This is Week 16 Defense Streamers! Additionally, which Week 17 Defense Stashes should you keep rostered?
Welcome back. You either survived Week 1 of the Fantasy Playoffs, or you were resting and awaiting this week with a coveted first round Bye. Last week, I wrote this article Best Fantasy Defenses for Fantasy Playoffs: Top Picks & Tips (playerprofiler.com) detailing Week 15’s top options and recommending some defenses to stash in Week 16 and Week 17.
This article will review how we did last week and get you the information you want on this week’s top options. I will also discuss the top defenses to stash for Week 17 – Championship Week – AKA Money Week.
Unlike the regular season, rostering multiple defensive options is not only a smart strategy, but it is one that I recommend. You are not only maximizing your options, but you are preventing your opponent from using a top option against you. Anyone who has played this game long enough realizes that playoff wins can often be extremely tight. Winning on the margins like a robust defensive performance can be exactly what your team needs to advance.
Fantasy managers often will look at season long counting stats when making their defensive choices in the fantasy playoffs. That can come back to haunt you. Using the top streaming option is usually the correct decision even in the fantasy playoffs. Last week, the No. 1 scoring defense in fantasy, the Dallas Cowboys, was shredded on the road in Buffalo. The Cowboys have another difficult matchup this week against Miami on the road. Using them should come down to your risk tolerance and options available.
Dallas is not the only defense that should be challenged this week. The No. 2 scoring defense, the Baltimore Ravens, face off against the freight train that is the San Francisco 49ers. The No. 4 scoring defense, the Miami Dolphins, should also not be trusted against Dallas.
If you have Cleveland, they are a weekly lock start and have a plus matchup this week against a decimated Houston Texans team. The Jets and Bills are easy starts this week as well as they face off against Washington and the LA Chargers, respectively.
Last week, my top defensive streaming recommendation was rostered in less than 10% of Yahoo Leagues and delivered a 25-point outburst and finished as the No. 1 scoring defense on the week. Thank you, Brandon Staley. I also recommended Indianapolis and Chicago. They went on to finish as the No. 3 and No. 4 overall scoring defenses. Tennessee finished as the No. 7 overall scoring defense. Not a bad day at the office.
Four of the six defenses I recommended are in the top seven, but what about the other two? Atlanta scored eight points and finished tied for No. 13 overall. They only allowed nine points, so if your league has bonuses for low scores, they stood out. The only miss was Cincinnati. They allowed 303 yards to Nick Mullens plus smash games from Ty Chandler and Jordan Addison.
Here is what I wrote with their stats from the week and their finish in ESPN scoring:
Week 15 Options
Las Vegas (8%) vs The Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert is out, and Easton Stick is in. No really, the Chargers quarterback is Easton Stick. Even with Herbert, the Los Angeles offense has been on one of the worst downward spirals in football. The Chargers have scored 17 points combined in their last three games. The Raiders just held Minnesota to three points and registered five sacks. They are also home favorites in what should be a low-scoring game.
The Raiders won 63-21.
4 Fumble Recoveries
2 Defensive TDs.
Finished as Defense No. 1
Atlanta (33%) vs Carolina
The Falcons defense has been on a solid run. Over their last three games, Atlanta has registered six sacks, three fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. They are also one of three NFC South teams with a 6-7 record, so every week becomes must-win territory if they are going to make the playoffs. This week’s matchup is about as good as it gets. Carolina cannot score and has allowed the No. 4-most sacks in the league. This is a smash spot.
The Falcons lost 9-7.
The Falcons finished tied as Defense No. 13
Tennessee (6%) vs Houston
Tennessee just defeated Miami in an emotional come-from-behind Monday Night victory. The Titans registered five sacks on Tua Tagovailoa, giving them 12 in their last three games played. They become a must add defense even if you like your current option this week better. The Titans go up against Davis Mills and the decimated Houston Texans offense twice over the next three weeks.
The Titans lost 19-16.
1 Defensive Score.
Finished as Defense No. 7
Cincinnati (25%) vs Minnesota
The Bengals have won two straight and just held the Colts to 14 points. Over the season, no team has more interceptions than Cincinnati. This week they face off against a reeling Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota has a QB decision to make and is likely without Justin Jefferson. The Vikings have scored 13 points over their last two games combined.
