Defensive Team By Waiver Wire: Week 16

Defensive Team By Waiver Wire: Week 16

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Dec 17, 2013

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, finished as runner-up in 2011 and 4th in both 2012 and 2015 for a total of five Top 5 seasons in the last six years. Cumulatively, John was the most accurate expert from 2010-15 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate draft rankings. 

Follow John Paulsen on Twitter: @4for4_John.

For those new to Defensive Team By Waiver Wire (DTBWW), the strategy goes like this: Each week, you target a mediocre defense on the waiver wire, looking for a good matchup, preferably at home. You will typically get good defensive production without having to burn a semi-valuable pick on draft day. Or if you do draft a DT and they start to disappoint, you can use DTBWW the rest of the way. The strategy is also called streaming defenses.

I have been writing a DTBWW feature for four years -- offering readers several available-on-the-waiver-wire DT picks each week -- and they averaged DT5, DT6, DT7 and DT10 numbers from 2009 to 2012. DT10 may not sound impressive, but I have been offering more picks each week which may account for the decline. Still, generating top 10 DT numbers off the waiver wire allows fantasy owners to basically ignore the position on draft day, instead focusing on more important areas.

Generally, defenses have to be available on the waiver wire in at least 40% of ESPN fantasy leagues to be eligible. This ensures that we are talking about defenses that are readily available.

Last week, I recommended the Cardinals (15 fantasy points, DT6), Eagles (5, DT20), Lions (2, DT27), Colts (18.5, DT4), Falcons (15, DT6), Jaguars (8, DT14) and Bills (13, DT8). Minnesota took advantage of the Eagles, while the Lions defense held its own in the redzone against the Ravens, but couldn’t create much pressure. The other five recommendations all finished in the top 14.

On the season, DTBWW is averaging 9.9 fantasy points per game, which equates to DT7 numbers.

Owners who are still holding onto the Chiefs will be happy to see that we have them ranked #3 this week against the Colts, so they are a strong play coming off of back-to-back 20+ point outings. The Panthers play at home against the Saints, which looks like a tough matchup. However, the Saints are a different team on the road — they’ve given up just 4.3 fantasy points at home to opposing defenses while yielding 8.4 FP on the road. The league average is 8.5 FP, so they are basically an average matchup on the road. For that reason, I’d continue to start the Panthers, who are the #3 fantasy defense this season. The two teams are tied for 1st place in the NFC South, so it’s obviously a big game.


Here’s a look at the top streaming options for Week 16:

Lions (vs. NYG)
The Lions defense has been up-and-down of late — all season, actually — posting 20 points against the Packers on Thanksgiving and 14 against the Eagles in Week 14. They didn’t play well against the Ravens in Week 15 (2 points), but the matchup this week against the Giants is terrific. The G-Men have yielded a league-worst 14.4 FP to opposing defenses this year. The Lions are in must-win mode so they should produce.

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