Fantasy Football Rankings Week 1: Defense

All of our preseason defense content was geared around the strategy of playing matchups with your D/STs, but it usually takes a couple weeks before we have a solid grasp on not only which offenses allow the most fantasy points but also which defenses figure to score the most. We can look back at last year’s stats, but we all know a lot can change over the offseason. Our Week 1 defense rankings reflect that uncertainty, though we still do our best to factor in potentially favorable/unfavorable situations.

When assessing matchups, we’re mostly looking at quarterback and offensive line play. Shaky QBs lead to defensive fantasy points, and porous offensive lines lead to sacks, which at least gives a D/ST a high floor. Heading into this week, the most suspect QB situations belong to the Dolphins (vs. Ravens), Giants (@ Cowboys), Broncos (@ Raiders), and Colts (@ Chargers). We also have our doubts about turnover-prone QBs playing for the Buccaneers (vs. 49ers), Jets (vs. Bills), Bills (@ Jets), and even the Cardinals (vs. Lions), who will be starting rookie Kyler Murray behind a weak offensive line.

On the flip side, we’re downgrading defenses playing against stable, veteran QBs — namely, the Saints (vs. Texans), Patriots (vs. Steelers), Steelers (@ Patriots), Chargers (vs. Colts), Falcons (@ Vikings), and Seahawks (vs. Bengals), as well as defenses playing against the Chiefs (@ Jaguars) and Rams (@ Panthers). Even fantasy’s preseason No. 1 defense, Chicago, gets a slight downgrade against the Packers.

Some crazy things will happen in Week 1 — and there are no guarantees any defense will perform well or poorly — but targeting shaky QBs with reasonably talented defenses is always your best bet.

Note: We’ll be updating our D/ST rankings throughout the week, so check back often!

Ravens @ Dolphins

Rams @ Panthers

Cowboys vs. Giants

Chargers vs. Colts

Bears vs. Packers

Chiefs @ Jaguars

Eagles vs. Redskins

Broncos @ Raiders

Bills @ Jets

Saints vs. Texans

Browns vs. Titans

Seahawks vs. Bengals

Jets vs. Bills

Lions @ Cardinals

Packers @ Bears

Steelers @ Patriots

Patriots vs. Steelers

Vikings vs. Falcons

Colts @ Chargers

Redskins @ Eagles

49ers @ Buccaneers

Jaguars vs. Chiefs

Raiders vs. Broncos

Texans @ Saints

Titans @ Browns

Cardinals vs. Lions

Buccaneers vs. 49ers

Falcons @ Vikings

Bengals @ Seahawks

Dolphins vs. Ravens

Panthers vs. Rams

Giants @ Cowboys

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