Fantasy Football Defensive Matchup Rankings for Week 1

Jason Schandl
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There aren't a ton of players in fantasy football considered "must-start" options for every game.

Every week you're going to be faced with close decisions on who to start, and more often than not your players' matchups are going to be one of the main deciding factors.

With that being said, here is how all 32 teams stack up as fantasy football matchups heading into Week 1 of the 2019 season.

32. Chicago Bears (vs Green Bay Packers)

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise after the Chicago Bears topped our rankings of the NFL's best defenses heading into 2019. The Bears allowed both the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and second fewest to quarterbacks last season, and they promise to once again be as stingy as it gets in 2019. The Green Bay Packers' players could be in for an underwhelming start to the fantasy football season on Thursday.

31. Baltimore Ravens (@ Miami Dolphins)

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (vs Kansas City Chiefs)

29. Dallas Cowboys (vs New York Giants)

28. Los Angeles Chargers (vs Indianapolis Colts)

27. Denver Broncos (@ Oakland Raiders)

26. Buffalo Bills (@ New York Jets)

25. Seattle Seahawks (vs Cincinnati Bengals)

24. New York Jets (vs Buffalo Bills)

23. Minnesota Vikings (vs Atlanta Falcons)

22. Houston Texans (@ New Orleans Saints)

Even without Jadeveon Clowney, the Houston Texans defense is no joke. With J.J. Watt back in the fold in 2018 the Texans allowed opponents the ninth fewest yards per play, allowing the NFL's fifth fewest points per game. The New Orleans Saints offense is almost always going to generate big fantasy production at home, but with a tough matchup we might want to dial back our expectations a bit on Monday night.

21. Tennessee Titans (@ Cleveland Browns)

20. New Orleans Saints (vs Houston Texans)

19. New England Patriots (vs Pittsburgh Steelers)

18. Indianapolis Colts (@ Los Angeles Chargers)

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (@ New England Patriots)

16. Cleveland Browns (vs Tennessee Titans)

15. Philadelphia Eagles (vs Washington Redskins)

14. Los Angeles Rams (@ Carolina Panthers)

13. Atlanta Falcons (@ Minnesota Vikings)

12. Carolina Panthers (vs Los Angeles Rams)

11. New York Giants (@ Dallas Cowboys)

10. Washington Redskins (@ Philadelphia Eagles)

9. San Francisco 49ers (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

8. Green Bay Packers (@ Chicago Bears)

7. Miami Dolphins (vs Baltimore Ravens)

6. Kansas City Chiefs (@ Jacksonville Jaguars)

For as historically good as the Kansas City Chiefs are on the offensive side of the ball, they also tend to elevate their opponents' fantasy production. They allowed top-five per-game fantasy numbers to all of QBs, RBs and TEs, as well as the ninth most to WRs in 2018, while also conceding the NFL's second most yards and ninth most points per game. The Jacksonville Jaguars' offense isn't usually an exciting one, but any game involving KC has some shootout potential.

5. Arizona Cardinals (vs Detroit Lions)

4. Oakland Raiders (vs Denver Broncos)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (@ Seattle Seahawks)

No team allowed more fantasy points per game to RBs in 2018 than the Cincinnati Bengals, who also allowed the eighth most yards per rush attempt. This is especially important in Week 1, as the Seattle Seahawks are 10-point favorites on FanDuel Sportsbook. 2018's most run-heavy team, expect Seattle to be all-in on the run while playing with a big lead this week, giving Chris Carson the opportunity to feast.

2. Detroit Lions (@ Arizona Cardinals)

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs San Francisco 49ers)

A good rule of thumb in the 2018 fantasy season was "start everybody against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers". They ranked dead last in Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA rankings, and they were one of only two teams to allow top-six fantasy production at QB, RB and WR, also giving up top-10 numbers at TE. They've made some additions on the defensive side of the ball, but until they show some serious improvements, it's worth going back to the well and attacking this matchup to start the 2019 season.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. 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.