Fantasy Football Defense Rankings Week 15: Who to start, best sleepers & streamers at D/ST

The fantasy football playoffs are finally upon us, at least in the majority of leagues. It’s been a long, winding road to get here, and we’re willing to bet few teams find themselves riding with the same D/ST today that they drafted over three months ago. Every matchup now is must-win, and you can’t leave anything to chance at any position. Our Week 15 fantasy defense rankings are here to help optimize your lineup at one of fantasy’s trickiest positions.

Fortunately, the bye weeks have concluded, and every NFL contender is giving every snap of every game their best effort. We also have a massive 14-week sample size in terms of statistical data and matchup analysis. Those factors — combined with injury developments that we will update as the week progresses — give us a supreme level of confidence when preparing our rankings, sleepers, and busts for the upcoming weekend. 

It’s go time! The least prepared and biggest procrastinators rarely advance to Round 2 of the fantasy playoffs, never mind the league championship. Our job is to provide you with the resources to help set your team up for success; your job is to check in early and often. So, without further ado, here’s our Week 15 fantasy defense rankings. Good luck, have fun, and fingers crossed you make it to Week 16!

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Who are the best fantasy defenses in Week 15?

Welcome to the top of rankings, Kansas City Chiefs (@ Patriots in Week 15). Steve Spagnuolo’s defense has needed to be extra stifling this season, and the return of stud linebacker Nick Bolton helped matters immensely against Buffalo in Week 14. Still, the Chiefs lost a 20-17 nail-biter that had Patrick Mahomes screaming at refs with so much hostility Tom Brady probably blushed. Expect a very motivated KC defense to beat up on Bill Belichick’s lowly Patriots, the franchise formerly known as an Andy Reid rival. New England has scored 34 points over the past five weeks, committing seven turnovers in four games during that span. 

WEEK 15 PPR RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Kickers

We also like the Saints (vs. Giants), who rebounded in a major way against the Panthers last week. New York has new hope with native Jersey son Tommy DeVito under center, but let’s not overstate victories over Washington and New England. The G-men are still quite banged up and even more inept at receiver. Brian Daboll’s squad has averaged just 231 total yards per game since Week 8 and it has taken 5.8 sacks per game on the season (and 6.7 sacks per game over its past three contests). New Orleans should feast this weekend. 

WEEK 15 STANDARD RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Kickers

The 49ers (@ Cardinals) usually occupy the top spot, but Kyler Murray has sparked some life into Arizona, so we’ll knock the Niners down a hair. San Francisco remains a must-start the rest of the way, though, so don’t get cute. Fred Warner and company haven’t surrendered 20 points in a game since Week 8, and they have 22 sacks and 10 takeaways over their past five games. They’re about as good as a defense can get, with respect to the Browns (vs. Bears), who just always seem to make QBs look bad (good luck, Justin Fields). 

Something has emerged out of Miami, where the Dolphins (@ Jets) are no longer just dominant on offense. Jaelan Phillips has arguably been the most underrated pass-rusher in the league, and Jalen Ramsey has looked as good as ever over the past few weeks. Gang Green might look green in the gills when it welcomes Mike McDaniel’s high-flying ‘Fins to MetLife. The Colts (vs. Steelers) might elicit a similar reaction out of Mitchell Trubisky, who looked completely overmatched against the Pats last Thursday. Kenny Pickett is recovering from tightrope surgery following a high-ankle sprain, so we don’t expect to see him. 

The Falcons (@ Panthers) get the weekly “You’re playing Carolina!” promotion. The Panthers have been the gift that keeps on giving. The Rams (vs. Commanders) keep giving QBs a hard time, so Sam Howell will be howling in pain in Week 15. The young ‘Mander leads the NFL in interceptions thrown and sacks taken, so Aaron Donald and friends will be licking their chops.

Micah Parsons and the Cowboys (@ Bills) will be doing the same in Buffalo, where Josh Allen has endured and up-and-down season. Mistakes and pressure and bad throws, oh my! The must-win Steelers (@ Colts) round out the top 10, with T.J. Watt likely bearing down on Gardner Minshew, and Minkah Fitzpatrick hoping to nab some picks.

