Week 15 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2017 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

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Still hangin' in there? Below are RotoBaller's Week 15 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 14 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to drafting defenses, making waiver wire pickups/adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 15.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 15 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 15 pickup or add.

Just as a heads-up, when I mention DST scores, I am referring to ESPN's default PPR scoring. Let me know what you think on Twitter (@Roto_Dubs). Good luck in Week 15 RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Our Premium DFS Research - including DFS cheat sheets, game-by-game breakdowns, expert lineups, and matchup ratings - is only $9.99 through the Super Bowl! Sign Up Now!

 

Week 15 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1 Defenses (The "Duh" DSTs)

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. HOU)

I likely would have had the Jaguars ranked number one if Tom Savage started, but they are emphatically number one now that T.J. Yates is under center. Yates was actually pretty impressive in relief of Tom Savage, who was the victim of some of the most negligent concussion ignorance, but he did so against the 49ers weak secondary. The Jaguars are still the best pass defense in the NFL (174 YPG) and they have the pieces to contain DeAndre Hopkins and make Yates' life a living hell.

2. New Orleans Saints (vs. NYJ)

I definitely would not have had the Saints at number two if Josh McCown was healthy, but with Bryce Petty starting next week the Saints are a top play. They're home, which will likely lead to a bloodbath barring some sort of Herculean effort by Bilal Powell and Matt Forte--an outcome that is unlikely even with the Saints boasting the 20th-ranked rush defense.  The Jets aren't going to put up points and Lynch is almost certain to turn the ball over multiple times.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (@ NYG)

The Eagles organization as a whole is reeling after the loss of Carson Wentz, but this defense will still have plenty of opportunity to succeed against the Giants, a team that is "competing" for better draft position at this point. The Eagles are the best run defense in the NFL (71.2 YPG) which means Eli is going to have to throw to keep up. Nick Foles certainly isn't Carson Wentz, but there are tons of weapons around him and he at least has some NFL experience--including one majestic half-season (2013) that included a six-touchdown game. The Giants are in the "stream against" category, and the Eagles are talented enough as it is to keep them in the top tier.

4. Baltimore Ravens (@ CLE)

So this would have been a gimme top-three matchup a couple of weeks ago, but the presence of Josh Gordon has seemingly made DeShone Kizer a better quarterback. Kizer went off for three touchdowns against the Packers in Week 14, and now gets a Ravens secondary that is markedly worse without Jimmy Smith. Kizer is a near-lock for two turnovers still, which keeps the Ravens in the top tier, but their upside is limited every-so-slightly. As an additional point, Isaiah Crowell has churned out 90+ yards on the ground in three of his last five games.

Tier 2 Defenses (Rock-Solid Starts)

5. Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA)

The Bills DST couldn't get their footing any more than the Colts could in their snow bowl on Sunday in Orchard Park, and they disappointed with just one sack and no interceptions. That has everything to do with the ultra-conservative play-calling by both teams--the game plan was run, run, run. They should have much more success against the Dolphins in Week 15, who also have to come to Buffalo and play in the snow and cold. Jay Cutler is a turnover risk in great weather, and with the cold playing a factor this game has huge potential for the Bills DST. If they can contain Kenyan Drake on the outside they'll be in great shape.

6. Carolina Panthers (vs. GB)

The Panthers DST looked pretty great against the above-average Vikings offense last week, forcing three turnovers and tallying six sacks. The front seven should continue putting up numbers against the Packers, who currently sit at third in the NFL in sacks allowed. Brett Hundley has been remarkably up-and-down over the last month, alternating between three and zero touchdowns over the last four games. I'm gambling on him falling closer to zero than three in this one. Roll the Panthers out with confidence.

7. Minnesota Vikings (vs. CIN)

The Vikings got lit up by the Panthers in Week 15, yielding 31 points and a whole mess of yards. They were gashed by Jonathan Stewart of all people! They should bounce back entirely against the Bengals, who looked like trash against the Bears. Andy Dalton had a nice little hot streak in the middle of the season but he came crashing back to Earth last week, mustering just 141 yards, one touchdown and an interception. A.J. Green has been somewhat hit-and-miss this season (still a WR1 to be sure), but he'll have to deal with shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes in this one.

8. Detroit Lions (vs. CHI)

The Lions DST got back on track in Week 15 against the Buccaneers with five turnovers and three sacks. They may not have as easy a time with that against Mitch Trubisky and the Bears, as Trubisky has controlled the ball pretty well for a rookie. The big concern here is how the Lions' 21st-ranked run defense can stand up to Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. I have faith that they can at least contain them enough to win the game, and Trubisky isn't going to light it up. Lions have a decent floor but limited upside in this one.

Tier 3 Defenses (Decent Streamers)

10. Los Angeles Chargers (@ KC)

Including last week's drubbing of the Redskins, the Chargers have now allowed just 23 total points over their last three games. That hot streak might bend against the Chiefs, but it certainly won't break. Andy Reid remembered how good Kareem Hunt is last week and it showed, as he was fed against the Redskins' 26th-ranked rushing defense. The Chargers upside is therefore limited--they actually rank 29th against the run. I expect them to sell out to stop the run and hope that Tyreek Hill doesn't make a mess for them deep. The Chargers are ranked fourth in sacks, so they do have a shot at a decent day if they can limit the damage done by KC's playmakers.

11. Denver Broncos (vs. IND)

I've been preaching against the Broncos DST all season, so naturally they blew up in the first round of the playoffs. While I don't see that being the new norm, they should have some success against the Colts porous offensive line. The Colts have yielded a whopping 52 sacks on the season, eight more than the next closest team. It's really that simple--the Broncos should rack up sacks, although I'm not certain they can keep points off the board. They've yielded the ninth-most points in the NFL.

12. Chicago Bears (@ DET)

The Bears DST has rattled off back-to-back solid outings against subpar teams (SF, CIN), but they'll have a tougher time of it when they visit the Lions in Week 15. Detroit has the fifth-best scoring offense in the NFL, but Matthew Stafford has at least one interception in four of his last five games. Low ceiling here, but your options might be limited this late in the season.

13. Los Angeles Rams (@ SEA)
14. Seattle Seahawks (vs. LAR)

I'll discuss the Rams and Seahawks together. This game has shootout written all over it, and that's honestly what's keeping me from ranking either team higher than that. Russell Wilson is literally on pace for one of the greatest fantasy seasons ever, and the Rams trail only the Eagles (by eight points) for the title of highest-scoring offense. Again, you might not have a choice at this point, but I'm not feeling great about either option.

Tier 4 Defenses (Deep Streamers)

15. Atlanta Falcons (@ TB)
16. Tennessee Titans (@ SF)

17. New York Giants (vs. PHI)
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. ATL)
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. NE)
20. New England Patriots (@ PIT)

 

Tier 5 Defenses (Desperation Plays)

21. Indianapolis Colts (vs. DEN)
22. Green Bay Packers (@ CAR)
23. Miami Dolphins (@ BUF)
24. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. LAC)
25. Cincinnati Bengals (@ MIN)

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis


Check out all of RotoBaller's 2017 fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.


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