The best defenses in fantasy football usually live up to their expectations. But there are always a few surprises.
Such was the case in Week 1, where the top-scoring defense/special teams unit was … the New York Jets, who had a field day against Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions despite being owned in just 1 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
It’s tough to predict those kinds of performances on a week-to-week basis, but you can do pretty well playing the matchups to identify both high-profile defenses and under-the-radar units that will do well.
With that in mind, here are five defenses all fantasy owners should target in Week 2.
Los Angeles Rams (vs. Arizona Cardinals): This is our no-brainer of the week. The Rams’ star-studded defense jumped all over Derek Carr with three interceptions (and one touchdown) in Week 1 and should cause all sorts of problems for Sam Bradford and the visiting Cardinals, who mustered just 213 yards of total offense in Week 1.
Los Angeles Chargers (at Buffalo Bills): The Chargers’ defense got roasted by the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, but as bad as that showing was, Buffalo’s offense was worse. Even with the Bills reportedly turning to Josh Allen at quarterback, you’re fine starting whatever defense is playing the Bills until they can sort out the mess that is their offense.
Washington Redskins (vs. Indianapolis Colts): Andrew Luck attempted 53 passes in Week 1 but had just two touchdowns to show for it. The Colts also committed some costly turnovers, and we’re expecting them to struggle on the road against a Redskins unit that had Pro Football Focus’ second-best pass-rushing grade in Week 1.
Denver Broncos (vs. Oakland Raiders): Speaking of good pass rushes: Von Miller and Denver’s fearsome D racked up six sacks against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Carr struggled mightily against L.A.’s pressure on Monday night, so the Broncos have the chance to wreak havoc again in a hostile environment.
Chicago Bears (vs. Seattle Seahawks): See above. The Seahawks have one of the worst offensive lines in football right now and will have to contain Bears menace Khalil Mack on the road. Chicago may give up some points, but this unit is a safe bet to rack up a few sacks and turnovers.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, go to ProFootballFocus.com.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Wesley/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY NETWORK