Week 16 is bittersweet. It’s a very exciting week because for a lot of people it means it is championship week. Week 16 also kind of stinks because it usually means the end of the fantasy football season is upon us.
The week 16 team defense rankings hands down was one of the toughest weeks for me to put together. There are a lot of tough match ups this week as well as a lot of reserve players starting games for teams that are technically out of it. Also there have been a couple of teams whose defense has turned it up a notch these last couple of weeks. That won’t show in statistical rankings but it never hurts to ride the “hot hand.”
If you are in your league’s championship remember this isn’t the time to get “cute.” Stick to what got you this far.
1. Chicago Bears – The Bears have fallen off a lot lately but it isn’t due to their defense. Brian Urlacher being out doesn’t help but the Bears face an Arizona team that have a very inexperienced, very weak offense. A couple of respected Chicago beat writers also believe that the Bears will get Tim Jennings back this week and that is huge for fantasy owners.
2. NY Jets – With the exception of 1 big run by Chris Johnson the Jets defense looked solid on Monday night. San Diego’s offensive line is in shambles and now that Ryan Mathews and Malcolm Floyd on IR the offense looks worse. The Jets are a pretty safe play this week.
3. New England Patriots – After getting torched by San Fran last week I see NE’s D coming back in a big way in week 16. One of the best ways of making up for a bad game is playing Jacksonville. I think NE should be able to not only contain Justin Blackmon but also create some turnovers.
4. San Diego Chargers – No beating around the bush here the Jets offense is terrible. NY plans on starting their 3rd string QB Greg McElroy this week which should lead to at least 1 or 2 picks. The Chargers might be a good waiver wire pick up if your not to confident with your current D.
5. Washington Redskins – Philly’s offense is a mess right now. I know LeSean McCoy is coming back but he really hasn’t been a factor this year. Redskins are still playing for the playoffs. The Skins are another team I can see not only shutting down their opponent but creating some turnovers as well.
6. Green Bay Packers – Clay Matthews didn’t wait too long to let the NFL know he was back. The Packers’ D has a good match up this week vs. TEN. As long as they can keep pressure on Jake Locker the Packers should have no trouble in week 16.
7. Seattle Seahawks – Normally the Seahawks at home would be a no brainer #1 but with San Fran’s offense on fire and a pending suspension hearing for Richard Sherman I was even hesitant to put them in the top 10. This is a conditional ranking, if Sherman does get suspended I would look elsewhere for a team defense. I still think with the incredible home field advantage Seattle has enjoyed all season.
8. Houston Texans – No one, no one has been able to stop Adrian Peterson. The Texans have the D-line to contain him but the lower ranking is mainly due to the “AP Factor.” The Texans crack the top 10 because they should have no problem getting to Christian Ponder and creating turnovers in the process. J. J. Watt will need to have a big game this week.
9. Carolina Panthers – Panthers’ defense looked very good last week vs. San Diego and I expect the same this week vs. Oakland. Carolina is a pretty safe play, if once again, your not comfortable with your current defense.
10. Arizona Cardinals – I had to get the Cards in the top ten. The defense has been the only bright spot for Arizona this year. Chicago’s offense hasn’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard in recent weeks due mainly to a horrid offensive line. Arizona is a nice sleeper D this week.
11. Denver Broncos – IF you own Denver you can play them with confidence this week. I can’t imagine a scenario where Cleveland puts up a lot of points. Denver’s D is at #11 mainly due to the fact that they don’t create as many turnovers as fantasy owners would like to see.
12. Cincinnati Bengals – A little bit of a tough match up vs. Big Ben this week but Pitt’s run game still really hasn’t taken off. There has been a lot of off the field issues between Ben and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Play calling has become a huge problem leading to confusion which leads to turnovers.
13. NY Giants – Speaking of struggling offenses Baltimore needs to be in the conversation. This is a must win for the Giants and they will bring everything they have at Joe Flacco. In previous years it has been great defensive play that has helped the Giants sneak into the playoffs.
14. San Francisco 49ers – The 9ers are way down here because of what Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense has been doing to opponents as of late. Wilson is slowly making a believer out of me and I can see Seattle at home putting up points in week 16.
15. Atlanta Falcons – It all depends on which Matthew Stafford shows up this week. With Detroit being out of the playoff hunt I don’t predict a highly motivated Lions offense. Atlanta’s secondary could very easily pick Stafford once or twice.
16. Indianapolis Colts – Colts D hasn’t been anything special but they are up against a bad Kansas City offense this week. Indy is playing for the playoffs still and will need their defense to shut it down this week.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Eli Manning hasn’t been playing that great lately and the turnovers have been there. Ray Lewis might be making his comeback this week and that alone could be inspiration enough for the Ravens D to play like the days of old.
18. New Orleans Saints – The Saints secondary have been really coming along lately and they have a pretty good match up against turnover happy Tony Romo. This is a desperation play but they have earned their way into my top 20.
19. Miami Dolphins – Solid match up vs. a Buffalo. This is another desperation play if you really need something this week.
20. Dallas Cowboys – The game vs. the Saints should be a complete shoot out. When this happens one or two turnovers usually happen. There are worse options out there.
Good Luck in your Championships this week. Make sure to be back at www.fantasyknuckleheads.com 90 minutes before kickoff on Sunday to get your line up questions answered.