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Week 16 D/ST Rankings

We’re entering the home stretch of the fantasy football season and I hope your team is still putting together the weeks to put you in your league’s championship game. Kansas City takes the top spot this week for best defense while a couple of top-10 defenses play some high-powered offenses.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Week 13 Rank

Team

Opponent

1

Kansas City Chiefs

vs. DEN

2

Denver Broncos

@KC

3

Arizona Cardinals

@SEA

4

New York Giants

@PHI

5

Seattle Seahawks

vs. ARI

6

Minnesota Vikings

@GB

7

Baltimore Ravens

@PIT

8

New England Patriots

vs. NYJ

9

San Diego Chargers

@CLE

10

Miami Dolphins

@BUF

11

Philadelphia Eagles

vs. NYG

12

Houston Texans

vs. CIN

13

Buffalo Bills

vs. MIA

14

Pittsburgh Steelers

vs. BAL

15

Tennessee Titans

@JAX

16

Los Angeles Rams

vs. SF

17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

@NO

18

Green Bay Packers

vs. MIN

19

Carolina Panthers

vs. ATL

20

Dallas Cowboys

vs. DET

21

Atlanta Falcons

@CAR

22

Detroit Lions

@DAL

23

Oakland Raiders

vs. IND

24

Chicago Bears

vs. WAS

25

Cincinnati Bengals

@HOU

26

Indianapolis Colts

@OAK

27

Washington Redskins

@CHI

28

Jacksonville Jaguars

vs. TEN

29

New Orleans Saints

vs. TB

30

San Francisco 49ers

@LAR

31

New York Jets

@NE

32

Cleveland Browns

@SD

The Top 5-

(KC, DEN, ARI, NYG, SEA)

Kansas City takes the top spot this week, because I don’t know what Denver can do well on the offensive end. KC is vulnerable statistically, but having playmakers on the defensive side, as well as Tyreke Hill as a special teams weapon puts the Chiefs in a good position. They’re 3rd in fantasy scoring, and play a pretty bad offense.

The flip side of the aforementioned matchup has Denver at the number 2 position. The Broncos are number 1 in defensive pass DVOA by a wide margin (we’re talking 2002 Buccaneers margin), but their defensive DVOA rank against the run is at a measly 24th. If Denver can stop KC from running, then they can cause problems. You’ll need the Chiefs to fall behind in the game and be forced to throw. That’s when the Broncos will get you points.

I don’t know how many times I’ll say this this year, but the Cardinals are not who we thought they were. That hasn’t stopped the defense from being 5th in fantasy points scored, 5th in total pass yards allowed (212.9 ypg), and 7th in sacks (35). They’re 5th in defensive DVOA and easily a top-5 defense. Their matchup against the Seahawks puts them at 3 because Russell Wilson has looked suspect lately.

The Giants play an Eagles team that hasn’t won a division game all season. The Giants defense is 3rd in points allowed (18.3) and Romeo Okwara has played admirably in Jason Pierre-Paul’s absence. Janoris Jenkins is a top cornerback in the NFL this year and shouldn’t have trouble shutting down whatever no-names Philly decides to lineup at wide receiver.

Seattle rounds out the top-5 because of their rounding into shape during life without Earl Thomas. It might be because they played the Rams last week, but their pass rush is reason for promise. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril coming off the edge, along with Bobby Wagner cleaning up whatever they may have missed, are part of what keeps offensive coordinators up at night. The Seahawks are 2nd in points per game allowed (16.8) and 2nd in defensive rush DVOA. A matchup with interception-prone Carson Palmer awaits.

The Second Tier-

The Vikings and Ravens play offenses that are starting to roll over teams in the Packers and Steelers, respectively. Playing them could go either way, but at this point you might not be willing to gamble with streaming a lesser defense. The Patriots are also posting the top scoring defense and play the Jets this week with Bryce Petty at QB. Or is it Ryan Fitzpatrick? Who knows.

If you are looking for new plays, Houston and San Diego might be the place the start. San Diego gets Cleveland this week while Houston (allowing a league best 306.5 total yards per game) gets Cincinnati.

Other Sleepers-

Pittsburgh might be a defense that should get a look this week. They play a struggling Baltimore Ravens offense and have 19 sacks and 7 interceptions in their past 5 straight wins.

Buffalo might be another sleeper as they get to host Matt Moore and the Dolphins, hoping to trip up the new starter.