Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Week 8 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings


This was a REALLY difficult week to rank, because there are so many usable DSTs this week. There are usable options all the way down to Tier 4 this week, and you're going to have something available to you on the waiver wire in even the deepest of leagues.

Below are RotoBaller's Week 8 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 8 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 8. 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 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. Good luck in Week 8 RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

Week 8 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: Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys

 

Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 New England Patriots Defense vs. CLE 12.75
2 1 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense vs. MIA 12.15
3 1 San Francisco 49ers Defense vs. CAR 11.5

Patriots DST. Rinse and repeat.

The Steelers have been tremendous for most of the season both in generating pressure and forcing turnovers. As of this writing they sit tied for third in interceptions (eight), second in fumble recoveries (seven) and tied for fifth in sacks (20). In a home matchup against the tanking Dolphins, this is an absolute slam-dunk, even with Ryan Fitzpatrick back there instead of Josh Rosen.

Guess who leads the NFL in total yards allowed per game (Monday Night Football pending)? WRONG. It's the 49ers with just 223.5 total yards allowed to opposing offenses. They also have at least three sacks in each of their last three games, and on the season they're tied for fourth in takeaways (13). They're an every-week option these days, and the Panthers on the road don't scare me enough to take the 49ers out of Tier 1.

 

Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
4 2 Minnesota Vikings Defense vs. WAS 11
5 2 Chicago Bears Defense vs. LAC 10.65
6 2 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense vs. NYJ 10.5
7 2 Carolina Panthers Defense @ SF 10.35
8 2 Indianapolis Colts Defense vs. DEN 9.7
9 2 Los Angeles Rams Defense vs. CIN 9.4
10 2 Los Angeles Chargers Defense @ CHI 8.6

As I mentioned above, there are a ton of great DSTs this week. There is a lot less separation than usual between the top and bottom teams in this tier, as any of them will be a great option for you in Week 8. I'm going to highlight the Vikings here, who are notoriously a better real-life defense than a fantasy one. I think they're going to be in good shape against the Redskins offense, which is 29th in the NFL in yards per game and 30th in points per game. The Vikings are starting with a high floor at home, and when you consider that they're tied for seventh in the NFL in INTs, they make for one of the safest bets of the week.

The Bears are coming off a pair of unimpressive outings, but Khalil Mack and company should have a field day against the free-falling Chargers, who just suffered ANOTHER loss in their offensive line. Guard Forrest Lamp broke his ankle and won't be back for the remainder of the season, leaving Philip Rivers even more unprotected than he has been. Melvin Gordon isn't running well at all since his return, averaging a brutal 2.3 yards per carry, so if the Bears contain Austin Ekeler, this one could be a bloodbath.

On the other side of the field, the Bears offense has been even more brutal. They're 30th behind only the Dolphins and Jets in yards per game, which is astonishing, frankly. Mitch Trubisky is literally unstartable at this point (unless you want to plan on garbage time saving you like last week), and the Chargers pass rush should continue to make life miserable for him given how poorly he deals with blitzes.

 

Middle and Lower Tier Defenses

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
11 3 Buffalo Bills Defense vs. PHI 8.25
12 3 Philadelphia Eagles Defense @ BUF 7.7
13 3 New Orleans Saints Defense vs. ARI 7.2
14 3 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. TB 6.9
15 3 New York Jets Defense @ JAC 6.45
16 3 Houston Texans Defense vs. OAK 5.95

Still would feel totally fine starting any defense in this tier, for the record. It took an onside kick return for a touchdown, but the Bills got a respectable fantasy day against the Dolphins in Week 7. This week they'll get Carson Wentz and the Eagles, who are coming off a brutal Sunday night showing against the Cowboys. The Eagles have, surprisingly, been a bottom-10 offense this year, and they'll travel to Orchard Park, New York to take on the third-best overall defense. Bills should finish with a nice day, but given Josh Allen's knack to play hero ball from time-to-time the Eagles should also be a valid option.

The Titans defense is one of the highest-variance plays on the slate because of the opponent--do they get good Jameis Winston or Very Very Bad Jameis? We've seen both evolutions of the former first overall pick this year, and his last outing before the Week 7 bye was a five-interception nightmare. Understand that if you're starting the Titans, you're betting on Chris Godwin and/or Mike Evans not taking over the game, a bet that is essentially a crapshoot these days.

