Week 16 Fantasy Defense Rankings: Sleepers, busts, waiver-wire D/ST streamers to target

Week 16 Fantasy Defense Rankings: Sleepers, busts, waiver-wire D/ST streamers to target
Rank Team 1 Baltimore Ravens vs. Giants. The Ravens bounced back from allowed 42 points to the Browns by holding Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars to 13 points while recording five sacks and a turnover. The Giants are averaging the second-fewest points (17.4) and yards (299.2) per game this year, so the Ravens should shut them down whether it’s Daniel Jones (ankle) or Colt McCoy at the helm. 2 Miami Dolphins @ Raiders. The Dolphins have the longest active takeaway streak in the NFL. They have forced at least one turnover in 20 consecutive games and this year, they have produced an NFL-leading 26 turnovers. The Raiders have scored 27 points in back-to-back games, but Marcus Mariota, who figures to start in place of Derek Carr (groin) this week, nearly threw two interceptions last week against a Chargers defense that ranks bottom 10 in takeaways this year. Just imagine the success the Dolphins will have, especially after they bottled up the similarly-mobile Cam Newton against the Patriots last week. 3 Chicago Bears @ Jaguars. In their past five games, the Jaguars have used three different quarterbacks and have scored 14 or fewer points three times. During that span, they have turned the ball over 10 times and suffered nine sacks. The Bears defense has scuffled a bit of late, logging two or fewer fantasy points in three of their past four games, but they do have 12 sacks, four turnovers, and a safety in that span and put up 18 fantasy points against the Texans. They could be positioned to put up nice numbers against one of the weaker offenses they have faced since their bye week. 4 Buffalo Bills @ Patriots. Since their Week 11 loss to the Texans, the Patriots have only scored more than 20 points once. That came in their 45-0 blowout of the Chargers. As impressive as that game was, two of their big TDs came on defenses/special teams, so that has inflated their scoring average a little. The Bills defense, meanwhile, is rounding into form, as they rank fourth in the league in takeaways (22) and have allowed fewer than 20 points in three of their past four games. Buffalo matches up well with the Patriots and could have a chance at their third straight game with double-digit fantasy points, especially since the Patriots could rest some of their banged-up starters now that they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Colts. Despite their recent losing streak, the Steelers still lead the league in sacks, scoring defense, and are second in total yards allowed ahead of their Week 15 game against the Bengals. The Colts have been playing well on offense, but Philip Rivers isn’t very mobile, so he could struggle if the Steelers can get pressure on him. The Steelers have also allowed more than 24 points just twice this season, so they have been remarkably consistent in corraling offenses. 6 Cleveland Browns @ Jets. The Browns just limited the Giants to under 300 yards of offense and six points on Sunday Night Football. Now, they get to take on a Jets team that ranks last by far in terms of scoring (14.1 points per game) and total yardage (271.1 yards per game) on the year. The Jets just stunned the Rams, but the Browns won’t take them lightly with playoff positioning on the line. Expect Myles Garrett and Co. to get a lot of pressure on Sam Darnold and force the young QB into some bad throws. 7 Carolina Panthers @ Washington. In their past two games, the Washington Football Team has scored just 24 offensive points. Their defense has done a great job of generating points, but the offensive unit itself has sputtered. That’s why they have totaled the third-fewest offensive yards per game this season (317.3). The Panthers are fresh off a game in which they limited the Packers to under 300 yards and recorded five sacks for the second time in four games. If they can pressure the Washington QB, be it Alex Smith or Dwayne Haskins, they will rack up some more sacks and may be able to generate an interception, something they haven’t gotten since Week 8. 8 Los Angeles Chargers vs. Broncos. The Broncos have turned the ball over in every game that they have played this season. They are also leading the NFL with 30 giveaways. The Chargers haven’t been a particularly strong defense this year, but this matchup is a good one for them, and they should want to avenge the 14-point lead they blew in the fourth quarter against the Broncos the last time they played. Feel free to use them as one of the best streamers of the week. 9 Arizona Cardinals vs. 49ers. Speaking of teams that are leading the league in turnovers, the 49ers have logged 29 on the season and are just one behind the Broncos for the league’s high-water mark. The Cardinals have be ratcheting up the pressure in recent weeks and have a whopping 13 sacks in their last two games. If