchdowns in their past six games. This is another boom-or-bust option that at least has a good matchup.|
|13||New York Giants @ Redskins. The Giants are usually pretty good at getting two or three sacks and a takeaway, at least in decent matchups, and when they played Washington in Week 4, they allowed just three points while recording three sacks and four INTs, three of which were against Dwayne Haskins in his NFL debut. Haskins has been much better since then, turning it over multiple times in a game just once since then. He has taken a lot of sacks, though (24 in seven games), so the Giants will have a chance for some points.|
|14||Los Angeles Chargers vs. Raiders. We’ve been trying to speak the Chargers D/ST into existence since the preseason, and it’s just not happening. The talent is there, especially with Derwin James back healthy, but they simply don’t produce. They’re in a good spot this week against a spiraling Raiders offense that’s scored just 13.2 offensive points per game and allowed three D/ST TDs over it’s past five contests, but the Chargers are a total boom-or-bust play.|
|15||Cincinnati Bengals @ Dolphins. The Bengals had been better on defense in the four games prior to last week’s Patriots matchup (15 offensive points allowed/game, 11 total sacks, five takeaways), so there’s reason to believe it can take advantage of this favorable matchup. Miami has turned it over just once in each of the past three games, but we know Ryan Fitzpatrick will take chances, giving the Bengals some opportunities.|
|16||Buffalo Bills @ Patriots. The Patriots rarely turn it over, but they were held to just 18.2 offensive points per game in the six games leading up to Week 15. Buffalo has nine takeaways and allowed just 13 points per game over their past four contests, so their floor isn’t bad this week in what should be a low-scoring game against an immobile QB.|
|17||Atlanta Falcons vs. Jaguars|
|18||Miami Dolphins vs. Bengals|
|19||Tennessee Titans vs. Saints|
|20||Carolina Panthers @ Colts|
|21||Minnesota Vikings vs. Packers|
|22||Oakland Raiders @ Chargers|
|23||Green Bay Packers @ Vikings|
|24||New Orleans Saints @ Titans|
|25||Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Texans|
|26||Dallas Cowboys @ Eagles|
|27||Chicago Bears vs. Chiefs|
|28||Detroit Lions @ Broncos|
|29||Jacksonville Jaguars @ Falcons|
|30||Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cowboys|
|31||Cleveland Browns vs. Ravens|
|32||Arizona Cardinals @ Seahawks|