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Week 16 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2016 Fantasy Tiers & Rankings

Home stretch, RotoBallers! Below are our Week 16 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target at the end of your 2016 drafts for Week 16 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to drafting defenses, making waiver wire pickups/adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 16.

Any and all _____ or ______ questions can be answered by the rankings--whoever I have ranked higher is who I would start. Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup.

Some of these Week 16 defenses have good matchups and are not widely owned, representing fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 16 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 16, RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Once you're done here, be sure to read about even more Week 16 waiver wire recommendations, for all fantasy-relevant positions. Just click on any link: ALL - RB - WR - TE - QB - DEF - CUTS


Week 16 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1 Defenses

1. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DEN)
2. San Diego Chargers (@ CLE)
3. New England Patriots (vs. NYJ)
4. Miami Dolphins (@ BUF)

When in doubt, stream against bad QBs. The exception here is the Dolphins, who have simply been too hot to ignore. Since their Week 8 bye, the Dolphins have tallied 19 turnovers (2.7 turnovers per game) and now get the opportunity to play a desperate Bills team with the playoffs on the line (for the 'Fins anyway). Getting turnovers out of Tyrod is like pulling teeth, but the Bills hemorrhage sacks (2.9 per game) and this defense is for real. Fantasy owners will be rewarded in Week 16.


Tier 2 Defenses

5. New York Giants (@ PHI)
6. Denver Broncos (@ KC)
7. Atlanta Falcons (@ CAR)
8. Seattle Seahawks (vs. ARI)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ NO)

The Seahawks have been serviceable all season, but have lacked the major upside that we typically get out of the elite fantasy DSTs. They have just one DST touchdown on the season, they're just barely inside the top 10 in passing defense and are actually outside the top 12 in rushing defense. They are still top-five in sacks, and that's where the upside is--the Cardinals are top-five in sacks allowed on the season. If you've gone this far with the Seahawks, fire them up one last time and let it ride.

Tampa Bay's defense has been arguably the most important part of the team's playoff run. They shut down Drew Brees and company at home in Week 14, but now they're tasked with doing the same in the House of Pain known as the Superdome. The Saints offense came out swinging in Week 15 and blasted the Cardinals for 48 points on the road, but I have faith that the Bucs can keep it under control. That makes them a low-end streamer for me in Week 16 with some upside depending on what version of the Saints offense shows up.


Tier 3 Defenses

10. Baltimore Ravens (@ PIT)
11. Arizona Cardinals (@ SEA)
12. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG)
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)

The Steelers will drop out of streamable range if they are without Stephon Tuitt. If he is healthy enough to suit up though, the Steelers have some upside in a key divisional battle against the Ravens. With Tuitt in the lineup that pass rush has been terrific, and the defense overall has been quietly great. They rank in the top five in total rushing defense, but are in the bottom 10 for pass defense. That will be the key in Week 16--can they contain the likes of Mike Wallace, Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta? I think they're up to the task, keeping them right on the fringe of stream-worthiness.


Close Your Eyes and Hit 'Submit'

14. Houston Texans (vs. CIN)
15. Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL)
16. Minnesota Vikings (@ GB)
17. Cincinnati Bengals (@ HOU)
18. Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
19. Washington Redskins (@ CHI)
20. Tennessee Titans (@ JAX)
21. San Francisco 49ers (@ LA)
22. Los Angeles Rams (vs. SF)

Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.