Week 15 Team Defense Recap

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IT’S CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK! If you’re reading this you’re either in the big game or you are starting research on DEF/ST for 2017, either way: Great Job! Week 15 was as volatile for team defense as the entire season had been. Minnesota, the 1st place DEF/ST coming into the week, finished with negative points and probably cost some of you a win. The Colts had more negative weeks than 10+ fantasy point weeks and they finished in 2nd place for Week 15. If you’re still in the championship hunt, let’s look at the teams that got you there last week and who is going to help you bring it home in Week 16.

Week 15 Standout Performances

Miami Dolphins: @ New York Jets
I do enjoy being right! Not that this was hard to predict but when a team I tell you to start finishes in 1st place, I smile. On Thursday night, the Dolphins picked apart the Jets “offense” to the sound of 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, a fumble recovery, a blocked kick, and a defensive TD. They only allowed 13 points and finished as the kings of Week 15.

See Below for all Week 16 Matchups

Indianapolis Colts: @ Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota’s offense continues to be the damnation of their stellar defense. This week it led to a game where the best fantasy defense finished at the bottom and one of the worst finished at the top. The Colts laughed in the face of AP’s return and held the Vikings to only 2 field goals all game. Throw in their 5 sacks and 3 forced turnovers and you find Indy at #2 for the week.

Dallas Cowboys: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s been mentioned many times but man, how bad do we feel about “stashing” Jameis Winston for the fantasy playoffs? The Cowboys compounded that feeling by shutting down the entire Tampa Bay offense again in Week 15. They did allow 20 points but also added 4 sacks and 4 turnovers. It was a solid game again for Dallas, who has scored 14 fantasy points in each of the last 2 weeks.

New England Patriots: @ Denver Broncos
The Patriots traveled to Denver in Week 15 and only allowed 3 points. With their actual playoff hopes on the line, the Denver Broncos only managed a single field goal. It was a low scoring game and the Patriots controlled it throughout. They sacked Trevor Siemian 4 times and caused 3 turnovers. The Patriots have scored 8 or more fantasy points in each of their last 5 games.

**FYI: I’m going to try something different this week. With this being the championship week, I will breakdown every matchup (no particular order) into 3 categories so that you can decide who will help make you a champion.**

Week 16 – Strong Starts

New York Giants: @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants defense hasn’t had a bad fantasy game since Week 6. The Eagles offense hasn’t scored more than 24 points since Week 3. The Giants are motivated and should control this game from start to finish.

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Green Bay Packers: vs Minnesota Vikings
I like the Packer defense as of late…but I love any team playing this offense. The Vikings have allowed 5 or more fantasy points to DEF/ST in 8 of their last 9 games.

New England Patriots: vs New York Jets
The Patriots are solid. The Jets are not. Start the Patriots.

Tennessee Titans: @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are in turmoil and Blake Bortles is still their QB. The Titans are a solid start again in Week 16.

Both: Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos
Championship Week and two of the best are playing each other. Denver’s offense looks pathetic as of late and Kansas defense (and special teams) have looked great. Love Kansas City in this matchup. As for the Broncos, they held their own against Tom Brady last week and scored 7 fantasy points against the Chiefs just a few weeks ago. This game also has the lowest Over/Under of Week 16. Love both teams here.

Week 16 – Start If You Must

Philadelphia Eagles: vs New York Giants
You’re counting on turnovers here. The Giants are going to score points, but Eli can also throw a pick or 3.

Both: Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins
I feel like the weather will play into this one. Neither of these offenses scare anyone and both of these defenses have played well as of late. You could do much worse than starting either one. This game has one of the lowest expected scores of Week 16.

Jacksonville Jaguars: vs Tennessee Titans
The Jaguars defense has been pretty decent this season and the Titans offense has looked sluggish since their Week 13 bye.

San Diego Chargers: @ Cleveland Browns
I don’t know why but I do not love this game for the Chargers. The Browns have been very generous to DEF/ST all season but this feels like a trap game. It will be cold in Cleveland and the Chargers may be without Melvin Gordon again. I’d stay away unless I had no other option.

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Seattle Seahawks: vs Arizona Cardinals
I’m not as confident as I’d like to be here. Seahawks are still great but less great without Earl Thomas. Despite their recent dud against Miami, Palmer and Co. can still score points. I like Seattle here, but I don’t love them.

Both: Houston Texans vs Cincinnati Bengals
A lot of questions here. New QB for Houston. Who will show up on offense for the Bengals? Is AJ Green going to play? How many times will Tom Savage target DeAndre Hopkins? Both of these defenses have been solid this season but rarely spectacular. If you can’t grab anyone else, you could do worse than this game.

Dallas Cowboys: vs Detroit Lions
Dallas is one of the best at keep-away football in the NFL. This means their defense is rarely put in a bad situation. The Lions have been a great matchup for DEF/ST since the Stafford hand injury. Dallas should do well again in Week 16.

Week 16 – Just Don’t Do It

Both: Chicago Bears vs Washington Redskins
The Redskins offense is due for a bounceback and the Bears have been surprisingly stingy to DEF/ST as of late. Bench both defenses here.

Both: New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m not banking on a repeat of 2 weeks ago. I think both QBs go off in this one.

Both: Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons
Hard to trust either of these defenses against the opposing offense. I love what Atlanta has done lately but I’m not putting my championship on the line with them.

Minnesota Vikings: @ Green Bay Packers
After last week there is no way you can start the Vikings…especially with Aaron Rodgers across the field.

New York Jets: @ New England Patriots
It’s the Jets. He’s Tom Brady. No.

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Cleveland Browns: vs San Diego Chargers
The words Cleveland Browns and championship game just do not belong together.

Both: Oakland Raiders vs Indianapolis Colts
Two hot offenses make this one too risky for my blood. If you need a silver lining, the Colts do give up a lot of sacks and Khalil Mack is not human.

Both: Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco 49ers
I don’t trust the Rams offense not to leave their defense in bad situations. I just don’t trust the 49ers at playing football.

Arizona Cardinals: @ Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks at home are a roller coaster that I do not want to ride in the fantasy championship.

Both – Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens
Can’t find it in me to start the Ravens especially challenging Big Ben at home. I also just plain do not trust the Steelers defense.

Detroit Lions: @ Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys need one win to sew up home field throughout the playoffs. I don’t think Detroit has the personnel to slow down all that Dallas can throw at them.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
Team Fantasy Points Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Broncos 136 248 40 12 11 4 0 2 1 29
2 Vikings 135 259 35 12 10 6 1 1 3 18
3 Chiefs 120 274 28 15 13 7 1 0 19 28
4 Ravens 118 259 30 16 10 2 0 4 10 2
5 Cardinals 109 307 35 12 12 2 2 1 5 12
6 Giants 105 248 31 14 7 3 0 2 23 6
6 Eagles 105 299 31 11 10 4 1 2 12 17
8 Dolphins 103 308 31 16 9 4 0 4 11 30
9 Seahawks 101 235 36 11 5 1 1 3 7 8
10 Patriots 94 233 32 9 8 0 3 3 17 4
10 Buccaneers 94 306 33 14 12 3 1 0 20 24
12 Chargers 93 340 25 17 10 4 1 0 22 9
13 Panthers 89 332 40 16 9 3 1 1 32 3
14 Bills 85 312 38 11 6 3 0 1 8 27
15 Texans 84 294 24 9 6 2 1 0 2 16

We’ve almost reached the finish line. Week 15 taught us again the lesson I’ve been preaching all year, play the matchup. I absolutely killed my Week 15 predictions and, hopefully, got a few of you into your championship game. Good luck to you all in Week 16.

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