WEEK 15 FANTASY ADVICE:
Sleepers | Busts | Projections | Start-sit

Who are the best fantasy defense sleepers, waiver pickups in Week 15?

Even though they had a disappointing Week 14 showing against the Jets, we like the Texans (@ Titans) against mistake-prone rookie Will Levis. DeMeco Ryans will need his squad to step up defensively with Offensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner C.J. Stroud in concussion protocol. We think Houston will be up for it, and we like their rest-of-season schedule (@ TEN, vs. CLE, vs. TEN, aka Levis, Flacco, Levis). 

The Bengals (vs. Vikings) draw a home game with a struggling Minnesota offense that just lost stud receiver Justin Jefferson (chest) again in Week 14. Life’s unfair sometimes, as the Raiders learned when they lost to the Purple 3-0 last week. Whether the Vikes have Josh Dobbs or Nick Mullens under center, Lou Anarumo’s squad is going to smack them around. For what it’s worth, we also like Minnesota in this game, as the Vikes just pitched a shutout en route to 20 standard D/ST points in Vegas. 

Speaking of smacking opponents around, how about ‘dem Packers (vs. Buccaneers)? Green Bay’s zone defense has been special over the past few weeks thanks to timely coverage and big-time takeaways, and the Pack now rank top 10 in the NFL in scoring defense and net yards allowed per pass attempt. We like all these sleepers even better than we like the Ravens (@ Jaguars), who have one of the more difficult road matchups of their season.

We also like the Bears (@ Browns), who will more than likely face Joe Flacco with multiple weeks of game tape to watch in preparation. While we’re not super high on them, we don’t mind playing the high-floor, low-ceiling options like the Eagles (vs. Seahawks), Lions (vs. Broncos), and Patriots (vs. Chiefs). None of those opponents have been super efficient as of late, and all of them have endured issues with injuries, turnovers, and/or drops. 

Rounding out the sleeper crop, we like both sides of the Raiders vs. Chargers. Vegas just held Minnesota to three points last week, and the Chargers draw an Aidan O’Connell-led offense that just got blanked by the Vikings. The Raiders will likely face Easton Stick after Justin Herbert (finger) exited early in Week 14.

After this point in the rankings, you’re delving into high-risk, low-reward territory. Hold onto a D/ST in the bottom 10 if it has a juicy Week 16 or 17 matchup; otherwise, feel free to cut bait. Just remember, this is the time of year you’ll want a plan for each of the remaining weeks. Be sure to check out our waiver wire watchlist, which looks ahead to the following week(s) every Wednesday. 

And be sure to check back throughout the week for updates to our rankings. Good luck and happy holidays, fantasy friends!

WEEK 15 DFS:
DK lineup | FD lineup | Best values | Best stacks

Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 15: Who to start, sit at D/ST

Rank    Player
1    Kansas City Chiefs @ Patriots
2    New Orleans Saints vs. Giants
3    San Francisco 49ers @ Cardinals
4    Cleveland Browns vs. Bears
5    Miami Dolphins @ Jets
6    Indianapolis Colts vs. Steelers
7    Atlanta Falcons @ Panthers
8    Los Angeles Rams vs. Commanders
9    Dallas Cowboys @ Bills
10    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Colts
11    Houston Texans @ Titans
12    Cincinnati Bengals vs. Vikings
13    Green Bay Packers vs. Buccaneers
14    Minnesota Vikings @ Bengals
15    Baltimore Ravens @ Jaguars
16    Chicago Bears @ Browns
17    Philadelphia Eagles vs. Seahawks
18    Detroit Lions vs. Broncos
19    New England Patriots vs. Chiefs
20    Las Vegas Raiders vs. Chargers
21    Los Angeles Chargers @ Raiders
22    Carolina Panthers vs. Falcons
23    New York Jets @ Dolphins
24    Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Ravens
25    Tennessee Titans vs. Texans
26    New York Giants @ Saints
27    Buffalo Bills vs. Cowboys
28    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Packers
29    Washington Commanders @ Rams
30    Denver Broncos @ Lions
31    Seattle Seahawks vs. Eagles
32    Arizona Cardinals vs. 49ers

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