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Week 16 Defensive Rankings

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It's week 16, and if you're still reading these posts, you are doing something right. This week has a number of sleepers to choose from, so you should be able to plug in a nice streamer if need be.

Rank Team Opponent
1 Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns
2 Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
3 Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
4 Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams
5 Denver Broncos Cincinnati Bengals
6 Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
7 Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos
8 Arizona Cardinals Green Bay Packers
9 Oakland Raiders San Diego Chargers
10 Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
11 Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
12 Minnesota Vikings New York Giants
13 Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
14 New York Jets New England Patriots
15 New England Patriots at New York Jets
16 Buffalo Bills Dallas Cowboys

The Kansas City Chiefs take the number one spot for a second straight week. They feasted on the Ravens last week with two interceptions, two sacks, and most importantly, two touchdowns. They also added a fumble recovery to the stat sheet. This defense is hot like late December in New York, apparently, as they have averaged the most fantasy points (14.25) over the last four weeks in standard leagues. They get yet another poor offense in the Cleveland Browns, so you can expect another 10 points at minimum.

The Ravens were able to defeat the Steelers way back in week four, but a lot has changed among these two teams since then. The quarterback situation in Baltimore is uglier than those gold pants, as Ryan Mallett may get a chance to start Sunday over Jimmy Clausen and Matt Schaub. All the Ravens are playing for at this point is a decent draft pick. The Steelers are in the playoff hunt with a 9-5 record, and they are competing in the AFC with the Chiefs and Jets, who are also at 9-5. They need this win, and the team has not forgotten about losing to the division rival Ravens earlier this season. Also, they are $1,200 cheaper than the Seahawks on Draftkings and can give you similar type of production.

"We lost to Baltimore the last time we played them. There shouldn’t be a letup," said defensive end Cameron Heyward. "Everybody knows we are going against Baltimore. Any time it’s the Ravens it’s a tough game. We didn’t have our quarterback, we had some guys injured. It left a sour taste in our mouth so we want to improve on that."

As you may have noticed, the teams I rank highly this time of year are the one’s who are playing for something and going up against the teams who are eliminated from playoff contention. Of course, this method won’t work every time, but you have to like the odds of it paying off. The Panthers are ranked third because of how they have been playing, and what they are playing for; an undefeated season. You may also remember the recent pounding on the Falcons in week 14, where they shut them out 38-0.

The Seahawks have already clinched the playoffs, which is why I rank them fourth in a matchup they should dominate. It’s unclear if Pete Carroll will start his defensive stars for most of the game. I assume he will this week and give them some rest in week 17 on the road, but I still rank them forth to be safe.

Next up is the Broncos defense, who has just a one game lead on the Chiefs with two weeks left. They face the Bengals, who will be without quarterback Andy Dalton. Since Dalton has been out with an injury, Bengals opponents (the Steelers and 49ers) have scored 16 and six points, respectively.

The Raiders defense has averaged 9.50 points over the last four weeks, and they get a nice Thursday night matchup against the injured Chargers. Oakland is owned in just 6% of Yahoo leagues, giving an impression that they have been awful this season. The reality is, they have scored more fantasy points than defenses like Miami and Buffalo, who were ranked highly at the beginning of the year. You can start them with some confidence.

Now that it is confirmed, Odell Beckham’s suspension makes the Vikings defense a nice sleeper heading into your playoff matchup if you need a defense. He is such a key part of what the Giants do, and it’s going to show on Sunday night. The Giants will be lucky to get a second straight 100 yard game out of Rashad Jennings who hasn't done much all season.