I’ve offered my mea culpa. I’ll try to move on now.
Many of you committed defensive streamers have a glut of options on your respective championship teams. You have the Lions and Browns, or the Chiefs and Titans, or some other combination of those four defenses.
It’s hardly a bad problem: you’re stacked at the position, making it difficult to make a bad decision. Every one of those options has undeniably high fantasy floors in Week 16. I have my preferences, though it’ll be tough to go too terribly wrong with any of those options.
We learned a hard lesson in listening to Vegas’ sage advice last week. Odds makers raised a couple over-unders on Sunday morning, including the projected total of the Vikings-Eagles showdown. A sudden jump in the expected point total of any game is worth paying attention to, especially when that game already had a sky-high over-under.
Here’s what Vegas may or may not be telling us about defensive streamers in Week 16.
|Dolphins at Bills||43|
|Chiefs vs. Colts||44|
|Jets vs. Browns||40.5|
|Vikings at Bengals||48|
|Broncos at Texans||51.5|
|Panthers vs. Saints||47|
|Rams vs. Buccaneers||42.5|
|Jaguars vs. Titans||44|
|Patriots at Ravens||45.5|
|Lions vs. Giants||49|
|Cardinals at Seahawks||44|
|Chargers vs. Raiders||50.5|
|Bears at Eagles||56|
|49ers vs. Falcons||45|
|Packers vs. Steelers||44.5|
* * I couldn’t help but notice a small but persistent Twitter freak out about the Lions-Giants projected point total. It’s more than a little concerning without context. Consider that Vegas expects Big Blue to score 19.7 points, however, and it might make you not want to vomit if Detroit is plugged into your championship lineup defensive spot. Only four teams are projected to score fewer Week 16 points than Eli Manning’s Beautiful Disaster. Let’s keep in mind that even when adjusted for strength of schedule – the most accurate look at points-against — New York is still allowing 14.6 fantasy points to opposing defenses on the season. The Lions remain a top-5 title week play.
* * Please stop talking about playing the Bears’ defense this week. They had a fine and dandy Week 15 against an abysmal Jason Campbell, but you (almost) couldn’t ask for a worse Week 16 matchup. Don’t consider Chicago’s defense a viable option unless nine feet of snow drop on Philadelphia this weekend. Even then, I’d hesitate.
* * Any over-under as low as those in the Jets-Browns and Dolphins-Bills contests are worth a serious look for veteran streamers. Buffalo, thanks to a defensive score, put up 16 points against Miami in their Week 7 meeting. The Dolphins have committed to keeping Ryan Tannehill upright over the past month, so the potential for a cavalcade of sacks from the Bills’ fearsome front seven is probably less likely than you think. Back to the Cleveland-New York game: only four teams allow more adjusted fantasy points to defenses than the Browns, making the Jets just a slightly worse streaming option than the Browns.
* * Oakland has committed 10 turnovers in its past three games. The team is broaching dumpster fire territory — a space occupied by the likes of Washington and Houston — and I don’t think any team has a higher fantasy ceiling this week than the Chargers. San Diego’s defense isn’t nearly the joke it was in September and October. The Chargers are seventh best against quarterbacks, 13th stingiest against running backs, and middling against wide receivers. I’d give serious consideration to deploying the Chargers’ defense against Oakland if I came into championship week as a big underdog and couldn’t secure the Lions or Titans defenses.