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Week 8 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2015 Fantasy Tiers & Rankings


Below are RotoBaller's Week 8 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 8 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 8.

Are you looking for some assistance with your lineups? Not sure which defenses have good matchups for Week 8? 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 8 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 8 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 8 RotoBallers!

 

Week 8 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Bye Weeks: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Tier 1 Defenses: Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams

The Cardinals are a weekly top-tier defense, plain and simple. They boast one of the scariest secondaries in the NFL, which is currently tied for the league-lead in interceptions with 11. Add that to a matchup with the Browns, and you're looking at a double-digit day from the D/ST. Josh McCown is banged-up and Johnny Manziel has a hearing regarding possible domestic abuse sanctions, meaning the Browns may very well be starting Austin Davis in Week 8. No matter who is under center, they'll likely lean on Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson and Robert Turbin, who have all been unimpressive thus far. The Cards should be the number one defense this week by a hefty margin.

The vaunted Seattle secondary hasn't been as impressive as they usually are, but they're still top-five in the NFL in sacks with 19 through seven weeks. The secondary should have a much better day against Matt Cassel and the Cowboys in Week 8, as Tony Romo will still be out as he recovers from his collarbone injury. Darren McFadden impressed taking over lead back duties from Joseph Randle last week, but I don't either of them having much success against the Seahawks. Even if Dez Bryant returns in Week 8 (which I'll believe when I see), I don't see him having much impact. Fire up the 'Hawks as you normally would.

The Panthers are still undefeated, and that's due in large part to the defense holding all opponents to 23 points or less this season. With 18 sacks and nine interceptions, they're getting it done from a fantasy perspective as well. They'll face the surprisingly incompetent Colts in Week 8, and they should be good for at least a couple of interceptions against the Quarterback Formerly Known As Andrew Luck. I'll take the Panthers underrated secondary over T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief believe it or not, and I don't see them having any trouble containing Frank Gore either.

The Rams have 23 sacks through six games. The 49ers offensive line has been so bad that Carlos Hyde and Colin Kaepernick haven't had enough room to breathe, much less make plays. Torrey Smith is solely a deep threat and Anquan Boldin isn't the play-maker he once was. Do I need to spell it out for you any more?

 

Tier 2 Defenses:  Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons

The Broncos have been the unquestioned number one fantasy D/ST all season, but I think it's important to notice who they've played. They've feasted against the Ravens, Chiefs, Lions, Vikings, Raiders and Browns, and while the nine interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and 26 sacks are no fluke, they haven't been truly tested. In Week 8 they'll have to find a way to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers if they are to continue their dominance. Randall Cobb and James Jones can blow up the best of secondaries, and while Eddie Lacy has been a major disappointment this year his backup James Starks is no slouch. I still think the Broncos will get their points, but don't be shocked if they aren't in the top five D/STs this week.

The aforementioned Packers were on bye in Week 7, meaning they've had a week to scheme for Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. I like their chances given Manning's recent lack of performance, and I don't foresee any issues holding the passing attack in check while forcing a pair of interceptions. They haven't been as great against the run this year, so expect the Broncos to employ a heavy dose of Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson (to a lesser extent) throughout the game. You can't expect a huge day from this D/ST, but I don't see this being a shootout either believe it or not.

The Jets have actually been mediocre from a fantasy perspective, mostly due to a surprisingly low sack total (just 11 in six games). However, their eight interceptions and seven fumble recoveries combined with a matchup against the middling Oakland Raiders keeps them in the upper echelon of D/STs this week. The run defense has still been decent enough to keep Latavius Murray and Taiwan Jones under wraps, and I like the secondaries chances against Derek Carr. Amari Cooper should be marooned on Revis Island for the majority of the game.

The Falcons have been one of the most surprising defenses of the 2015 season, thanks in large part to Dan Quinn's expertise in bringing the thunder. The former architect of the "Legion of Boom" has them playing at a high-level, and they should be able to force a few turnovers against Jameis Winston in Week 8. They're last in the NFL in sacks, but I think they'll be able to get through the Tampa Bay offensive line at least a couple times. The biggest challenges will be shutting down Doug Martin and Mike Evans, who looked like the superstar most people drafted him as in a Week 7 loss to the Redskins.

