Week 1 Rankings (2018): Top 15 Defenses

by Ray Kuhn

At this point the information we have to go on is limited, at best. We obviously know what happened last season and in the off-season that followed. Regardless of our preseason expectations and speculation, it still doesn’t really matter until there is “actual” action on the field. So with that being said, here is how we can expect the initial rankings to shake out to start off the season with respect to team defenses:

  1. Baltimore Ravens – vs. Buffalo
  2. New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  3. Denver Broncos – vs. Seattle
  4. Detroit Lions – vs. New York Jets
  5. Los Angeles Rams – at Oakland
  6. Carolina Panthers – vs. Dallas
  7. Minnesota Vikings – vs. San Francisco
  8. Jacksonville Jaguars – at New York Giants
  9. Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Atlanta
  10. Tennessee Titans – at Miami
  11. Cincinnati Bengals – at Indianapolis
  12. Green Bay Packers – vs. Chicago
  13. Arizona Cardinals – vs. Washington
  14. Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cleveland
  15. Atlanta Falcons – at Philadelphia


  • Five interceptions in one half of action… It has been talked about often, but that is what Nathan Peterman produced in his first and only start of his rookie campaign. While the Bills obviously saw something to install him as the Week 1 starter, he is still the same quarterback we saw last season and until Peterman proves otherwise he is someone who should be targeted. With Buffalo heading on the road to Baltimore to kick off the season, the Ravens defense is in a position to pounce.
  • Entering the season New Orleans has presented themselves as a popular pick to head to the Super Bowl, and they likely will get the season off to a strong start. The Saints face Tampa Bay at home and New Orleans is in position to light up the scoreboard. With Jameis Winston currently serving his suspension, they will start the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and that won’t do them any favors. With the Saints getting out to potential early lead the Buccaneers are ill equipped to play from behind, and that should mean multiple interceptions and sacks for the New Orleans defense.
  • If you are already looking to stream a defense the Bengals are this week’s choice as they come in at 10% ownership in Yahoo leagues as of Wednesday night. They are on the road and we generally like to target home teams, but there are a few things to like about Cincinnati’s situation. The Bengals have a strong pass rush, and while the Colts did work on upgrading their offensive line this off-season it still leaves something to be desired. With Andrew Luck we are dealing with a quarterback who hasn’t had real game action in almost two years, and while the reports were generally positive this summer you still can’t replicate actual regular season game conditions. Add in the fact that the Colts don’t have much of a running game established, and conditions are strong for Cincinnati to capitalize.

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

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


Week 1 Rankings (2018): Top 15 Kickers
Week 1 Rankings (2018): Top 50 Wide Receivers


  1. Krysta says:

    14 team 1/2 PPR…I currently have New Eng…Green Bay, Cincy and Tennessee all available free agents. Thoughts?

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