Aaron Donald - Fantasy Football Rankings, IDP Draft Sleepers, Defense (DST)

Week 2 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts – 2022 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Welcome back RotoBallers, it’s that time again! The NFL season is here, and so are fantasy football defense streamers. We are back for yet another season of action, and once again I’ll be bringing you my weekly fantasy football DST rankings and tiers to help you make the right picks.

Last season was my second one covering the streaming defenses article each week, and it went better than I could have ever imagined. This weekly series ended up winning an FSWA award for Best Ongoing Fantasy Football Article, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to read it all season long and reached out with kind words. I know I might not get it right every single week, but I hope the discussion and process help everybody make decisions that help them win each week.

Last year I introduced my Best Overall Defense (BOD) rankings formula, and I’ll be using it again this year. I’ll give a quick overview of the formula below, followed by my general strategy for streaming defenses, and then my Week 2 fantasy football defense (DST) rankings. Good luck in Week 2 everyone!

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What is the BOD Ranking Formula?

The BOD (Best Overall Defense) formula takes into account my favorite stats for picking the right defenses (both positive and negative) and weighs them in a formula that you can view here. I tweaked the formula as the season went on last year, and I feel like it gives us a pretty good indicator of who has the best defenses for fantasy purposesIf you don’t want to click that link, the formula is:

(Pressure Rate x 2) + (Sacks) + (QB Hurry Rate) + (Pass Break-Ups) + (%Drives ending in a Turnover x 2)


(Missed Tackles)+ (% Drives ending in a Score x 2) + (Yards per play)

It’s important to clarify that the BOD rankings ARE NOT to be treated as weekly rankings. BOD is meant to tell us who the best fantasy defenses are, but depending on the matchup, they might be ranked differently in a given week. That’s why we have this column where I will be breaking down my rankings for each week and an explanation of why I have the defenses ranked the way I do. The rankings will take into account their BOD ranking, opponent, injuries, weather, etc., but I hope my explanation will help make sense of each ranking.

Since this is Week 2, I encourage people not to use the BOD rankings too heavily because the stats have clearly not stabilized yet. Also, make sure to always check the link to my updated rankings as the week goes on. When we get injury news (like with Najee Harris or JK Dobbins) or troubling weather information, I will update the rankings accordingly.


Picking The Right Defenses To Pickup and Start

Just a quick recap of my general philosophy and what we discussed at length last year: when choosing a defense, you want to look for defenses that get consistent pressure and takeaways. Sacks and turnovers are more valuable for fantasy defense than preventing yardage and even, to a certain extent, preventing points. If a defense allows a stingy yards-per-play number, that’s great and I’ll cite some of those numbers below. However, they better also be able to get into the backfield or force turnovers or else it won’t really matter in the long run.

Essentially, we need to move away from points against as being the most important factor in choosing a fantasy defense. In 2021, NFL offenses gained 343.6 yards per game and scored 23.0 points per game. While that’s down from the 24.8 scored in 2020 (most likely because of the deep safety defenses), it’s still the third-most in the Super Bowl era.

With offenses putting up video game numbers, it means that we can’t continue to judge a defense solely by the number of points they allow or the number of yards they give up. Those numbers will naturally be higher than we’re used to. Instead, we need to look for which offensive lines are truly weak points and which defenses will either be blitz-heavy or get consistent pressure with their pass rush. These are all incredibly important pieces of information in determining which defenses to play in any given week.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so remember to check back here during the week as I will make updates once we get more information on some of these injuries and also get a better sense of the weather for the game.

Season Record

4-6 correctly predicting top-10 defenses

I want to track how correctly I pick the top-10 this year, so I’ll keep track below using FantasyPros total points. If anybody has other suggestions, let me know.



Week 2 Defenses To Start and Stream: Tiered Rankings

Confidence Ratings (out of 15) – Since every league’s DST scoring is different, projections don’t always make a ton of sense. The confidence rating is a guideline for how much more I like one team over another instead of just a point projection. This is the best way to see just how much I like one team over another. Not all one or two spot differences are the same.

A zero means “do not start,” and then the confidence rises from there. Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues.


Yes, I know the Rams didn’t deliver against the Bills on Thursday night, but I’m not afraid to go back to the well here. The Rams turned the Bills over four times and sacked Josh Allen twice. The Bills just had a perfect game plan to use quick-hitting passes to offset the pressure of Aaron Donald and company. Plus, Stefon Diggs absolutely torched Jalen Ramsey. I don’t think the Falcons have the firepower to do anything close to that, so I’m happy to roll with the Rams this week.

Am I sure the Bills can repeat what they did last week? No, but I’m damn sure not betting against them. They sacked Matthew Stafford seven times and hit him 15 times, and DIDN’T BLITZ ONCE THE WHOLE GAME. Their defensive line absolutely came to play, and if they can contain Derrick Henry the way they contained the Rams’ running game, it could be a long day for Ryan Tannehill.

