Week 17 Rankings (2016): Top 15 Defenses

by Ray Kuhn

Stop me if you have heard this before; expected point totals will continue to go down as we get closer to kickoff. To close out the season, all of the games will be taking place on Sunday, and there aren’t many teams who don’t know (or have control) of where they will be next weekend.

Since last week’s games, all we have seen is a steady parade of offensive skill position players who will be bystanders to close out the regular season. That means offense will be at a premium and the risk involved with most defenses should be at a minimum. Let’s take a look at how our options rank for this week:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – at San Diego
  2. Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
  3. Denver Broncos – vs. Oakland
  4. Arizona Cardinals – at Los Angeles
  5. Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
  6. Houston Texans – at Tennessee
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cleveland
  8. New England Patriots – at Miami
  9. Baltimore Ravens – at Cincinnati
  10. Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
  11. Minnesota Vikings – vs. Chicago
  12. Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
  13. Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
  14. New York Giants – at Washington
  15. Cleveland Browns – at Pittsburgh

Notes:

  • Last Sunday was also not kind to quarterbacks as we saw Marcus Mariota and David Carr both break their legs. The Titans will be cleaning out their lockers next week while the Raiders will be getting ready for the playoffs with Matt McGloin under center. McGloin, who has 11 career touchdown passes in 10 games entering this season will not get a nice introduction to his new role as he has to deal with the Broncos and their tough defense. As it is, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris shut down opposing passing games, but they will likely feast against the Raiders this week. Matt Cassel, who has a bit more experience but not much of a track record, will be replacing Mariota. Cassel has to deal with a difficult Texans defense who excel at getting pressure on the quarterback. Both Houston and Denver were top options for this week, and now facing back-up quarterbacks will make them even better.
  • Now, let’s get a little crazy here. This applies more for DFS players than teams in their championship games, but is Cleveland really worth a look this week? The Browns, not surprisingly, are the worst fantasy defense in the league, and the Steelers have limited opposing defenses to the sixth worst production. But Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and LeVeon Bell will all be watching from the sidelines this week, so the level of competition the Browns have to deal with will be a lot less. Cleveland allowed less than 23 points only once this season, last week when they held San Diego to 17 points while picking up their first victory, and there is certainly some risk involved here. Values will be plentiful this week in DFS, but if you want a low owned defense with the possibility for some success, Cleveland is worth a look.
  • It doesn’t get much worse than it did for the Chargers last week, and it’s hard to believe they will be able to recover this week. Facing the Chiefs, and their third ranked fantasy defense, this week will also make life difficult for San Diego. Kansas City has generated the highest turnover rate in the league while the Chargers have committed the second most. With seven touchdowns so far this season, the match-up doesn’t get much better for the Chiefs.
Week 17 Rankings (2016): Top 15 Kickers
Week 17 Rankings (2016): Top 50 Wide Receivers

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