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September 05, 2023

Fantasy football: Week 1 streaming defense guide

What's the best fantasy football streaming defense for Week 1 of the NFL season? Here are the top options.

Drafting a defense in fantasy football and sticking with them for an entire season? What year is it? 2007? With fantasy defenses being a high-variance proposition, the best method to take is to stream your defenses, going week-by-week and working the waiver wire on a matchup basis instead of reaching for a "big-name" defense in the 11th round of your draft. Sure, you're not going to be able to pick up the Cowboys or 49ers via this method, but doing this is a way sharp fantasy managers can get an extra edge while maximizing the position players on their squads. 

Here are the best streaming defense options for Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season...

1. Washington Commanders: vs. Cardinals

FantasyPros D/ST ranking: 13th

Do you know who the Cardinals' starting quarterback is this week? Neither does head coach Jonathan Gannon. The options are either recently acquired journeyman backup Joshua Dobbs and fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune. Arizona's skill position group is lackluster to put it mildly. With Washington's stout defense line, they could rack up some sacks as well with the Cardinals seemingly in full-on tank mode. 

2. New Orleans Saints: vs. Titans

FantasyPros D/ST ranking: 11th

A matchup with Ryan Tannehill and a combustable Tennessee offense is a nice Week 1 break for the Saints' defense. 

3. Minnesota Vikings: vs. Buccaneers

FantasyPros D/ST ranking: 27th

The days of Mike Zimmer-led defenses are long gone, but going against Baker Mayfield at home and a Buccaneers team that could be on the fast track to a top-10 pick is a low-key bet to take. 

4. Green Bay Packers: at Bears

FantasyPros D/ST ranking: 16th

Chicago averaged fewer than 20 points per game in 2022 (23rd in scoring). Justin Fields has room to grow as a pro passer, but there isn't going to be a quick lead to stardom in Week 1. Taking a shot on Green Bay defense facing a Bears offense in flux is a worthwhile bargain-bin move.

t-5. Carolina Panthers: at Falcons

FantasyPros D/ST ranking: 22nd

t-5. Atlanta Falcons: vs. Panthers

FantasyPros D/ST ranking: 28th

This game is going to be a total slop fest. It has huge "Big 10 West" energy. If you're really jammed up in a deep league, you could do worse than one of these defenses. 

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