Defense Wins Championships, Week 16

Updated: December 17, 2013

Defense Wins Championships

Week 1 (and basic methodology) | Week 2 | Week 2, part 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15

Let’s jump straight into the results:

Top scoring D/STs from Week 15 (ESPN Standard)

#. Team (expected score) versus/at Opponent [actual score]

  1. Seahawks D/ST (11.82) at NY Giants [22]
  2. 49ers D/ST (8.71) at Tampa Bay [18]
  3. Colts D/ST (7.00) versus Houston [16]
  4. Panthers D/ST (12.81) versus NY Jets [16]
  5. Browns D/ST (4.34) versus Chicago [14]
  6. Chiefs D/ST (8.89) at Oakland [14]
  7. Steelers D/ST (6.54) versus Cincinnati [11]
  8. Falcons D/ST (4.53) versus Washington [10]
  9. Bills D/ST (7.58) at Jacksonville [10]
  10. Rams D/ST (3.60) versus New Orleans [10]
  11. Cardinals D/ST (7.91) at Tennessee [9]
  12. Redskins D/ST (0.18) at Atlanta [9]
  13. Bears D/ST (7.20) at Cleveland [8]
  14. Ravens D/ST (1.64) at Detroit [8]
  15. Jaguars D/ST (5.68) versus Buffalo [7]
  16. Giants D/ST (4.18) versus Seattle [6]
  17. Patriots D/ST (7.08) at Miami [5]
  18. Chargers D/ST (-4.71) at Denver [5]
  19. Bengals D/ST (8.22) at Pittsburgh [4]
  20. Texans D/ST (0.83) at Indianapolis [3]
  21. Broncos D/ST (6.01) versus San Diego [2]
  22. Lions D/ST (7.20) versus Baltimore [1]
  23. Vikings D/ST (-0.23) versus Philadelphia [0]
  24. Saints D/ST (7.37) at St. Louis [0]
  25. Jets D/ST (2.45) at Carolina [0]
  26. Buccaneers D/ST (6.07) versus San Francisco [0]
  27. Packers D/ST (-) at Dallas [-1]
  28. Cowboys D/ST (-)  versus Green Bay [-2]
  29. Titans D/ST (6.78) versus Arizona [-2]
  30. Raiders D/ST (5.84) versus Kansas City [-2]
  31. Dolphins D/ST (4.51) versus New England [-2]
  32. Eagles D/ST (4.91) at Minnesota [-5]

I warned everyone against Philadelphia every chance I could, so I sure hope none of you fell into that trap! The tier 1 teams from last week (Carolina and Seattle) scored 19 points on average. The tire 2 teams from last week (KC, SF, Cincinnati, and Arizona) scored an average of just over 10 points – although if you read my advice on Reddit all week, I did what I could to steer users away from Cincinnati (4 points) and toward one of the other streaming options instead!

We will have an entire offseason to further analyze the results, so onward to week 16!

Week 16 projected D/ST scoring (ESPN Standard)

  1. Seahawks D/ST (11.10) versus Arizona (high variance)
  2. 49ers D/ST (10.09) versus Atlanta (low variance)
  3. Rams D/ST (9.42) versus Tampa Bay (high variance)
  4. Chiefs D/ST (8.51) versus Indianapolis (high variance)
  5. Titans D/ST (7.89) at Jacksonville
  6. Lions D/ST (7.34) versus NY Giants (high variance)
  7. Broncos D/ST (7.27) at Houston
  8. Dolphins D/ST (7.25) at Buffalo
  9. Bengals D/ST (7.14) versus Minnesota
  10. Jets D/ST (7.14) versus Cleveland (low variance)
  11. Chargers D/ST (6.97) versus Oakland
  12. Bills D/ST (6.83) versus Miami
  13. Browns D/ST (6.79) at NY Jets
  14. Panthers D/ST (6.05) versus New Orleans
  15. Ravens D/ST (6.03) versus New England
  16. Patriots D/ST (5.82) at Baltimore
  17. Cowboys D/ST (5.46) at Washington (high variance)
  18. Buccaneers D/ST (4.93) at St. Louis (high variance)
  19. Saints D/ST (3.82) at Carolina
  20. Jaguars D/ST (3.74) versus Tennessee
  21. Colts D/ST (3.11) at Kansas City
  22. Eagles D/ST (2.37) versus Chicago (high variance)
  23. Cardinals D/ST (1.54) at Seattle
  24. Vikings D/ST (0.82) at Cincinnati
  25. Redskins D/ST (-0.03) versus Dallas
  26. Bears D/ST (-0.16) at Philadelphia
  27. Falcons D/ST (-1.07) at San Francisco
  28. Raiders D/ST (-1.08) at San Diego
  29. Giants D/ST (-1.18) at Detroit
  30. Texans D/ST (-4.19) versus Denver

Not listed: Pittsburgh/Green Bay, due to uncertainty with Aaron Rodgers’ injury.

