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Week 10 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

We've arrived at the dreaded six-team bye week, so there are even fewer DST streaming options out there than normal. That's not to say there aren't some real winners to be found, but almost none of them are surefire streaming studs at first glance.

Below are RotoBaller's Week 10 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 10 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column.

Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver wire pickups to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 10. Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker. Below we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 10 defenses have good matchups and are not widely-owned, representing fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 9 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 10 RotoBallers!

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Week 10 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues and Tier 5 being desperation plays or good defenses in horrendous matchups.

Returning for this year: Confidence Ratings - since every league's DST scoring is different, projections don't always make a ton of sense. The confidence rating is a guideline for how much more I like one team over another instead of a straight point projection. A zero means "do not start," then the confidence rises from there. I take a lot of factors into account here--opponent injuries, home field advantage, weather, etc. We've got four weeks of data to work with now, so we're going to be able to be a bit more precise basing our ratings on hard numbers.

On bye this week: New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Washington Redskins


Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Baltimore Ravens Defense @ CIN 13.4
2 1 Buffalo Bills Defense @ CLE 12.75

The Ravens have pieced together a nice little run, holding each of their last three opponents--two of whom are the Seahawks and Patriots--to 20 points on the scoreboard or fewer. They've got at least one interception in each of their last five games as well, but we all know what this ranking is about. Ryan Finley will be stepping in for the recently-benched Andy Dalton, and you simply can't expect a kid making his first career start with that offensive line (29 sacks allowed) protecting him to do well.

Baker Mayfield barely looks like an NFL quarterback, the Bills defense is third in yards allowed per game, third in points allowed per game and have at least three sacks in three of their last four games. The only red flag here is that the Bills have been gashed on the ground lately, and with Nick Chubb on deck they're going to need to clean that up in a hurry.


Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
3 2 New Orleans Saints Defense vs. ATL 11.6
4 2 Los Angeles Rams Defense @ PIT 11.1
5 2 Los Angeles Chargers Defense @ OAK 10.5
6 2 Indianapolis Colts Defense vs. MIA 10.15
7 2 Detroit Lions Defense @ CHI 9.45

The Chargers pass rush is starting to shine once again, with Melvin Ingram returning to the field and Joey Bosa continuing to be a dominant force. They abused Aaron Rodgers and the entire Packers offense on Sunday, and should have some success again this week. They fall outside the top three due to the unexpectedly good offensive line play of the Raiders, which has been a big factor in the rise of Josh Jacobs, and the intelligent play of Derek Carr, who has a 7:1 TD-INT ratio over his last three games.

The Lions will rarely find themselves any higher than Tier 4, but with Matt Nagy continuing to commit to Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, you have to take notice of any defense he faces. He's barely able to manage over 150 yards in any game, and if David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen don't move the ball, the Bears offense as a whole barely moves. Honestly the worst case scenario for the Lions this week is Trubisky being benched for veteran Chase Daniel--which I'd wager happens at half time.


Middle and Lower Tier Defenses

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
8 3 San Francisco 49ers Defense vs. SEA 8.65
9 3 Carolina Panthers Defense @ GB 8.2
10 3 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense vs. LAR 7.55
11 3 Chicago Bears Defense vs. DET 6.95
12 3 Dallas Cowboys Defense vs. MIN 6.3

The 49ers boast a truly elite defense, which is why you'll still find them as a startable option here. However, they draw MVP front-runner Russell Wilson and the fourth-ranked Seattle offense this week, which knocks them down to Tier 3. Wilson and Tyler Lockett are one of the best QB-WR duos in football right now, and with DK Metcalf ascending into the #2 spot in the passing attack the Seahawks are all of a sudden extremely explosive. An immovable object meeting an unstoppable force scenario here, and unfortunately that means the 49ers a merely an average DST option this week.

The Bears, like so many defenses before them, have faltered just one year after a remarkable season. They've managed double-digit fantasy points in just three of eight games in 2019, and they've seen their counting stats plummet across the board. They're at home this week, which is of certainly a plus for them, but their opponent is intimidating. The loss of Kerryon Johnson has unleashed the full potential of Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, turning that offense into a more one-dimensional yet explosive aerial attack. I'm not feeling especially confident in the Bears right now.


Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
13 4 New York Giants Defense @ NYJ 5.5
14 4 Kansas City Chiefs Defense @ TEN 5.1
15 4 Green Bay Packers Defense vs. CAR 4.6
16 4 Seattle Seahawks Defense @ SF 4.1
17 4 Minnesota Vikings Defense @ DAL 3.45

The Chiefs defense has done enough to win games this season, and that's about it. They're 15th in interceptions (6), 15th in points allowed per game (22.7), and 14th in fumble recoveries (5). They do have 26 sacks on the season, which is good for seventh in the NFL, but remember that nine of them came in one bloodbath against Denver in Week 7. The upside is limited, especially with Ryan Tannehill providing a boost to the Tennessee offense.

The Vikings have been a top-flight DST option for much of the season, and the pass rush has been particularly effective lately, as they've notched nine total sacks in their last two games. That was against the Redskins and Chiefs though--they'll find much tougher sledding this week against Dallas, who just wrapped up dismantling the Giants as I write this. The Cowboys have done a terrific job keeping Dak Prescott upright, as they've allowed just 10 total sacks on the season. Their offensive attack is balanced, with Ezekiel Elliott keeping defenses honest and Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup doing damage over the top. Ultimately I just see a very low ceiling for the Vikings in Week 10.


Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
18 5 Oakland Raiders Defense vs. LAC 2.8
19 5 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. KC 2.25
20 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense vs. ARI 1.7
21 5 New York Jets Defense vs. NYG 1.5
22 5 Arizona Cardinals Defense @ TB 1.15

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