It might be Joe Flacco at quarterback for the Jets or it might be Mike White, but either way, it won’t be pretty. The Jets have some offensive line issues, and this Browns defense recorded four sacks against the Panthers, so I think they can get after whoever is at quarterback for the Jets. New York has young pieces that are intriguing, but I don’t think they’re ready now.

The 49ers slide into tier one, but I was really not impressed by their performance against the Bears. In the rain against a terrible offensive line, this defense should have been way better. They allowed only 3.6 yards per play, but they registered only two sacks and one turnover. It was a pretty ho-hum effort, and the Seahawks might not be much worse of a team than the Bears are. I’m going to give them a one-week pass for the weather, but this is not a slam dunk to me.


You could conceivably put the Bengals higher. The Cowboys looked bad before Dak Prescott got hurt. Their offensive line is beat up, and they miss Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. I feel pretty confident that Cooper Rush is not the answer, but I also know that CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliot, Tony Pollard, and Dalton Schultz are good players, and the Cowboys might be able to scheme ways to get them the ball in space. A conservative game plan may lead to a low point total but also few turnovers and sacks, which would limit the Bengals’ ceiling.

The Patriots are a bad offense, but I think they remain a pretty solid defense. They struggled a bit against Miami, but this Pittsburgh offense is not the Dolphins, especially with Najee Harris banged up. Harris claims he’s going to try and play, but this ranking is under the assumption that he doesn’t. I think Pittsburgh will want to make sure their star is 100% this early in the season before rushing him out there, which leaves the Steelers with a game plan that will need to rest heavily on the shoulders of Mitchell Trubisky. While he didn’t look bad in Week 1, I think the Patriots will coax some mistakes out of him.

The Bucs’ defense looked really good on Sunday night. I know the Cowboys were not 100%, but the Bucs have had a strong defense for a while now. Remember that Dak Prescott played basically this whole game, and the Bucs had four sacks and seven tackles for a loss. The Saints came back to win against Atlanta, but they should have controlled that game easily. Jameis Winston is always liable to make a mistake or two, and the Falcons registered four sacks despite having a way worse pass rush than the Bucs, so I think Tampa Bay will definitely bring some consistent pressure.

The Jaguars offense struggled to get a lot going against the Commanders’ defense, and I think this Colts defense is better. They had three sacks and five tackles for a loss against the Texans, and I was not impressed by the Jaguars’ offense in Week 1. I don’t believe the Colts have a pass rush to really rack up a massive fantasy point total, but I like them in this range for their safe floor.

The Broncos let me down on Monday night. Bradley Chubb provided their only defensive pressure, and they made Geno Smith look like a serviceable quarterback for much of the game. I think this Houston team is better than people give them credit for, so I’m not ready to move the Broncos really far up my rankings. They could lose this game and it would not surprise me one bit. However, I also don’t think Houston is capable of a massive offensive output, so this could just be a low-scoring, ugly game, which gives the Broncos a safe floor.


The majority of these teams are good defenses in not-so-great matchups or fine defenses in good matchups. Given that it’s Week 2 and we’re guessing a little bit, I think you can make an argument that any of these defenses are startable in 12-team leagues.

The Packers were so uninspiring in Week 1. I just can’t see how this team is a playoff team. However, I also think they were playing the best team in their division, the Vikings, so I’m trying not to be too hard on this defense, which I think is pretty good. However, anytime you get just one sack and zero turnovers, it should raise some eyebrows. As we discussed above, the Bears’ offense isn’t great, and their offensive line is a concern, so the Packers remain a solid play in 12-team leagues despite their poor Week 1 showing.

I want to rank the Steelers so much higher because this Patriots offense is bad, but losing T.J. Watt is a major blow. Yet, the rest of the Steelers’ defense is still good enough to keep them playable in this matchup. The Patriots’ offense under the guidance of former defensive coach Matt Patricia just looked lost. Mac Jones got hit often enough that he also needed x-rays on his back after the game. None of that inspires any confidence that this team can put up many points against a solid Steelers defense that would be a top-five play this week if Watt was healthy.

The Ravens and Dolphins both have good defenses, but they are sadly both playing solid offenses as well. I wouldn’t want to cut either of these teams, but I don’t love the matchup for either defense here. There are real playmakers to worry about in Lamar Jackson, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Mark Andrews, and more. Just cross your fingers and hope with these units this week.

The Cowboys make this tier because they are a solid defense, and the Bengals turned the ball over five times last week. However, I don’t expect the Bengals to do that again, and I think this Cowboys defense could be on the field a lot with Cooper Rush leading the offense. That doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in their ability to slow down a Bengals offense filled with strong contributors, even if Tee Higgins misses with a concussion.


The Jets weren’t that bad in Week 1 against a solid Ravens offense and deserve some deep league consideration. The Saints and Titans also possess solid defenses but just have really tough matchups this week, and the Colts offensive line could be a real problem for them this year.


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