Not too far off from what I guessed last week on Reddit, but all of the differences are minor and make sense.

Tier 1 – Seahawks, 49ers, Rams, Chiefs, Titans

Let’s face it, if you have Seattle, you are not sitting them. Same deal if you have San Francisco – in both cases, you have a strong NFC West D/ST at home against a weaker, turnover-prone opponent. Realistically, most owners of the Chiefs D/ST are forced into starting them this week, too – the two interesting choices in this tier are the two streamers, the Rams D/ST and the Titans D/ST.

The Rams have built themselves up a somewhat impressive resume now with large D/ST scores (and team wins!) in two weeks and an additional four weeks at 10+ points. This game is at home against a somewhat anemic offense, and the Rams pass rush should work wonders on a 12 foot tall QB like Glennon.

The Titans are the tried and true Jaguars fade this week. After a few whammies in a row, the Jags were back to their usual profitable ways last weekend once again. And this time, the Bills were able to generate enough turnovers to show some upside too! Tennessee has enough of a shutdown secondary that I’d expect this to be a very solid play – and with injuries all over the Jaguars offense, I think anyone with Tennessee should be very confident in their chances this weekend.

I would rank these teams Seahawks > 49ers > Chiefs > Rams > Titans

Tier 2 – Lions, Broncos, Dolphins, Bengals, Jets, Chargers, Bills, Browns

Big tier here, and the projections stretch from 6.79 to 7.34 – there’s very little separation between all of these teams. I will attempt to rank them subjectively, because a pure EV calculation like ours does not capture every aspect of a start/sit choice every week. For example, sometimes it is correct to select a lower EV option with significant upside (in this case, something like Cleveland) over a higher EV choice with less upside (like this week’s Dolphins, perhaps?).

The Lions get their shot at the Eli Manning lottery, and with the Lions’ pass rush, I would feel pretty good backing them this weekend. Manning just got off throwing FIVE interceptions, retaking the lead from Geno Smith, and the best part? Eli Manning has very little risk at being benched even in a slight blowout. Start the Lions D/ST with confidence, as long as you can temper expectations – I would be hoping for 6-7 points with upside for defensive or ST scores.

The Broncos and Chargers are both very intriguing options, but I would stay away. The Broncos are on the road against a weird Texans team, and the Broncos have looked oddly vulnerable lately. However, both of these plays show significant upside if you need a high variance option or a “lottery ticket” score with a strong baseline.

The most surprising of these teams, in my opinion, is the Browns – if this game were in Cleveland, they would be at the top of the tier 2 pile or at the bottom of tier 1, but oddsmakers are giving the Jets a 2 point advantage right now. I suspect that the Browns are a better start than my metrics are showing, and I would start them with confidence across the board as needed. The Jets actually rank higher! And they appear to be a lower variance play than normal… but I’m not sure what to believe, since they’ve been a rotten D/ST all year long. I’d show caution, but do note that Jason Campbell has been a profitable fade, even while Josh Gordon has been winning fantasy games single handedly.

The other surprise perhaps is Cincinnati – I estimated they would be a little better than they end up ranking, and part of that is due to Minnesota’s big offensive showing against Philadelphia. I would not feel very safe starting the Bengals this weekend in a playoff game, although they should be better than the tier 3 choices.

I would loosely rank these teams Browns > Lions > Dolphins > Broncos > Bengals > Bills > Jets > Chargers, but do note that they all project so similarly that they’re virtually indistinguishable in terms of EV, and ranking them amongst the tier is a somewhat futile effort.

Tier 3 – It’s championship week. You really can’t do better?

If I was forced to take a team in the lower tiers, or if you’re in daily leagues and gaming for upside, I would look at Dallas, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Philadelphia of the bottom half.

Best of luck in week 16! I will be unavailable for questions until Friday, thanks to a pair of final exams to finish off my semester this week. However, there should still be a lively D/ST discussion on Reddit, so check it out!


@dtlerch on Twitter

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t4blog at gmail dot com

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One Comment

  1. Sandy

    December 17, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Buccaneers are at St. Louis not San Fran
    Thanks for the ranks as always!

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