 

Tier 3 Defenses: Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots

Speaking of surprisingly solid defenses, the Pittsburgh Steelers have just as many sacks this year as the Seattle Seahawks through seven games. They also happen to be a top-seven run defense, and I would rank them higher were they not playing against the seemingly unstoppable Bengals in Week 8. I have no doubt that they can shut down Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill, but I don't have as much faith in their ability to keep Andy Dalton and his full contingent of weapons in check. Between A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Marvin Jones and the aforementioned Bernard, there always seems to be someone open, and Good Andy Dalton has been taking advantage. The Steelers are a risky streaming option.

The Lions can't seem to keep anyone off the scoreboard, as they've yielded at least 24 points in six of their seven games. They are, however, still in the top 10 in the NFL as far as sacks go, and have 11 turnovers so far. They'll get the Chiefs in Week 8 in London, and while I think Alex Smith is too careful with the ball to count on turnovers for the Lions D/ST, I believe they'll be able to get to him a few times. The blitz should come early and often, and Charcandrick West and Knile Davis won't have much room to work with, if any at all. This won't be a shootout, and therefore I think the Lions have a fairly high floor this week.

The Giants make for an interesting streaming option in Week 8 as they'll head to New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the Saints. The Giants have been forcing turnovers at a healthy clip (15 through seven games), and I'm confident they can get at least one or two interceptions out of Brees. The problem will be slowing down the potent Saints backfield, as Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and C.J. Spiller can give any defense fits. The Giants' D/ST will need a touchdown to get into double-digits, but I don't see how they end up with less than five fantasy points.

The Vikings have held all of their opponents under 23 points this season, giving them a fairly high weekly floor. I don't see that changing against the Bears, but I can't put the Vikings any higher with Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte all healthy. This game feels like it might be ugly, and I expect a few turnovers. This is a high-ceiling matchup, making the Vikings a very intriguing streaming option for Week 8.

The Patriots defense simply isn't good. They're coming off of two lackluster performances against the Colts and Jets, and I'm very nervous that their Thursday night game against Miami could develop into a shootout. Dan Campbell has the Dolphins playing at such a high level (albeit against bad defenses), and there seems to be nothing stopping Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Miller and Jarvis Landry from continuing to roll. The Patriots certainly don't have good matchups on defense, and I expect a very low ceiling for this D/ST.

 

Tier 4 Defenses: Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers

The Bengals' ranking here is tentative. If Ben Roethlisberger is healthy for their matchup this Sunday (which I expect him to be) then they won't rise any higher than this in my rankings. If they get to see Landry Jones again, then I would put them in the second tier. The Steelers offense is simply too combustible with Big Ben under center, especially with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Le'Veon Bell all healthy. The Killer B's are too darn good--I'm avoiding the Bengals as a streaming option unless Landry Jones has to start.

The Saints make the rankings list because they play the Giants this week, who have been floundering of late. Eli Manning hasn't looked in sync with his major pass-catchers, and rising star Delvin Breaux will likely shadow Odell Beckham, Jr. all day. The Giants seem as if they're going to employ a four-man RBBC that consists of Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen and upstart UDFA Orleans Darkwa (more like Orleans DARKHORSE, amirite?). This could go one way or the other--it could be a shootout or a complete mess of a game. I'm banking on the shootout, and therefore I have to keep the Saints lower in the rankings.

If you take out their two awful outings against the Packers and Bengals, the Chiefs D/ST has been decent. They'll take on the Lions in London in Week 8, and I like their chances of putting up a solid day. The Lions have no running game whatsoever, as Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick haven't been able to get anything going. My concern is with the potential for a Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson explosion. Johnson has been gaining steam lately, and the Chiefs secondary is nothing to write home about. The floor is negative points for this D/ST, and the only thing keeping them on the list is the potential for a Stafford meltdown.

The Titans are coming off of a very decent day against the Falcons, but are just two weeks removed from an absolute slaughter at the hands of the Dolphins. They'll travel to Houston in Week 8, and at this point you can stream against the hapless Texans' offense with Arian Foster done for the year. The run game will be a mix of Chris Polk, Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes (in no particular order), and regardless of whether it's Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallet at quarterback the Texans won't be able to move the ball. If the Titans defense can hold DeAndre Hopkins under 150 yards (a tall order, I know) then they should have a solid fantasy day.

I almost didn't include the Chargers on this list, but I figure they'll be able to squeeze out a few points against the Ravens this week. Joe Flacco will likely have to keep pace with Philip Rivers in this one, and that should lead to a turnover or two. Steve Smith is the only real weapon they have in the passing game, and Justin Forsett has been too inconsistent for me to think he's a lock for even 80 yards on the ground. This is a low-ceiling streamer, but they could be usable.

 

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