Week 15 Recap: Three of the four starts I had in week 15 finished in the top 8 for fantasy team defenses, with the lone start being Pittsburgh who had a tough time with the Jets. In terms of the sits for week 15, I nailed two of the four teams, while the Colts and Packers stood up and showed that they belonged in the top tier of fantasy team defenses. Here are the team defense start sit for week 16; if you are still around in your fantasy football league or you just feel the need for more information, here we go.
Start ‘em: Week Sixteen Team Defenses
St. Louis Rams vs SF: One of the most underrated defenses on the year, the Rams are in a home, must win game versus the San Francisco 49ers who will now be starting quarterback Troy Smith this week. In the Rams last 4 games overall, they have scored 72.78 team defense fantasy points in that span; I expect the same type of performance this week in a very important divisional battle in the Dome for St. Louis. The Rams have only scored single-digit team defense fantasy points once this season and it was at home versus the high-powered Atlanta Falcons [9.3]. I fully expect the 49ers to turn over the ball a few times and not be able to run as efficient as they did the previous time versus St. Louis, when they had Frank Gore.
New England Patriots @ BUF: In the Patriots last four games overall their team defense has scored 83.6 points [20.9/game]. When New England travels to Buffalo this weekend, they will face a Bills team without their top WR in Lee Evans, who is currently on IR and has already missed a few games. In the Patriots last 3 road games, their team defense has put up an average of 19.84 points per contest, I fully expect them to go after this Bills offense, and do to them what they could not do to Matt Flynn and the Packers last week on Sunday Night Football.
Baltimore Ravens @ CLE: In Baltimore’s last game versus Cleveland earlier this season they put up 10.9 team defense fantasy points, I expect that to be inflated in their next game on the road versus Cleveland. I have learned in watching how teams perform in terms of fantasy team defense that sometimes a team plays better away from home and I think that is the formula for Baltimore in a lot of circumstances. They really do seem to come together more on the road than with their crowd at home, at least as a defense they do. Their secondary has been very weak this season allowing a ton of points and yards through the air; I do not think they will have that kind of issue this week when facing Colt McCoy and the Browns.
Green Bay Packers vs NYG: The Packers have only scored single-digit team defense fantasy points once this season [MIA], and when they face the turnover “Giant” in New York, I expect them to get their share of turnovers in this one versus Eli Manning. A good portion of Eli’s interceptions this season have come on tipped passes and inadvertent turnovers that were not just simple interceptions and I think that will continue when Clay Matthews and crew will put a ton of pressure on the Giants offense in this game. Since the single digit performance versus the Dolphins in week 6 the Packers have played 3 home games and have averaged 24.24 points per game.
Sit ‘em: Week Sixteen Team Defenses
New Orleans Saints @ ATL: In the Saints last 5 games overall, New Orleans has put up single digit fantasy points three times; that alone should get fantasy owners scared of starting this team on the road on Monday Night Football against the what looks to be unbeatable Atlanta Falcons. Ever since the embarrassing loss to the Browns in week 7, the Saints defense have not been able to get back to form when they started the year with 6 straight double-digit team defense fantasy points. The Falcons offense really looks on point this season with the mix of Matt Ryan and Roddy White in the passing game and with Michael Turner on the ground, I just do not trust any defense against this prolific offense at the moment.
Dallas Cowboys @ ARI: The Cowboys defense has allowed an average of 31.25 points [actual not fantasy] a game in their last 4 games overall, and that is just not good enough for me to feel confident in starting them in a fantasy playoff week, especially because their game falls on a Saturday this week and if they do not perform well, your team really takes a hit even before Sunday starts. I totally understand that the Cowboys will be facing the Cardinals, who honestly have not been able to get their offense started much behind new quarterback John Skelton. I am worried about Tim Hightower and Larry Fitzgerald in this game in the public eye on a Saturday Night game. I am not starting the Cowboys defense in this game.
Indianapolis Colts @ OAK: I have the same issue with the Colts defense as I do with the Cowboys, Indianapolis has allowed 90 total points in their last 3 games and that just does not cut it when I am starting a fantasy team defense in a playoff week. Even though their fantasy points were not too bad because of other team turnovers, I still do not trust the Colts defense in Oakland because of the speed of the Raiders. It seems to me, not because of Jason Campbell, but because of people like Jacoby Ford and Darren McFadden why I am not starting the Colts defense on Sunday. This is a must win game for both teams and we all know that Peyton Manning will score points in this game and the amount of time Oakland will have the ball, I simply do not trust the Colts defense to keep the points off the board.
New York Jets @ CHI: This was the toughest sit of the week for me because of how good both of these defenses are and how good of a game this is going to be on Sunday. I am obviously not sitting the Bears defense because of how shaky Mark Sanchez has looked in the second half of this season; but when I look at the Jets defense, I think I will sit them this week because of how good Jay Cutler has looked in the past few weeks [cannot believe I just wrote that]. If Cutler comes out and puts as much of a focus on not turning over the ball as he had the past few weeks, I think sitting the Jets defense is a good idea. If Cutler turns it over though, then the sacks will come right after that and that is a formula for a good start from a team defense. You can allow over 35 points as a team defense, but if you cause 2-3 turnovers and get 2-3 sacks, then it was a good start for that fantasy owner.