it is possible to remove the metal heat fins on the memory - if that is all that is in the way.
For example - much modern memory (especially for gaming) looks like this:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233170
You could remove the outer shell if you needed to. It may cause issues with overclocking as it may not cool off as quickly - but then if it is under the heatsink chances are you will have a good breeze of air flowing over it. It's a toss-up.
Also - depending on your current ram - you could find a compatible version that does not have the fins attached.
As for the 2x8GB - there are some tradeoffs - but I recall a recent TOMS article about some newer versions that are much better than we had a few years ago.