Congratulations on making it to Week 16! Let’s see if we can get even farther and win the whole thing. Last week, the Atlanta Falcons served up a solid performance for us while the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans blew it out of the water. This week, there are some good streaming matchups against weaker offenses so let’s identity some defenses that are rostered in around 50 percent of leagues or fewer.
Please note: there’s a decent chance that better teams above this 50 percent threshold are out there in your league, but we can’t assume they’re out there for everyone. We have to draw the proverbial line somewhere, so stay active and monitor the league home page; someone might drop a desirable defense after waivers clear.
Opponent: vs. New England Patriots
ESPN % Rostered: 15%
Yahoo % Rostered: 49%
Denver Broncos have put forth some up-and-down performances of late, and they’re looking to rebound from a disappointing outing as they come home to host the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick’s Patriots have allowed an average of 10 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses over their last five. QB Bailey Zappe has yet to throw for 250 yards in any of his starts this year; meanwhile, the Denver defense has the 7th highest blitz rate in the NFL and third-highest rate for drives that end in turnovers. The Broncos are averaging just over four sacks per game and the Patriots have thrown five interceptions over their last four games.
Green Bay Packers
Opponent: @Carolina Panthers
ESPN % Rostered: 45%
Yahoo % Rostered: 48%
This isn’t the flashiest pick, but the Green Bay Packers are a safe bet against a Carolina Panthers team that has been a consistent source of reliable fantasy points to opposing defenses all season long. This Packers defense has a lower ceiling than most premier, rostered defenses but should nonetheless provide a high floor. Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Panthers as they have given the ball to the other team six times over their last five games while failing to go over 303 total yards in any game over that stretch. If you aren’t looking to take risks in the playoffs and would rather ensure the D/ST position comes through with a dependable output to complement the rest of your roster, the Packers are a fine choice in Week 16.
Opponent: vs. Arizona Cardinals
ESPN % Rostered: 10%
Yahoo % Rostered: 15%
DE Montez Sweat has statistically improved in every single game for Chicago since being acquired at the trade deadline. He is coming off a 2.5 sack game as the Bears D/ST have now strung together three consecutive double-digit performances and were just a couple of plays shy of a fourth. They haven’t allowed an offense to score more than 20 points over that three-game stretch, and they have also registered 12 sacks and an astonishing twelve interceptions over their last four games. Enter the Arizona Cardinals, who travel to Chicago after QB Kyler Murray threw two interceptions of his own last week. The Cardinals are now averaging 3 sacks allowed per game over their last four while being held to around 300 yards of total offense in three of those four games.
Swinging for the Fences:
Washington Commanders (ESPN:15%; Yahoo!:15%)
You’re David facing Goliath. You’re the final seed that just made it into the wild card on a tie-breaker facing the number one seed. Your opponent has Rashaad White and Stefon Diggs as their bench players. You need to hit it big, throw a haymaker, and go all in! Might I suggest taking the D/ST facing the bottom team in the league in points allowed to fantasy defenses on the year? With Zach Wilson still in concussion protocol, the Jets will be starting Trevor Siemian at quarterback. The Jets have given up 20+ fantasy points in three of their last five games averaging 17 fantasy points allowed to D/STs over that span.
What’s the catch then? The Commanders are the worst fantasy defense of the year. Oh, and they’re going on the road to New Jersey for this one. It’s not a move for the faint of heart, but for those in a pinch, I’ll endorse the worst fantasy defense this week since they’re taking on the worst fantasy offense.
If you see something I don’t leave a comment or hit me up with feedback @MikeoftheFF on Twitter!
Photos by Zach Bolinger & Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)