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Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 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 7.

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 7 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 7 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 7 RotoBallers!

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Week 7 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. We've got four weeks of data to work with now, so we're going to be able to be a bit more precise basing our ratings on hard numbers.

On bye this week: Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Buffalo Bills Defense vs. MIA 13.15
2 1 New England Patriots Defense @ NYJ 12.4
3 1 San Francisco 49ers Defense @ WAS 11.65
4 1 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense @ CIN 11.1

There are just two teams in the AFC with fewer than two losses. One is the Patriots, and the other? The Buffalo Bills. They likely aren't running into their second loss this week against the horrendous Dolphins offensive line, and regardless of whether it's Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen under center, the Bills should absolutely feast here.

The Jets looked downright dangerous with Sam Darnold back, but he's going to have to prove that explosiveness the offense showed is real. He has the ultimate test in the New England Patriots this week, and ultimately the Jets aren't enough to scare me off the Pats right now.

Ohhhhh helloooo Niners. The upstart defense is second in the NFL in yards allowed per game, tied for eighth in sacks, and tied for fourth in interceptions. Against the Redskins offense? They'll improve on all of those numbers.


Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
5 2 Los Angeles Chargers Defense @ TEN 10.5
6 2 Chicago Bears Defense vs. NO 9.9
7 2 Green Bay Packers Defense vs. OAK 9.25
8 2 New Orleans Saints Defense vs. CHI 9.1

I was wrong about the Chargers last week--dead wrong. So why not double down, right? They're in a get-right spot against a Titans offense that is dead last in the NFL in sacks allowed (29) and also has a quarterback controversy. Ryan Tannehill, Marcus Mariota--I'm not sure it matters here. Don't make me look foolish twice, Chargers.

The Saints DST has had some solid outings over the first month and a half, and they should be in for another one here against the 30th-ranked Bears offense. Mitch Trubisky may be cleared to play by the time these two teams square off, but regardless of whether it's him or Chase Daniel under center, this game should have a low point total and provide a nice floor for the Saints.


Middle and Lower Tier Defenses

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
9 3 Minnesota Vikings Defense @ DET 8.5
10 3 Philadelphia Eagles Defense @ DAL 7.95
11 3 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. LAC 7.3
12 3 Detroit Lions Defense vs. MIN 6.8
13 3 Houston Texans Defense @ IND 6.6
14 3 Kansas City Chiefs Defense @ DEN 5.95

The Vikings DST hasn't racked up much in the way of big games--another year of a better real life defense than a fantasy defense. That's not to say they haven't produced a decent floor; they've got ten turnovers through six games and have posted four sacks on three different occasions. I think that's what they're looking at here--probably 2-3 sacks, two turnovers, and somewhere in the 17-24 points allowed range.

On the other side of the ball, the Lions have had a number of fantasy-successful games this season thanks to a peculiarly high eight fumble recoveries through just five games. It's a lot harder to predict fumbles than interceptions, but fantasy points are fantasy points. Kirk Cousins' newfound ability to...well, pass the football along with Dalvin Cook's explosiveness limit the ceiling for the Lions here, but I've got them just on the fringe of startability.

The Colts offensive line has been the key to their success this year, and I'm interested to see them clash with the Texans' pass rush this weekend. The Colts have allowed the second-fewest sacks this season (six) while the Texans have tallied 16 sacks so far, good for 11th overall. Ultimately I think Jacoby Brissett stays upright for a majority of the game and the Colts pull this one out, and I've got the Texans tagged for a low ceiling.


Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
15 4 New York Giants Defense vs. ARI 5.1
16 4 Dallas Cowboys Defense vs. PHI 4.5
17 4 Los Angeles Rams Defense @ ATL 4.25
18 4 Washington Redskins Defense vs. SF 3.5

The Giants DST simply isn't going to bring much most weeks, but they have posted at least three sacks in each of their last five games. The offense will likely be controlling the ball a lot more with Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard returning, which bodes well for keeping the defense off the field. Rookie phenom Kyler Murray has been excellent, but his game is not without flaws. I'm not advising starting the Giants, but of the teams in this tier I think they have the best shot at a usable fantasy day.

The Rams have been disappointing. Two or fewer sacks in four of six games, over 25 points allowed per game on average, only two games with multiple turnovers--it's all been bad. Aaron Donald can't be everywhere, you guys. This week will be a good measuring stick, as Matt Ryan and the Falcons are coming off a pair of big games through the air. The Rams are placing Aqib Talib on IR, which is a hit their secondary could not afford to take. Until we see them put a good outing together the Rams are pretty much unstartable for me.


Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
19 5 Oakland Raiders Defense @ GB 2.45
20 5 Baltimore Ravens Defense @ SEA 2.25
21 5 Denver Broncos Defense vs. KC 1.8
22 5 Indianapolis Colts Defense vs. HOU 1.15

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