Who wants to talk about quarterbacks and running backs when you can talk about defenses and special teams (D/ST) units! If you’re like me, you probably are changing your team defense on a weekly basis, looking for the optimal matchup to exploit. Well, that’s exactly what I am hoping to accomplish today. Today, let us take a look at Week 17 D/ST rankings!
I’ll go through my process of evaluating defenses, before getting into the specifics for the week! Who is going to be the 30-point defense this week? Let us find out!
First, we need to analyze how effective each D/ST unit has been for fantasy purposes this year. However, this doesn’t come from looking at previous fantasy points. See, turnovers (interceptions and fumbles) can be rather unstable on a week-to-week basis, making them difficult to rely on. Thus, to identify who the top defenses have been, we need to take that out of the equation.
This leads me to my new implied points statistic for D/ST units. Based on the number of points they have allowed and the sacks they’ve totaled up, we can see how many points a D/ST unit SHOULD be averaging per week:
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Implied Points (Weeks 1-16)
|Defense||Difference||Implied Points||Fantasy PPG|
After struggling against the Bills, the Patriots have fallen below the Broncos, who surprisingly are now the #1 D/ST unit based on expected points. They are tied for first in points allowed with New England, and a lot of credit has to be given to head coach Vic Fangio for how the defense has played this season.
The Cowboys continue to rise up these rankings, as they are now combining their turnover luck with limiting total yardage and points allowed, in addition to accumulating sacks. Meanwhile, the Panthers are going in the opposite direction, as their defense appears to be worn down. Such is the case when your offense struggles as much as they are currently.
FEWEST PROJECTED POINTS ALLOWED
Meanwhile, these defenses will face opposing quarterbacks with the highest pressure rate:
HIGHEST OPPOSING QB PRESSURE RATE
Lastly, these defenses will face opposing quarterbacks with the highest turnover-worthy play rate:
HIGHEST OPPOSING QB TURNOVER-WORTHY PLAY RATE
Hopefully, this helps explain my thought process with regard to the D/ST rankings. Speaking of which, here they are:
Week 17 D/ST Rankings
More of our Week 17 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | PPR |
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