The Bengals lost 27-24.
Finished as Defense No. 24
Indianapolis Colts (42%) vs Pittsburgh
The Colts defense had a second-quarter pick-six that saved their day fantasy-wise in a disappointing 34-14 loss to Cincinnati. Indianapolis has the No. 3-most sacks in the league and now faces off against Mitch Trubisky and the reeling Steelers’ offense. Pittsburgh has lost back-to-back games to Arizona and New England.
Indianapolis Won 30-13.
1 Fumble Recovery.
Finished as Defense No. 3
Chicago (5%) at Cleveland
Chicago may be ranked as a mid-tier defense this week. However, if you are in a deep league where managers may have squirreled away the top options, they could be a strong option. Cleveland has the most turnovers in the NFL, and despite the newfound excitement surrounding Joe Flacco, he is a 38-year-old statue. The Bears defense has a lot of juice heading into this one with back-to-back NFC North wins and a combined 23 points allowed to Minnesota and Detroit. Over Chicago’s last three games, the Bears have registered eight sacks and added nine interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
The Bears lost 20-17.
Finished as Defense No. 4
Now how do our options stack up for this week? Most of our options are available in more than 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Week 16 Streamers
Sometimes, you have to remind yourself that this is a weekly game. Denver was steamrolled on Saturday night in Detroit in a demoralizing 42-17 loss. In Denver’s previous eight games, they never conceded more than 22 points. They have a “get right” spot this week as Bailey Zappe and the Patriots visit Mile High Stadium. The Broncos are No. 5 in the league in forced turnovers.
We will continue to use Indianapolis in a ride-or-die Week 16. Last week, The Colts defense feasted against Pittsburgh. This week, they face off against Taylor Heinicke and the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta scored seven points total in Week 15.
The Colts are No. 3 in the NFL in sacks. Heinicke has thrown for 22 interceptions in his last 28 games played.
Chicago Bears (24%)
I love the Bears defense and their potential fantasy impact over the next two weeks. Chicago hosts Arizona. Kyler Murray is always challenge for opposing defenses, but the Chicago defense has been red hot especially at home. The Bears have not allowed an opponent to crack 20 points at Soldier Field since Week 4. The defensive stats have been insane recently as Chicago has 15 sacks and 12 interceptions over their past five games. Even if you do not want to use them this week, make sure you stash them for Week 17.
Green Bay (57%)
Green Bay conceded 34 points in Week 15’s loss to Tampa Bay, but they did register five sacks – a season-high. Carolina simply cannot score. They won last week but only scored nine points. The Panthers have also allowed the No. 4-most sacks in the NFL. Nothing is threatening at all about this matchup for Green Bay. This is simply a fade-the-bad offense matchup play.
Tampa Bay (36%)
Trevor Lawrence is in the concussion protocol, and Tampa Bay will most likely be facing off against C.J. Beathard. The Buccaneers have won three straight games and registered nine sacks while doing so. Beathard has not started a game since 2020.
The Jaguars are also coming off of a dysfunctional seven-point performance in Week 15 against Baltimore. The 7-7 Bucs have a chance to win the NFC South, and a win here would go a long way.
The Bengals face Mason Rudolph as road favorites in a game with a 37-point total. Last week, Cincinnati had three sacks and two interceptions and could build on those numbers against a reeling Steelers team that is headed in the wrong direction. The Bengals have the most interceptions of any defense in the NFL.
The Seahawks are not getting enough love as a defensive streaming option this week. They are coming off of a huge emotional win over Philadelphia and will look to carry that momentum on the road in Tennessee.
They have three interceptions over their last two games played and seven sacks over their last three. Tennessee has allowed the No. 5 most sacks in football and Will Levis is banged up.
Week 17 Options to Stash
Indianapolis (46%) vs Las Vegas
Denver (69%) vs Los Angeles Chargers
Tennessee (7%) at Houston
Chicago (24%) vs Atlanta
LA Rams (20%) vs NY Giants
Jacksonville (42%) vs Carolina