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Week 15 Defense/Special Teams Rankings

It's Week 15 and the fantasy season is drawing to a close. Will your defense finish strong and help you out? Or mail it in for next season?

Tyreke Hill returning a punt against Oakland
Tyreke Hill returning a punt against Oakland
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Semi-finals time! The fantasy playoffs are likely in full swing for you all at this point. If not, then you should have a word with your Commissioner. The top team this week has changed, but it's always good to keep in mind that good defenses, can still perform well no matter who they play. Use all the rankings provided to you by Fake Teams to give you peace of mind. Not to Ruxin your lineup. It's not the time to try anything super cute unless you're extremely confident. It's the time to win.

Week 15 Rank

Team

Opponent

1

Baltimore Ravens

vs. PHI

2

Kansas City Chiefs

vs. TEN

3

Denver Broncos

vs. NE

4

Minnesota Vikings

vs. IND

5

Philadelphia Eagles

@BAL

6

Seattle Seahawks

vs. LAR

7

New York Giants

vs. DET

8

Arizona Cardinals

vs. NO

9

New England Patriots

@DEN

10

Miami Dolphins

@NYJ

11

Buffalo Bills

vs. CLE

12

Houston Texans

vs. JAX

13

Detroit Lions

@NYG

14

San Diego Chargers

vs. OAK

15

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

@DAL

16

Atlanta Falcons

vs. SF

17

Pittsburgh Steelers

@CIN

18

Dallas Cowboys

vs. TB

19

Carolina Panthers

@WAS

20

Green Bay Packers

@CHI

21

Indianapolis Colts

@MIN

22

Jacksonville Jaguars

@HOU

23

Chicago Bears

vs. GB

24

Los Angeles Rams

@SEA

25

Cincinnati Bengals

vs. PIT

26

Washington Redskins

vs. CAR

27

Oakland Raiders

@SD

28

Tennessee Titans

@KC

29

New Orleans Saints

@ARI

30

New York Jets

vs. MIA

31

Cleveland Browns

@BUF

32

San Francisco

@ATL

Top 5-

BAL, KC, DEN, MIN, PHI

A little twist at the top of the rankings this week. I know Baltimore didn't play very well against the Patriots, but I like them against Philly and Carson Wentz who can't seem to set his feet before he throws a pass. Baltimore possesses the top run defense in yards allowed (75.5 ypg allowed) and Darren Sproles is out. They also happen to be second in team interceptions with 15. The Ravens look to be a good play this week.

Kansas City against Tennessee might be a bit of a gamble, but if they can contain the run it's a good play. KC has playmakers at every level with Dontari Poe manning the trenches, Dee Ford and Justin Houston in the linebacking corp and Marcus Peters and Eric Berry in the secondary. They also get bonus points for Tyreke Hill being a candidate to break one off to the house anytime he returns a punt. Kansas City is near the bottom of the league in rushing yards allowed (122.9 ypg) so hopefully the loss of Derrick Johnson won't make that figure much worse.

Denver plays New England at Mile High and that hasn't been a good place for Tom Brady and company after getting bounced in the playoffs there last season. The Pats are minus Gronkowski, but have a running game that they didn't have last season. Denver's ability to get to the QB will be crucial here. Even if they knock Brady down half as much as the last time that they played, it'll be a good day for them. Of note, Brandon Marshall hasn't practiced as early as Friday so they might be without their best middle linebacker.

Minnesota plays Andrew Luck and the Colts and I just couldn't rate them higher than I wanted too. Luck can go off for a number of touchdowns any given Sunday and the Vikings defense keeps being capped by its dreadful offense. They're still worth a play for their potential, but even if they go up on the Colts, Luck will be getting some garbage time scores.

Philadelphia is kind of in this position by default. Not a lot of good matchups for defenses this week. And with Seattle looking like they did last week... it's looking even weaker for good defense plays. Philadelphia is ranked 5th in defensive DVOA entering week 15 and it's still hard to tell which Joe Flacco will show up on Sunday. One thing to keep an eye on, the possible chance for rain in Baltimore on Sunday. So it could be a run-heavy day with low scoring.

The Second Tier (6-12)-

SEA, NYG, ARI, NE, MIA, BUF, HOU

Some defense in this second tier play offenses that could give them troubles. New York plays Detroit and their MVP candidate (Matthew Stafford) and Arizona plays New Orleans. Buffalo has struggled defensively lately, but (am I'm almost positive I've wrote this before) nothing cures defensive woes like beating up on the Browns. Plus Marcell Dareus guaranteed they would win so do with that what you will.

The rest-

Sneaky upside this week is Tampa Bay playing against the Cowboys. Dak Prescott hasn't looked like second coming of Tom Brady lately, and Tampa might be ae good matchup with how they've gotten to the quarterback and played in coverage. Atlanta taking on San Francisco could be a good matchup as well. I'm not saying Deion Jones will return another TD for a score, but if there was an offense to take one back to the house against or go for the 2-point reversion, it's the Niners'.