Week 2 Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy

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Another season of fantasy football kicks off, and another year of me trying to predict DEF/ST is upon us! Week 1 was as crazy an opening weekend as any in recent memory, with blowouts and injuries shaping a lot of the opening games. In the world of fantasy defense, TDs were again king, good thing that’s the easiest stat to predict (SARCASM!) While only four teams managed a DEF/ST touchdown, all four finished in the week’s top-10, and three of them were the top-3 performers.

So, without further ado, let’s dig into the best of Week 1 and who you can start or sit with confidence in Week 2.

Week 1 Top Performances

San Francisco 49ers @ TB
Jameis always giveth! When it comes to multi-interception games, Jameis Winston is your guy. The 49ers picked him off three times, took two of those back for TDs, and added three sacks on their way to being Week 1’s top fantasy defense. They also had a fumble recovery on a ball lost by O.J. Howard, giving them a league-high (tie with NYJ) four takeaways in Week 1.

Week 2 Matchup: @ CIN
The Bengals played better than expected against the Seahawks but still gave up five sacks and three turnovers. The 49ers showed that they can excel in takeaways so they are a pretty safe start again in Week 2.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans @ CLE
Well, I certainly thought this game would be a blowout…just had my sides wrong. Tennessee punished Baker Mayfield for even waking up in the morning and, for at least one week, made them look like the same old Cleveland Browns. In the words of Delanie Walker post-game “They were who we thought they were!” The Titans hit Baker 12 times, sacking him five times, once for a safety. They picked him off three times, taking one back for a TD. It was ugly for Cleveland and great for the 9% of you that owned the Titans defense.

Week 2 Matchup: vs IND
The Colts offense looked surprisingly competent with Jacoby Brissett last week, only giving up two sacks and no turnovers en route to scoring 24 points. The Titans surprised in Week 1, especially on offense, but this is a solid defensive-minded team. They are a risky start in Week 2 but not out of the question if you can’t land a better option.

New York Jets vs BUF
For the first 39 minutes of this game, the only points scored were by the Jets defense. CJ Mosley made a house call on a first-quarter INT and Frank Gore was stopped for a safety in the 3rd quarter. It was an ugly game for both offenses for most of the day and both DEF/ST finished in the top 10 for the week. The Jets finished with four takeaways, plus that pick-6 and safety, which ended up good enough for a top 3 fantasy score.

Week 2 Matchup: vs CLE
This is a 50/50 call. The Browns looked awful in Week 1, surrendering the #2 DEF/ST performance to the Titans, and will be facing their old DC Gregg Williams. While the Jets defense was solid in Week 1, the Browns are better than Bills, at least on paper, and if John Brown can beat them for 123 yards and a TD, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry may have a field day. Start the Jets at your own risk.

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Week 2 Starts

New England Patriots @ MIA
I usually stay away from the “Duh” Starts, but the Patriots are my Start of the Week. Miami looks just awful and will be running plays from Belichik’s playbook. This one could be worse than what the Ravens did to the Dolphins. New England may be on your waiver wire if owners were afraid of the Steelers in Week 1.

Cleveland Browns @ NYJ
Cleveland was a huge letdown in Week 1 but their defense suffered more because of their offensive woes. The Browns sacked Mariota four times, hit him another six, and had seven TFLs. If they can stop turning it over on offense and get a couple of takeaways, they should find themselves in the top 10 after Week 2.

Buffalo Bills @ NYG
The Giants looked far better than expected but look to be without Sterling Shepherd for this Week 2 matchup. The Bills defense gets a week to prepare for an offense that only has Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram. Buffalo only gave up eight points in Week 1 and the Giants only scored 17.

Stream of the Week

Cincinnati Bengals vs SF
The Bengals had four sacks and only gave up 21 points to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Week 1. The 49ers offense looked mediocre at best and will be without Tevin Coleman. Cincinnati is at home this time around and should find the going much easier against a team that gave up a top-10 performance to the Buccaneers last week. The Bengals are owned in fewer than 1% of leagues. (Yes, that says 1%)

Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week 2 Sits

Los Angeles Rams vs NO
The Saints put the Texans defense in the bottom 10 in Week 1’s best game, and I will rarely tell anyone to start a defense against Drew Brees.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ HOU
Jacksonville got beat up by the Chiefs and the Texans looked equally as potent on offense. With the loss of Nick Foles, we may see some offensive struggles in Jacksonville, which will hurt their DEF further.

Denver Broncos vs CHI
The Broncos managed 0 (ZERO) fantasy points against the Raiders last week. The Bears defense will put their offense is great spots and make the Broncos DEF/ST unstartable for the 63% (Yahoo) of those that own them.

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.

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