Well it is finally here. Week 1 of the NFL season is upon us. Week 1 is the toughest week to predict because you don’t have any trends to go on and you are, for the most part, going in blind on most players. That is why most upsets happen in Week 1 and starting the right defense could mean the difference between winning and losing. Before I name the defenses I want to stream this week I want to let everyone know the five defenses that I feel are matchup proof and should never be streamed with another defense.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are far-and-away the best defense in the NFL. No matter who they are playing you can expect less than 300 yards passing, multiple sacks and a few takeaways.
- Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings, like the Jaguars, are going to dominate other teams on the defensive side of the ball. They have a punishing defense that was tops in the league in fewest yards allowed. The one area where I give Jacksonville the edge is in sacks. Minnesota finished 17th in sacks last year, and while I expect that number to go up, I don’t see them catching Jacksonville.
- Baltimore Ravens: What team lead the league in takeaways last season? If you guessed the Baltimore Ravens, you would be correct. The Ravens also finished just outside the Top 10 in sacks and 10th in passing defense. Even with one of the worst offenses in the league, that is sure to get better as they also allowed the sixth-fewest points.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Two words come to mind … Joey Bosa. He is doing for the Chargers what J.J. Watt did for the Houston Texans. He is an absolute animal and requires double teams that cause mismatches all over the field.
- Denver Broncos: If Von Miller wasn’t enough to worry about, now you have to account for Bradley Chubb also. This duo is going to have the Broncos on this list for years to come.
If I have to pick one other defense that I am watching an may want to add to this list, it’s the Chicago Bears defense. They were very good last year and now have added Khalil Mack. The only thing holding me back from adding them is that I don’t know what to expect from the offense. If the offense improves and allows the defense time to rest, this defense easily will enter the Top 5.
Week 1 Streamers
Now onto what defenses that are outside my Top 5 that I think will be good options to stream Week 1. They may not be the best defenses to start every week but for Week 1 they are smart plays.
- New Orleans Saints at home vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Grade A): If you are looking at a team you will start every team against their offense, it’s the Buccaneers. During the preseason their offensive line looked awful. They couldn’t protect the quarterback or run block. This means a lot of turnovers and sacks. The Saints are going to feast on the Buccaneers in Week 1 and this is my best bet for a shutout.
- Tennessee Titans at the Miami Dolphins (Grade A-): If one team looked worse than the Buccaneers it was the Dolphins. The Titans were a very sneaky play many times last year and I expect that it will improve this year. They added Malcolm Butler, who gives them a shutdown corner which they needed. The Titans are a prime streaming candidate week in and week out.
- Detroit Lions at home vs. The New York Jets (Grade B): Detroit was able to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback last year and that forced a lot of turnovers. While they only ranked 27th in yards allowed they have a very good matchup with the Jets. The Jets are going with rookie Sam Darnold at quarterback and without any really scary weapons on the offensive side of the ball, this could be a long evening for the Jets.
Daily Fantasy Corner
Arizona Cardinals at home vs. Washington (DK 2500/FD 4100)
It is tough to find a really good value in Week 1 because you never know how the changes a team made will effect their performance on the field. The Cardinals lost some key players but I think they still have plenty of talent left. Washington went from Kirk Cousins to Alex Smith at quarterback and with the loss of Derrius Guice they don’t have any really good play-makers on offense. At the price it will cost you, the Cardinals are a great value play.