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Week 2 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings


Holy cow, my daughter refuses to come out. She's already a week late--but hey, that lets us get our Week 2 defenses ironed out early, right?

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. 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 2.

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 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!

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Week 2 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. The first few weeks I obviously have less data to work with, so the defense's personnel and matchups matter more significantly.

 

Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 New England Patriots Defense @ MIA 12.7
2 1 Chicago Bears Defense @ DEN 11.95
3 1 Baltimore Ravens Defense vs. ARI 11.2

I don't think it's too early to say we can stream weekly defenses against the Dolphins this season, but with the Patriots dominating the Steelers all Sunday night to boot? This is a pretty easy call for the top spot this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick is still good for a couple of turnovers, their offensive line is trash and the Dolphins seem determined not to let Kenyan Drake make plays. Don't overthink it.

Speaking of those Dolphins, the Ravens absolutely decimated them in Week 1 and their defense looked dominant doing it. It's going to be a stiffer test for them in Week 2, but not by much. The Cardinals offense looked pretty anemic through nearly three quarters in Week 1, and I don't trust rookie quarterback Kyler Murray to produce for four quarters in just his second NFL game against the Ravens defense. David Johnson can still do damage, but not enough to overpower the Ravens here.

 

Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
4 2 Carolina Panthers Defense vs. TB 10.25
5 2 Buffalo Bills Defense @ NYG 9.95
6 2 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense @ HOU 9.5
7 2 Dallas Cowboys Defense @ WAS 8.75
8 2 Houston Texans Defense vs. JAC 8.4

The Panthers and Buccaneers draw the dreaded Thursday night matchup this week, and I think this one yields a low-scoring game. The big thing for the Panthers here is that Jameis Winston turns the ball over like it's a hobby--per ESPN Stats Winston just passed Blake Bortles for the most interceptions since he entered the league thanks to his 17th (!) game with multiple interceptions. I think the Panthers steamroll them in a home matchup, and this matchup yields a handsome return for the Panthers DST not unlike what the Bucs gifted to the 49ers in Week 1.

That Bills/Jets Week 1 matchup was ugly, but it also gave more more confidence that the Bills defense is for real. While they didn't force any turnovers from Sam Darnold, they harassed him all game long, finishing with four sacks and holding the sophomore to just 175 yards and a single score. I expect the Bills to employ a very similar game plan against the Giants in Week 2, focusing on containing Saquon Barkley and forcing Eli Manning and the depleted Giants wide receiver corps to beat their plus secondary.

 

Middle and Lower Tier Defenses

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
9 3 New York Jets Defense vs. CLE 10.6
10 3 Kansas City Chiefs Defense @ OAK 7.85
11 3 New York Giants Defense vs. BUF 7.5
12 3 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. IND 7.15
13 3 Los Angeles Chargers Defense @ DET 6.8
14 3 Cleveland Browns Defense @ NYJ 6.4
15 3 Denver Broncos Defense vs. CHI 5.95

The Jets defense looked good in a Week 1 loss to the Bills, allowing just 17 points, forcing four turnovers and also tallying a safety and a defensive score. I like them as a top-10 option even against the Browns talented offense, but understand that my ranking is dependent on the health of C.J. Mosely and Quinnen Williams. If either or both miss this game, I'll be dropping the Jets down to the middle of this tier, likely right above the Chargers. Those are two guys who make a huge impact on that defense, and if they're out it's impossible to ignore.

The talented Chargers defensive unit certainly disappointed in Week 1 against a Colts offense that many had written off with no Andrew Luck under center. However, the loss of All-Pro safety Derwin James is going to be felt for as long as he's on the shelf, and they'll certainly miss him against the Lions; they put up over 450 yards of offense in Week 1. Kenny Golladay, brand new weapon T.J. Hockenson and the dynamic Kerryon Johnson provide Matthew Stafford with enough weapons to drop the Chargers out of my top 10 this week.

The Browns defense was up there for me in Week 1 against the Titans--swing and a miss. The Titans put up 35 on that talented (on paper) defense--and while the Browns did notch four sacks, that kind of scoring put them in the negatives in many fantasy scoring formats. They'll get a chance for redemption against the Jets, whose offense did little to inspire much confidence. Even though he put up 23.2 PPR points in Week 1, Le'Veon Bell only had a 3.5 YPC against the Bills. But the Browns were decimated by Derrick Henry in Week 1, so they'll need to prove that they can step up to a beatable opponent before they make it back into my top two tiers. Startable this week, but temper expectations.

I'd love to rank the Broncos higher in a matchup against the seemingly-inept Chicago offense, but that pass rush generated exactly ZERO QB hits on Derek Carr Monday night despite the Raiders offensive line being short-handed. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are still animals, but I need to see this Broncos team show out before I trust them again. Getting torched by Tyrell Williams is not a good look with Allen Robinson on deck, either.

 

Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
16 4 San Francisco 49ers Defense @ CIN 5.1
17 4 Indianapolis Colts Defense @ TEN 4.75
18 4 Philadelphia Eagles Defense @ ATL 4.35
19 4 Seattle Seahawks Defense @ PIT 4
20 4 Minnesota Vikings Defense @ GB 3.6
21 4 Green Bay Packers Defense vs. MIN 3.1

The Seahawks put together a seemingly mediocre outing against a Bengals team they likely should have beaten by more, giving up 20 points, but they also had five sacks and three fumble recoveries. Now they're in an interesting position on the road in Pittsburgh. In Week 1 the Steelers offense managed just three points 308 total yards of offense, including just 32 yards on the ground. So what gives here? Do Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster figure things out, or does the Seahawks sold front seven get it together and shut them down? I'm betting on a little of both, and it's going to yield a middle-of-the-road performance for the Seahawks DST.

The 49ers may have had the best DST performance of Week 1 thanks in large part to Jameis Winston and the Bucs offense gifting them four turnovers along with three sacks. I don't buy them as a top-flight fantasy DST despite that performance, and I think they return to mediocrity this week against the Bengals. Joe Mixon is dealing with an ankle sprain and may not be ready for Week 2, but Gio Bernard could fill in as a workhorse and Andy Dalton hooked up with Tyler Boyd, John Ross and co. for over 400 yards. The 49ers are a play in deeper leagues only.

 

Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
22 5 Atlanta Falcons Defense vs. PHI 2.5
23 5 Los Angeles Rams Defense vs. NO 2.15
24 5 Detroit Lions Defense vs. LAC 1.95
25 5 New Orleans Saints Defense @ LAR 1.5
26 5 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense vs. SEA 1.25
27 5 Washington Redskins Defense vs. DAL 1.1

More Fantasy Football Analysis


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