DST & K Rankings for the Fantasy Playoffs
Fantasy Post-Season DST Sleepers
Start N' Sit for the Fantasy Playoffs
Fantasy Post-Season Waiver Wire Tips

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St. Louis Rams DST
By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
This is how we rank the top defenses for the fantasy playoffs based on an in-depth look at past performance and each week's match-ups. Our rankings are based on a standard league where fumble recoveries and interceptions count for 2 points each and sacks count for 1 point with a typical sliding scale for points and yardage allowed, while the K rankings are based on field goals counting for 3 points (with 5 points awarded for 50+ yard FGs) and extra points counting for 1 point.

  1. St. Louis Rams
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Green Bay Packers
  6. Minnesota Vikings
  7. Seattle Seahawks
  8. Arizona Cardinals
  9. New England Patriots
  10. Tennessee Titans
  11. New York Giants
  12. Houston Texans
  13. Miami Dolphins
  14. Indianapolis Colts
  15. Baltimore Ravens
  16. San Francisco 49ers
  1. Cody Parkey
  2. Stephen Gostkowski
  3. Adam Vinatieri
  4. Dan Carpenter
  5. Matt Prater
  6. Justin Tucker
  7. Steven Hauschka
  8. Shayne Graham
  9. Randy Bullock
  10. Nick Novak
  11. Mason Crosby
  12. Matt Bryant
  13. Caleb Sturgis
  14. Dan Bailey
  15. Phil Dawson
  16. Blair Walsh
Lions DST
By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.

Detroit Lions
Lions DST
The Lions are the top scoring defense and 2nd in yardage but it hasn't totally translated to fantasy success, where they rank a respectable 11th. They've got favorable match-ups throughout the playoffs with games against the Buccaneers (5th-most points allowed to DSTs), the Vikings (tied for 11th-most points allowed), and the Bears (tied for 11th-most points allowed). They're still missing starting DT Nick Fairley but are otherwise remarkably healthy and are worth starting throughout the post-season.

St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams DST
I advised you to start the Rams DST against an inept Raiders offense and if you listened, you were rewarded with one of the finest performances by any DST all year. St. Louis manhandled the Raiders 52-0 and the defense played lights out with 6 sacks, 5 turnovers, and a touchdown. They've been playing much better ever since their surprising upset of the Broncos and should continue to play well during the post-season. Two of their upcoming opponents, the Redskins and the Giants, rank in the top 10 for points allowed to opposing defenses. The Week 15 match-up looks tough on paper but the Cardinals are a different team with Drew Stanton at quarterback. On the season their offense has allowed just 5.4 fantasy points a game to defenses but in the games Stanton's quarterbacked, the number's considerably higher (13.3). I wouldn't hesitate to start the Rams DST each week of your playoffs.

Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs DST
Last year's scoring leader among defenses with 11 touchdowns to their name, the Chiefs have enjoyed only modest success this year, ranking 17th among fantasy defenses. They have favorable match-ups the next two weeks against a Cardinals team that's given up 13.3 points a game to opposing defenses with Drew Stanton at the helm and against an inept Raiders offense in Week 15. You should be able to count on plenty of sacks from Justin Houston and Tamba Hali in both those match-ups. I'd keep them on the bench however in Week 16 when they travel to Heinz Field to play a Steeler team that's yielding a miserly 6.4 fantasy points a game to defenses.

Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills defense
The Bills have been the 2nd-highest scoring defense in fantasy this year, thanks to a league-leading 48 sacks and 25 turnovers. However, they have to run a gauntlet over the next two weeks before an ideal meeting with the Raiders in Week 16. Better options are probably available on your waiver wire so I'd advise against starting them against either the Broncos this week or the Packers in Week 15. These two offenses are allowing just 2.2 and 3.5 points a game respectively to opposing defenses, so you do the math!

Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals defense
Photo of Arizona Cardinals defense © Greg Buch
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The Cardinals are the number 5 fantasy defense so far this year so it may come as a surprise they're on this list. However, the passing game has suffered since Drew Stanton took over for an injured Carson Palmer and they haven't been able to get Andre Ellington on track. What this means is you've got a defense that's bound to get worn out as the game progresses. They're worth starting when they visit the Edward Jones Dome in Week 15 against a Rams team yielding 11.7 fantasy points a clip to defenses but I'd keep them on my bench this week when they take on the Chiefs.

Miami Dolphins
Dolphins DST
The Dolphins have been a pleasant surprise this year. They rank 6th in both scoring defense and yardage, which has helped them climb to 4th place among fantasy defenses. However, if you start them during your playoffs, the next two weeks may not be kind to you as they face the Ravens and the Patriots, two teams who are among the stingiest in the league in points allowed to opposing defenses. If you can afford a spot on your bench though, they're a solid start in Week 16 when they host a mistake-prone Vikings team that should be too busy cavorting with all the bikini-clad women on the beach to worry about showing up for a football game.

Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans defense
The Titans are a risky play for the fantasy playoffs that might just help you in your quest for a fantasy championship. Make no bones about it, this defense is absolutely atrocious. They rank at the very bottom of the league in both yards allowed and scoring defense. If you haven't stopped reading yet, you should know that they have one of THE most favorable schedules during the fantasy post-season with games against the Giants, Jets, and Jaguars. These should all be winnable games and 2 of the 3 are at home, so it will clearly be a question of whether the bad defense or the bad offenses win the day.

New York Giants
New York Giants DST
Continuing with our theme, the Giants boast the 26th-ranked scoring defense and give up the 4th-most yards in the NFL. Needless to say, they've been one of the worst fantasy defenses this year. However, like the Titans, they have one of the most favorable remaining schedules of any DST with games against the Titans (8th-most points allowed to fantasy defenses), Redskins (3rd-most points allowed), and Rams (2nd-most points allowed). The only question is just how dangerously do you want to live? Their worth starting if your options are thin and could deliver a pleasant surprise but I wouldn't be benching the Eagles DST for them.

Minnesota Vikings
Vikings DST
The Vikings defense is much improved this year under new Head Coach Mike Zimmer. And even though they rank 9th among fantasy defenses, a lot of owners haven't got the bad taste out of their mouths from last year and have left them on the waiver wire. They've got a terrific match-up this week against a Jets team that gives up 10.5 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses and are a borderline start in Week 15 against a Lions team that's given up plenty of points to defenses but are a much more dangerous foe with Megatron back on the field. The Jets have tightened up recently against opposing defenses; however, with Geno Smith back at quarterback, there should once again be plenty of opportunities for interceptions and fumble recoveries. Week 16 when they face the Dolphins on the road, I'd be inclined to sit them so they may just be a one-week pick-up for you.

Vikings DST
By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
Depending on the league you play in, the playoffs either begin this week or in Week 15. We've got a few hot tips on some defenses who can get you over the hump en route to that coveted fantasy championship. And the best news is most of them are still sitting on your waiver wire!

Defenses to Add

Minnesota Vikings
New Head Coach Mike Zimmer has worked wonders with this unit, transforming them from one of the worst fantasy defenses to the 9th-best so far this year. But fantasy owners have either been slow to recognize this or remain skeptical, as they are still only owned in just over 6% of NFL.com leagues. The Vikings have a great match-up against the Jets in Week 14 but things get a little more difficult after that with games against the Lions and Dolphins in the final two weeks of the playoff season.

Green Bay Packers
Despite ranking 5th in fantasy scoring, the Packers are available in 55% of NFL.com leagues. Their upcoming schedule features games against the Falcons, the Bills, and the Buccaneers and they're worth starting in at least two of those three contests, since the Falcons, who are normally a tough out for defenses, will be playing in the blustery conditions at Lambeau Field.

