Cover Photo: Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images
Fantasy football is all about playing the matchups to get an edge over your opponent. Whether that means picking up a player that will replace an injured teammate or streaming a fantasy defense playing the Bills, it's tough to know who you want your players to line up against on the field early in the season.
Now that we're entering Week 8, there's enough data to decide which defenses you should target to play against. Obviously, there are some matchup-proof studs like Todd Gurley and Patrick Mahomes, but if you're looking for a bye-week replacement or a FLEX option you should find players who are going up against the following eight teams.
Note: A top-12 quarterback or tight end performance is listed as QB1 or TE1 below while a top-24 output for a running back or wide receiver falls into the RB1 and WR1 ranking.
5. San Francisco 49ers
Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
The 49ers begin our list of great fantasy matchups since they've been consistently poor across the board, giving up four QB1, six RB1, four TE 1 and seven WR1 performances on the year. The great thing about going against the Niners isn't just their poor defense, but they also play at the seventh-fastest situation-neutral pace in the NFL -- that's more plays for your offensive players against that 49ers' defense.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
The Falcons have plenty of offensive talent on their team and a defense that simply doesn't live up to the billing. The Falcons have surrendered six QB1 games (worst in the NFL) along with four TE1, seven RB1 and seven WR1 games. The Falcons have suffered numerous injuries on defense, and that's why things have gotten so bad down in the ATL.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images
The Chiefs are great for fantasy football on both sides of the equation. Kansas City has surrendered five QB1, eight RB1 and five TE1 games, putting them as one of the bottom-two teams in all three categories. Oddly enough, they've only had four WR1 games against them, which ranks in the top-half of the league. Still, you should start any, and all, offensive players you have against KC. It also helps for opposing offenses that the Chiefs play at the fifth-fastest situation-neutral pace in the NFL.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images
The Bengals are probably the most surprising team to this list. But after getting blasted by the Chiefs on Sunday night their numbers are something we just can't overlook. The Bengals have given up five QB1, eight RB1, four TE1 and eight WR1 games -- that ranks them in the bottom-five of all four categories, and it's not all from the Chiefs game either.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
The Bucs are far and away one of the best defenses to start players against, particularly in the passing game, as they have given up six TE1 games and eight WR1 games, both of which are worst in the league. They've also had five QB1 performances against them, which is second in the NFL. Running backs have also put up five RB1 games against them in just six contests. And similar to the 49ers and KC, it's worth noting that Tampa Bay play at the third-fastest situation-neutral pace. Start anyone you have when they play the Bucs.
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Ian McCafferty is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ian McCafferty also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username itmccaff. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.