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NFL Team Defense Stats 2016

You are likely here to determine what defense to target against, or are trying to find a stingy defense worthy of deploying for fantasy purposes. Defenses might be strong against one aspect of an offense, or both, or even none. Reading through last year's defensive stats can help you grasp on where you should be looking to exploit a defense. For example, New Orleans ranked as the worst defense in 2015.

Totals Allowed Passing Allowed Rushing Allowed Takeaways & Penalties
Rank Team Points Yards FPTS / Gm Yds TD Y/A Yds TD Y/A TO Forced Int Fum
Rec
Pen
Yds
1 Seattle Seahawks 277 4668 57 3364 14 5.8 1304 10 3.6 23 14 9 795
2 Cincinnati Bengals 279 5453 64 3976 18 5.8 1477 8 4.3 28 21 7 1063
3 Kansas City Chiefs 287 5269 65 3698 25 5.7 1571 7 4.1 29 22 7 941
4 Denver Broncos 296 4530 59 3193 19 5.1 1337 10 3.3 27 14 13 773
5 Minnesota Vikings 302 5510 69 3762 24 6.2 1748 7 4.3 22 13 9 875
6 Carolina Panthers 308 5167 64 3752 21 5.4 1415 11 3.9 39 24 15 822
7 Houston Texans 313 4963 64 3366 24 5.6 1597 10 4.1 25 14 11 991
8 Arizona Cardinals 313 5147 66 3687 24 6.1 1460 9 3.9 33 19 14 1202
9 New York Jets 314 5098 65 3763 25 5.9 1335 4 3.6 30 18 12 767
10 New England Patriots 315 5430 69 3852 24 6 1578 8 4 21 12 9 1013
11 Pittsburgh Steelers 319 5809 74 4350 29 6.5 1459 6 3.8 30 17 13 1199
12 Green Bay Packers 323 5547 68 3642 20 6.1 1905 13 4.5 22 16 6 1107
13 Los Angeles Rams 330 5885 70 4065 21 6.4 1820 7 4 26 13 13 992
14 Atlanta Falcons 345 5562 68 3882 19 6.7 1680 20 4 23 15 8 728
15 Buffalo Bills 359 5702 73 3972 30 6.4 1730 10 4.4 25 17 8 906
16 Dallas Cowboys 374 5567 71 3636 19 6.8 1931 16 4.2 11 8 3 900
17 Washington Redskins 379 6090 77 4128 30 6.8 1962 10 4.8 27 11 16 955
18 San Francisco 49ers 387 6199 78 4179 21 7.2 2020 20 4 12 9 3 920
19 Miami Dolphins 389 6019 79 4000 31 7 2019 13 4 16 13 3 1005
20 Chicago Bears 397 5527 74 3593 31 6.6 1934 9 4.5 17 8 9 895
21 San Diego Chargers 398 5791 74 3786 22 7 2005 17 4.8 20 11 9 976
22 Oakland Raiders 399 5818 76 4140 25 6.1 1678 12 4.1 25 14 11 943
23 Detroit Lions 400 5597 77 3789 27 6.6 1808 18 4.2 19 9 10 785
24 Baltimore Ravens 401 5398 75 3737 30 6.4 1661 10 4 14 6 8 748
25 Indianapolis Colts 408 6066 79 4114 29 6.6 1952 14 4.3 25 17 8 1168
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 417 5446 76 3840 31 6.6 1606 12 3.4 23 11 12 862
27 Tennessee Titans 423 5475 77 3678 34 6.8 1797 11 3.9 19 11 8 982
28 Philadelphia Eagles 430 6426 84 4273 36 6.4 2153 10 4.5 26 15 11 1049
29 Cleveland Browns 432 6067 81 4012 34 7.4 2055 11 4.5 21 11 10 833
30 New York Giants 442 6725 86 4783 31 7.2 1942 15 4.4 28 15 13 1077
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 448 6000 81 4291 29 6.7 1709 15 3.7 18 9 9 989
32 New Orleans Saints 476 6615 93 4544 45 7.9 2071 12 4.9 22 9 13 887

You may notice a theme here, but the top eight ranked defensive teams all made the postseason. Defensive stats may often be just a small pitstop in your research, but keeping this info locked in will come in handy. There were extremes in 2015, such as targeting against a team like the New Orleans Saints every chance you had. They allowed a 4.9 yards per attempt (Y/A) to opposing running backs, which had fantasy owners gushing when their running backs played the Saints. They also allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing teams, and were in the bottom as a pass defense too. This stayed consistent for 2015, and will have some stock when 2016 gets going. While there is turnover in the NFL that will cause bottom offense to become a bit more average, there will only be a handful that truly turn tides.

For the most part, fantasy points allowed will stem from bad defenses. On some occasions it will not. A lot has to due to time of possession, and overall play style. Atlanta had a very average defense at best last season, but allowed the 9th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing teams. Pittsburgh on the other hand ranked 11th in defense, yet allowed a healthy 74 fantasy points per game to opposing teams, which was in the middle of the league. Quick scoring and shootouts were a trend with the Steelers, which was why fantasy points were at a premium against Pittsburgh in 2015.

Passing and rushing stats on an individual basis is good measure for opposing running backs and quarterbacks. Yards per attempt is a good stat to get a gauge of how a team moves the ball against their defense. New Orleans allowed 7.9 yards per attempt, which went hand-in-hand in their passing defense. Denver allowed just 5.1 yards per attempt, as they boasted the best pass defense in the league. The same goes for running backs, and seeing how efficient they can be against a rush defense. We will stop picking on the Saints, and look at San Diego, who allowed 4.8 (Y/A). This is a great prediction for opposing backs, especially if they can meet that number. These are all in addition to overall touchdowns allowed, which is standard by position.

If you are looking for a fantasy defense, you are searching for two things — turnovers and points allowed. Carolina and Arizona led the league in turnovers, and were among the highest scoring fantasy defenses. Teams that feast on turnovers also give their offense more shots to produce points, which is good for you. A team like the Jets benefitted from collecting 30 interceptions + fumble recoveries, as it pushed their offense into scoring more points. Given opposing points count against you, the standard points allowed is a base for a fantasy defense. The turnovers look to give you that extra upside.

Overall a team defense can give you a glimpse of possible game strategy for opponents, as well as overall game-flow. Tough run defenses might force a team to throw more, or vice versa. Turnover opportunistic defenses can give their offense a few extra positions. There is a lot more to it than just simple defensive stats.