they can continue to get to CJ Beathard, likely to start in place of Nick Mullens (elbow) if Jimmy Garoppolo can’t return, the Cardinals should be a top-10 play and will have a very high floor regardless of any yardage that they give up. 10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Lions. This matchup looked better for the Bucs when there was some uncertainty about Matthew Stafford’s status, but even with him in, they still should have a chance to slow down the Detroit offense. The Bucs defense is tied for fifth in the NFL with 21 takeaways, are allowing the sixth-fewest yards per game (333.1), and sport the league’s best run defense (77.8 rushing yards per game). If they can stop D’Andre Swift and tee off on Stafford, they should be able to rack up force some turnovers and rack up some sacks on the banged-up passer. 11 Washington Football Team vs. Panthers. In their past seven games, Washington has totaled four or more sacks four times. They also have an interception in five consecutive games. They’re the definition of an opportunistic unit, as when they can’t rack up sacks, their floor is often low. That said, the Panthers and their banged-up offensive line, which has surrendered seven sacks in the past two weeks combined, figures to be a good matchup for Washington’s defense, so they can be trusted as a bit of a boom-or-bust streamer against a solid offense. 12 New Orleans Saints vs. Vikings. The Saints have lost back-to-back weeks and have only totaled nine fantasy points in the last three weeks, so they see a bit of a drop-off in these rankings. However, they still have 21 takeaways on the year and are a top-10 defense by every metric in the league. The Vikings offense has been hit-or-miss this season and they have committed 23 turnovers on the year, good for the fourth most in the league. The Saints should be positioned to take advantage of this and get pressure on Kirk Cousins, as they have 40 sacks on the year so far. 13 Kansas City Chiefs vs. Falcons. The Falcons nearly were able to stun the Buccaneers despite being without Julio Jones (hamstring), but the Chiefs figure to match up well against them. Kansas City made life difficult for Drew Brees and Co. last week and forced a sack and a turnover during the game. They should be able to get plenty of heat on Matt Ryan, who has been sacked an average of 3.4 times and has committed 1.6 turnovers per game in his past five outings. The Falcons still have enough offensive weapons to score some points, which will limit the Chiefs’ ceiling, but there are big plays to be made against the Falcons. 14 Philadelphia Eagles @ Cowboys. In recent weeks, the Cowboys offense has come to life a bit. However, the Eagles may be able to work their way into streamer territory considering that the Cowboys have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to D/ST units this year. The Eagles have 44 sacks on the season, tied for the second most in the NFL, so if they can pressure Andy Dalton, he may turn the ball over and at the very least, their sack floor is good. 15 Houston Texans vs. Bengals. The Bengals have completely cratered since losing Joe Burrow. They are allowing the second-most fantasy points to defenses as a result of their recent struggles and pressure allowed, so the Texans will have a chance to put up some good numbers against them. If Houston comes ready to play and can limit the Bengals offense, which hasn’t scored more than 17 points since they beat the Titans in Week 8, they will be a good streamer. Of course, the Texans have allowed the second-most yards in the NFL, so trusting them may be a risk that some owners don’t want to take. 16 Los Angeles Rams @ Seahawks. The Rams just got absolutely stunned by the Jets, so it’s hard to trust them against a Seahawks offense that has scored the fourth-most points per game this season (29.5). 17 Indianapolis Colts @ Steelers 18 Seattle Seahawks vs. Rams. As rough as the Rams were against the Jets (three sacks allowed, one turnover) they should be ready to bounce back and will bring their best offensive performance against their divisional rival. 19 Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Bears 20 Dallas Cowboys vs. Eagles. With Jalen Hurts starting for the Eagles and playing well, starting defenses bad defenses against the Eagles and hoping for sacks/interceptions is no longer an option. 21 San Francisco 49ers @ Cardinals 22 New York Giants @ Ravens 23 New England Patriots vs. Bills. The Patriots are out of the playoff race, Stephon Gilmore is hurt, and the Bills have one of the league’s best offenses. There’s no reason to trust them in this one. It’s too big of a risk. 24 Minnesota Vikings @ Saints 25 Green Bay Packers vs. Titans 26 Las Vegas Raiders vs. Dolphins 27 Denver Broncos @ Chargers 28 Cincinnati Bengals @ Texans 29 Tennessee Titans @ Packers 30 Detroit Lions vs. Buccaneers 31 New York Jets vs. Browns 32 Atlanta Falcons @ Chiefs

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.