Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire
Welcome back for week 2 of another delightful defensive decision. My high school English teachers would be proud of that alliteration. Anyways, I’m sure the first questions on everyone’s mind are “How did week 1 go?” and “Can we trust you?” Let’s recap. First, here are the top 12 team defenses from last week:
|New York Jets||Detroit Lions||26||5||0|
|Minnesota Vikings||San Francisco 49ers||18||3||3|
|Los Angeles Rams||Oakland Raiders||17||3||1|
|Baltimore Ravens||Buffalo Bills||17||2||6|
|Cleveland Browns||Pittsburgh Steelers||16||3||4|
|Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers||14||1||4|
|Miami Dolphins||Tennessee Titans||13||3||0|
|Washington Redskins||Arizona Cardinals||13||1||2|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||New York Giants||13||1||2|
|Denver Broncos||Seattle Seahawks||12||2||6|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Indianapolis Colts||12||1||2|
|Carolina Panthers||Dallas Cowboys||12||0||6|
My top choice last week of any defense was the Baltimore Ravens. There was good reason to think the Bills offense was atrocious, and we were right. The Ravens were the 4th highest scoring unit of the week, and a great find if they were on your waivers. However, most likely they weren’t. How was my streamer of the week? Detroit looked good early on, including a pick-6 on an early Sam Darnold mistake. However, the Detroit offense was pitiful: they turned the ball over 5 times (including an interception by the backup quarterback after Matthew Stafford was pulled) and the Lions special teams gave up a kick-return touchdown as well. When an offense completely bottoms out like that, it’s hard to not give up points. Still, the Lions were serviceable with 8 points this week. Had things not completely fallen apart at the end (31 Jets’ points in an absurd 3rd quarter), the Lions were on pace to finish in the top 10. Still, they scored 8 points so it’s not like they hurt your week much. Our other streamers for week 1 were the Bengals (12 points) and the Titans (11 points). With all that said, let’s look at our top defenses for week 2.
Los Angeles Chargers (91% owned)
Last week I beat the drum for the Chargers. I thought they weren’t widely enough owned, and I said I was happy to start them against young Patrick Mahomes. I figured Mahomes would make a mistake at some point, and the Chargers could captialize. Well, Joey Bosa sat out, the Chiefs shredded the Chargers, and the result was a -3 on the week. So how do I respond? We gotta get right back on the horse! Joey Bosa looks to be sitting out again, but the match up is just too choice to pass up. Any time you can target the Bills this year, do it. Nathan Peterman showed us how ineffective he is as a passer, and I don’t expect much more from Josh Allen if he gets the start. He was my least favorite of the first round quarterbacks, and I expect plenty of growing pains. Still, I am hoping for a little more Peterman action if we can get it. The Chargers are 91% owned, which means almost 1 in 10 will find them on waivers. Grab them if they are out there and enjoy the points this week.
Chicago Bears (67%)
The Chicago Bears looked like the famed “Monsters of the Midway” halfway through their week 1 match up. They had 20 points, knocked out Aaron Rodgers, and Khalil Mack had the single most impressive half of football I’ve ever seen in my life. Before halftime, he had a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception, and a defensive touchdown (on the aforementioned interception). If there was any doubt about the talent or the money spent, those questions were answered. In week 2, the Bears host the Seahawks, and I’m happy to roll with Chicago. I think they will only get better as the year goes on and conditioning improves. I suggest hopping on now while ownership percentages are still low. The Bears are available in 33% of Yahoo leagues…that’s crazy considering they finished top-6 and hosted the Packers in week 1.
Carolina Panthers (54%)
In the same vein as the Chicago Bears, the Panthers put up a strong week 1 performance (6 sacks) against a depleted Dallas offense. They shut down Ezekiel Elliott which is no small feat. Still, the Panthers are only 54% owned in Yahoo leagues. They travel to a desperate Atlanta team coming off a long rest, which gives me some concern, but they are talented enough to be started most weeks. Plus, their is the chance Devonta Freeman is out, or limited, with his foot injury from last week. I would pick them up if they were out there and roll with them in most games.
New York Jets (15%)
The Jets defense looked impressive in week 1. They pulled in 5 interceptions, a defensive score, and a special teams touchdown. Despite not sacking the quarterback all game, it was clear they were in Stafford’s head the whole day. Multiple sources even reported that the Jets knew which plays the Lions were running based on Matthew Stafford’s calls at the line. If this is true, it makes me think New York’s good fortune may have been more luck than skill. Still, the Jets have a great match up this week (the Dolphins) and I would be willing to roll with them at home in week 2. They are only 15% owned in Yahoo leagues right now, so they should be sitting out there. Just don’t expect quite the same explosion we saw in week 1.
New York Giants (6%, stream of the week)
The Giants fought a good fight in week 1 against a Jacksonville team that could end up in the Super Bowl. They didn’t put up a ton of offense, but they were facing the best defense in the league. This is the Jacksonville defense with an ADP in round 8. What I like about the Giants as a streamer this week are a couple things: First, they face a Dallas offense that looked “sparse” in week 1. Second, Dallas doesn’t really have any game breaking play-makers at the moment other than Ezekiel Elliott. Third, the Giants DO have play-makers who can break a game open (Odell Beckham Jr, Saquon Barkley), forcing Dallas to chase points with their underwhelming receiving corps. The only things working against the Giants are that they are on the road, and the Cowboys defense looked good in week 1. Still, I would be happy to roll with the Giants (6% owned) in hopes that they get an early lead and force the Cowboys to play catch-up. The Giants are my week 2 streamer of the week
Dallas Cowboys (8%)
At the same time that I think the Giants could succeed, I also see reason to like the Cowboys. They held the Panthers to 16 points in a loss, and had a chance to tie it up at the end of the game. The defense had 3 sacks and 5 more tackles for a loss. What if the Giants don’t score first? What if Zeke is looking more like himself, the Cowboys put up an early touchdown, and the Giants have to chase? If I could be guaranteed a 10-point lead for the Cowboys, I would take them and not look back. However, that’s hardly guaranteed. I could see reason to like Dallas moving forward, but this is not their week in my mind. Still, their not a bad choice if the others are already owned.
Atlanta Falcons (34%)
The Falcons had a tough week 1 game against the Eagles, and they nearly came away with the win. They recorded 2 sacks against an excellent Philly O-line as well as an interception en route to scoring 7 points. They host Carolina this week in a game that feels huge for the direction of their season. After all, I’m sure we’ve all heard the stats about teams starting 0-2 and what they accomplish. The Falcons defense is talented in its own right, and I also don’t know how much I trust the Carolina offense after their game against Dallas last week. Let’s throw in the Greg Olsen injury, the lack of talent in the receiving corps (no offense Devin Funchess), and Cam Newton being a mediocre pure passer, and this could be a great match up. The Falcons are a strong week 2 streamer…probably the safest option of the bunch.