One of the biggest strategies in fantasy football is streaming defenses. Each week owners will look at matchups and make waiver wire acquisitions to find their starting defense. Here are fantasy football defenses to stream in week 1. (Note: All defense mentioned are owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues)
1. Washington Commanders
In 2021, Washington ranked as the 22nd defense for fantasy. They are hoping they can have their strong defensive line, which includes Chase Young, stay healthy. Washington also will need some of their young impact players at linebacker to emerge.
Streaming defenses is all about the matchups and the Commanders get a good one in week 1. They play the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had the worst record in the league in 2021. While they have a new regime and have added some new players, they still likely have a long way to go and the Commanders can take advantage of that. Washington’s defense is currently rostered in just 42.5 percent of ESPN leagues.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals had an average fantasy defense, ranking 18th last season. They have made some additions, including rookie Daxton Hill, and are also healthier to start the season, as they’ll have pass rushers Joseph Ossai to start the year. Things look like they could improve for the Bengals defensively this season.
In week 1, the Bengals play the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have a vulnerable offensive line and have announced that Mitch Trubisky will be their starting quarterback. Trubisky struggled to consistently put up points the last time he was a starter with the Bears. Cincinnati should be able to take advantage of both the line and Trubisky. The defense is rostered in 32.1 percent of ESPN leagues.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Howie Roseman has built a very good roster for the Eagles. They have acquired Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and James Bradberry to aid the secondary. The Eagles already had a solid defensive line, so their defense has a good chance to improve on their 17th-ranking from last season.
The Eagles are going up against the Lions in week 1. Detroit averaged just 19.1 points per game last season and even though they are projected to improve this season, Philadelphia’s defense is fully capable of playing well. They will stack the box and make Jared Goff and the Detroit receivers defeat them, which is not something they could do well in 2021. Philadelphia’s defense is available in over 76 percent of ESPN leagues.
4. Tennessee Titans
Tennessee ranked 11th as a fantasy defense in 2021. They have a lot of the same pieces in place from last season, which gives the team some hope for 2022. What will make things tougher is being without edge rusher Harold Landry, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
The week 1 game for the Titans is with the Giants. New York has struggled to find a good offensive line in recent years, but have added to it in the draft. They have also failed to find out whether Daniel Jones will be their quarterback moving forward after this season. The good news is that Saquon Barkley is healthy for the time being. The matchup still favors the Titans and their defense is available in over 85 percent of ESPN leagues.
5. Carolina Panthers
In 2021, Carolina had the 21st-ranked defense. That number was greatly hurt by the fact that the offense could not keep possession of the ball and score points consistently. With a healthy Jaycee Horn at cornerback the Panthers can really do some damage defensively.
In week 1, the Panthers play the Browns. Cleveland traded for Deshaun Watson this offseason, but he is suspended for this game. Carolina will need to prepare for Jacoby Brissett, but they should be able to stack the box. The Panthers’ defense is rostered in less than five percent of ESPN leagues.
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