There is no chaos quite like Week 1 chaos. But out of that chaos came some truly amazing DEF/ST performances. Week 1 saw defenses score 8 TDs and 3 teams didn’t even allow a TD. A few performances were predictable, like Pittsburgh manhandling Cleveland and Carolina shutting San Francisco down. But I don’t think anyone expected to see the horrid QB play we saw from Houston, Indianapolis, and I’m shocked to say, Cincinnati. So, while a lot of offensive lines and quarterbacks would like to forget Week 1, here are the defenses that kicked off the season with a week to remember.
Week 1 Top Performances
Los Angeles Rams: vs Indianapolis Colts
You know it’s going to be a good week when your defense single-handedly outscores your opponent. In fact, the Rams 2 defensive TDs were more than 7 offenses in the league scored this weekend. Even if the Rams hadn’t scored either of those TDs they still would have been a top 6 fantasy DEF/ST. It was a truly dominant performance that may have been better if the Colts wouldn’t have benched Scott Tolzien. The only TD the Rams gave up was in the 4th quarter when the Colts brought Jacoby Brissett into the game. When the smoke cleared the Rams ended up with 4 sacks, 3 takeaways, 2 touchdowns, a safety, and a tie for Week 1’s best fantasy defense.
Week 2 Matchup: vs Washington Redskins
The Rams did what they did without arguably their best defensive player. They will be at home again for Week 2 and should see the return of Aaron Donald. While the Redskins are certainly better than the Colts, I won’t be the guy telling you to bench the Rams this week. The Redskins gave up their fair share of sacks and turnovers in Week 1 and we could see more of the same for Los Angeles in Week 2.
Jacksonville Jaguars: @ Houston Texans
#Sacksonsville. That’s the new moniker of the Jaguars Twitter account and it is well deserved. I was nervous for the Jags in this game after all of the “playoff environment” talks in Houston. Turns out it was the Texans who should have been worried. The Jaguars sacked the Texans QB 10 times on Sunday. 10 times. They only had 33 sacks in all of 2016. Like their co-#1, the Rams, Jacksonville forced a mid-game QB change and, also like the Rams, gave up their first and only TD to the backup. Jacksonville filled up the stat sheet with those 10 sacks, 4 turnovers, and defensive TD. The sad part? While they tied for #1 in Week 1, the Jaguars were owned in less than 1/3 of fantasy leagues.
Week 2 Matchup: vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans offense didn’t wow anybody in Week 1 and I think you could do worse than the Jaguars in Week 2. Provided, of course, that the coaching staff keeps feeding Leonard Fournette and keeping the ball away from Blake Bortles and the bad situations he tends to put his own defense in.
Philadelphia Eagles: @ Washington Redskins
Speaking of top DEF/ST that nobody owned…hello Philadelphia. Owned in less than 25% of leagues, the Eagles gave the Redskins offense all that they could handle in this one. The Redskins were never able to get anything going. Kirk Cousins was held to under 250 yards passing and was Washington’s leading rusher with only 30 yards. The Eagles scored a TD on a controversial strip-sack-fumble that was eventually upheld and when you add that to their 4 sacks and 4 turnovers you get the 3rd best fantasy defense in Week 1.
Week 2 Matchup: @ Kansas City Chiefs
I might regret this but there is no way I can recommend starting the Eagles after seeing what Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, and Alex Smith did to the Patriots in the season opener.
Baltimore Ravens: @ Cincinnati Bengals
Most weeks I will only talk about the top 3 performers, but when the #4 team is the only one to shut its opponent out, I have to give props. While the Ravens didn’t score a defensive TD, they did sack Andy Dalton 5 times, pick him off 4 times, and cause him to fumble the ball once for good measure. Their 5 takeaways were the most in the league this week.
Week 2 Matchup: vs Cleveland Browns
There is no question that you will be starting the Ravens after what they did to the Bengals. I am sure they are salivating seeing the Browns and their rookie QB coming to town. Start with confidence.
Week 2 Starts
Seattle Seahawks: vs San Francisco 49ers
Don’t let the Week 1 dud against Green Bay scare you off. The Seahawks are better than they looked on Sunday and the 49ers are not very good. Richard Sherman should be able to contain Pierre Garcon and the other 10 guys can focus on Carlos Hyde. That will, effectively, take away every weapon that the Niners have on offense.
Arizona Cardinals: @ Indianapolis Colts
Until further notice, you will start any defense playing the Colts. We should see a QB change but Jacoby Brissett is not Andrew Luck and this Colts team looks really bad overall. The Cardinals are a solid defense despite what we saw in Week 1 and should have little problem stopping this offense.
Oakland Raiders: vs New York Jets
Until further notice, you will start any defense playing the New York Jets. Deja Vu, I know. But in all seriousness, this offense should not give anybody problems in 2017 and this week’s benefactors are the Oakland Raiders.
Stream of the Week
If I’m going to make statements like “Don’t Draft a Defense“, I’m going to back it up with advice. Every week I will give a lesser owned DEF/ST that you can stream if you passed on a defense at your draft.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: vs Chicago Bears
Tampa Bay has a good defense and an extra week of preparation. The Bears have Mike Glennon and no WRs. If Tampa Bay can focus on stopping Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen this game should play right into their hands.
Week 2 Sits
New England Patriots: @ New Orleans Saints
After seeing what Alex Smith did to this defense I am truly afraid for what Drew Brees could do.
Atlanta Falcons: vs Green Bay Packers
This is going to be a high scoring game and I’m just not a fan of starting defenses against Aaron Rodgers and those WRs.
Green Bay Packers: @ Atlanta Falcons
Ignore what you saw last week against Seattle. This defense will struggle against the speed of Falcons at home.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
The table is arranged by YTD fantasy points but all categories are sortable. Also, I have ranked teams on a Yards-per-Game basis in Passing/Rushing.
|Team||Fantasy Points||Points Allowed||Sacks||Int||Fum Rec||Def/Ret TD||Safety||Blocked Kick||Rank vs Pass||Rank vs Run|