For more than a decade we’ve been suggesting you stream your defenses weekly based on matchups and nothing has changed this season. Yes, the San Francisco 49ers defense is elite and worth playing most weeks but they aren’t an automatic start like your top tier skill players.

Analyzing the numbers and finding offensive vs. defensive mismatches is going to come into play throughout the NFL season and instead of you trying to find the right defense on your own, trust our homework and follow our lead.

Check out Marc Caviglia’s fantasy football rankings and hot takes on the Week 1 team defense matchups:

Check out Marc Caviglia’s fantasy football rankings and hot takes on the Week 1 team defense matchups:

  • Speaking of the 49ers, they will have their work cut out for them in Week 1 against a dynamic Arizona Cardinals offense. While they did a good job of containing Kyler Murray last season, the Niners allowed 25 & 26 points to Arizona in two 2019 matchups and had trouble containing Kenyon Drake. The running back went for 162 yards and a touchdown on 19 touches in a Week 9 loss and will remain an issue to defend in Week 1. Look for Nick Bosa & Co. to put some pressure on Murray, making the 49ers a top-10 defensive unit this week, and if you own them you start them, but don’t expect a huge output.

  • The New Orleans Saints & Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit inside my top-12 fantasy defenses for the 2020 season, however neither of them should be in your Week 1 lineup. I like to use NFL betting lines and Over/Under totals when ranking defenses weekly and this matchup has the 3rd highest projected total on Sunday with the O/U sitting at 48 points. Both offenses should score 24-plus points and both signal callers are expected to take care of the football. There will be weeks when you can start both defensive units but this isn’t one of them.

  • If you own the Bills make sure they are in your lineup against the New York Jets. The Bills limited the Jets to 16 points in Week 1 and 13 points in Week 17 last season and they sacked quarterback Sam Darnold six different times. Tremaine Edmunds is developing into an elite linebacker and Tre’Davious White had a league leading 6 interceptions a season ago and is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. Look for both of these guys to make some big plays and for Jordan Phillips to apply pressure on Darnold, making the Bills a top tier fantasy defense in Week 1.

  • A sneaky Week 1 defense that has a quality matchup is the Los Angeles Chargers. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will be making his NFL debut, and while the gunslinger has a bright future, first game jitters and a tough secondary could lead to a field day for the veteran Chargers defense. Look for Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III to bring the heat from the edge, while Chris Harris and Casey Hayward Jr. contain both Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green. On paper, the Chargers are a good Week 1 streaming defense.

  • Fantasy owners looking for a DST to pickup from the fantasy football waiver wire, should also avoid the Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams games. Both games have O/U totals over 49 points and there won’t be much defense played in those games. Instead, start your offensive playmakers from all four teams.

Rankings are based on the following scoring:
2 point per interception
2 point per fumble recovery
1 point per sack
2 points for safety
6 point for defensive/return touchdown