Fantasy Football: Week 1 DEF/ST Recap

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Week 1 is in the books and it’s safe to say that DEF/ST probably influenced a game or two in your fantasy league. We saw outstanding individual performances from Von Miller, T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett, and Khalil Mack. Mack, in particular, basically checked every box with a sack-strip-fumble recovery and then a pick-6 in the 1st half of his Bears debut. But most leagues focus on Team DEF/ST, not individuals, so let’s look at the teams that helped propel a few of you to Week 1 victories.

Week 1 Top Performances

New York Jets: @ Detroit Lions
WHOA! I expected a beatdown in this game but I thought Detroit would be going to bed happy. Instead, the Jets came in and scored more points on defense than 5 offenses in the league managed. The Jets took advantage of Matthew Stafford doing his best Nathan Peterman impression. They ended the night with 5 interceptions (4 from Stafford), one that they took back for a TD, and a punt return for a TD. Two TDs from a DEF/ST is usually enough for the top spot and Week 1 for 2018 is no different. Congrats to the 2% of you that owned the J-E-T-S.

Week 2: vs Miami Dolphins
Are they going to lead the league in DEF/ST fantasy points again in Week 2? Unlikely, but they are definitely worth another start against a Dolphins team that appears to consist of Kenny Stills and not much else.

Minnesota Vikings: vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Vikings came ready to rain on the Jimmy GQ parade and they delivered. The intercepted Garoppolo 3 times and took one of those back to the end zone for 6 points. The front 7 didn’t want the secondary to have all of the fun so they sacked Garoppolo 3 times and forced a crucial Alfred Morris fumble on the goal-line early in the game. The Niners only managed one TD and two FGs in this one and that was good enough to position the Vikings defense near the top of the DEF/ST standings in Week 1.

Week 2 Matchup: @ Green Bay Packers
As good as Minnesota’s defense looked…DID YOU SEE WHAT AARON RODGERS DID? This is simple, if Rodgers misses this game, Minnesota will probably be the top DEF/ST again in Week 2. If #12 starts, I am not confident Minnesota cracks the top 12.

Baltimore Ravens: vs Buffalo Bills
As predictable a beatdown as there ever was. No matter who was going to play QB for the Bills, Nathan Peterman or rookie Josh Allen, it was a virtual certainty that the Ravens highly ranked defense was going to shut down one of the league’s worst offenses. Peterman got the start and the Ravens sacked him 3 times and intercepted him twice en route to losing him his job. While Allen threw no picks, he was also sacked 3 times. Those 6 sacks were tied for 2nd most in the league this week and the 3 points Baltimore allowed was the lowest in Week 1.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Week 2 Matchup: @ Cincinnati Bengals
This is a tough call. The Bengals had a very fantasy friendly offense for DEF/ST last season but they played great in Week 1 against the Colts. Indy did manage to get after Dalton a few times and Baltimore is heads and tails better than the Colts on the defensive side of the ball. You can start the Ravens, just temper your expectations.

Week 2 Starts

Los Angeles Chargers: @ Buffalo Bills
The Bills are just plain terrible and, no matter what QB they roll out there, you’re going to be happy to have the Chargers in Week 2. Expect plenty of turnovers and if Joey Bosa is able to play you may see another QB benching. START OF THE WEEK!

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Los Angeles Rams: vs Arizona Cardinals
The Rams get a home game against one of the worst Week 1 offenses. Los Angeles was excellent in Week 1, holding Gruden’s Raiders to only 13 points and picking Carr off 3 times. There’s always the possibility that David Johnson takes this game over but it’s much more likely that one of the best defenses we will see all season just runs roughshod thru Sam Bradford and the Cardinals.

Chicago Bears: @ Seattle Seahawks
Watching Khalil Mack in the first half of that Bears/Packers games was simply a sight to behold. He looked unblockable and that’s even more impressive when you consider he had no preseason conditioning and had only been with the Bears for about 6 days. With another full week under his belt and more playing time with fellow 1st round picks Leonard Floyd and Roquan Smith, Mack and the Bears could actually improve in Week 2. This is a scary defense going against a team with very little firepower.

Stream of the Week

Atlanta Falcons: vs Carolina Panthers
I’m not going to lie, I love the Falcons defense this season. Dan Quinn is known for his defense and this feels like the year it’s all going to come together. I’m disappointed by two things: 1. The loss of Keanu Neal 2. The meager ownership percentages on Yahoo (34%) and ESPN (9%). But this is a good thing for streamers. The Falcons get a home opener against the rival Panthers, who were just held to 16 points by a mediocre Dallas defense. Atlanta has the LBs to contain Cam Newton and the corners to shut down whoever is playing WR. The only concern here is Christian McCaffrey, and while he may eat, Atlanta should register enough sacks and turnovers to make them a viable option in Week 2.

Week 2 Sits

Both Teams: Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh filled up the stat sheet against a bad Browns offense in ugly weather in Week 1. The Chiefs beat down the Chargers early and were able to keep Philip Rivers in bad situations all game. We won’t see either in Week 2. The Steelers offense is a beast in home games. The Chiefs offense may be the most explosive in the league. You want no part of anything defensive in this game, it has the highest Over/Under in the NFL for Week 2.

Philadelphia Eagles: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yes, the Eagles just played a pretty solid game against the Falcons but a lot of that was aided by terrible weather and worse QB play. This Philly defense is very good but there is no way you can confidently play them on the road against Week 1’s highest-scoring offense.

Carolina Panthers: @ Atlanta Falcons
The Panthers are coming off of a near shutout against the Cowboys but the Falcons and Julio Jones should prove a much tougher challenge. It looks like there is a chance Luke Kuechly will miss this game and the Falcons should be able to take advantage of that and put big numbers on the scoreboard.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Ranks vs Pass/Run are based on Yards per Game allowed.

Team Fantasy Points Weeks in Top 12 Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Jets 26 1 17 0 5 0 2 0 0 16 1
2 Vikings 18 1 16 3 3 1 1 0 0 12 9
3 Ravens 17 1 3 6 2 0 0 0 0 1 8
3 Rams 17 1 13 1 3 0 1 0 0 26 11
5 Browns 16 1 21 4 3 3 0 0 0 29 28
6 Bears 14 1 24 4 1 1 1 0 0 23 5
7 Dolphins 13 1 20 0 3 0 1 0 0 15 17
7 Jaguars 13 1 15 2 1 1 1 0 0 10 16
7 Redskins 13 1 6 2 1 1 0 0 0 2 4
10 Bengals 12 1 23 2 1 1 1 0 0 24 7
10 Panthers 12 1 8 6 0 1 0 0 0 3 10
10 Broncos 12 1 24 6 2 1 0 0 0 9 3