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.
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?
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
|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|