These week two fantasy football defenses will strengthen your rosters.
I never thought the Bears and Steelers defenses had sky-high fantasy ceilings in their respective Week 1 matchups, but man, that floor was lower than I could’ve imagined headed into Sunday.
Pittsburgh applied little pressure on Brian Hoyer as the Browns gashed the Steelers’ front seven for most of the last three quarters. The Steelers’ defense isn’t typically a turnover machine, but I thought they’d be able to squash a conservative Cleveland offense that looked horrendous for much of August.
The Bear’s shoddy run defense reared its head once again against a Buffalo team that fooled Chicago defenders time and again with the read option. Smokin’ Jay also put his defense in a couple unenviable situations – a not-inconsiderable boost to a Bills offense that isn’t what we’d call explosive.
One of our tournament defenses – the Eagles – delivered for us in Week 1, finishing as a top-5 defense despite making Chad Henne look like Dan Marino for two quarters.
Below are the week two fantasy football defenses I think best fit as options for head-to-head matchups and 50/50s, and the week two 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 the how stifling or generous a certain defense has been. It’s entirely matchup based.
A reminder; more than 60 percent of weekly top-12 fantasy defenses in 2013 had one thing in common: They were favored by Vegas.
Week Two Fantasy Football Defenses for Cash Games
Houston Texans ($6,750) at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders were perilously close to a couple turnovers last Sunday that would’ve made the Jets a top Week 1 defensive play. I like Houston’s front seven to dominate the Raiders’ offensive line, leaving Derek Carr in decidedly unfavorable situations.
The Texans are DraftDay’s second most expensive defense this week, but in 50/50s and head to heads, I think they’re worth paying for. Houston’s Streaming Score of six is the second highest of Week 2.
Denver Broncos ($6,200) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Broncos’ defense is much improved, the Chiefs are a disaster area, and Alex Smith will once more be forced to air it out – this time against a secondary that could very well be one of the NFL’s best.
The injury-riddled KC offensive line won’t be able to protect Smith when he’s forced into obvious throwing situations. Denver, with a Streaming Score of 4.5, has one of the highest floors of the week – exactly what we look for in 50/50s and head to heads.
Week Two Fantasy Football Defenses for Tournaments
Green Bay Packers ($5,300) vs. New York Jets
This play is as much about the Packers’ passing attack against the Gang Green secondary as it is about the Green Bay defense against Geno Smith and company. The Packers, a heavy favorite in this one, are sure to make minced meat out of the Jets’ cover guys, forcing Smith to chuck it all around Lambeau.
The Packers are certainly a high-variance play here. Their ceiling is as high as any defense, but their floor is lower than one might think. Green Bay has the highest Streaming Score of any defense for Week 2. They’re relatively cheap on DraftDay too.
Tennessee Titans ($5,050) vs. Dallas Cowboys
Tennessee’s defense might be a living, breathing example of a high-variance play against a totally and completely unpredictable Cowboys’ offense that can look alternately fantastic and heinous.
The Titans are at home, the team’s secondary is solid – as demonstrated last week at Kansas City – and Dallas’s defense is sure to be picked apart once again, forcing Tony Romo into a pass-heavy scenario. And that’s what we want against our high variance defenses: The opposing team turned into a one-dimensional unit.
And even better, the Titans are very reasonably priced on DraftDay.