Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers, Starters & Rankings: 2023 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings (2024)

Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers, Starters & Rankings: 2023 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings (1)

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1.How To Determine What Defenses To Start

2.Tier 1 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

3.Tier 2 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

4.Tier 3 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

5.Tier 4 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

6.Tier 5 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

8.Win More With RotoBaller

9.More Fantasy Football Analysis

With six weeks of the NFL season in the books, it is now time to focus our attention on Week 7 and determine what fantasy football defenses are best to play this week.

Last week saw three defenses reach double-digit fantasy points that had not done so yet this season. We also saw multiple disappointing outcomes for some of the better fantasy defenses with good matchups. The Miami Dolphins mustered only five points against the Carolina Panthers, as did the Philadelphia Eagles against the Zach Wilson-led New York Jets. The San Francisco 49ers were perhaps the biggest letdown, scoring only seven fantasy points against the Browns, which was supposed to be a great matchup even before taking the field against P.J. Walker. All three were Top 5 options heading into Week 6. But that shows you the volatility of the fantasy defense position. That is why spending a relatively high draft pick on a fantasy defense can be a tricky endeavor.

The number one defense from this past week was a surprise, as the Minnesota Vikings scored 22 fantasy points, aided by a fumble recovery returned for a TD by LB Jordan Hicks. It was surprising because the Vikings had put up five points or less in four of the first five weeks this season. But they cashed in on one of the biggest boons to fantasy defenses this season, a matchup with the Chicago Bears. The Bears have allowed double-digit fantasy points to five of their six opponents and have given up the third-most fantasy points per game, behind only the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. The Bears, Patriots, and Giants are currently the best matchups for fantasy defenses.

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How To Determine What Defenses To Start

When it comes to determining the top fantasy football defenses each week, you should look at which units have the most upside and can change the trajectory of your matchup. Defenses are often overlooked in fantasy, but as stated above, the top ones from each week can outscore some of your opponent's key starters.

Nine defenses scored double-digit fantasy points in Week 6. These defenses all had something in common – all of the defenses either allowed less than 14 points or created at least three turnovers. There are six teams on a bye in Week 7, including three good fantasy defenses (Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals, and New York Jets). It is our first official “Bye-nado” of 2023, which limits our options a little at defense. As a reminder, all defenses ranked in the same tier are interchangeable and could be based on preference.

To maximize the upside of your fantasy defense each week, you need to target units that can get to the quarterback constantly and cause several turnovers. Sacks, turnovers, and defensive touchdowns are what create high ceilings for these fantasy defenses. To determine a somewhat safe start at defense, you should look at low point totals and teams that can hold their opponent to less than 20 points.

Tier 1 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

1Buffalo Billsvs. NE
2San Francisco 49ers@MIN

Buffalo Bills D/ST @NE (Yahoo % Rostered: 99%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: BUF favored by 8.5, Total points: ~42, Implied score: 25-17, 17 points against

The New England Patriots have been one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups for opposing defenses in 2023. Defenses have scored nine or more fantasy points against the Patriots in five of six games, and two defenses (Saints and Cowboys) scored 20+ points. Defenses have averaged 5.8 points above their season average when facing the Patriots.

The Bills are top 5 in the NFL in points allowed and turnover rate, and they are the leader in pressure rate, sack rate, and interceptions per pass attempt. The Bills are already a top-shelf fantasy defense, so the combination of that and their ideal matchup makes this unit the easy top-ranked defensive play in Week 7.

What an incredible play from Christian Benford on the fourth-down stop late in the fourth quarter. The former sixth-round pick has become indispensable for this #Bills defense pic.twitter.com/IaMDoosxxK

— alex brasky (@alexbrasky) October 16, 2023

San Francisco 49ers D/ST @MIN (Yahoo % Rostered: 100%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: SF favored by 7, Total points: ~44, Implied score: 26-18, 18 points against

The San Francisco 49ers also fit the mold of a top-tier fantasy defense facing a great matchup. Minnesota has averaged 21.5 points per game, but that number has decreased to 20 points per game over the last three and they will be without Justin Jefferson. The 49ers have allowed the second-lowest points per game (14.5) behind only the Dallas Cowboys.

While the 49ers are outside the Top 20 in sack rate (5.7%), they are second in interception rate and seventh in turnover rate. Kirk Cousins has protected the ball well this year with only four interceptions through six games. But the Vikings have the highest pass rate in the NFL and will likely be in a negative game script based on the implied score, meaning more opportunities for turnovers.

Tier 2 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

3Cleveland Browns@IND
4New Orleans Saintsvs. JAX
5Seattle Seahawksvs. ARI
6Green Bay Packers@DEN
7Tampa Bay Buccaneersvs. ATL
8Philadelphia Eaglesvs. MIA

Cleveland Browns D/ST @IND (Yahoo % Rostered: 27%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: CLE favored by 2.5, Total points: ~40, Implied score: 21-19, 19 points against

The Cleveland Browns showed their defensive prowess by holding the 49ers to only 17 points in Week 6. The 49ers are one of the worst matchups for fantasy defenses, and while the Browns did not put up huge fantasy numbers, they exhibited their ability to shut down opposing passing games. The Browns have not been doing their damage with interceptions, as their 1.3% interception rate is bottom ten in the NFL. But the Browns have the third-highest pressure rate and second-highest sack rate, and get to face Gardner Minshew coming off of a game in which he was sacked three times and threw three interceptions. This will be a battle between one of the league’s best defensive lines (Browns) versus one of the best offensive lines (Colts; according to PFF), but this could be the game where the Browns improve on their interception rate.

The Browns defense is allowing 200 yards per game.

The next closest team is 260.

In terms of yards per game, Cleveland is on pace to be the most dominant defense the NFL has seen in 53 years.

— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) October 16, 2023

New Orleans Saints D/ST Vs. JAX (Yahoo % Rostered: 81%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: NO favored by 3, Total points: ~39, Implied score: 21-18, 18 points against

The New Orleans Saints' 16 points allowed per game is the seventh-lowest in the NFL and they are tied for fourth in interception rate (3.5%). They were able to shut out the New England Patriots in Week 5, finishing as the top fantasy defense of the week. A shut-out is not likely versus the Jaguars, who have scored the seventh-highest points per game on the season (23.7). However, the total points for this game are under 40 and the Jaguars’ implied score has them failing to reach 20 points, which is one of the data points to target, especially with the Saints facing them in their home dome.

The Saints had a poor showing in Week 6, but the Texans have been a surprisingly tough opponent for opposing fantasy defenses. The Saints have created at least one turnover in every game this season and have recorded two or more sacks in four of six games.

Seattle Seahawks D/ST vs. ARI (Yahoo % Rostered: 22%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: SEA favored by 7.5, Total point: ~44.5, Implied score: 26-19, 19 points against

The Seattle Seahawks get one of the better matchups for fantasy defenses at home versus the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks will be fired up after their close road loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and they will take out some of that frustration on their division rival. The Seahawks have given up only 10 points per game over their last two, have scored two defensive TDs on the season, and have at least three sacks in each of their last three games (including 11 against the Giants). The Seahawks are a safe play as their floor should be high with sacks and turnovers even if the Cardinals can exceed 20 points. The 49ers' loss in Week 6 keeps the division within striking distance for the Seahawks, and they should take care of business with the rabid Seahawks fan base screaming their heads off all game.

Dre’mont Jones HUGE SACK.

Time to get him going even more and boost this Seahawks defense. Love to see it.

— Sports ON Tap Seattle (@SeattleONTap) October 15, 2023

Green Bay Packers D/ST @DEN (Yahoo % Rostered: 17%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: GB favored by 1.5, Total points: ~45, Implied score: 23-22, 22 points against

Outside of their drubbing by the Detroit Lions, the Green Bay Packers have allowed under 20 points per game, and they face the rudderless Denver Broncos in Week 7. The Packers have 10 sacks and two interceptions in their last two games and are one of only eight teams with a pressure rate above 25%. They face a Broncos team that has allowed double-digit scores to the last two fantasy defenses and allowed a healthy 8.7 fantasy points per game over the last three games. The Packers are a solid streaming option as they are available in 83% of Yahoo leagues.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST vs. ATL (Yahoo % Rostered: 29%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: TB favored by 2.5, Total points: ~38.5, Implied score: 21-18, 18 points against

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face one of the better matchups in adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing defenses. Over their last three games, the Atlanta Falcons have given up 12.3 points per game, including allowing opposing fantasy defenses to score 6.9 points above their season PPG average.

The Buccaneers managed only four fantasy points in Week 6, but it was against the Lions, one of the tougher matchups for fantasy defenses. Before their Week 5 bye, the Buccaneers were on a role, with a total of six interceptions and 12 sacks in the first four games. The Buccaneers scored two fantasy points against the Eagles in Week 3 and four against the Lions in Week 6, two of the toughest opponents. In their other games against weaker offenses (like the Falcons), the Buccaneers averaged 15 fantasy points per game in three games.

Philadelphia Eagles D/ST vs. MIA (Yahoo % Rostered: 99%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: PHI favored by 2.5, Total points: ~52.5, Implied score: 28-25, 25 points against

The Philadelphia Eagles are an elite defense that would likely be in Tier 1 if not for the matchup versus the Miami Dolphins. With this matchup, you should just prepare to lose the fantasy points generated by the “points allowed” setting before the game even starts. But that does not automatically make the Eagles a bad play in Week 7. The average points scored across all games played in 2023 is right around 21, a point total that awards zero points with most fantasy defense scoring settings. You should probably assume you are losing most of those pre-awarded points in most cases. The Eagles have not been doing damage with interceptions, as they have only two on the season and none since Week 3. But they have 14 sacks over the last three games and have a Top 10 pressure rate.

Overall DVOA through Week 6..

1. 49ers (#2 offense, #4 defense)
2. Lions (#4 offense, #3 defense)
3. Bills (#3 offense, #6 defense)
4. Dolphins (#1 offense, #27 defense)
5. Chiefs (#7 offense, #9 defense)
6. Ravens (#10 offense, #2 defense)
7. Eagles (#8 offense, #14 defense)

— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) October 16, 2023

Tier 3 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

9Washington Commanders@NYG
10Las Vegas Raiders@CHI
11Miami Dolphins@PHI
12Jacksonville Jaguars@NO
13Baltimore Ravensvs. DET

Washington Commanders D/ST @NYG (Yahoo % Rostered: 31%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: WAS favored by 1.5, Total points: ~40.5, Implied score: 21-20, 20 points against

The Washington Commanders are a tough nut to crack this season. I went back and forth between Tier 2 and 3 with the Commanders multiple times. Many still feel the pain of confidently trotting this defense out a few weeks ago against the fantasy-friendly Chicago Bears, only to watch them give up 40 points with no turnovers.

But the Commanders have three sacks in each of the last three games and picked off Desmond Ridder three times in Week 6. They are a solid streamer in Week 7.

Las Vegas Raiders D/ST @CHI (Yahoo % Rostered: 47%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: LV favored by 3, Total points: ~37.5, Implied score: 20-17, 17 points against

After allowing 25 points per game in Weeks 1-4, the Las Vegas Raiders have given up a total of 30 points over the last two. And they face one of the better matchups of Week 7 against the Bears without Justin Fields, with an implied total of only 17 points. The Bears have a bottom 10 graded offensive line according to PFF, and Raiders’ star edge rusher Maxx Crosby already has 7.5 sacks on the season.

The Raiders were a solid streamer in Week 6 which is why their rostership is almost at 50%. This start is about the Raiders’ defense being on a bit of a hot streak and about the favorable matchup with the Bears. Las Vegas is a solid streamer option for the second week in a row.

The #Raiders defense showed out, yet again:
- 4 sacks, 3 TFL
- 3 PBU, 5 QB Hits

The Patriots were held to 259 total yards, 4.6 yards per play, and 50% on third down

— Tristen Kuhn (@KuhnTristen) October 16, 2023

Miami Dolphins D/ST @PHI (Yahoo % Rostered: 93%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: PHI favored by 2.5, Total points: ~52.5, Implied score: 28-25, 28 points against

The Miami Dolphins call is similar to their opponent. Like the Eagles, the Dolphins have a negative matchup and have struggled to force turnovers this season. Both teams have only two interceptions and none since Week 3. And both teams have relied on pressure and sacks.

The Dolphins have 13 sacks in the last three games including seven in Week 5 versus the Giants, and have the fifth-highest sack rate in the league. The Dolphins do come with some risk as they’ve stumbled against good offenses this season.

Jacksonville Jaguars @NO (Yahoo % Rostered: 27%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: NO favored by 3, Total points: ~39, Implied score: 21-18, 21 points against

The Jaguars defense has averaged three turnovers and over 12 fantasy PPG over the last three games, and get a plus matchup for fantasy defenses in 2023 versus the Saints.

Jacksonville is one of only seven teams with an interception rate above 3% and is readily available as a good streaming option in Week 7.

Baltimore Ravens vs. DET (Yahoo % Rostered: 93%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: BAL favored by 3, Total points: ~41.5, Implied score: 22-19, 19 points against

Baltimore is the third defense in Tier 3 based mostly on their matchup (along with the Eagles and Dolphins). The Lions have held opposing defenses to three points below their season average and given up double-digit points only once.

The Ravens have averaged over nine fantasy points per game, ranking as the sixth overall fantasy defense. They’ve given up the fifth-fewest points per game (15.2) and the Lions’ implied total is under 20, so the Ravens aren’t a bad start in Week 7.

Roquan Smith teach tape for kids out there playing football.

Never stop hustling, even when you get knocked on your butt.

Roquan ran 63 yards to make a tackle and save a touchdown. pic.twitter.com/29OqM0vvQx

— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) October 16, 2023

Tier 4 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

14Kansas City Chiefsvs. LAC
15Indianapolis Coltsvs. CLE
16Pittsburgh Steelers@LAR
17Los Angeles Ramsvs. PIT
18Detroit Lions@BAL
19Atlanta Falcons@TB

Kansas City Chiefs D/ST Vs. LAC (Yahoo % Rostered: 88%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: KC favored by 6, Total points: ~50.5, Implied score: 28-22, 22 points against

The Kansas City Chiefs check in as a fantasy defense in Tier 4 that would be higher with a better matchup. The Chiefs defense is Top 10 in fantasy points but has had a relatively easy schedule so far. After the Lions in Week 1, the Chiefs have faced the Jaguars, Bears, Jets, Vikings, and Broncos.

The Chiefs lead the NFL in pressure rate but that hasn’t translated into a lot of sacks, and their 1.3% interception rate is tied for 30th. The Chiefs have made their fantasy mark by allowing the third-lowest PPG (14.7). The Chargers have allowed only 3 PPG to opposing fantasy defenses. The Chiefs are a hold with a Week 8 trip to Denver, so you may just have to take what you get in Week 7.

Chiefs defense
8 points allowed 197 total yards allowed 2 INT 4 sacks 1 FR #CHIEFSKINGDOM pic.twitter.com/Q2MrCktVq3

— nahthatsTUFF (@nahthatstufff) October 13, 2023

Indianapolis Colts D/ST Vs. CLE (Yahoo % Rostered: 10%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: CLE favored by 2.5, Total points: ~39.5, Implied score: 21-19, 21 points against

It’s unclear whether Deshaun Watson will suit up in Week 7, so the Colts become a lower-tier streaming option against the Browns with P.J. Walker at QB. The Browns have been the sixth-easiest matchup for fantasy defenses in adjusted fantasy points allowed, which makes a below-average defense like the Colts a reasonable play in Week 7.

Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST @LAR (Yahoo % Rostered: 53%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: LAR favored by 3, Total points: ~43.5, Implied score: 23-20, 23 points against

The Steelers have been a solid fantasy defense in 2023 with two games over 20 fantasy points. The reason they’re in Tier 4 is due to a bad matchup with the Rams, who are a Top 10-toughest matchup for fantasy defenses. The Steelers have also been a different defense on the road. Their home-road splits in fantasy points scored are significantly different. At home, the Steelers have averaged 17.3 fantasy PPG. They’ve averaged only 2.5 on the road.

Los Angeles Rams D/ST Vs. PIT (Yahoo % Rostered: 13%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: LAR favored by 3, Total points: ~43.5, Implied score: 23-20, 20 points against

The Rams defense has been mediocre at best, averaging 4.2 fantasy PPG. The Steelers are a middle-of-the-pack matchup for fantasy defenses. They have had at least one sack in every game, and two sacks in four of six games, so they aren’t the worst option in Week 7. But there are other widely available defenses I’d rather play.

Detroit Lions D/ST @BAL (Yahoo % Rostered: 68%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: BAL favored by 3, Total points: ~41.5, Implied score: 22-19, 22 points against

The Lions have been a surprisingly decent fantasy defense so far in 2023 but face a tough road matchup against the Ravens in Week 7.

The Lions are 22nd in sack rate and 12th in interception rate. As a road underdog projected to allow 20+ points, I’m looking for another option in Week 7.

Atlanta Falcons D/ST @TB (Yahoo % Rostered: 36%)

Consensus Vegas Odds: TB favored by 2.5, Total points: ~38.5, Implied score: 21-18, 21 points against

The Falcons have generated zero turnovers in four of six games and only scored double-digit fantasy points once (Week 1). They haven’t really come close since then, even with five sacks against the Commanders in Week 6. The 20 points they’ve allowed per game is 12th-lowest, but the Falcons look to be an example of a solid NFL defense that doesn’t score a lot of fantasy points. I’m avoiding them in Week 7.

Tier 5 Defenses – Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 7

20New England Patriotsvs. BUF
21New York Giantsvs. WAS
22Minnesota Vikingsvs. SF
23Denver Broncosvs. GB
24Chicago Bearsvs. LV
25Los Angeles Chargers@KC
26Arizona Cardinals@SEA

These are the defenses that I would not be playing in Week 7 unless you absolutely have to. These units are either going up against a top offense in the league, aren’t a good defense in general, or both. They offer low ceilings and significantly low floors that can hurt your chances of winning your fantasy matchup. Avoid all these choices entirely and try to get a defense in the top two to three tiers for Week 7. Thanks for reading, and good luck RotoBallers!

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Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers, Starters & Rankings: 2023 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings (2024)
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