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What to do with Rams D/ST, 49ers D/ST in week 16 fantasy football

In a matchup of two NFC West powerhouses, will either team’s defense be a viable fantasy option? We break down the Week 16 start/sit considerations.

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa before their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Perception is a powerful thing. It makes us see things that aren’t really there, but may have been at some point in the past. Nowhere in the NFL is perception lying to us more than with Los Angeles’ offense. While Sean McVay remains one of the league’s better coaches and the name recognition of the Rams’ roster is still at an all-time high, the results don’t come close to matching the hype. In 2019, Los Angeles ranks just 16th in yards per drive (32.0), 18th in points per drive (1.94) and, somewhat surprisingly, 31st in time of possession per drive (2:31). It’s possible that you thought you’d be looking for alternatives in a hypothetical Week 16 matchup when you drafted or picked up San Francisco D/ST a few months back, but rest assured, the unit’s very viable this Saturday.

The same can not be said about the Rams’ own D/ST. Though Los Angeles’ defense has been mostly consistent so far this season, conceding a mere 5.0 yards per play to opponents on the road and at home, the 49ers aren’t really the most generous offense. San Francisco comes into this weekend sitting sixth in the NFL in points scored per drive (2.47), the direct result of having to punt the ball on an NFC-low 28.5% of its possessions. Despite some injuries along the offensive line, the 49ers have also done a very nice job of keeping quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo upright, as the team can claim the ninth-best adjusted sack rate in the league (6.2%). Los Angeles’ D/ST has been good, but San Francisco has proven to have very few faults.

Fantasy Football Analysis, Rams D/ST and 49ers D/ST

Above all else, the most important thing to remember about the 49ers is their ferocious pass rush. San Francisco possesses football’s highest adjusted sack rate as a defense (10.0%) and their 47 raw sacks rank as the third-most in the NFL. That, combined with both Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams’ health, make for an incredibly formidable unit. With the Rams sitting among the league-leaders in turnovers per contest (1.6), there’s no reason to think that 49ers’ D/ST won’t continue to be an elite fantasy asset.

Start/Sit Recommendation

Start 49ers D/ST. Sit Rams D/ST.