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The dreaded bye weeks strike their mightiest blow in Weeks 8 and 9, so streaming knowledge is important now more than ever! 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 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 8.

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 fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 8 pickup or add.

I've been trying out a new format lately, touching briefly on each team that I have ranked instead of picking just a few to analyze in depth. Let me know what you think on Twitter (@Roto_Dubs). Good luck in Week 8 RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Try our exclusive Premium Lineup Tools for free! Our proprietary Matchup Rating projections, Lineup Optimizer, DFS value picks, waiver wire rankings and more. Sign Up Now!


Week 8 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Teams on bye: Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans


Tier 1 Defenses (The "Duh" DSTs)

1. Minnesota Vikings (@ CLE)

The Browns are the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL, lead the league in turnovers and the Vikings are 10th in total defense. Let's not overthink this.

2. New Orleans Saints (vs. CHI)

Mitchell Trubisky was 4-7 for 107 yards in the Bears Week 7 win over the Panthers. Nope, not a typo. Nope, he wasn't injured at any point. He literally completed four total passes in a full game of football. The Saints are at home and should have no trouble shredding the Bears defense, particularly with their newfound explosive run game. This one could and should get ugly pretty early on, giving the red-hot Saints DST a sky-highceiling.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (@ DET)

The Steelers defense is unreal in real life. They are allowing just 16.6 points per game, and are leading the league in pass defense (just 147 yards allowed per game through the air). Matthew Stafford is going to have to throw to keep up with the Pittsburgh offense, and I don't see it going well for him, especially with Golden Tate likely on the shelf.

4. Baltimore Ravens (vs. MIA)

I honestly believe that the Dolphins will be better off with Matt Moore under center instead of ole Smokin' Jay, but that doesn't mean the offense will suddenly start humming. The Ravens are still second in the NFL in turnovers, and 12th in passing defense. Jay Ajayi hasn't been able to get going at all this year, but Baltimore is very beatable on the ground--they rank dead-last in rushing defense. That's why my expectations are slightly tempered, but the Ravens should still keep points off the board and have a great shot at multiple turnovers.


Tier 2 Defenses (Rock-Solid Starts)

5. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. SF)

The Eagles DST has been semi-productive in recent weeks, notching seven and eight points in their last two weeks (this has been written before their Monday night game against the Redskins). C.J. Beathard and Carlos Hyde are keeping the offense moving better than it was in the beginning of the season, but it's still going to be a tall order to put points on the board against the Eagles at home. This is screaming "high-floor" game to me for the Eagles DST.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. IND)

The Bengals DST ran into the buzz saw that is the Steelers offense in Week 7, and it's tough to hold that lackluster performance against them. Prior to that game, they had been averaging 9.4 fantasy points per game. They now get a home game against the Colts, who were just shut out by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacoby Brissett has been careful with the ball, but he also hasn't been putting points on the board. The floor is very high for the Bengals this week, which keeps them locked into the "rock-solid" tier.

7. Buffalo Bills (vs. OAK)

The 27 points the Bills allowed to the Buccaneers in Week 7 were the most they've allowed all season, which speaks volumes given some of the tough matchups they've had. This unit is red-hot for fantasy, with 11 turnovers in their last four games, and I have faith that they can keep Derek Carr and Amari Cooper under wraps. However, if E.J. Gaines and Jordan Poyer are out for this game, the Bills will slide down into the middle of Tier 3.


Tier 3 Defenses (Decent Streamers)

8. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DEN)

The Denver offense is downright awful right now, ranking 25th in the NFL in total offense. True, the Chiefs have just been middle-of-the-road so far this year (with some real clunkers mixed in), but in this case I feel confident in the home team against an offense struggling to even move the ball. Fire the Chiefs up if they're out there and you don't want to burn a bunch of FAAB or blow your waiver priority.

9. Houston Texans (@ SEA)

So this Texans team is kind of baffling. In Week 4, they put up 22 points against the Titans. They followed that up with a -7 against the Chiefs, but dominated the Browns in Week 6. Coming off the bye, I think they've got a decent enough floor against the Seahawks. Seattle still hasn't established their run game, and the offensive line, while improved in recent weeks, still isn't offering Russell Wilson much in the way of protection. As long as the Houston secondary can keep Wilson and Doug Baldwin from going off, this DST should net you a respectable fantasy day.

10. Seattle Seahawks (vs. HOU)

On the other side of the field, the Seahawks will be trying to keep up their recent hot streak, which has seen them average over 14 fantasy points per game over their last three games. But with DeShaun Watson and company coming off the bye, I have to temper my expectations for this DST. They need to get to Watson early and often, which is certainly plausible given that the Texans are tied for the ninth-most sacks allowed in the league.

11. Miami Dolphins (@ BAL)

Would it shock you to hear that prior to last week's slug-fest against the Jets (yes, THOSE Jets), the Dolphins defense hadn't allowed more than 20 points to any opponent? They are going mostly overlooked thanks to low turnover totals (just six on the season), but going up against the pathetic Baltimore offense this is a DST I would feel perfectly comfortable streaming in Week 8.

12. Carolina Panthers (@ TB)

The Panthers DST actually allowed just five points in last week's loss to the Bears--the offense gave up two scores on turnovers. The front seven is starting to heat up, as they have tallied 13 sacks in the last three weeks, but they may struggle to find similar success against Jameis Winston and the Bucs' offensive line, who have allowed the fifth-fewest sacks in the league in 2017. This is a startable DST, but barring a Jameis Winston meltdown the ceiling is relatively low.

13. Atlanta Falcons (@ NYJ)

So the Jets offense is actually a bit more prolific than everyone thought they would be this season. While most writers were screaming "TANK", the Jets quietly are 17th in overall offense, and are scoring 19.6 points per game. Nothing spectacular, but far from the abysmal offense most predicted. Therefore the ceiling is limited for the Falcons this week, but there is some appeal here with Josh McCown throwing at least one pick in five of seven games this year.


Tier 4 Defenses (Deep Streamers)

14. Denver Broncos (@ KC)
15. Detroit Lions (vs. PIT)
16. Washington Redskins (vs. DAL)


Tier 5 Defenses (Desperation Plays)

17. Cleveland Browns (vs. MIN)
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CAR)
19. New York Jets (vs. ATL)
20. San Diego Chargers (@ NE)
21. Oakland Raiders (@ BUF)
22. Chicago Bears (@ NO)


More Waiver Wire Pickups and 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.