Tennessee Titans
Since I try not to recommend defenses that are owned in a majority of leagues, the Titans make the cut by virtue of their upcoming schedule and ready availability. However, ranking 26th in fantasy scoring and last in the NFL in points allowed, this defense isn't for the faint of heart. If you stream your defenses from week-to-week, you can hardly find a team with better match-ups from Weeks 14-16. The Titans play the Giants (9th in fantasy points allowed to defenses), the Jets (3rd in fantasy points allowed), and the Jaguars (1st in fantasy points allowed). Whether they deliver is another story but if your options are thin, they're worth a look.

New York Giants
This is another recommendation that's not for the faint of heart. The Giants rank 27th in fantasy scoring, 29th in yards allowed, and 25th in scoring so they're a risky option to say the least. What they do have going for them is a very favorable schedule during the fantasy playoffs with games against the Titans (8th in fantasy points allowed to defenses), the Redskins (4th in fantasy points allowed), and the Rams (2nd in fantasy points allowed).

Defenses to Drop

Buffalo Bills
The Bills defense now ranks 2nd in the league in fantasy scoring after they racked up 18 points against a Browns offense that self-imploded. However, they play the Broncos and Packers over the next 2 weeks and are you really going to have the cajones to start them? If not, they'll be sitting on your bench until a Week 16 match-up against the lowly Raiders (if you're even alive at that point). Don't be afraid to drop them now if a defense with better match-ups is available in your league.

Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins, who've recorded the 7th-most fantasy points among defenses, have been a pleasant surprise this year but with upcoming games against the Ravens and Patriots, they're not worth rostering at this point in the season. The Patriots allow just 1.8 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses and the Ravens at 3.3 aren't much more generous so you're really tempting fate if you count on this defense during the fantasy playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers
The Niners have been a bit of a disappointment this year, which was largely forecast due to them missing Aldon Smith and Navorro Bowman. Smith is back, which should aid the sack production, but their schedule is not at all favorable for the fantasy post-season. They're worth keeping and starting this week against the Raiders but I'd consider dropping them after that, as they visit Seattle in Week 15 and host the Chargers the following week.

Kickers to Add

Dan Carpenter
Carpenter is a sneaky pick-up for the post-season. Since most owners don't think of the Bills when they think of high-flying offenses, the Buffalo kicker is still available in 78% of NFL.com leagues. The reason you should grab him if you're in need of a kicker is the Bills lead the league in field goal attempts and Carpenter's been as accurate as they come, converting 87% of his attempts this year. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast before starting him and think twice about it if high winds are in the offing.

Matt Prater
Prater's another mid-season acquisition who's escaped notice in most leagues. He's available in 68% of NFL.com leagues. No doubt many owners are shying away from any Detroit kicker due to the accuracy problems the team has had this year but Prater's converted 13 of his 15 attempts after a rocky outing in his first game. Playing indoors for a high-scoring offense makes him a great option at this time of year if you need a kicker.

Connor Barth
Barth was signed last week by the Denver Broncos. If you're in need of an upgrade at kicker, he's worth a gamble. In four seasons with Tampa Bay, he converted over 84% of his field goal attempts and should get plenty of opportunities to put up points with Peyton Manning running the offense.

Kickers to Drop

Robbie Gould
Despite the fact Gould ranks last in scoring among kickers who've played an entire year and has converted just 1 field goal in his last 6 games, he's still owned in 15-16% of ESPN and NFL.com leagues. No doubt these owners must have fond memories of the southpaw's halcyon days during the Lovie Smith era when he received oodles of field goal opportunities but those days are long gone. Drop him now or you may regret it when you're team loses by a field goal.

Chandler Catanzaro
Since QB Carson Palmer went down with a torn ACL, the scoring opportunities just haven't been their for the Cardinals' rookie kicker and he's averaged just 3 points a game. I don't see the situation improving with Drew Stanton at quarterback, so I would drop him in favor of one of the kickers above.