With just one week left of the fantasy season (if you play in Week 17, make sure you revise your playoff rules for next year) we're down to the wire and have just one more chance to stream defenses for a potential championship-winning lineup. All season we've suggested a few top streaming options based on certain criteria including good matchups, home teams, favorites, and obviously good defenses.
Since it's the end of the year, I decided to list all 32 teams in three tiers in order of total fantasy points along with ownership percentage. Any team with over 60 percent ownership can't really be considered a streaming option, so my analysis is for teams that are lesser owned and may still be on your waiver wire.
Now, we look ahead to Week 16 for some recommendations with the caveat that defensive fantasy points are one of the most difficult things predict with complete accuracy, but if you're in need, here are some suggestions based on the above guidelines. Lets throw a few of these at the wall and see what sticks. Remember, this week counts more than any has all season.
Fantasy D/STs #1-10
1) Denver Broncos (89.9 percent owned)
2) Kansas City Chiefs (53 percent owned)
3) Carolina Panthers (88.7 percent owned)
4) Seattle Seahawks (97.7 percent owned)
5) Arizona Cardinals (96.5 percent owned)
6) Cincinnati Bengals (61 percent owned)
7) Pittsburgh Steelers (22.4 percent owned)
8) Philadelphia Eagles (72.7 percent owned)
9) New England Patriots (86.5 percent owned)
10) St. Louis Rams (82.5 percent owned)
It's tough to imagine the Chiefs D/ST still being available in your league, and admittedly, that ownership percentage number probably includes some dead NFL.com leagues from early in the season where the unit was never drafted, but it's still a very low number. In a great matchup, Kansas City's defense continued its dominance over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15 with two interceptions returned for touchdowns, a fumble recovery, two sacks, and just 14 points scored against them. They have another favorable matchup in Week 16 at Arrowhead Stadium against the Browns.
The other obvious standout with lesser ownership from the top 10 list is the Steelers D/ST, owned in just over 20 percent of leagues. Pittsburgh has two great matchups coming up against the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. And despite surrendering 27 points to Denver on Sunday, the unit still posted a respectable 6.00 fantasy points. Pittsburgh's run defense, which has been solid all year, held Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson to just 62 combined rushing yards in the game. The Ravens offense is in a bad way right now, and only managed two touchdowns on Sunday with one coming on a miracle Hail Mary catch by Kamar Aiken. Check the waiver wire for Pittsburgh's D/ST and ride them out for the rest of the season if you're in need.
Fantasy D/STs #11-20
11) New York Giants (12.5 percent owned)
12) New York Jets (44.9 percent owned)
13) Green Bay Packers (82.8 percent owned)
14) Washington (3.4 percent owned)
15) Minnesota Vikings (14.5 percent owned)
16) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6.6 percent owned)
17) Houston Texans (70.4 percent owned)
18) Indianapolis Colts (30.2 percent owned)
19) Jacksonville Jaguars (2.4 percent owned)
20) Miami Dolphins (21.9 percent owned)
The New York Giants may be giving up a record number of yards to opposing teams, but thanks to 14 interceptions and four defensive touchdowns in the first 10 weeks of the season, this D/ST unit ranks just outside the top 10 in terms of total fantasy points. Still, the Giants haven't registered an interception since Week 10 and have just one game with double-digit fantasy points since then. Don't let New York's overall standing dupe you into streaming them against the Vikings this week.
Washington's defense is an interesting streaming option against the Eagles in a Saturday game with major playoff implications. This unit has been consistently mediocre, but not bad by any means for the last seven games. The Eagles are coming off a game where Sam Bradford turned the ball over three times himself. Granted, it was against the Cardinals stellar defense, but Philadelphia proved time and time again this season just how ineffective its offense can be at times. The Eagles are in the bottom half of the league in terms of fantasy points per game allowed to opposing teams (7.71). Washington posted 10.00 fantasy points the last time these two teams matched up back in Week 4.
I've been endorsing the Buccaneers D/ST as a streaming option for weeks, but after Tampa Bay let the lowly Rams post 31 points against them last Thursday night, I'm about to jump off this train. UNLESS … The Bears head to Tampa Bay in Week 16 and struggled to put up big point totals in recent weeks. Chicago scored 15, 17, 29, 21 and 17 points in the last five games which bodes well for the Bucs defense at home. Plus, if Alshon Jeffery isn't 100 percent (he left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury) Tampa Bay becomes even more enticing, so it's a situation worth keeping an eye on. Just keep in mind the Bucs D/ST hasn't posted double digit fantasy points since way back in Week 11.
Since the Colts' Week 10 bye, Indy's D/ST has recorded fantasy point totals of 15 (at ATL), 11 (vs TB), zero (at PIT), nine (at JAX) and eight (vs HOU) points. The zero was no surprise on the road against the Steelers high-flying offense, but it's helped that the Colts have had favorable opponents in recent weeks. While it's tough to stomach the fact that the Colts may be a solid streaming option in what is likely your fantasy championship, consider the fact that they face the Miami Dolphins. Miami's offense has been paltry over the last eight games, averaging just 16.4 points per game. Additionally, they are coming off a contest in San Diego where the team totaled just 231 yards on offense. The Dolphins also lost two Pro-Bowl caliber offensive linemen to injuries against the Chargers, left tackle Branden Albert (knee) and center Mike Pouncey (carted off with a leg injury). Their absence could leave Ryan Tannehill even more vulnerable than he already is (he was sacked three times Sunday) and the Phins' run game even more unproductive (44 total rush yards Sunday).
Fantasy D/STs #21-32
21) Oakland Raiders (2.6 percent owned)
22) Tennessee Titans (2.4 percent owned)
23) Atlanta Falcons (11.0 percent owned)
24) Baltimore Ravens (55.3 percent owned)
25) Buffalo Bills (71.5 percent owned)
26) Detroit Lions (7.4 percent owned)
27) Cleveland Browns (2.3 percent owned)
28) Dallas Cowboys (10.4 percent owned)
29) San Diego Chargers (1.8 percent owned)
30) Chicago Bears (2.4 percent owned)
31) San Francisco 49ers (8.7 percent owned)
32) New Orleans Saints (2.4 percent owned)
The only D/ST of this bunch worth streaming and starting in Week 16 is the Oakland Raiders. The Chargers, through some miracle named Danny Woodhead, dropped 30 points on the Dolphins in an emotional Narrative Street game. We don't see that kind of thing happening again in Oakland this week. San Diego's only real healthy playmakers are Woodhead and Antonio Gates, even Melvin Gordon (who hasn't been a threat all season) left the game with a knee injury. Oakland's defense has been playing well in recent weeks and has posted fantasy point totals of six (at TEN), seven (vs KC), 15 (at DEN) and six (vs GB) points in the last four games. This contest means next to nothing, no wait, it's actually 100 percent nothing, for the NFL playoffs and could end up being a "let's see what we have" in terms of talent for the future kind of game. It's tough to predict these kinds of things, but if Kahlil Mack can keep dominating, the Raiders D/ST should be able to post a serviceable stat line for fantasy owners in a crucial matchup.
Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. He's got "The Trouble With Us" by Marcus Marr and Chet Faker on repeat lately. Hit Matt up on Twitter @MattFranchise for music recommendations and fantasy advice.