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Week 2 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2018 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

We're back and it feels so good! Below are RotoBaller's Week 2 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 2 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 2. 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 2 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 2 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 2 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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Week 2 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Los Angeles Chargers @ BUF 12.35
2 1 Los Angeles Rams vs. ARI 10.15

After what we saw in Week 1, I think it's safe to stream against the Bills. It doesn't matter if it's Nathan Peterman or Josh Allen under center, the Bills offensive line is atrocious and any team should be able to steam-roll them. Chargers will still crush them even if Joey Bosa is out.

The Cardinals couldn't get much of anything going against the Redskins in Week 1, and they'll have an even more difficult time of it against the Rams elite defensive unit. This is a really high-floor DST in Week 2, although they are just behind the Chargers in upside given David Johnson and Sam Bradford's conservative nature.


Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
3 2 Baltimore Ravens @ CIN 9.5
4 2 Denver Broncos vs. OAK 9.15
5 2 Philadelphia Eagles @ TB 8.95
6 2 Carolina Panthers @ ATL 8.65

The Ravens feasted on the Bills in Week 1, but the Bengals will present a stiffer challenge for sure. With that said, I don't see Joe Mixon churning out nearly 100 yards against the Ravens experienced and talented defensive front. This game screams low-scoring slugfest to me--a true AFC North fistfight. Those usually lead to great days for DSTs.

The Panthers fierce pass-rush abused the Cowboys lackluster offensive line in Week 1, but they'll have a tougher go against the Falcons front this week. With that said, Matt Ryan looked like a shadow of his MVP form from two years ago, and I think the Panthers still carry a good amount of upside in the interception and sack departments.

Do you believe in Fitzmagic? I'm not sure that I do. After Ryan Fitzpatrick positively lit up what many (myself included) projected to be a top-10 defensive unit in Week 1 in New Orleans, plenty of people are re-evaluating what the Buccaneers offense is capable of. However, I'm not buying it. Fitzpatrick got hot and connected on some huge plays in Week 1, but I don't believe there's any way he does it twice in a row. The Eagles are going to expose the Buccaneers offense for what it is--a middle-of-the-road squad at best.


Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
7 3 Detroit Lions @ SF 8.5
8 3 Chicago Bears vs. SEA 8.3
9 3 New England Patriots @ JAC 8.15
10 3 Houston Texans @ TEN 8.05

I'm interested to see the Lions' underrated defense take on Jimmy Garoppolo this week. Jimmy G didn't impress anybody against the Vikings on Sunday, but how much of that was the Vikings defense smothering him and how much was his shoddy play? It was likely a mixture of both, and I think the Lions prove to be another tough matchup for Garoppolo and the 49ers in Week 2.

Khalil Mack can literally transform a defensive unit, and I'm excited to see what he's able to do against the Seahawks offensive line, who just yielded six sacks to the Broncos in Week 1. Russell Wilson might put some points on the board, but I love the Bears floor this week.

The Texans ran into a juggernaut in the Patriots in Week 1, but the Titans offer a much more tantalizing matchup in Week 2. If Marcus Mariota is declared out for Week 2, the Texans will move up into the second tier of my rankings and should be one of the top streaming options.


Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
11 4 Jacksonville Jaguars vs. NE 7.75
12 4 Minnesota Vikings @ GB 7.15
13 4 New York Giants @ DAL 6.85
14 4 Seattle Seahawks @ CHI 6.5
15 4 Cincinnati Bengals vs. BAL 6.35
16 4 Washington Redskins vs. IND 5.9
17 4 New Orleans Saints vs. CLE 5.7

The Vikings looked dominant against the previously intimidating Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 1--they picked him off thrice (and returned one of them for a TD) and added a fumble recovery while allowing just 16 points. They get a true test against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, but if Rodgers is compromised in any way after the injury he sustained on Sunday night, the Vikings' elite defense could still do some damage from a fantasy perspective.

The Giants didn't flash much against the Jags in Week 1, tallying just one interception and one sack against Blake Bortles and a (mostly) Leonard Fournette-less Jacksonville offense. However, they'll get the Cowboys in Week 2, who were crushed by the Panthers. There is some legitimate upside in the sack department for the Giants, which keeps them as a streaming option.

I was all-in on the Saints heading into Week 1, but after Ryan Fitzpatrick put up 48 on them we've gotta take a step back and re-evaluate. I said above that I think Fitzpatrick's huge game was largely a fluke, but regardless of who it was the Saints defense still let up 400+ yards and four touchdowns. It is perfectly possible that the Saints simply won't be as productive as we thought they'd be, similar to how the Broncos disappointed last season. Cleveland's conservative game plan doesn't lend itself to fantasy DST goodness, so I'm fading the Saints until they prove they're a legitimate fantasy option.


Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
18 5 New York Jets vs. MIA 4.85
19 5 Atlanta Falcons vs. CAR 4.5
20 5 Tennessee Titans vs. HOU 3.75
21 5 Arizona Cardinals @ LAR 3.45
22 5 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. KC 3.15
23 5 Kansas City Chiefs @ PIT 2.9
24 5 Miami Dolphins @ NYJ 2.25
25 5 Dallas Cowboys vs. NYG 1.85
26 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. PHI 1.25


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