Losing the Ravens and Raiders D/STs to byes this week isn’t particularly impactful to our Week 8 fantasy defense rankings. Neither are “must-starts” (though the Ravens are highly owned), nor are either favorable matchups for opposing defenses. That means we have a full complement of top units, sleepers, and waiver wire streamers at our disposal to make start ’em, sit ’em decisions a little easier. 

The Bengals (@ Jets), Chargers (vs. Patriots), Seahawks (vs. Jaguars), Eagles (@ Lions), and Bears (vs. 49ers) lead our list of potential streamers who are widely available in most leagues. Some of those teams are extremely risky — namely, the Seahawks and Eagles — but given the matchups, they all have some big-play, boom-or-bust upside. The Patriots, Jets, and Jaguars entered Week 7 in the top five in fantasy points per game (FPPG) allowed to D/STs, and the Lions ranked 10th. The Bears are simply a decent D/ST, at least for fantasy purposes, and get a middling offense at home, so they have some potential.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker

The Falcons (vs. Panthers) and Chiefs (vs. Giants) are also in favorable matchups and have similar boom-or-bust profiles as the Seahawks and Eagles. However, they’ve shown even less competence. You could always take a chance, especially since they’re both playing at home, but you’re taking a huge risk. On the other hand…they’re due, right?

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker

Among regular starters, the Patriots (@ Chargers), Saints (vs. Buccaneers), and Colts (vs. Titans) are better off left on benches this week. The Colts always seem to play the Titans tough, as shown by the sack and three takeaways they had in Tennessee in Week 3, so if you feel you need to stick with them, you might be able to get away with it. Otherwise, look to stream one of the potential sleepers mentioned above. 

We’re also getting to that time of year when weather might play a factor and turn some teams we haven’t even mentioned here into potential starting units. We saw that last week in the Colts-49ers fumble fest. Be sure to keep track of the weather forecasts leading up to the weekend.

Overall, this is a pretty good week for D/STs, though it would be nice if some better defenses had a few of the more favorable matchups. As it stands, most fantasy owners should be able to feel good about the D/ST in their lineup going into Sunday, and that’s about all you can ask for from this position.

Note: We’ll be updating these D/ST rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest analysis and player movement.

Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 8: Who to start, sit at D/ST in fantasy football

Rank Team
1 Los Angeles Rams @ HOU
2 Pittsburgh Steelers @ CLE
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ NO
4 Buffalo Bills vs. MIA
5 Cincinnati Bengals @ NYJ. The Jets have been in the top five in fantasy points per game (FPPG) allowed to D/STs virtually all season. Now, with Zach Wilson (knee) out and backup Mike White taking over, things could somehow get even worse. You can make a case for the surprising Bengals and their strong pass rush to be even higher, but the four D/STs ahead of them are more proven and in good matchups of their own. Still, it wouldn’t be a shock if Cincinnati finished as the top overall D/ST this week. 
6 Los Angeles Chargers vs. NE. You’d never know the Pats were a top-five team in FPPG allowed to defenses after they put up 54 points and allowed just one sack and no takeaways to the Jets last week. Of course, that was against the Jets in Foxboro. This week, they travel out West to take on a rested Chargers team. While LA hasn’t put up a ton of points this year, it has been better over its past four games, registering 10 sacks, five INTs, and two fumble recoveries. Given the rest of the options this week, the Chargers have the potential to be a top streamer.
7 San Francisco 49ers @ CHI. The 49ers continue to suffer injuries all over their defense, but the Bears offense can’t get out of its own way. It’s allowing 3.7 sacks and 1.4 takeaways per game on the season, and it’s been held under 15 offensive points in four-of-six games. Even the 49ers and their somewhat shocking lack of takeaways (4) can take advantage of that. 
8 Denver Broncos vs. WAS
9 Seattle Seahawks vs. JAX
10 Philadelphia Eagles @ DET
11 Carolina Panthers @ ATL
12 Cleveland Browns vs. PIT
13 Chicago Bears vs. SF
14 Dallas Cowboys @ MIN
15 Indianapolis Colts vs. TEN
16 New England Patriots @ LAC
17 Arizona Cardinals vs. GB
18 Atlanta Falcons vs. CAR
19 Kansas City Chiefs vs. NYG
20 Minnesota Vikings vs. DAL
21 Tennessee Titans @ IND
22 Green Bay Packers @ ARI
23 New Orleans Saints vs. TB
24 New York Jets vs. CIN
25 Jacksonville Jaguars @ SEA
26 Washington Football Team @ DEN
27 New York Giants @ KC
28 Miami Dolphins @ BUF
29 Detroit Lions vs. PHI
30 Houston Texans vs. LAR

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