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Week 15 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2018 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings


Are you still alive? Below are RotoBaller's Week 15 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 15 of the NFL and fantasy football season.

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 15. 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 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. Good luck in Week 15 RotoBallers!

New for this year: Confidence Rating - since every league's DST scoring is different, projections don't 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. Initial rankings do not factor in Monday Night Football stats. Ranks may be re-evaluated after that game.

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Week 15 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Houston Texans @ NYJ 12.5
2 1 Jacksonville Jaguars vs. WAS 11.9
3 1 Baltimore Ravens vs. TB 10.25

The Texans fell flat in the first week of the fantasy playoffs, mustering just one fantasy point against the Colts, who had been struggling to move the ball in recent weeks and were coming off a shutout at the hands of the Jags. I fully expect them to bounce back against a Jets offense that ranks 30th in the NFL in total yards per game. They also will be starting Sam Darnold (all current reports are that he'll be fine to play on Saturday) who leads the NFL in interceptions. The ceiling AND floor are both sky-high for the Texans this week.

Hi, it's me. The guy who overestimated the Redskins offense SEVERELY and under-ranked the Giants DST. I won't be making that mistake again. The Jaguars may have underwhelmed last week against the Titans, but there's no way they can blow it against--I have to assume Josh Johnson, right? Regardless of whether it's Johnson or Sanchez, the Jaguars ceiling is huge this week. I rate the Texans higher solely because of the sustained fantasy DST success they've had all season, whereas the Jags don't have anywhere near the track record. They're really 1A and 1B this week.

The Ravens held the Chiefs to "just" 27 points while also picking off Patrick Mahomes and sacking him three times--that's not too shabby. Prior to that, they posted back to outings of 17+, and now they'll draw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who just so happen to lead the NFL in giveaways with 31. Jameis Winston provides plenty of turnover opportunities, plain and simple, and the Ravens DST should feast here.

 

Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
4 2 Seattle Seahawks @ SF 9.4
5 2 Chicago Bears vs. GB 8.9
6 2 New Orleans Saints @ CAR 8.35
7 2 Los Angeles Rams vs. PHI 7.75
8 2 Denver Broncos vs. CLE 7.6

As I write this, the Seattle Seahawks are shutting out the capable Vikings offense on Monday night, and regardless of how this game ends, the Seahawks have a tastier matchup in Week 15. When they last met Nick Mullens and the 49ers in Week 13, they tallied three turnovers and three sacks, and I think it's fair to expect at least another pair of turnover and three more sacks against a 49ers offense whose best player this week was basically a Madden Create-a-Player named Jeff Wilson. Be confident in the 'Hawks this week.

The Saints are the hottest DST in football right now, with 11+ fantasy points in six of their last seven games. While I don't know that they'll hit that number again in Week 15, they've got huge upside against Cam Newton in a game that could get out of hand fast. Newton has at least one pick in each of his last five games, and he's perfectly capable of a meltdown, like his four-interception performance in Week 13 against the terrible Bucs defense. This defense is playing at such a high level, not even god-mode Christian McCaffrey is enough to scare me away.

Against those same 49ers, the Broncos severely underperformed when fantasy players needed them most. One interception and three sacks along with 20 points allowed simply isn't enough given the matchup, but they have a good shot to bounce back against the Browns this week. The Browns have already yielded 36 sacks on the season, and with the way Bradley Chubb and Von Miller are playing, Baker Mayfield is going to have hands in his face all day.

 

Middle and Lower Tier Defenses

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
9 3 Dallas Cowboys @ IND 7.25
10 3 Minnesota Vikings vs. MIA 6.95
11 3 Detroit Lions @ BUF 6.45
12 3 New York Jets vs. HOU 6.1
13 3 Miami Dolphins @ MIN 5.85

The Cowboys DST has developed a pretty sturdy floor, but don't be fooled--this is a better real-life defense than a fantasy DST. Their upside is once again limited in a matchup against the Colts and Andrew Luck, who currently sits behind only Patrick Mahomes in passing touchdowns. Luck and T.Y. Hilton gashed the lock-down Texans defense last week, and with the exception of their aforementioned shutout at the hands of the Jaguars in Week 13, the Colts have been notoriously unforgiving to fantasy DSTs. They've yielded just 16 sacks all season, second-best in the NFL--however, Andrew Luck does have 12 interceptions to go along with all those touchdowns, so it's not a completely lost cause.

Headlines are about Josh Allen's rushing ability, as well they should be. However, lost in the record-breaking rushing totals is the fact that Josh Allen is still an extremely raw passer--he's thrown four interceptions (and lost a fumble) in just the last two weeks, so he's certainly not an opponent you need to run from. Buffalo's also yielded the eighth-most sacks (39) this season, so there is definitely streaming potential for the Lions this week, who are coming off a beatdown of the Arizona Cardinals.

Sooooo remember how I said I was writing this during the MNF game? The Vikings offense has me thinking I maybe need to move the Dolphins up. The Vikings look downright anemic, and a ton of it (to me) seems to be play-calling and execution--basically it doesn't look like an "off night" or running into a buzzsaw defense. Remember that Nick Mullens threw for over 400 yards against the Seahawks, they're no juggernaut (19th in the NFL in passing yards per game before tonight). There are still a bunch of explosive elements in that Vikings offense, and the Dolphins have been mediocre enough all season for me to give Cousins and company the benefit of the doubt, but I have my eye on the Dolphins in deeper leagues.

 

Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
14 4 Washington Redskins @ JAC 5.25
15 4 Cleveland Browns @ DEN 4.65
16 4 Tennessee Titans @ NYG 4.2
17 4 Indianapolis Colts vs. DAL 3.5
18 4 Los Angeles Chargers @ KC 3.35

Boy I would love to rank the Redskins higher in this matchup, but they were absolutely THRASHED by Eli Manning and the Giants, and I am changing my tune from last week--the Redskins offense IS bad enough where you have to be concerned about field position. I had the Redskins circled as one of my top fantasy playoff streamers due to their schedule, but in their last three games they've totaled -2 fantasy points--it's time to start fading them as a unit regardless of matchup. They're still in my top 15, and you might not have a better choice at this point in the season, but I don't feel good about them at all.

The Chargers disappointed against a Jeff Driskel-led Bengals offense in Week 14, as Joe Mixon shredded them for 111 yards on the ground and they went without a turnover. Now they're faced with the toughest ask of any defense this week--the Chiefs offense on a short week. It's impossible to trust them in those conditions, regardless of their previous hot streak. It's really that simple this week unfortunately.

 

Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
19 5 Kansas City Chiefs vs. LAC 2.5
20 5 Atlanta Falcons vs. ARI 2.1
21 5 Buffalo Bills vs. DET 1.75
22 5 Green Bay Packers @ CHI 1.15

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