Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 16
Look, I’m gonna be honest here: I used up all of my good intro material weeks ago and that’s not what you’re here for anyway. It’s championship week and you need to know which fantasy defenses are going to win you that #FootClanTitle. Just like in Week 15, there are plenty of low-rostered options, but even a few of the stud D/ST have nice matchups to end the season. Good luck with your championships!
Week 15 Top Performances
Dallas Cowboys vs SF
While the Cowboys weren’t my Stream of the Week last week, I mentioned they would still be a decent play. I clearly undersold them. The Cowboys finished the game with two sacks, two INTs, and two recovered fumbles. That was already a good performance but then Ceedee Lamb took a last-minute onside kick attempt back all the way for a TD and cemented Dallas, rostered in just 23% of fantasy leagues, as the #1 DEF in the semifinals.
Week 16 Matchup: vs PHI
If you watched any of Jalen Hurts‘ highlights over the last two weeks you would want nothing to do with this game on defense. This feels like a shootout, with both teams scoring 20+ and not a lot of sacks or turnovers. Dallas has been a fun stream play for the last two weeks, stay away in Week 16.
Buffalo Bills @ DEN
While Buffalo’s defense has been far from spectacular this season, Denver’s offense has been worse. The Broncos scored just 19 points in this game while giving up three sacks. One of those sacks led to a Drew Lock fumble in the 3rd quarter that Buffalo took to the house for a TD. While they didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet, that TD was enough to put Buffalo at the #2 fantasy defense for the week.
Week 16 Matchup: @ NE
Who would’ve thought that we would ever be talking about New England as a “plus” matchup? On the back of multiple Cam Newton sacks and turnovers, the Pats give up the 10th most points to fantasy DEFs. Buffalo’s DEF is coming off of back-to-back solid outings and feels safe for a 3rd this week.
Indianapolis Colts vs HOU
This could be considered an expected outcome when one of the best fantasy DEF faces off against an injury-depleted offense. Houston scored just 20 points and allowed five sacks in the game. On top of the QB hits, Deshaun Watson also lost a fumble, as did Keke Coutee, and those two turnovers were enough to tie for DEF3 in Week 16.
Week 16 Matchup: @ PIT
Pittsburgh certainly isn’t the scary matchup they once were and the Colts are the #1 fantasy DEF on the season, it’s unlikely you’d even consider benching them. There may not be huge upside here, and another trip to the top-3 seems unlikely, but Indianapolis is still one of the safest floor plays in your championship week.
Baltimore Ravens vs JAX
Speaking of expected outcomes. After the game Baltimore just had against CLE, this game had tragedy written all over it for Jacksonville. Baltimore sacked Gardner Minshew five times in the game, once for a safety, and forced one fumble from the QB. The Jaguars scored just 14 points of their own and Baltimore’s DEF finished in a tie for the #3 spot.
Week 16 Matchup: vs NYG
The Giants’ offense has looked bad most of this season and they give up the 5th most points to fantasy DEF. Baltimore is one of the best in the league and an easy play in Week 16.
Week 16 Starts
Kansas City Chiefs vs ATL
Yes, this game screams “high-scoring”, but points allowed matters far less for fantasy DEFs than sacks and turnovers. Atlanta may give up the 9th fewest points to fantasy DEF, but they have allowed multiple sacks in every game but two this season. They have also allowed 17 total sacks in their last five games and are just two games removed from a three turnover performance. Kansas City will score at will in this game and that is going to put Atlanta’s offense into uncomfortable situations…which leads to sacks and turnovers.
Chicago Bears @ JAX
As if things need to get worse for Jacksonville this season, it sounds like rookie phenom James Robinson might miss this game. The Bears defense is very good at stopping just about everything in fantasy, outside of TEs. I like Tyler Eifert, but I don’t think anyone is afraid of him. Jacksonville already allows the 9th most points to fantasy DEF and they just gave up a top-3 week to BAL. That was with their best RB, this game could get ugly.
Cleveland Browns @ NYJ
Not sure I need to say more than “It’s the Jets” but: Even with a suspect secondary, the Browns’ defense has had its share of solid fantasy weeks, scoring 10+ fantasy points in three games this season. The Browns have recorded multiple sacks in all but three games this year and have held four of their last seven opponents to under 20 points scored. Plus, it’s the Jets, who give up the most fantasy points to D/ST in 2020.
Stream of the Week
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ DET
Tampa Bay’s fantasy DEF has been mediocre to bad as of late, after starting the season red-hot. A date with the Lions should help them end the fantasy season with a bang. The Buccaneers are already great at stopping the run, so that should let them concentrate on slowing down Marvin Jones and TJ Hockenson, pretty much the only true weapons that Detroit has outside of D’Andre Swift. The Lions allow the 15th most points to D/ST and have given up 46 total fantasy points in their last five games. They have also given up multiple sacks or a turnover in every game but two this season. As of this writing, the Tampa Bay D/ST is available in exactly 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Other Options: Cardinals, Patriots, Texans, Chargers
Week 16 Sits
Tennessee Titans @ GB
Why are the Titans rostered in so many leagues? I understand that their recent schedule has been pretty easy but it’s not like they’ve really delivered in those games. On the season they have more games where they scored negative fantasy points (three) than games where they scored 10+(two). You want nothing to do with this DEF to begin with and even less when you see them playing Green Bay, a team that allows the 2nd fewest points to fantasy defenses.
Minnesota Vikings @ NO
Should I have to tell you not to play the Vikings? No, but they are still rostered in 50% of leagues, so here we are. To start, the Vikings are a bad fantasy DEF. They have basically only had three good games this year and have been bad in four of their last five. Then you have to consider that the Saints give up the 4th fewest points to D/ST. I’m sure the 50% who roster them are out of the playoffs and just don’t pay attention, but just in case: CUT THEM NOW!
Seattle Seahawks vs LAR
Call this one a gut feeling but even when the Rams offense has looked bad, they still don’t surrender a ton of fantasy points to D/ST. They allow the 14th most to DEF but only three times this season has a DEF scored 10+ on them. Plus, when these teams played in Week 10, Seattle’s D/ST scored just five fantasy points.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
*All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Rank vs Pass/Run based on yards allowed.