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Top 12 Fantasy Football Defense Rankings for Week 1

Max Staley
Top 12 fantasy football defense rankings for Week 1, including the San Francisco 49ers.
Top 12 fantasy football defense rankings for Week 1, including the San Francisco 49ers. / Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Defenses are often just an afterthought in fantasy football. That's leaving points on the board though. Savvy fantasy managers will be scouring the waiver wire to capitalize on the best defensive matchups each week.

With that in mind, here are the top-12 fantasy football defenses for Week 1.

Fantasy Football Defense Rankings Week 1

12. Minnesota Vikings (at CIN)

11. Los Angeles Chargers (at WAS)

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)

9. Green Bay Packers (at NO)

8. Baltimore Ravens (at LV)

7. New England Patriots (vs MIA)

The New England Patriots' front seven is going to be absolutely filthy this year. For example, Chase Winovich, who finished tied for the ninth-most pressures in the league last year, might be getting bumped from the rotation. He'll be behind studs like Matt Judon, Dont'a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and second-year breakout candidate Josh Uche. This team is going to be virtually unblockable upfront. That should pose a real problem for a Miami Dolphins offensive line that ranks as the fourth-worst unit in the league, according to ProFootballFocus. Expect a ton of sacks and pressures as Tua Tagovailoa is under duress all day.

6. Carolina Panthers (vs NYJ)

5. Buffalo Bills (vs PIT)

4. Denver Broncos (at NYG)

Since 2019, no quarterback has more turnovers than Daniel Jones (39). Jones has also taken the fifth-most sacks (83) in the league during that two-year span. That's a recipe for disaster against the Denver Broncos. From top to bottom, Denver has one of the most complete defenses in football, checking in at No. 4 in our season-long defense rankings.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs DAL)

2. Los Angeles Rams (vs CHI)

1. San Francisco 49ers (at DET)

Suffice it to say, expectations for Jared Goff and this Detroit Lions offense are not exactly high. Detroit's new signal-caller Jared Goff has more turnovers (55) than any other player in the NFL since 2018. The last time we saw Nick Bosa and this defense at full strength was 2019, when SF forced turnovers at the sixth-highest rate in the league. The 49ers were also third in sack rate that year (8.5%). Expect Bosa and Dee Ford to terrorize rookie Penei Sewell, who struggled mightily in his first taste preseason action.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.

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