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Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2015 Fantasy Tiers & Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to making waiver wire pickups and adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 7.

Are you looking for some assistance with your lineups? Not sure which defenses have good matchups for Week 7? Can't decide which defenses to target off the waiver wire, or whether you should stream a different defense for this week? No worries, we are here to help every week of the fantasy football season.

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 7 defenses have good matchups and are not widely owned, representing sleeper opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 7 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 7 RotoBallers!


Week 7 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Bye Weeks: Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears

Tier 1 Defenses: Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons

The Cardinals have been a top-tier defense in 2015 thanks in large part to a very soft schedule. They've feasted in matchups against the Bears, 49ers, and Lions, but struggled against more capable opponents. This week they get the Ravens at home, and I'm chalking them up as a softer opponent. Joe Flacco doesn't put the fear of God in anyone, and with Justin Forsett and Steve Smith still likely at less than 100%, I think the Cardinals are due for another big day on defense.

The Rams have been quietly and consistently above-average on defense all year, thanks in large part to their 19 sacks, which is good for third in the NFL. I think they'll be able to get to Josh McCown a few times this week, and while the Browns offense has been better of late they are still very beatable. I expect the Rams to be able to stop Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell, and as long as they can keep Travis Benjamin in check they should put up solid fantasy numbers.

Dan Quinn has the Falcons defense fired up and playing well, and with a tasty matchup against the lowly Titans I'm christening them a top-tier defense. Marcus Mariota has impressed in the early stages of his professional career, but he's still turning the ball over at a rookie clip. He also suffered a knee injury in Week 6, and if he were to miss the game then it would be up to Zach Mettenberger to get the job done. I don't see that going well for Tennessee.


Tier 2 Defenses:  Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Washington Redskins

Hey so, the Seahawks kind of suck in the fourth quarter. If not for that Calvin Johnson fumble in Week 4, they would be riding a three-game streak of blow fourth-quarter leads. With that being said, they are still putting up solid fantasy numbers each week. They've been rejuvenated since Kam Chancellor ended his holdout, and I expect them to do well against Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers in Week 7. Carlos Hyde's Week 1 outburst looks like an anomaly, and Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin have been hit-or-miss so far. Fire up the Seahawks and hope they don't blow it late again.

The Panthers just keep finding ways to win despite a general lack of talent on offense. Cam Newton is getting the job done with a scrub squad, and the defense is holding up their end of the bargain. With 13 sacks and eight picks already on the season they are typically a top-tier defense, but I'm knocking them down a peg with the resurgent Philadelphia Eagles coming to town. Sam Bradford has been playing much better lately, and the running game is beginning to hit its stride with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews both carrying the ball well. Expect a solid yet unspectacular performance in Week 7.

Those same Eagles will need to find a way to stop Newton and Jonathan Stewart if they are to continue their recent run of success. With 11 sacks and 11 turnovers in the first five weeks, I like their chances to be a serviceable fantasy D/ST in Week 7. There is always the threat of Darren Sproles in the return game, which always needs to be factored in when considering D/STs to stream.

The Steelers have been shockingly great in the last couple of weeks without Ben Roethlisberger, and their last two victories are thanks in large part to outstanding defensive performances against two very good teams (the San Diego Chargers and the Arizona Cardinals). They've forced five turnovers in the last two weeks, and while they may not be so fortunate against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, they're keeping opponents off the scoreboard. Alex Smith is too careful with the football to think the Steelers will have multiple interceptions, but I don't think they'll have trouble stopping Charcandrick West and Knile Davis.

The Giants have been the best run defense in the league so far, and I like their chances against the Cowboys in Week 7, who will have to lean on the run with Matt Cassel now under center. No Tony Romo or Dez Bryant means a healthy dose of Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and apparently Christine Michael, who the Cowboys are apparently going to "let off the leash". Cassel can definitely turn the ball over and none of those running backs are studs, making the Giants a great streaming option.

