Fantasy football rankings, Week 16: Defense/special teams
There are a whole host of tasty matchups in store for fantasy finals week.
In reality, the rash of quarterback injuries over the last couple weeks haven’t meant much for fantasy rosters. No one was using Ryan Fitzpatrick or Drew Stanton; no one is using Thad Lewis, Case Keenum or Ryan Lindley.
But there is one area in which all these changes have really made an impact, and that’s at the fantasy defense. Because where Fitzpatrick and Stanton were bad fantasy options but competent as NFL quarterbacks, their replacements are bad fantasy options and have no real business as NFL starters.
What that means is that some defenses — good or otherwise — get to take on some awful quarterbacks in Week 16. I was able to pick up the Baltimore defense in one league. A week ago, Baltimore’s mediocre defense against Fitzpatrick and the Houston weapons would have been dicey. This week, against whoever is throwing the ball for Houston, they’re premium.
That in mind, let’s look at some defenses … well, let’s be honest here, we’re looking at some crappy offenses that make defenses look good:
- As mentioned above, Baltimore gets to face either the Texans‘ fourth or fifth choice at quarterback. Whoever starts for Houston Sunday was two spots further down the list of interesting than Ryan dang Mallett. With the Baltimore defense averaging 17 fantasy points over its last two and with no negative games all season, they’re enticing.
- Remember when we were all down on Seattle’s defense early in the season? They’ve put up double-digit fantasy points in four straight games and six of eight, and they get to play Lindley, who was out of the NFL a couple months ago. Avoid every last Arizona offensive player.
- Holy awfulness, Johnny Manziel. Cincinnati’s defense put up 15 points against Manziel and the Browns in Week 15, which is only decent until you consider that they had put up negative-nine a week earlier. Carolina — which has had a brutal defense most of the year — could really take advantage of a Cleveland offense that has fallen part.
- Charlie Whitehurst gets a second stint as a 2014 starting quarterback, which is the first line of a scary short story. Jacksonville’s defense has actually been competent lately — no negative scores since Week 4 nine points a game over the last month — and could roll over a short-week Titans team Thursday.
Those are all on top of the regular-old interesting situations. Buffalo just shut down Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers back-to-back and now gets Derek Carr. Has-been-very-strong Detroit faces falling-apart-at-the-seams Chicago. Tennessee faces Jacksonville, who hasn’t allowed fewer than seven fantasy points in a game all season.
In short, this is a great week for defenses. There will be a lot of situations in which you can’t go wrong. Let’s go to the rankings:
Defense/special teams rankings, Week 16
(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; JD: John Daigle; SK: Scott Kaliska)
|2||New England Patriots||@NYJ||2||3||4||2|
|5||St. Louis Rams||NYG||5||8||3||6|
|10||Green Bay Packers||@TB||19||7||12||7|
|16||San Francisco 49ers||SD||20||19||7||18|
|17||New York Giants||@STL||15||14||25||13|
|19||Kansas City Chiefs||@PIT||21||16||16||17|
|21||San Diego Chargers||@SF||14||21||18||21|
|23||New York Jets||NE||23||–||15||–|
|25||New Orleans Saints||ATL||–||23||–||23|