2016 fantasy football profiles (DEF 13-24)

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............4

While the Packers tend to be known more on the offensive side of the football in fantasy, their defensive unit hasn't finished outside the top 25 scoring D/STs since before 2009. The Packers boast a young secondary that should be even better in 2016, while Clay Matthews is shifting back to a pure pass-rusher, which should create a ripple effect across the entire defense. Add in new additions Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez from the 2016 NFL Draft, and the green and gold are starting to look like a unit worthy of more attention in 2016. While they aren't among the elite, they could be snagged in one of the final rounds of fantasy drafts and have a solid Week 1 matchup against Blake Bortles and the Jaguars, who were far from great when it came to protecting the football in 2015.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............11

With Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson anchoring the front line, the Jets featured one of the league's best run defenses in 2015, allowing the second-fewest yards (1,335) and the fewest touchdowns (four). The team got a boost of speed in the first-round of the NFL draft in Darron Lee, too, and should be ready to battle for an AFC East title this fall. Todd Bowles is an expert at calling well-timed blitzes, and Lee could give him the ability to do so more frequently in 2016. The Jets have a tough slate to start the season, but face Cleveland, Miami and Los Angeles in Weeks 8-10, which could be a prime streaming stretch.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............10

What a difference a year (and a defensive coordinator) makes. In 2014, the Bills led the league with 54 sacks, but posted just 21 with largely the same front seven under Rex Ryan in 2015. Even with Mario Williams out of the picture, the team should bounce back a bit from that disastrous low. The team picked up some pass rush help in Shaq Lawson, their first-round pick, but he had to undergo shoulder surgery this offseason and likely won't return to the starting lineup until midseason. That puts a bit of a wet rag on what otherwise would be a pretty enticing fantasy unit. The Bills could be scooped up as a flier in the hopes Rex Ryan and co. turn this unit back around, otherwise they'll be a prime streaming candidate, especially when they play at home.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............5

Even though the Jaguars defense finished an uninspiring 23rd in fantasy scoring in 2015, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this unit in 2016. For starters, the team welcomes back 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler, who suffered a torn ACL last offseason. Then, the team added two of the most talented players in the 2016 NFL Draft in Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, in addition to the likes of Malik Jackson, Prince Amukamara and Tashaun Gipson in free agency. Those are a lot of moving pieces for Gus Bradley and newly minted defensive coordinator Todd Wash to get in order, but talent will no longer be a scapegoat for the Jags defense. Those feeling frisky can yell "DUVAL" and draft this unit, or wait until Week 2 and add them off the waiver wire once the Packers are clear from the schedule.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............9

Few fantasy analysts expected the Washington defense to amount to much in 2015, yet at the end of the year they'd logged six double-digit scoring weeks and finished as the 12th-highest scoring defense. That's thanks in large part to the emergence of lesser known players like Preston Smith, whose eight sacks filled a much needed pass-rushing void opposite Ryan Kerrigan. In 2016, the defense will have a slightly new look as they won the bidding war on star cornerback Josh Norman, who will immediately help bolster a secondary that allowed 30 passing touchdowns a season ago. Washington has a tough schedule out of the gate with Pittsburgh, Dallas and the Giants in the first three weeks, but after that they'll have streaming appeal heading into their Week 9 bye.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............10

It's hard to find a defensive unit more improved through free agency and the draft than the Raiders in 2015. The team brought in pass rusher Bruce Irvin, cornerback Sean Smith and free safety Reggie Nelson, while drafting safety Karl Joseph and talented defensive lineman Jihad Ward. This unit is anchored by Khalil Mack, whose 15 sacks last year were second in the league behind only J.J. Watt. The Raiders defense isn't as deep as the truly elite units, but is certainly heading in the right direction and could be worth a flier late in drafts as both the Broncos and Chargers offenses are in a bit of a transition in 2016. If not, they'll have streaming appeal in the right matchup.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............6

After under-performing with Lovie Smith running the show, the Buccaneers defense will be seeking new life under the guidance of new defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Robert Ayers joined the fray in free agency and should help bolster a lackluster pass rush along with second-round draft pick Noah Spence. The Bucs pass defense is the real question mark though, as the team allowed 31 passing touchdowns a year ago. They did add Vernon Hargreaves in the first round, who should help, but he won't be a savior by himself. Ultimately, the Bucs defense is likely a better streaming candidate for now, but there is enough talent on this team in the likes of Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and so on to merit a flier as a starting defense.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............8

Many times when it comes to defenses, fantasy and reality do not see eye-to-eye. Just look at the Giants in 2015, who despite allowing 31 passing touchdowns and 27.6 points per game, this unit finished as the 17th-highest scoring defense. That's thanks in large part to six defensive and special teams touchdowns, but points are points. And the Giants are hoping to concede fewer points (and in turn score more fantasy points) after spending big in free agency on Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins, to name a few. Jason Pierre-Paul losing the club on his injured hand could help him return to form as a pass-rusher as well, but he still faces an uphill battle. All told, there are pieces of this defense to like, but the unit as a whole still features too many holes to be considered an every-week starter.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............8

The Ravens defense was a bit of a disappointment in 2015, largely because they hauled in a league-low six interceptions all year. To help fix that problem the team signed Eric Weddle in free agency to lead the secondary and provide a physical presence in the box. While Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs are a great pass-rushing duo, they're both getting a little long in the tooth. Incoming rookie Kamalei Correa will be a great addition to help spell both veterans and learn from them as well. The Ravens defense should rebound a bit, but isn't worth drafting. They'll have streaming appeal in the right matchups, though.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............10

The Lions defense was a tough one to lock down last season, as they posted negative fantasy points against the Chiefs in London, yet notched 22 points on the road in Seattle. The young core of this defense, led by Ezekiel Ansah, remains intact, while the team will welcome back DeAndre Levy, too, after he missed basically all of 2015 with a hip injury. The Lions don't offer season-long appeal as a starting unit, but will be a fine streaming candidate when teams travel into Ford Field, where the Lions allowed just 3.8 yards per carry and racked up 21 sacks in 2015.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............8

Losing Olivier Vernon in free agency was a big blow to the Dolphins defense, and while they tried to cover up that loss by signing Mario Williams, a 31-year-old on his third big contract might be a bit of a risk. Still, Williams will team up with Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh to create a formidable front line, hopefully creating playmaking opportunities for the linebackers and defensive backs. This isn't a stop unit to invest a draft pick on, but they could have streaming appeal later in the season, especially if the line gets consistent pressure.

Auction...............$1

Bye Week.............9

The Bears made a concerted effort to provide defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with the tools necessary to run his defense this offseason. They brought in middle linebackers Danny Travathan and Jerrell Freeman in free agency, traded for Akiem Hicks, and drafted pass-rusher Leonard Floyd in the first round of the NFL draft. The Bears defense was not a reliable fantasy asset in 2015, but perhaps Fangio can turn this unit around now. Playing in a division against Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford isn't ideal, but keep an eye on this group if it starts putting together some solid performances as it could be a top unit to grab off the waiver wire.

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