Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season is here, and we've got your fantasy football defense rankings covered. Which matchups should you target, and which should you avoid? After some big Week 1 performances by the Dallas Cowboys (the top scorer of the week!), San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, we're going back to the well with the top units while also finding some viable streaming defense options. Let's take a look at a few deep sleepers before we head to the Week 2 Defense rankings.
Streaming Week 2 DEF options
New York Giants DEF (@ ARI): The Giants are most likely available in your league, seeing as they played the Cowboys last week. The Cardinals are a team to target every single week, as Josh Dobbs opened the season by taking three sacks and throwing for 132 yards on 30 passing attempts. Arizona didn't score an offensive touchdown and looked much worse than the close Week 1 score indicated. The Giants are the top waiver wire defensive add of the week.
Cleveland Browns DEF (vs PIT): Cleveland is another defense you might be able to snag off the waiver wire since they played Cincinnati in Week 1. The Browns were completely dominant defensively in the 24-3 win, holding Joe Burrow to 82 passing yards on 31 attempts. With the Steelers missing Diontae Johnson for this primetime matchup and Kenny Pickett looking shaky in Week 1, another strong performance should be on tap for Myles Garrett and the Browns defense in Week 2.
Favorite Week 2 FanDuel DFS plays
Chicago Bears DEF (@ TB) – FD $3900: The ownership here will be low after Jordan Love carved up the Bears for three scores in Week 1, but this is a bet against Baker Mayfield and the Bucs more than anything else. Mayfield took only one sack and threw zero picks last week, but you should feel confident that he'll turn back into a pumpkin soon given Tampa Bay's struggles to effectively run the ball and his history as one of the most turnover-prone quarterbacks in all of football.
Houston Texans DEF (vs IND) FD $3400: The Texans make for a solid punt option at the position, as they were able to generate consistent pressure against a former MVP in Lamar Jackson (4 sacks) and get a home date with a rookie QB in Anthony Richardson. Houston's defense more than held up their end of the bargain in Week 1, and we know rookie quarterbacks are prone to mistakes. This price is way too low.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Defense Rankings
1. Dallas Cowboys (vs NYJ)
2. San Francisco 49ers (@ LAR)
3. New Orleans Saints (@ CAR)
4. Philadelphia Eagles (vs MIN)
5. New York Giants (@ ARI)
6. Buffalo Bills (vs LV)
For our discussion on the best fantasy football breakout and sleeper candidates, listen below:
7. Cleveland Browns (@ PIT)
8. Denver Broncos (vs WAS)
9. Baltimore Ravens (@ CIN)
10. Houston Texans (vs IND)
11. Indianapolis Colts (@ HOU)
12. Chicago Bears (@ TB)
Week 2 defense rankings notes
With Aaron Rodgers out and Zach Wilson in, there's no reason to move the Cowboys off the throne after the manhandling of the Giants last Sunday night…The Rams shocked everyone by marching into Seattle and rushing for three touchdowns, but 2.3 yards per carry on the ground would suggest there are leaner days ahead against one of the league's best defenses…The Saints defense dominated Ryan Tannehill (3 interceptions, 3 sacks) and now gets a rookie QB in primetime…
Philadelphia locked up Minnesota's aerial attack in a 2022 matchup, giving up just 7 points…The Giants D won't be very playable for the four weeks after this (SF, SEA, MIA, BUF) so don't go too crazy with free agency bids, despite the juicy matchup here…Buffalo was up-and-down defensively on Monday night, but a get-right home tilt against the Raiders feels imminent…Cleveland might be ranked too low here, but some of the Week 1 performance could be attributed to Joe Burrow shaking off the rust after being sidelined for weeks…
Sam Howell took 6 sacks against a pretty bad Cardinals defense, and playing at Denver is never a cakewalk…I have my doubts that the Bengals are suddenly an offense to target for fantasy defense purposes, but Week 1 was so bad that Baltimore is firmly in play in here…Fantasy defense is more about targeting quarterbacks than anything else, and I'll take my chances against two rookies in CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson and Baker Mayfield to round out the top-12 fantasy football defense rankings for Week 2.