With Week 2 behind us, we've now gotten one more crucial week to see just what we can expect from these teams as well as one more data point to use for the BOD formula. That puts us, hopefully, one step closer to taking away some of the risk inherent in choosing a defense, and given that we are still so early in the year, I'm pretty happy coming away with a 50% hit rate in the top 10 defenses for Week 2.
The Seattle defense toyed with our emotions by falling flat in Week 1, and then finishing as the third-ranked defense in Week 2. We also thought we'd get a shoot about between the Chiefs and Jaguars; yet, both of them finished as top 10 defenses this week. And then, obviously, we missed the mark pretty badly with the Giants defense , which is the lesson I want to talk about here.
The mistake with the Giants was me placing too little emphasis on what I see in Week 1. I assumed it was just one terrible week, and kept the desire to attack the Cardinals with the Giants. However, when a defense shows you who they are (ahem - Denver), we need to believe it. It's also another good reminder that we don't want to elevate a bad defense too high just because they're playing a bad opponent. I didn't believe the Giants were a bad defense, but it seems as though they are and it doesn't matter if they play the Cardinals or the Bears or the Colorado Buffaloes and this point.
We're bound to miss some calls as the year goes on, but if we can learn from it and adapt, that should make our teams that much stronger down the home stretch.
BOD Formula and Philosophy
Just a quick reminder of the BOD formula:
(Pressure Rate x 2) + (Sacks) + (QB Hurry Rate) + (%Drives ending in a Turnover x 2)
(% Drives ending in a Score x 2) + (Yards per play)
It's important to clarify that the BOD rankings ARE NOT to be treated as weekly rankings. BOD is meant to tell us who the best fantasy defenses are, but depending on the matchup, they might be ranked differently in a given week. That's why we have this column where I will be breaking down my rankings for each week and an explanation of why I have the defenses ranked the way I do. The rankings will take into account their BOD ranking, opponent, injuries, weather, etc., but I hope my explanation will help make sense of each ranking.
While there are BOD rankings below based on Week 1, it's important to remember will likely take about three weeks for us to have enough information to start to see which DSTs we can trust and which offenses we want to attack. Until then, we want to mitigate risk by relying on defenses that have clear talent advantages, track records of success, or offenses that we know are short-handed.
Throughout the season I'll keep track of how many top 10 defense we correctly predicted. I know it's not quite marking down if I nailed the number one defense each week or the number two, but it's the most logical way I can think of to keep track of how often I defense I predicted would be a good play actually wound up being a good play. I know we always want the top defense, but I think, more often than not, if we get one of the ten performing defenses of the week, we're not mad at the result.
SEASON RECORD FOR TOP 10 PREDICTIONS: 12-of-20 (60%)
So how do things stack up for Week 3?
I'm not sure anybody can argue with the Dallas defense being ranked number one this week. They've scored 37 points (according to FantasyPros scoring) in two games and now face the Cardinals. I know Joshua Dobbs and James Conner put a hurting on the Giants, as we discussed above, but I can't see a world where that happens this week. This is a smash spot.
However, the 49ers defense and Eagles defense are also in good spots. The 49ers allowed more points to the Rams than many of us expected, but I think that's more of a credit to Puka Nacua , Kyren Williams , and the Rams offense . The 49ers have six sacks through two games and rank seventh in turnover rate and sixth in the rate of opponents' drives that end in a score. That should set them up for a solid game against a Giants offense that is very likely to be without both Saquon Barkley and left tackle Andrew Thomas on a short week.
The Eagles defense sneaks into tier one after a solid showing against the Vikings. Yes, they allowed some points, but they also had four turnovers and two sacks and finished as a top 10 defense, which is why we need to not overrate points allowed. The Eagles are fifth in turnover rate, second in pressure rate, and seventh in the rate of opponents' drives that end in a score. Now, they get a Bucs offense that has overperformed so far against bad defenses. Baker Mayfield made plays on Sunday, but he also escaped pressure in the backfield countless times. That works against the Bears, but I don't expect it to work against the Eagles on Sunday.
The Jaguars defense is, surprisingly, the second-ranked BOD defense after two weeks. We have to acknowledge that it's a super small sample size, but we also need celebrate that Jacksonville is fourth in turnover rate, seventh in pressure rate, and third in the rate of opponents' drives that end in a score. They delivered in Week 1, but many of us moved on from them against the Chiefs. Instead, the Jags defense showed up, generating three turnovers and a sack on the day. They get a much easier task next week against a Texans offense that was down FOUR starting offensive linemen this week.
The Chiefs will also get another chance to slide back into the top 10 when they take on the Bears. The Chiefs are fourth in the rate of opponents' drives that end in a score and are 13th in pressure rate, despite facing two solid offenses with quick-hitting passing games so far. With Chris Jones back, this defense gets scarier. I covered the Bears-Bucs game on Sunday and, to be blunt, Justin Fields was bad. The Bucs used linebackers to spy him all day, keeping Fields in the pocket where he threw for only 211 yards and two interceptions. I think the Chiefs will do the same, and with Patrick Mahomes picking on a poor Bears defense , Justin Fields will be forced to try to keep up, and that will likely lead to picks and sacks (like this thread of Fields’ terrible sacks from Week 2)
The Bills also may have been the talk of Football Twitter after their terrible Week 1 loss, but the defense came to play both weeks. They're sixth in turnover rate and fifth in pressure rate and now get a Commanders' team that is 2-0 but also gives up a lot of pressure. Sam Howell can make big plays, but he also takes a lot of sacks and makes some costly errors. I think the Bills defense would have more eye-popping stats if their offense didn't grind the Raiders down so much in Week 2, limiting the Raiders to just 39 plays in the entire game. When a team drops back to pass just 24 times, it's hard to rack up that many sacks.