 

Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
17 4 Seattle Seahawks Defense @ ATL 5.35
18 4 Green Bay Packers Defense @ KC 4.6
19 4 Washington Redskins Defense @ MIN 3.9

A lack of sacks has kept the Seahawks out of the DST1 conversation for most of the year, and in a potential shootout against the Falcons I'm not sure they've got enough going for them to justify starting. The question here is what version of the Falcons are they going to get--the one that absolutely lit up the Cardinals in Week 6, or the one that was embarrassed by the Rams in Week 7? Matt Ryan sprained his ankle last week, so his status will be worth monitoring. If he's out, the Seahawks will instantly jump to the top of the third tier and become very startable.

The Redskins have started to generate some real pressure in the last two weeks, and were they not playing a suddenly-resurgent Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs I'd have them ranked higher. As it is, I don't think they have the weapons to stop the Vikings if the passing game AND Dalvin Cook are all on. Adam Thielen is dealing with an injury, but even if he sits out the Thursday night matchup I don't feel any different about the Redskins.

 

Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
20 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense @ TEN 3.35
21 5 New York Giants Defense @ DET 2.8
22 5 Kansas City Chiefs Defense vs. GB 2.5
23 5 Denver Broncos Defense @ IND 1.9
24 5 Arizona Cardinals Defense @ NO 1.25

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.




More Recent Articles

 

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Conference Championships Matchups Analysis

Welcome to our NFL Conference Championships matchups analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering both of the AFC and NFC contests from the Sunday slate, helping you make the best decisions for your DFS contests this weekend. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries... Read More


Conference Championships Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Running Back ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, a sure-fire player is expected to reward his owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they end up as a season-long dud, though,... Read More


Dynasty Players to Sell in 2020

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano share their top sell candidates for dynasty football leagues in the 2020 fantasy football preseason. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210,... Read More


Biggest Surprises of 2019: Tight End

The 2019 NFL season was anything but predictable. I mean, the Tennessee Titans made the AFC title game! Andrew Luck retired right before the season! [Insert one of many, many other things here, because all lists need three items but I couldn't decide between all the possible third options.] One position where things at the... Read More


Wide Receiver ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward his owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Quarterback

The 2019 NFL season is over, and it's time to look back on what happened. 2019 was a year where some quarterbacks -- Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen -- leaped up to the top of the fantasy charts, while other guys faded from where they were expected to perform. Today, I want to talk about three... Read More


Four and Out: Fantasy Outlooks for Divisional Round Losers

For the four teams that were eliminated in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, the offseason has begun. For many fantasy football owners, the days have already started counting down to next season. Owners in dynasty leagues have started to mull over their decisions.  How some guys perform in the playoffs can certainly alter... Read More


Quarterback ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Wide Receivers

After a very interesting season of fantasy football action, many owners were left with a bitter taste in their mouth from a few of the “elite” NFL wide receivers. While Michael Thomas dominated and Julio Jones was his usual reliable self, not all was good if you played it safe by taking a receiver early.... Read More


Quarterback Risers and Fallers: 2019 Season Review

This article will examine the biggest risers and fallers at the quarterback position, which proved to be the most impactful in fantasy leagues as is often the case. Of the top-25 players in fantasy this season, 18 of them played the QB position and none of the 18 scored less than 280 fantasy points on... Read More


XFL Fantasy Football Rankings (Preseason)

As of this writing, there is exactly one month until XFL regular-season action begins. On February 8, the latest upstart professional league will kickoff (again) with spring football. It goes without saying that we hope it goes better than the first time, back in 2001, and lasts longer than the AAF. Before you settle in... Read More


Wide Receiver Risers and Fallers: 2019 Season Review

We continue our series covering the biggest risers and fallers of 2019 with the wide receiver position. I'll look at both 2018 and 2019 statistical outcomes from every player, contrast their performances, calculate differences in each category and come up with the most prominent names going forward. This past season, receivers didn't dominate in fantasy,... Read More


2020 Early Sleepers and Draft Targets: Running Back

It is going to be almost impossible to win your fantasy football league in 2020 without a strong set of running backs, even in today’s pass-happy NFL. While quarterbacks and wide receivers have gained importance in fantasy football in recent years, building your fantasy roster around your running back corps is still one of the... Read More


Top Rebound Candidates for 2020

Is it way too early to be thinking about fantasy football for the 2020 season? Yes. Are we going to do it anyway? You bet we are. While coaches, coordinators, players, and rookies will change some things, you're still going to be able to get an idea of where certain players are going to be... Read More