Week 1 Rankings (2016): Top 15 Defenses

by Ray Kuhn

Entering this season, we have our thoughts as to what teams will be good and which will be bad. That goes for both offenses and defenses, and it is likely at least one (and probably more) of those assumptions will be disproved this week. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the initial ranks for this week:

  1. Los Angeles Rams – at San Francisco
  2. Houston Texans – vs. Chicago
  3. Seattle Seahawks – vs. Miami
  4. Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Cleveland
  5. Minnesota Vikings – at Tennessee
  6. Arizona Cardinals – vs. New England
  7. New York Jets – vs. Cincinnati
  8. Carolina Panthers – at Denver
  9. Buffalo Bills – at Baltimore
  10. Denver Broncos – vs. Carolina
  11. Pittsburgh Steelers – at Washington
  12. Kansas City Chiefs – vs. San Diego
  13. Cincinnati Bengals – at New York Jets
  14. Tennessee Titans – vs. Minnesota
  15. New York Giants – at Dallas


  • Carlos Hyde just exited the concussion protocol, Bruce Ellington is out for the season and Blaine Gabbert is the starting quarterback. Let’s a take a minute for all that sink in. Yes, the esteemed Chip Kelly is guiding San Francisco’s offense, but still it is Gabbert under center on a team lacking much offensive firepower. Last season, the 49ers allowed 53 sacks and Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald and the rest of St. Louis’ line should have no problem getting to Gabbert. Last season the Rams ranked 11th in fantasy scoring per ESPN, and you have to like the way they get to start the season.
  • There is no disputing the skill level and performance of Kansas City’s defense. Last season they averaged the second most points, and they didn’t lose any from that unit. However, Eric Berry did hold out for most of the summer and Justin Houston is on the PUP list. San Diego’s offensive line figures to improve from last season, Marvin Gordon should be better and Philip Rivers can’t be discounted. For the season the Chiefs are still a top defensive option, but there are better options this week.
  • J.J. Watt is back, Jadeveon Clowney seems to be healthy and the Texans were 7th in points allowed last season (19.6) and fifth in sacks (45). We know that Jay Cutler likes to throw interceptions, and Matt Forte isn’t around anymore to provide a safety net for the offense. If Houston’s offensive weapons perform as expected, the Bears will likely be playing from behind and therefore there will be plenty of chances for the Texans to capitalize on Cutler’s mistakes.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings:

Week 1 Rankings (2016): Top 15 Kickers
Week 1 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs


  1. William Ketteman says:

    Right now I have KC as my D/ST and Tyrod & Fitzpatrick as my QBs. I have one roster spot to play with & can’t decide whether to add NYJ (stashing KC) and living with my terrible QBs this week, or dropping KC for NYJ so I can add Garoppolo as a short term QB solution. I guess my question is whether KC is worth stashing or should I just stream D/ST for the rest of the season.

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