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August 30, 2022

Fantasy football defense guide 2022: The best teams to stream every week of the NFL season

Fantasy football NFL
Darius-Slay-Eagles-Fantasy-Football Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

Eagles cornerback Darius Slay celebrates a pass breakup.

Defense/special teams is such a volatile position in fantasy football. The idea of taking defenses and kickers with the final two picks in a draft is commonplace. Some leagues like (one redraft league I'm in) have eschewed kickers and defenses completely because of the inherent randomness of it and the tough process of correctly figuring out which defense/special team units to stream.

I'm here to help though. Streaming is the way to go, working the waiver wire every week to grab a new D/ST based off the weakness of their opponent. The Bills' defense is great and will be one of the first taken in most drafts, but they won't be an ideal option week in, week out when they're facing the likes of the Rams, Ravens, Chiefs, Packers and Bengals. That's what fantasy managers need to weigh.

Not everyone takes the streaming path, but it's a great value play that can allow fantasy managers to put greater resources into the rest of the roster while slyly making changes weekly, especially if you don't land one of the eight-or-so best defenses.

Sorry to any Jets, Giants, Seahawks, Bears, Lions and Texans fans out there. Defenses playing those teams will be solid choices. 

Here's a handy guide to refer back to this season when trying to decide which defenses to nab each week. Seeing a defense listed on here in back to back weeks can be a helpful look forward into the best value on the waiver wire:

Week 1

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
Eagles (at Lions)Titans (vs. Giants) Bengals (vs. Steelers) 

Week 2

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Browns (vs. Jets)Commanders (at Lions) Panthers (at Giants)

Week 3

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Vikings (vs. Lions) Bears (vs. Texans)Bengals (at Jets)

Week 4

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
Cowboys (vs. Commanders) Steelers (vs. Jets)
 Browns (at Falcons)

Week 5

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
Dolphins (at Jets) Patriots (vs. Lions)Packers (vs. Giants)

Week 6

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Packers (vs. Jets)Ravens (at Giants) Cardinals (at Seahawks) 

Week 7

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
Cowboys (vs. Lions)Patriots (vs. Bears) Raiders (vs. Texans)

Week 8

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Cowboys (vs. Bears) Patriots (at Jets) Dolphins (at Lions)

Week 9

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Eagles (at Texans)Dolphins (at Bears)  Vikings (at Commanders)

Week 10

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Chiefs (vs. Jaguars)Bears (vs. Lions) Eagles (vs. Commanders) 

Week 11

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Patriots (vs. Jets)Commanders (at Texans)  Ravens (vs. Panthers)

Week 12

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
Raiders (at Seahawks) Dolphins (vs. Texans)  Ravens (at Jaguars)

Week 13

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
Packers (at Bears)  Vikings (vs. Jets) Browns (at Texans) 

Week 14

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Cowboys (vs. Texans) Vikings (at Lions)Eagles (at Giants) 

Week 15

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Commanders (vs. Giants)Steelers (at Panthers) Eagles (at Bears) 

Week 16

 Best matchup2nd best 3rd best 
 Vikings (vs. Giants)Titans (vs. Texans)  Chiefs (vs. Seahawks)

I'll leave off Week 17 and Week 18 since a lot of fantasy leagues have already had their championship by then and those games can be unpredictable this far out with teams resting their starters.


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