The Saints and the Chargers sit atop my Week 16 fantasy defense/special teams (DST) rankings. I like both more than the ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings), and I'm a little surprised, to be honest. But I've discussed both of those DSTs before.
Instead, I'd like to focus on a squad I have ranked just a few spots behind them, who I also like better than the ECR — the 49ers.
San Francisco is currently the 17th-best defense in fantasy football. That's OK, but far from great. Much of that is due to the two torchings they saw at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, before many of the Cardinals players got injured.
Despite that, the 49ers are still tied for ninth in the league in sacks. You would hope to see them higher in INTs, but San Francisco also has the fourth-lowest pass attempts against them. But the 49ers' run defense is also formidable. They lead the league in opponent fumbles and are third highest in fumbles recovered. San Francisco has also allowed the seventh-fewest yards per game this season.
And things look good down the stretch for the 49ers, starting this week with a matchup against the Titans. When Derrick Henry was bowling people over, Tennessee was a tough matchup. But in their last three games, the Titans are averaging a pitiful 15.3 points. How bad is that? Even the Jets are averaging 17 points during that same period. If the 49ers are still available in your league, somehow, you might want to grab them immediately.
NFL Defense/Special Teams (DST) Rankings: Week 16
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.