Week 16: Defensive (D/ST) Waiver Wire Rankings

Dec 18, 2012

We’re throwing a change-up for this week’s waiver wire article. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you made it to the championship of your league playoffs (congrats!). If you’ve gotten this far, it’s unlikely that you’ll be desperate enough to roll the dice on the likes of Danny Woodhead, Curtis Brinkley or any of the other “top” skill position targets on week 16’s waiver wire (check our weekly rankings if you need a value on these players).


However, even a championship-caliber team could be in the market for a defense, especially for owners using a committee approach. With this in mind, we rounded up several of the season’s top-rated D/ST experts and had them rank 12 D/ST options that are available in at least 50% of most leagues. Read on below to check out the experts’ advice.


Featured Pros

Nick Raducanu – (The Fantasy Fix)

Ken Zalis – (Fans Fantasy Football)

Russ Bliss – (Fantasy Football Starters)

Chet Gresham – (The Fake Football)

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Waiver Wire Rankings (D/ST)*


 Team  Matchup  Consensus Rank  Best Rank  Worst Rank
 Indianapolis Colts  @ KC  2.5  1  5
 San Diego Chargers  @ NYJ  3.0  1  7
 Miami Dolphins  vs. BUF  3.5  1  6
 Washington Redskins  @ PHI  4.0  2  6
 Arizona Cardinals  vs. CHI  4.8  2  8
 Carolina Panthers  vs. OAK  5.0  3  7
 Tampa Bay Buccaneers  vs. STL  5.8  4  8
 Buffalo Bills  @ MIA  7.5  7  8
 New Orleans Saints  @ DAL  9.8  9  11
 Oakland Raiders  @ CAR  10.3  9  12
 Philadelphia Eagles  vs. WAS  10.3  10  11
 Tennessee Titans  @ GB  11.8  11  12

*List comprised of teams with at least 50% availability in leagues


Week 16 Waiver Wire Advice (D/ST)


Each expert also shared thoughts about their #1 selection from the list of waiver wire targets. Here’s the pros’ advice:


Indianapolis Colts (@ KC)

“Going into Week 15, the Lions were an extremely popular D/ST pick among fantasy analysts due to what appeared to be a great matchup against the hapless Cardinals. The Lions D/ST “rewarded” their owners by only putting up three fantasy points and showed us all the risk of going with a bad defense solely because of their matchup. What have I learned from this history lesson? Apparently nothing, because I’m going to bang my head against the wall again and recommend what is a relatively bad Colts defense against a punch-less Chiefs offense. I’ve underscored the inherent risk of this pick with our little history lesson, but the Colts have also averaged 14 fantasy points per game in their past three contests against bad offenses (Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tennessee). Combine those numbers with the fact that the Chiefs allow over 12 fantasy points per game to opposing D/ST (2nd in the league) and I’ll be more than happy to take my chances with the Colts against Brady Quinn and Co.” – Nick Raducanu (The Fantasy Fix)


San Diego Chargers (@ NYJ)

“For those who play the waiver wire defense strategy, there are a few good choices here for week 16. But one thing I look for are opportunistic defenses with matchups against mistake prone offenses. The Jets certainly qualify as an offense that can be mistake prone with Mark Sanchez alone having turned the ball over 19 times in 13 games (this write-up is before the Monday night game between the Jets and Titans). Meanwhile, with 7 defensive touchdowns scored on fumble recoveries and interceptions, the Chargers qualify as an opportunistic defense. The Chargers don’t wow you in the bread and butter stat category of sacks, but they have proven to be able to score TDs off opposing offenses mistakes. You don’t find a lot of good consistent defenses available on the free agent wire, so when digging for a defensive play, I’ll go for those with the big boom factor. This week, that would be the San Diego Chargers.” – Russ Bliss (Fantasy Football Starters)


“This Sunday notwithstanding, the Chargers have been a top 10 Defensive unit all year long. The last 5 weeks they’ve been a top 5 D and also a top 5 D for weeks 12 thru 14. A hiccup vs. a hot offense like Carolina will not lend a blind eye to this. Week 16 the Bolts get a Jets team that will be coming off a short week and has been a turnover machine all year. If you need a bingo D and SD is there, get them quick. With 25 turnovers and 7 TDs this year, you can do a lot worse.” – Ken Zalis (Fans Fantasy Football)


Miami Dolphins (vs. BUF)

“My defensive/special teams waiver wire pick for this week is the Miami Dolphins. They are not a great defense, hence their lack of ownership, but they take on the Buffalo Bills at home this week. The Bills are doing their usual late season slide, due in part to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s poor play. They have allowed opposing D/STs double digit scores three of the last four games and that includes St. Louis, Indianapolis and Miami at home in Buffalo. This week Miami gets to play at home. The Dolphins are best against the run, which is the Bills strength, having given up only six rushing touchdowns to running backs this season and 3.7 yards per carry. If they can hold Spiller to an average game, that puts Fitzgerald in the spotlight, which is good news for the defense.” – Chet Gresham (The Fake Football)



Thanks to the Featured Pros for sharing their D/ST advice with us! For more of the experts’ insight, be sure to follow them on Twitter and visit their respective sites. Best of luck to everyone with your all-important pickups this week!

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