Week 2 Team Defense Rankings & Projection
Week 1 is in the books and it was a relatively high scoring week which means only a few defenses managed to come out in the positive for fantasy. Baltimore, New Orleans, and Washington were the big scorers, while the Bills and Patriots brought their usual stability. The Eagles, Bears, and Vikings were a major let down for those who started them. As we look towards Week 2, there are a couple of matchups that catch the eye. Chicago gets a home matchup against a turnover-prone Daniel Jones, the Bills get the Dolphins and the 49ers are in a great spot against the hapless New York Jets.
Week 2 Top Options
San Francisco struggled in the second half against Arizona as Kyler Murray took over with his legs. Arizona was a team I projected to take a major step forward and be tougher for defenses to have consistency against for fantasy. Moving onto Week 2, San Francisco gets the Jets, who were abysmal on the offensive side outside of a 69-yard touchdown to Jamison Crowder. Le’Veon Bell left the game with a hamstring injury, although he was hardly a factor anyway. While the Jets invested a top pick in an offensive lineman, it made no difference as Sam Darnold had little time to throw against a Bills front seven that had an average pass-rush in 2019. The 49ers defensive line should have a field day against this group and be able to force Darnold into some bad throws. San Francisco should be able to jump out to an early lead and the Jets are not built to put up points.
The Bills took care of business against the Jets and will face the Dolphins in Week 2. The defense is in a great spot once again and played well in Week 1. Getting pressure is still my biggest gripe with the Bills when it comes to fantasy, but they get another mediocre offensive line to try and establish the pass rush against. Buffalo’s defense last season was against the run and the Dolphins backfield has very little to offer. The secondary will be able to shut this group of wide receivers down as well, and Ryan Fitzpatrick might be handing this team over to Tua very quickly.
Hard not to talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. They are coming off being the top fantasy defense in 2019 and are already showing why they are destined to repeat that. They will get the Denver Broncos this week as they take on another young quarterback. Denver’s offensive line took a few hits over the last two months and it looks like this unit won’t be ready to take the next step until next year. Against this front four of the Steelers, they will have their hands full.
The Eagles offensive line showed its struggles in Week 1 against Washington and they are battling a lot of injuries heading into this season alone. The Rams defense is out there in just about every league and is a great Week 2 streaming option given this defensive line and front seven overall can put some pressure on Carson Wentz.
Green Bay’s defense scored just four fantasy points in Week 1 but they match up well with the Lions given they have a strong secondary to break down this group. They will get a bump if Kenny Golladay sits out again. Green Bay is out there in just about every league if you are in need of an option.
Seattle’s defense was helpless against the garbage time of the Falcons, but that won’t be the case this week against the New England Patriots. While the Patriots were able to come away with a win in Week 1, this offense looked exactly as it was intended to. It was a lot of running play and seeing if Cam Newton can still move. The skill position players for New England do not give me any sort of reason to believe they can hang a crooked number and if Seattle can get out to a lead, this Patriots team playing from behind will be interesting to watch.
Arizona was able to slow down a injury-plagued San Francisco team for the most part, outside of a big catch and run by Raheem Mostert. This is a great group still, and the Cardinals came away with a win. They will go up against Washington this week and while they came away with a win, the offense is still not scaring anyone away. Arizona has some playmakers on this team and can get to the quarterback. Isaiah Simmons is also going to instantly make this defense better, and I am not sure people are aware of that just yet. The Cardinals are another team out there everywhere and have a favorable Week 2 matchup.
Defenses To Avoid
Los Angeles had a great matchup in Week 1 against the Bengals and now will have the complete opposite facing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. This one is pretty self-explanatory as the Chiefs are just a juggernaut on the offensive side and defenses only averaged 3.8 fantasy points against them dating back to last season. The Chargers have a tough few weeks going up against the Chiefs, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Saints. It does ease up after that with the Jets and Dolphins, but holding the Chargers on a bench spot for the next few weeks is not ideal.
While Philip Rivers is not Aaron Rodgers, the Minnesota Vikings defense looked flat out bad in Week 1. The young secondary showed its struggles and will face a Colts offense that has a lot of playmakers themselves. Minnesota was expected to regress a bit this season with the defense taking a few hits but it might be regressing further than expected. It is tough to buy into them, even if it was just one game.
Now you likely drafted the Patriots a round or two higher than the norm for a defense. They played well in Week 1 but facing Russell Wilson in Week 2 isn’t appealing. The upside is lacking in this matchup and this is one of those games where the defense is going to notice having a few main bodies missing. If you have the luxury to stash and find another matchup, it might be worth doing so.
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