The Redskins make the second tier thanks to a great matchup--they'll get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home in Week 7. The only real task they'll have is stopping Doug Martin, as Jameis Winston hasn't been able to use Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson effectively so far this year. I think the Redskins are up to the challenge, and can bottle up Martin while forcing Jameis Winston into some bad throws.


Tier 3 Defenses: Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns

The Lions have 13 sacks and ten turnovers through their first six games, and while those are decent numbers they have been giving up a healthy amount of points each week (avg. 28.67 per game). However, in a matchup against the Vikings, I don't think they'll allow more than 21, as Teddy Bridgewater only has three passing touchdowns on the season and Adrian Peterson looked very mortal against an average Kansas City run defense in Week 6. They're a streamable option, but one with a low ceiling.

The Jets are tied for second in the NFL in fumble recoveries and third in interceptions, which would put them towards the top of the rankings most weeks. However, in Week 7 they're tasked with stopping Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, and I don't like their chances. They're the second-best run defense in the NFL and shouldn't have any trouble stopping LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis on the ground, but the Patriots are just too good through the air. I'm benching them if I own them and I'm avoiding as a streaming option if possible.

The Bills have been supremely disappointing in 2015, with just nine sacks through six games after posting a whopping 54 in 16 games last season. What looked like a solid matchup on paper in the preseason is all of a sudden something to be wary of, as they'll have to take on Blake Bortles and the potent Jaguars passing attack in London in Week 7. I don't think the Bills will be able to stop Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas, making them one of my "avoids" this week.

The Vikings get the Lions in Week 7, and I actually like their chances. I'm not buying Matthew Stafford's four-touchdown, 400-yard outburst last week, as it came against an atrocious Bears defense. Ameer Abdullah and the rest of the Lions' run game has been absolutely awful so far, meaning the only real challenge for Minnesota will be containing Megatron and Golden Tate. Stafford is always good for a couple of interceptions, and I wouldn't be shocked if there is a defensive touchdown in this game. I like the Vikes as a high-ceiling streaming option.

The Dolphins are officially back. New head coach Dan Campbell has them fired up, and they showed it against the Titans in Week 6, forcing four turnovers and scoring their first defensive touchdown since Week 1. I expect more good things to come as the season progresses, but their Week 7 matchup against the Texans feels like a trap game to me. DeAndre Hopkins is the best fantasy wide receiver in the NFL, and a fully healthy Arian Foster should give any defense goosebumps. I'll be streaming them in the future, but not this week.

Give the Browns credit--they hung in there against the Broncos for a good long while in Week 6. They were able to pick off the shockingly bad Peyton Manning three times, and did it without Joe Haden and Tashaun Gipson. They'll get Nick Foles and the Rams in Week 7, and I think they can haul in at least two more interceptions. The only real problem will be stopping Todd Gurley, which I'm not sure they can do.


Tier 4 Defenses: New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Patriots defense has been average at best this season, and I don't like their chances against a very good Jets offense in Week 7. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall are fantasy gold, and Chris Ivory is establishing himself as a top-10 back. The Patriots won't be able to hold any of these studs in check, and I'm avoiding them if possible.

My ranking of the Chiefs is based entirely on the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is likely out for at least one more week. If Big Ben plays, the Chiefs should be avoided like the plague. If it's Mike Vick or Landry Jones under center though, they're a decent streaming option. Jones actually looked pretty great in the second half, connecting with Martavis Bryant for a pair of scores late in the game. I don't see how the Steelers can turn back to Vick, but even if it is Jones at the helm the Chiefs can expect a heavy dose of Le'Veon Bell in Week 7.

The Chargers are one of the more boring defenses in football. They are middle-of-the-pack in almost every defensive category, and are almost a lock to give up between 20 and 30 points per game. They'll take on the Raiders at home in Week 7, and I don't see them being able to hold Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray under 21 points. I'm passing on them in all but the deepest of leagues.

The Buccaneers will get the Redskins in Week 7, and they make the list based entirely on that matchup. Kirk Cousins has been turning the ball over at an alarming rate (eight interceptions through six games) and Alfred Morris and Matt Jones have been below average more often than not. The ceiling is low here, but if you only need a few points the Bucs should get the job done.


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