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After 16 long weeks, we have reached the end of the line in most leagues. Two teams are still alive in Week 17. A week from now, one of those teams will be champion.
And more than a few teams that made it this far have a defense to thank for a win in Week 16.
It’s not all that often that a defense posts the best score of the entire season at the position in the fantasy playoffs. But that’s exactly what the Cowboys pulled off in Sunday night’s blowout win over Washington. The Cowboys logged five sacks, two interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown) and a blocked punt that was also recovered for a score.
That’s right—two touchdowns.
It was the biggest fantasy output by any defense all season long—at least for a day.
On Monday night against a New Orleans Saints team that was forced to start Ian Book at quarterback, the Miami Dolphins matched Dallas’ massive fantasy output. The Dolphins went about things a little differently—they only had one touchdown on a pick-six. But the Dolphins added eight sacks and two takeaways on the way to the same fantasy production.
Now, the matchups aren’t as favorable for either of those teams in Week 17. The Cowboys face an Arizona Cardinals team at AT&T Stadium that has surrendered the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing defenses this season, while the Dolphins travel to face a Tennessee Titans club that looked much better offensively last week with a healthy A.J. Brown back in the lineup.
However, it’s not like those were the first big games of the season from the Cowboys and Dolphins, either. The Cowboys are going to finish the season as the No. 1 fantasy defense in most scoring systems, while Miami sits fourth in total points at the position for the season.