NFL Fantasy Football Week 16: Defense Rankings

Fantasy football is no longer just a showcase for offensive scorers, as defensemen are now an integral part of their weekly pick. The right choice will help you in week 16.

The New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys have been the top two defenses during the 2022 season, but they aren’t your only options. San Francisco has a dominant defensive line, while the Baltimore Ravens’ defense has been one of the comeback stories of the season. They eventually ranked in the top five in fantasy defenses.

Justin Houston’s return from nine sacks has been a big boost for a defense that looked fragile at the start of the season. They were bleeding over yards and giving away too many points, but things have changed dramatically. Philadelphia’s defense remains the sack queen, still leading the NFL with 55.

When choosing your defense for Week 16, you should keep in mind that key starters may start to rest as playoff spots are claimed.

Who are the best fantasy football defensemen available in Week 16?

New England Patriots against the Cincinnati Bengals

Fantasy football players have rejoiced at the points the New England Patriots #039;  defense has provided through Week 15
Fantasy football players have rejoiced in the points that the New England Patriots defense has provided during Week 15.

New England has their defense to thank for their 7-7 record in the 2022 season. Through Week 16 they have managed only 300 points, but their defense has allowed just 269.

Bill Belichick’s defense has been brilliant through Week 15. They lead the NFL in fantasy points with 156 points and rank third in terms of sacks.

Brian Callahan speaks to reporters before the game in New England this weekend. “They look like a Patriots defense,” when asked about New England’s defense.

Matthew Judon has been brilliant for the unit, leading the Patriots defense with 14.5 individual sacks.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals are a team with the potential to hurt any defense. Burrow is spectacular at shooting long distances and this can put pressure on the New England Patriots secondary.

It’s not expected to be a prolific week for fantasy points in New England’s defensive ranks, given the quality of their opponents.

Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles

Nothing stops Micah Parsons and the Dallas Cowboys' defense
There’s no stopping Micah Parsons and the Dallas Cowboys defense

The fans in Dallas are starting to get nervous. While they believe in the Cowboys’ roster, there is a feeling that once the postseason rolls around, bad things will happen to Team USA.

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Before the playoffs begin, Dallas faces an almighty challenge in the form of the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly has the best record in the NFL, losing just one game through Week 15.

Despite what their records suggest, both teams have glaring weaknesses. Philadelphia doesn’t have a running game to speak of, and the Cowboys have Micah Parsons and Dorance Armstrong, experts at getting to the quarterback. Through week 15, the duo has combined for 21 sacks. Against a team that relies on its passing offense, this could be a huge advantage for the Dallas Cowboys.

san francisco 49ers against the commanders of Washington

Physical dominance has been the key to the 49ers' defensive success in 2022
Physical dominance has been the key to the 49ers’ defensive success in 2022

San Francisco has been largely consistent on defense throughout the 2022 season. A return of 138 points has made them a beneficial pick for fantasy football general managers.

In week 16, Fred Warner and company take on the Washington Commanders in Santa Clara. On the face of it, this should be a favorable matchup for the Niners, given the poor stature of Washington’s offense.

However, with the division already won, there’s a chance Kyle Shanahan will start resting key players, especially those who suffered devastating injuries in the past, like Nick Bosa.

If it’s the strongest starting lineup the 49ers could field, then this game would be a points fest in fantasy football. However, given how difficult it is to predict personnel, it may be worth avoiding the Niners’ defense.

philadelphia eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles fans are hoping their run defense improves ahead of the postseason.
Philadelphia Eagles fans are hoping their run defense improves ahead of the postseason.

The Eagles continue to be the most adept defense at getting to the quarterback. They have 55 sacks and have proven to be one of the most reliable and stable units in football. Interestingly, it may be a week to avoid selecting this defense, given the average run defense Philadelphia has.

The Cowboys have stood out in the race in 2022, rotating between Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. The Philadelphia Eagles will go toe to toe with that on Sunday. It may not be a great week for the return of fantasy football.

Baltimore Ravens against the Atlanta Falcons

Fantasy football players could earn a lot of points through Baltimore's defense in Week 16
Fantasy football players could earn a lot of points through Baltimore’s defense in Week 16

Mike Macdonald has enjoyed one of the biggest comebacks of the 2022 NFL season. In the first few weeks, the Baltimore Ravens’ defense of him appeared to be nothing more than a mess. They just couldn’t defend against the air passes. The Dolphins opened them up in Week 2, scoring 42 points in Maryland, and no one expected the Ravens to be anywhere near the top 5 defenses for Week 16.

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However, that’s exactly what happened with Baltimore posting 42 sacks, 14 interceptions and 12 forced fumbles. His return of 14 interceptions is particularly impressive. He is not only the second tallest in soccer, but he has shown dramatic improvement in the area that was his biggest concern.

The Ravens HAVE BEEN POTTERED by Lamar Jackson and have to figure out who they are without him. The defense and running game have to keep SHOWING UP down the stretch to lead them to victory. Then, when Lamar returns, they will be able to participate in the SUPER BOWL RUN that they are capable of.

Atlanta’s offense has stuttered through Week 15, not really finding its rhythm. Baltimore’s defense could be an ideal sleeper pick in Week 16 as they will record plenty of fantasy football points. It can even exceed 15 points.

Fantasy Football’s Top 15 Defenses in Week 16

The following list is ranked by points scored in fantasy football:

1. New England Patriots – 156 points

2. Dallas Cowboys – 147 points

3. San Francisco 49ers – 138 points

4. Philadelphia Eagles – 128 points

5. Baltimore Ravens – 119 points

6. Buffalo Bills – 119 points

7. New York Jets – 105 points

8. Denver Broncos – 96 points

9. Arizona Cardinals – 94 points

10. Indianapolis Colts – 93 points

11. Jacksonville Jaguars – 93 points

12. Washington Commanders – 93 points

13. Carolina Panthers – 93 points

14. Seattle Seahawks – 91 points

15. Kansas City Chiefs – 91 points

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