Back again to talk about the other side of the ball. While DEF/ST is not the most popular subject, most fantasy football leagues are still using them and, if done correctly, they can net you a big advantage over your weekly opponent. Last year’s top DEF/ST, the New England Patriots, scored as many fantasy points as the RB9, WR4, and TE1.
Week 1 did not give us any huge D/ST scoring though. In fact, there was only one defensive TD in all 16 games, when the Saints took a Tom Brady interception back to the house…something tells me that we’ll be talking about them again later. All in all, it was a quieter week for D/ST but a few teams stood out. Let’s recap Week 1 and guess as to who we’ll be talking about after Week 2.
Week 1 Top Performances
New Orleans Saints vs TB
To the surprise of no one that follows fantasy defenses, the only team that scored a TD was the DEF1 on the week. Sure, it was a three-way tie, still counts. The Saints were a rude reminder to Tom Brady that he was no longer in New England. They sacked Brady three times and hit him an additional seven. All in all, they ended the day with three takeaways, two of which were Brady INTs, and of course, that pick-6.
Week 2 Matchup: @ LV
Tough call here. Brady and the Bucs from Week 1 should be a tougher matchup than the Raiders will be in Week 2 but Las Vegas has Josh Jacobs. I’d likely look for a streaming option before running the Saints out as my fantasy DEF vs Las Vegas.
Washington Football Team vs PHI
From one fake surprise to another very real one, the Washington Football Team has a defense. The Eagles came into this game banged up everywhere on offense and Washington took advantage. They sacked Carson Wentz eight times, the most of any DEF by far in Week 1, and hit him 15 times. Those sacks and three takeaways made up for their lack of a TD and placed them in a tie for the best DEF in Week 1.
Week 2 Matchup: @ ARZ
The Washington front-7 is legit and they will make an excellent Stream of the Week option some weeks…just not Week 2. They were 95% available in Week 1, and that should be 100% in Week 2 vs Kyler and Company.
Baltimore Ravens vs CLE
The Browns are still the Browns. There’s always next year, Cleveland. Things got out of hand quickly in this one and Baltimore ended the day allowing just six points, the lowest total for Week 1. They only sacked Baker Mayfield twice but also forced three turnovers of their own and that was good enough to cause the three-way tie for first place this week.
Week 2 Matchup: @ HOU
Houston will be a tougher test than the Browns but you’re still starting the Ravens defense in this one. Just temper your expectations.
Week 2 Must Starts
San Francisco 49ers @ NYJ
The Niners were my early pick to be the DEF1 in 2020 and this Week 2 matchup begins their climb. It was a good guess that they would struggle against Kyler and the Cardinals in Week 1 but Week 2 brings the Jets, basically the opposite of everything Arizona brings to the table. The Jets run a slow boring offense. Combine that with the 49ers excellent running game and we might just have a shutout on our hands.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs DEN
You will have trouble naming a defense with more top-tier defenders than the Pittsburgh Steelers. They harassed Daniel Jones all game long in Week 1 and get another sophomore QB in Week 2. Drew Lock will have his hands full in this game and is likely to gift a turnover or three.
Buffalo Bills @ MIA
The Bills defense has talent everywhere and an offense that loves to run the football, it’s a perfect match for a fantasy defense. They were top-10 last week against the Jets and should find similar success against the Dolphins in Week 2.
Stream of the Week
Arizona Cardinals vs WAS
Washington looked surprisingly good in Week 1 but the Eagles were far from full-strength. The Cardinals offense looked great and will create headaches for opposing offenses to keep up with their scoring. The Cardinals defense had a solid week against San Francisco and should find the going much easier in Week 2. The Cardinals D/ST were available in 96% of leagues as of this writing.
Other Options: Rams, Titans, Buccaneers, Browns, Packers
Week 2 Sits
Los Angeles Chargers vs KC
Kind of a gimme here but if you thought about getting cute after the Chargers had a solid week against Cincinnatti: Don’t. Mahomes is going to light this defense up and won’t be as easy to sack as the rookie was last week.
Denver Broncos @ PIT
Denver didn’t look terrible against the Titans last week but will likely have trouble containing all of the weapons that Pittsburgh brings to the table. Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith gave them trouble so expect to see big days from Juju Smith-Schuster and Eric Ebron. It won’t even matter if James Conner misses this game.
Minnesota Vikings @ IND
This Vikings defense was rostered in 82% of leagues in Week 1, please fix that for Week 2. They cannot stop the pass, they can barely slow the run, and they are not going to make much noise in fantasy this season. Rivers might throw a pick in this game but that won’t make up for the number of points the Vikings will give up.
*All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ.
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