I believe both the Jets defense and Patriots defense are strong plays this week. Not just because they are talented units in their own right, but I think both should be able to exploit below average quarterback play. We know the Jets aren't going to want Zach Wilson to throw the ball, but that conservative gameplan is easy for defenses to scheme against. Similarly, Mac Jones came back to earth on Sunday with 231 yards and an interception against the Dolphins. His receiving corps looks pretty weak, and I can't see him having success throwing against this Jets defense .
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With Cameron Heyward injured, people counted out the Steelers' defense, but this is a solid unit that is well-coached. Plus, you know, they have T.J. Watt . The Steelers started the game out with a defensive touchdown, and then Watt added another touchdown later. The had six sacks, nine tackles for a loss, 11 quarterback hits, and four turnovers. While, this Browns offense is a bit of a mess with Deshaun Watson not looking like his old self and losing Nick Chubb in the first half, I also believe in the talent of this defense. Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers are both dealing with head injuries, but it appears that both players are trending towards playing, so that keeps the Steelers in Tier Three instead of Tier Two.
We get another matchup where two defenses are both playable when the Browns take on the Titans. The case for the Browns is simple: their defense has been really good. They may have lost on Monday, but the Steelers scored just one offensive touchdown, and the Browns had two sacks and two turnovers on the day while allowing just 255 total yards. They should be firmly in play against an average Titans offense , but this Titans defense also showed up in a win over the Chargers and will now get a Browns team without Nick Chubb. Jerome Ford looked great on Monday night, but Mike Vrabel will be ready to take the ground game away and will force Deshaun Watson to win the game through the air. He simply doesn't seem ready to do that right now, especially not with the pressure he's going to see from this Titans defensive line.
I know people may be tempted to have the Ravens higher because Anthony Richardson could be out with a concussion, but the offense actually looked good under Gardner Minshew . Perhaps more importantly for fantasy, the Colts offense was more cautious under Minshew. They asked him to be a game manager and move the ball and not make mistakes. That could limit turnover opportunities. Of course, that was against the Texans, where the Colts could be cautious, and they might not be able to next week against Baltimore. However, I think Minshew is a solid QB and not one who will implode, which makes the Ravens a potential top 10 play, but not a smash play.
Hey, another game where I see a case for both defenses. The Saints defense showed out on Monday night and they've done what everybody expected them to do and take advantage of an easy early schedule. However, this Packers offense has looked pretty good with Jordan Love under center, and I'm currently expecting both Aaron Jones and Christian Watson to return this week, which will make things a little harder for a Saints defense that has a solid four turnovers and seven sacks through two games. However, this Saints offense doesn't look overly explosive, and the Packers rank ninth in pressure rate, 13th in turnover rate, and 14th in rate of opponents' drives that end in a score. To me, that makes them a fringe top-12 unit this week. SUNDAY UPDATE: With Jaire Alexander injured, Green Bay has been moved out of this tier, and I moved the Saints up slightly with Christian Watson and Aaron Jones out.
The Colts defense ranks just outside the top-10 in most of the metrics I like: turnover rate, pressure rate, rate of opponents' scores. They also have eight sacks in two games. With starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley and starting center Tyler Linderbaum both missing the Ravens' Week 2 win, this Colts defense could be facing a short-handed Ravens attack that has looked inconsistent to start the season. SUNDAY UPDATE: The weather in this game is supposed to get ugly in the middle of the game, which could help keep this sloppy and slow and make the Colts a solid deep league play considering all the injuries on the Ravens.
This Commanders defense continues to produce. They're tied for the NFL lead in sacks, are seventh in pressure rate, and are eighth in turnover rate. Yes, they will allow some points, which is exactly why they're in Tier Four against a solid Bills defense; however, we've also seen what happens when Josh Allen plays Hero Ball, which could happen against this ferocious Washington pass rush. They're honestly not a terrible play in deeper leagues or - more likely - in DFS. SUNDAY UPDATE: The weather is supposed to be gross here in the middle of the day, so that makes the Commanders a little more interesting in DFS formats because Buffalo can already be turnover prone in good weather.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Just a quick note that I moved the Seattle defense higher, but I don't think you need to go crazy just because Bryce Young is out. I actually think this Panthers offense will be better off right now with Andy Dalton under center. The Seahawks are a solid play, but not a great one.
The Dolphins defense failed to show up in Week 1 against the Chargers but came back with a solid effort in Week 2, holding New England to 288 yards with two turnovers and four sacks. The sacks were nice to see since this pass rush didn't have a lot of juice last year. They now have seven sacks in two games and a solid pass rush for the Dolphins, when paired with their strong secondary, make this defense a bit more appealing as a play, especially against an inconsistent Denver team and a version of Russell Wilson that just doesn't scare defenses anymore. I could honestly see the case from them being in tier three.
I would prefer not to play any of these defenses this week if I had my choice.
As I mentioned above, I will update and repost this article on Sunday morning in case there are any changes with injuries or weather reports, etc. Until then, good luck to all this week!