You’ll cash in with these Week 7 fantasy football defenses.
We got exactly what we asked for with two of our four Week 6 DraftDay defenses: units that would benefit from considerable leads and turnover-prone quarterbacks.
The Broncos — a 50/50 play highlighted in this space — and the 49ers — a tourney play — both finished as top-8 fantasy defenses. Geno Smith, Austin Davis, and their respective but similarly terrible offenses performed as expected.
The Vikings, meanwhile, proved to be the downside of a home run swing as Minnesota’s offense did the defense no favors against the Lions. The Vikings somehow scraped by with six fantasy points, while the Chargers — one of the week’s safest plays — showed their coverage vulnerabilities as Derek Carr and Andre Holmes appeared to be Montana and Rice against San Diego’s coverage unit.
Below are the Week 7 fantasy football defenses I think best fit as options for head-to-head matchups and 50/50s, and the Week 7 fantasy football defenses with more variance ideal for tournament play. My analysis is largely based on Streaming Scores – numbers assigned to each and every defense indicating how good or bad their matchup is that week.
A team’s Streaming Score doesn’t incorporate how stifling or generous a certain defense has been. It’s entirely matchup based.
Week 7 Fantasy Football Defenses for Cash Games
Buffalo Bills ($5,900) vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have given up 14 sacks over the past couple weeks and Minnesota quarterbacks haven’t thrown a touchdown since the middle of September. These are good times for defenses facing off against the putrid Vikings’ offense, and Sunday won’t be any different. Buffalo sports the week’s highest streaming score.
Minnesota has the league’s fourth worst pass blocking line, according to Pro Football Focus, and the Bills excel at pressuring the passer. Buffalo is averaging 3.2 sacks per game. Throw in a turnover or three and the Bills are the rare high-floor, high-ceiling play in Week 7.
Cleveland Browns ($5,800) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sure, we’d like our defenses to play at home, but that probably doesn’t matter in this one. The Jaguars have — quite amazingly — given up double digit fantasy points to every defense they’ve faced in 2014. With no hint of a running attack, rookie signal caller Blake Bortles will be continually left to fend for himself as opposing defenses pin back their ears and play the pass.
The Browns’ defense isn’t fantastic, but they have the week’s third highest streaming score in a matchup they should dominate on the ground. Sit back and wait for the turnovers to pile up in this one.
Week 7 Fantasy Football Defenses for Tournaments
Dallas Cowboys ($4,900) vs. New York Giants
I think the Eagles laid out the blueprint for stopping the once-vibrant Big Blue offense in its tracks. The Giants’ offensive line was a disaster when Philly applied pressure with nonstop blitzes in Week 6. It’s reasonable to expect Dallas to do the same here.
The Cowboys’ defense, once a joke in fantasy and real football circles alike, have been borderline dominant through large stretches of the past month. When adjusted for strength of schedule, the Cowboys are allowing a meager 85.5 fantasy points per game to the entirety of the opposing team’s skill position players. Only five teams are better through six weeks.
Dallas is a touch risky in this one. They also have the week’s highest ceiling, in my estimation.
Baltimore Ravens ($4,200) vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Ravens are the fourth toughest team against quarterbacks, when adjusted for strength of schedule, and Matt Ryan is not the quarterback he is at home when Atlanta is on the road. Ryan, over the past two seasons, has averaged 1.82 interceptions in road games, compared to just .3 picks per contest in the Georgia Dome.
Ryan has never excelled against top-half pass defenses either, notching just 273.3 yards against those teams. The Ravens have the fifth highest streaming score in Week 7. Even if the Falcons find a way to put points on the board, I think Baltimore’s defense can be a fine tourney play thanks to the potential for sacks and turnovers against a struggling Atlanta offense.