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2016 Fantasy Football Projections - Defense and Special Teams (DST)

Standard Fantasy Leagues point systems score team defense by yards allowed, sacks, turnovers (interceptions and fumbles), safeties and defensive scores (punt, kick, interception and fumble returns for TD).  Whereas the Fantasy points for the offensive side links strongly to the skill players' performance, the team defense does not correlate to defensive rank primarily because points allowed is not counted, but more importantly, due to the erratic nature of turnovers and especially defensive scores which dominates the Fantasy point system.  The following list projects the expected Fantasy points per team based on the performance for the last three years, realistically though, this projections present the highest variation of all the positions, i.e., it's mostly a crapshoot.

ELITE

  • Carolina Panthers (9.0):  Ball hawking and opportunistic defense carried the Panthers for the last 3 years.  Expect more of the same in 2016.
  • Arizona Cardinals (8.9):  The Cardinal defense has gone from good to elite under Arians -- ditto in 2016
  • Kansas City Chiefs (8.7):  Number 3 defense last year... good dependable value
  • Philadelphia Eagles (8.6):  Eagles played well on defense last year and should repeat the feat in 2016.
  • Denver Broncos (8.3):  Defense carried the team last year.  Too much talent and the best defensive player in the league in Von Miller.
  • St Louis Rams (8.2):  Coach Fisher get the defensive side of the ball to play well.  The offense is another story.


​SOLID​

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (7.5):  The Steelers were uncharacteristically not in the top tier last year on defense... expect Tomlin to right the ship.
  • Houston Texans (7.1):  JJ Watts.  Done.
  • Minnesota Vikings (7.1):  Vikes surprised last year making the playoffs playing solid defense… expect more of the same.
  • Indianapolis Colts (7.1):  Everything went in the shitter last year when Luck went down.  Colts D will bounce back this year.
  • Seattle Seahawks (7.1):  The Seahawks have have the #1 defense for the last 5 years… solid pick.


AVERAGE

  • Buffalo Bills (6.9):  Sacks and turnovers helped the Bills... expect good things from a Rex Ryan defense -- decent value.
  • New England Patriots (6.8):  Challenging year for Belichick with Brady out for the first 4 games.  This is what he excels at so expect the D to rise to the occasion and over-perform.
  • Green Bay Packers (6.8):  GB rates middle-of-the pack defensively but they always seem to be opportunistic.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6.6):  Tampa is moving in the right direction.  This pick could overachieve into the solid bucket.
  • Washington Redskins (6.5):  Washington looks to be headed in the right direction finally… still a year away from the postseason though.
  • Cleveland Browns (6.3):  The Browns took a step backwards defensively last year.  Hue has a huge mountain to climb.  Maybe LBJ can play D.
  • New York Jets (6.1):  For all his reputation, surprisingly the Jets are playing better defensively since Rex left.
  • Cincinnati Bengals (6.1):  Cincy seems to underachieve consistently -- they have the talent to place in the solid category.


POOR

  • Miami Dolphins (5.9):  Miami keeps adding pieces yet it doesn't seem to translate to wins so far.  Adam Gase needs to work his offensive magic on the other side of the ball.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (5.8):  There's hope in Jax but if only Bortles could play defense.
  • Detroit Lions (5.7):  The Lions looked good last year and will play great this season.  Just kidding.  They suck.
  • Tennessee Titans (5.6):  The Titans retreated after a couple good seasons… unfortunately for Tenessee, more of the same this year.
  • New York Giants (5.5):  Historically the G-men lived and died by the D… the slide continues -- avoid this team.
  • Baltimore Ravens (5.4):  Ravens have been lost since Ray Lewis and Ed Reed retired.  Avoid.
  • Dallas Cowboys (5.4):  Cowboys will be lucky to win 4 games again this year again.


AVOID

  • Atlanta Falcons (5.2):  Atlanta is a mess right now on offense and defense.  Let someone else pick them.
  • Chicago Bears (5.1):  Really bad trend in Chicago getting worse every year for the last four.
  • San Francisco 49ers (4.9):  The worst defense in the league last year got an offensive make over in Chip Kelly. Oh wait.
  • New Orleans Saints (4.6):  How does a team have $35MM in dead cap space money for two years in row??? Another miserable season in the The Big Easy.
  • Oakland Raiders (4.6):  Del Rio has a history of improving teams from bad to decent then stalling.  Avoid this pick.
  • San Diego Chargers (4.6):  Three bad years in a row on its way to four… skip SD.