A good fantasy football D/ST performance might be the difference between a win and a loss in the playoffs. This is obviously and especially important in Week 17 when many fantasy managers will be battling for a 2022 championship!
Consider, if you will, the cases of two very different defenses in Week 16.
The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is currently eighth on the fantasy-scoring leaderboard, but they weren't always considered a top-10 unit. In fact, earlier in the season, the Jags were a clear punching bag worthy of streaming any quarterback or any fringe FLEX player against.
That has changed. Not only is the Jaguars defense no longer a pushover, but they delivered quite the performance in Week 16. The Jags D/ST dropped 14 fantasy points on the New York Jets — their third straight double-digit-point week!
On the flip side, the Denver Broncos defense — one of the most-streamed units of Week 16 — delivered a nightmarish performance.
Denver allowed Cam Akers to run all over them (and score three times) en route to giving up 51 points to the Rams. The D/ST scored -4.00 fantasy points. This, after the Broncos defense was drafted as a top-8 D/ST back in August.
Those two night-and-day defensive performances are just a microcosm of not only how truly unpredictable an NFL season can be, but also how crazy things tend to get in the fantasy playoffs. It also shows that no position is trivial when we hit the one-and-done weeks — and that includes the D/ST spot.
And while we're on the topic of the aforementioned Jaguars, their D/ST will take on the Houston Texans in Championship Week. While the Texans have (unexpectedly) played better the past few weeks, this is still a 2-12-1 team we're talking about, one dealing with a plethora of injuries. The Jaguars, meanwhile, must continue to win to secure the AFC South. Things are set up for their defense to deliver once again.
Check out the Jags and the rest of the defenses in our D/ST rankings for Week 17 below: