The first bye weeks claim the Falcons, Saints, Jets, and 49ers, none of which are regular D/ST starters. However, we love to stream defenses against the Jets, and the Saints with Jameis Winston always present some boom-or-bust upside, too. The Falcons haven’t been great this year either, and the 49ers with a rookie QB provide some sleeper potential. Ultimately, the loss of those four teams weakens our Week 6 fantasy defense rankings, making start ’em, sit ’em decisions all the more muddled.
The good news for fantasy owners is that this looks like a pretty good for most of the top preseason D/STs. The Bucs (@ Eagles), Rams (@ Giants), and Steelers (vs. Seahawks) all have good matchups, with the Steelers getting the benefit of facing Geno Smith instead of Russell Wilson (hand). The Colts (vs. Texans) and Dolphins (@ Jaguars) finally have good matchups, too.
WEEK 6 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker
All of these defenses will be must-starts, as there aren’t a ton of worthwhile streamers. The Cowboys (@ Patriots), Bengals (@ Lions), Packers (@ Bears), and Seahawks (@ Steelers) are all in play with favorable to semi-favorable matchups, but chances are at least an owner or two in your league will have to slum it with an even riskier D/ST.
WEEK 6 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker
If you want to go the boom-or-bust route, the Chiefs (@ Washington) are probably your best option, but obviously you’re taking a risk anytime you play the Chiefs.
WEEK 6 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em
The Panthers (vs. Vikings) and Bills (@ Titans) are still in play despite less-than-ideal matchups, but you’re taking a much bigger chance if you stick with the Ravens (vs. Chargers), Patriots (vs. Cowboys), Broncos (vs. Raiders), or Browns (vs. Cardinals). Again, at least one or two owners might decide they’re better off sticking with what they have, especially in a week with marginal high-quality streaming options, but points will likely be harder to come by.
WEEK 6 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo
Obviously, the bye weeks make things more difficult at every position, but D/ST is often the hardest hit. That’s why it’s always important to be looking ahead and claiming the top streamers when they’re free agents. If you have to settle for a week, you have to settle. Make the points up elsewhere and move on. But this is the time of year when planning ahead can give you a big advantage, so scout those matchups and grab those streamers when there’s less competition for them.
MORE WEEK 6 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder
Note: We’ll be updating these D/ST rankings as needed throughout the week. so check back for the latest movement and analysis.
Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 6: Who to start, sit at D/ST in fantasy football
|1||Los Angeles Rams @ NYG. It doesn’t matter if it’s Daniel Jones (head) or Mike Glennon under center, we’d still rank the Rams in the top spot. However, if it is Glennon, then we like the Rams even more. Three straight tough matchups (Buccaneers, Cardinals, Seahawks) have limited L.A.’s production, but we know the talent is there for a huge game. We saw glimpses last week when the Rams held the Russell Wilson/Geno Smith-led Seahawks to 17 offensive points while racking up two sacks and two takeaways. The injury-depleted Giants will be ripe for the picking.|
|2||Pittsburgh Steelers vs. SEA. Pittsburgh has also been massively disappointing this year, but facing Geno Smith at home has to be a recipe for success. The Steelers still regularly put up multiple sacks, and that pressure should help them generate some takeaways.|
|3||Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ PHI. Even without Lavonte David (ankle), Tampa has the talent to rattle Jalen Hurts on a short week. The Bucs have racked up seven sacks and four takeaways while allowing just 34 total offensive points the past two weeks, while Philadelphia just allowed multiple sacks and takeaways in a loss to a similarly strong defense in Carolina.|
|4||Dallas Cowboys @ NE. The Cowboys have multiple INTs in every game this year, and despite not registering any sacks last week, they’ve had nine QB takedowns in the past four games. They’ve also scored two D/ST touchdowns. Expect more success against a Patriots team that’s turned it over at least twice in four-of-five games so far.|
|5||Indianapolis Colts vs. HOU. Houston has allowed 10 sacks and six takeaways while scoring an average of just over 10 offensive points per game in its past three contests. With multiple takeaways in each of the three games leading up to Week 5, the Colts can definitely take advantage.|
|6||Cincinnati Bengals @ DET. The Bengals disappointed in a similarly favorable matchup in Week 4 against Jacksonville, but the Lions have failed to score more than 17 offensive points in any game since Week 1. Even worse, they’ve allowed four sacks in each of the past two games, and they’ve turned it over multiple times in three of the past five games. The concern here is Cincinnati’s defense won’t show up, but it’s healthier now that it was in Week 4, so we like its chances of getting back to the form it showed when it racked up 10 sacks and four takeaways in Weeks 1-3.|
|7||Green Bay Packers @ CHI. The Bears offense has seen more success the past two games, scoring 44 offensive points, allowing three sacks, and turning it over once. That was against Detroit and Vegas, though. The Packers have posted multiple takeaways in every game since Week 1 and allowed a relatively solid average of 21 offensive ppg. With 10 sacks in that span, Green Bay has showed it can get pressure and force mistakes, so expect that to happen against rookie Justin Fields.|
|8||Miami Dolphins @ JAX. The Dolphins have produced a few takeaways and sacks this year, but nothing substantial. However, Jacksonville is one of the most generous offenses to fantasy D/STs, with multiple takeaways allowed in all but one game and an average of just 17.4 offensive points scored per game. If the Dolphins talented defense can’t get going against the Jags, it’s likely not even worth streaming against anyone going forward.|
|9||Minnesota Vikings @ CAR. The Jets’ version of Sam Darnold is starting to rear its ugly head after a hot start for the Panthers. Carolina has allowed 11 sacks and turned it over five times in its past three games, and it hasn’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of D/STs (Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia). Minnesota has only posted four takeaways, but it’s racked up an impressive 17 sacks on the season and allowed just 16 ppg over its past three — all this despite just one “favorable” matchup (Detroit in Week 5). Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) might be back, but the Vikings still have considerable upside here.|
|10||Carolina Panthers vs. MIN. The Vikings have been solid on offense, allowing just nine sacks and four takeaways on the season, but the Panthers have been one of the very best fantasy D/STs every week except Week 4 against Dallas. If you take away that complete dud, Carolina is averaging four sacks, 1.3 takeaways, and 12.8 ppg allowed. Favorable matchups have helped inflate those numbers, but it’s clear the Panthers are talented and productive. Minnesota is closer in talent to Dallas or Philadelphia than Carolina’s first three opponents (Jets, Saints, Giants), but the Panthers are still talented enough to produce at a top-10 level.|
|11||Buffalo Bills @ TEN. A couple bad weeks have really inflated Tennessee’s fantasy points per game allowed this year, but with its ball-control style, it can be just as tough for D/STs to accumulate points against it. Buffalo comes into this one riding high off a big week against the Chiefs, so you might think there’s no reason to be worried about them. You might be right, but this still isn’t an ideal spot for fantasy’s top-ranked D/ST. You’re not going to sit them, but temper your expectations, at least slightly.|
|12||Seattle Seahawks @ PIT. The Steelers have looked ugly on offense this year, but they’re merely middle of the road in fantasy points allowed to D/STs. Seattle has been up and down, but in favorable to semi-favorable matchups, they’ve been better (16 points allowed, three sacks, one takeaway vs. Colts in Week 1; 21 points allowed, two sacks, two takeaways vs. 49ers in Week 4). Given the state of of D/STs this week, Seattle is “good enough” to be worth a starting spot.|
|13||Denver Broncos vs. LV. After a hot start, the Raiders offense is clearly regressing. It’s scored just 23 offensive points while allowing seven sacks and two takeaways the past two weeks. The matchups weren’t particularly tough either, as they faced the Chargers and Bears. Denver’s defense has also slipped after a hot start, perhaps the product of a tougher schedule. Either way, in a tough week for D/STs, Denver at home is in a good spot and right on the start-sit bubble.|
|14||Kansas City Chiefs @ WAS. The Chiefs have been terrible defensively this year, but Taylor Heinicke has thrown multiple INTs in two of the past three games and is seemingly regressing. Perhaps Kansas City’s defense isn’t good enough to take advantage, but at this point in the rankings, you’re just simply hoping for a big play or two, so there’s a decent chance here.|
|15||Baltimore Ravens vs. LAC. Heading into Week 5, the Ravens defense had started to heat up, allowing just 24 offensive points and registering seven sacks in Weeks 3 and 4. Things didn’t go as well in Week 5 (25 points allowed, two sacks, takeaway). The Chargers offense is as hot as anyone this side of Buffalo, so the Ravens aren’t exactly a “high-ceiling” defense this week, but talent alone gives them some upside.|
|16||Arizona Cardinals @ CLE. Arizona has been surprisingly effective this year, feasting on its favorable matchups and showing it can put up points even in some non-favorable ones, like in did in Week 1 against Tennessee. Cleveland hasn’t turned it over in any of the past three games, though, and while it might allow some sacks, its run-heavy attack doesn’t allow for many big-play chances. You can try your luck with the Cardinals based on past result, but this feels like a low-ceiling game for the surprising Cards.|
|17||New England Patriots vs. DAL|
|18||Cleveland Browns vs. ARI|
|19||Las Vegas Raiders @ DEN|
|20||New York Giants vs. LAR|
|21||Philadelphia Eagles vs. TB|
|22||Houston Texans @ IND|
|23||Los Angeles Chargers @ BAL|
|24||Chicago Bears vs. GB|
|25||Washington Football Team vs. KC|
|26||Tennessee Titans vs. BUF|
|27||Detroit Lions vs. CIN|
|28||Jacksonville Jaguars vs. MIA|