Week 16 Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy
WE MADE IT! Fifteen weeks of trying to predict the uglier side of fantasy football can be tough, but we have made it to championship week. If you’re reading this, you either have something to play for or way too much time on your hands. Either way, I appreciate you spending your time reading my article.
Week 15 was a perfect microcosm of the 2019 fantasy season for DEF/ST. A few teams did what they were supposed to do, a few teams surprised, and a few teams disappointed. Much like the rest of this season, my Starts did pretty well, but my Sits missed the mark…to the point that Week 15’s top performer was one of my Sit recommendations.
Week 15 Top Performances
Minnesota Vikings @ LAC
How could I get this so wrong? Seven takeaways, that’s how. Both those seven takeaways and the four fumble recoveries that helped them along were tied for the most of any DEF this season. The Vikings took one of those fumble recoveries back for a TD and sacked Phillip Rivers three times on their way to Week 15’s #1 spot.
Week 16 Matchup: vs GB
The Vikings surprised me last week but, at the risk of sounding very dumb, I would not trust them against Aaron Rodgers with my fantasy championship on the line.
New England Patriots @ CIN
This everyone saw coming. The Bengals have improved since Andy Dalton returned but the cards were stacked against them in this one. New England forced five turnovers, including a pick-6, on their way to holding the Bengals to just 13 points scored. Surprisingly enough, New England did not sack Andy Dalton once but still finished as the week’s #2 DEF.
Week 16 Matchup: vs BUF
The Bills have been rock solid but you aren’t benching the DEF/ST that got you here and I don’t blame you. When these two teams played back in Week 4, New England was the #1 overall fantasy DEF.
Buffalo Bills @ PIT
This game was the defensive battle we expected and Buffalo came out on top. The Steelers offense was held to just 10 points and turned the ball over five times. The Bills also recorded four QB sacks on their way to the #3 finish.
Week 16 Matchup: @ NE
As good as the Buffalo DEF has been, it’s hard to trust them against Brady and Co. The Patriots haven’t allowed 10+ to a fantasy DEF since Week 9 and Buffalo only managed three fantasy points when they played in September.
Week 16 Starts
Denver Broncos vs DET
Denver’s defense has been hit-or-miss this season…mostly miss…but this is the perfect Championship Week matchup. It’s not too often that a single DEF qualifies as both my Start of the Week and Stream of the Week but that’s the magic of a bad offense. The Lions have given up three top-5 performances in their last four games and will be starting David Blough yet again. Plus, Denver is available in 75% of leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ NYJ
Week 15 marked just the 4th time all season that the Steelers D/ST has failed to score 10+ fantasy points. The perfect recipe to fix that is the anemic offense of the New York Jets. The Jets have improved lately but they still give up the 2nd most points to fantasy defenses.
Baltimore Ravens @ CLE
The Browns culture issues continue to lead to on-field issues and this offense cannot get on the same page. Baltimore, on the other hand, is playing great and has been putting their DEF in great positions all season long. The Ravens D/ST has scored 8+ fantasy points in each of their last eight games.
Stream of the Week
Atlanta Falcons vs JAX
Technically, Atlanta is my 2nd choice for Stream of the Week (see above) but they will do in a pinch. What a long way we’ve come. The Falcons went from written off for dead to finishing 10+ fantasy points in four of their last six games. The Jaguars don’t scare anyone and Atlanta should handle business at home. The Falcons are available in over 90% of fantasy leagues.
Other Streaming Options: IND, NYG, KC, WAS, NYJ
Week 16 Sits
Chicago Bears vs KC
The Bears only make this list because owners can’t seem to quit them. They are owned in almost 80% of fantasy leagues despite not scoring more than eight fantasy points in ten consecutive weeks. Do better, fantasy owners. They are playing the Chiefs. Cut them.
Philadelphia Eagles vs DAL
The Eagles were supposed to be a team you could start in Weeks 13-15 to get you to the fantasy championship but Week 16 was always the time to get rid of them. Nevermind that they didn’t even hold up their end of the bargain, they never scored more than 8 fantasy points vs MIA, NYG, or WAS. There is no way you can trust them against the Cowboys.
Los Angeles Rams @ SF
In all honesty, I wouldn’t start either DEF here but I’m more comfortable saying a definite “no” to the Rams. This game has shootout written all over it, with both of these defenses giving up 40+ points in the last two weeks.