Fantasy football rankings, Week 15: Defense/special teams

It’s been a changing of the guard among fantasy defenses the last five weeks. What was great is now not, and what was subpar is now great.

Remember “Miami Dolphins, elite defense“? Through their first eight games, the Dolphins‘ defense was No. 1 in fantasy points, and not by a little. They had 98 fantasy points; the next most through eight games was Philadelphia, with 82.

Well, in their last five games, the Dolphins’ defense has managed only 16 fantasy points, only 24th in the league. Buffalo and Philadelphia have almost doubled their fantasy totals in that span; St. Louis has more than doubled its first-eight total. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have gone 2-3 over those games. Sure, one of their outings was against Denver, but the other four – Detroit, Buffalo, the Jets, Baltimore – aren’t exactly known as offensive juggernauts.

Cameron Wake has slowed down, as have Reshad Jones and Olivier Vernon. And then Sunday, Louis Delmas hit IR with an ACL tear. The Dolphins’ defense, a fantasy MVP a month ago, is now a unit that would be a totally justifiable drop in fantasy, with their Week 14 matchup against the Patriots.

The flip side, as I noted above, is the Rams‘ defense. Through their first eight games, St. Louis had 40 fantasy points, only 19th in the league. But since then, the Rams have 77 fantasy points, more than 15 a game. The last two weeks alone, St. Louis has 53 fantasy points from its defense. And yes, the last two weeks were against Oakland and Washington, but St. Louis put up a combined 20 fantasy points against Denver and San Diego in Weeks 11 and 12. This defense is legit.

Down the stretch, St. Louis has home games against Arizona, who can’t score, and the Giants, who love to turn the ball over, before a Week 17 game at Seattle. If I’m in a league that ends in Week 16, there is literally no defense I’d choose over St. Louis, with the possible exceptions of Detroit and Seattle. Not bad for a defense that was literally in the bottom half of the league about a month ago.

Fortunes change quickly among defenses. As I’ve said before, take every weird factor – nagging injuries, fatigue, rejuvenation – that goes into gauging a running back or a wide receiver, and multiply it by 11 for a fantasy defense. And that’s before wondering about special teams.

The No. 1 defense in the league a month ago can be dropped now if need be. A unit you couldn’t roster in October might be the best. It’s fun, huh?

On to our Week 15 rankings:

Defense/special teams rankings, Week 15

(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; JD: John Daigle; SK: Scott Kaliska)

Rank Consensus Opponent DK DC JD SK
1 Seattle Seahawks SF 3 1 1 2
2 Baltimore Ravens JAC 1 2 3 4
3 Detroit Lions MIN 4 3 4 3
4 St. Louis Rams AZ 6 7 2 1
5 Kansas City Chiefs OAK 2 5 16 5
6 Arizona Cardinals @STL 5 6 12 6
7 New York Giants WAS 16 4 5 7
8 New England Patriots MIA 12 9 6 8
9 Green Bay Packers @BUF 14 8 7 9
10 New York Jets @TEN 13 10 11 10
11 Tennessee Titans NYJ 17 11 10 11
12 Philadelphia Eagles DAL 7 17 15 15
13 Cincinnati Bengals @CLE 23 12 8 14
14 Denver Broncos @SD 19 15 9 16
15 Indianapolis Colts HOU 11 14 22 12
16 Minnesota Vikings @DET 10 21 18 18
17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @CAR 9 13 23 24
18 San Francisco 49ers @SEA 8 24 17 21
19 Cleveland Browns CIN 15 16 25 17
20 Houston Texans @IND 22 20 13 19
21 Carolina Panthers TB - 18 24 13
22 Miami Dolphins @NE 24 23 14 23
23 Dallas Cowboys @PHI 25 22 20 22
24 Oakland Raiders @KC 19 - 19 -
25 New Orleans Saints @CHI - 19 - 20
Buffalo Bills GB 21 25 21 25
Jacksonville Jaguars @BAL 18 - - -
Pittsburgh Steelers @ATL 20 - - -
Chicago Bears NO - - - -
December 10, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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