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Week 7 Fantasy Protection Rankings: Sleepers, busts, waiver-wire D/ST streamers to focus on

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The byes aren’t kind to our Week 7 fantasy defense rankings. The season has already been skewed heavily in favor of offenses due to the lack of a preseason, and now the top two fantasy D/STs, the Colts and Ravens, are idle. Additionally, the surging Dolphins defense will be on bye along with Minnesota’s, which also means mistake-prone QBs Philip Rivers, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Kirk Cousins are off, with further weakens the potential for sleepers. Because of this, plenty of fantasy football owners are going to be looking for waiver-wire streamers this week.

The Bills (@ Jets) top this week’s D/ST rankings, and while they are already owned in many fantasy leagues (67 percent of Yahoo leagues), be sure to check to see if they’re available. An owner may have dropped the Bills because they’re playing the Chiefs in Week 6, but with a significantly better matchup on deck and the return of their top two defensive players, Tre’Davious White and Matt Milano, look for them to have a big week.

WEEK 7 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker

If the Bills are unavailable, the Chargers are a solid option. Coming off a bye, they get to take on the Jaguars at home. Gardner Minshew doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, but the Chargers should be able to get pressure on him. If they can get either DE Melvin Ingram or CB Chris Harris back, their defense will look a lot stronger as they try to limit the Jaguars’ offense.

WEEK 7 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker

The Browns also could be a good play this week. They are taking on the Bengals, and Joe Burrow has proven to have some issues against stronger defenses like the Ravens and Colts. The takeaway-happy Browns do have a weakness at safety, but they have enough on their defensive line to pressure Burrow, who has been the most frequently sacked quarterback in the NFL. 

If you need to dig deeper for streamers, look at all four NFC East teams, who are playing each other this week (Giants-Eagles, Cowboys-Washington). That division has proven to be the weakest in football this year, and one of the main reasons for this is the poor offensive line play, as well as turnover-prone quarterbacks. None of the teams block well up front, so these defenses can all be started against one another. The Eagles (vs. Giants) are probably the best of the bunch, as they’re playing on a short week at home against Daniel Jones, who has been especially prone to sacks and turnovers behind his terrible O-Line.

NOTE: Check back for updates and analysis throughout the week.

Week 7 Fantasy Defense Rankings

Rank Team
1 Buffalo Bills @ Jets. After being shut out by the Dolphins in Week 6, the Jets are now averaging a pitiful 12.5 points per game, the fewest in the league. They are also a bottom-three team in terms of total yardage. The Bills are getting healthier with Tre’Davious White and Matt Milano back, so they should be able to clamp down on the Bills, especially if Joe Flacco is still starting at quarterback for the Jets.
2 Los Angeles Rams vs. Bears. The Bears may be 5-1, but they have scored the sixth-fewest points per game this season (21.3) and have the fifth-fewest yards per game. The Rams just got run over by the 49ers, but that was more of a failure on the offensive side of the ball than anything else. If Aaron Donald can get some pressure on Nick Foles, the Rams should be in good shape considering that Foles has turned the ball over once in every game he has played this season and doesn’t escape from pressure very well.
3 New England Patriots vs. 49ers. The 49ers have allowed 7.2 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to opposing defenses so far this season. That’s tied for the eighth-most in the NFL. Jimmy Garoppolo still isn’t fully healthy and the 49ers could be without Raheem Mostert (ankle) against the Patriots in Week 7. If Mostert can’t play, the Patriots have the personnel needed to shut down the 49ers’ receiving game and limit them on the ground. The Patriots have allowed the ninth-fewest yards to opponents this year (339 per game) and are allowing just 22 points per game to boot. They should be a solid play, especially as they look to bounce back off a loss.
4 Philadelphia Eagles vs. Giants. So far this season, no team is allowing more FPPG to defenses than the Giants (10.4). Daniel Jones has just one TD since Week 1 and that came against the lowly Washington Football Team last week. The Eagles are averaging 3.5 sacks per game, good for the fourth-most in the NFL, and should have a high floor as they will be able to pressure Jones into mistakes, especially on a short week with the Eagles at home. 
5 Los Angeles Chargers vs. Jaguars. Over their last four games, the Jaguars have only averaged 17 points per game and Gardner Minshew has been sacked 11 times with three interceptions during that span. Minshew doesn’t make a lot of mistakes which will cap the ceiling of the Chargers’ defense, but they are coming off a bye and could see Joey Bosa get healthier while Melvin Ingram and Chris Harris are both eligible to return from IR. That doesn’t mean they will but if they do, the Chargers could be a sneaky-good top play given how well they played early in the season with their defense mostly healthy (19 points per game allowed through the first three games of the season).
6 Cleveland Browns @ Bengals. After punching the Colts in the mouth in the first half of their Week 7 game, the Bengals scored just three points after halftime and Joe Burrow was sacked twice and threw a pick against Indy. The Bengals have had issues keeping pace with the better teams on their schedule, and that’s part of the reason that they’re allowing 10.2 FPPG to defenses, good for the third-most in the league. The Browns are allowing the third-most points per game this season (31.2) but they should be better in an easier matchup and are a solid streamer this week against a Bengals offense that scores just 21.5 points per game.
7 Kansas City Chiefs @ Broncos
8 Chicago Bears @ Rams
9 Dallas Cowboys @ Washington
10 San Francisco 49ers @ Patriots
11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Raiders
12 Pittsburgh Steelers @ Titans
13 Washington Football Team vs. Cowboys
14 New York Giants @ Eagles
15 Green Bay Packers @ Texans
16 Jacksonville Jaguars @ Chargers
17 New Orleans Saints vs. Panthers
18 Tennessee Titans vs. Steelers
19 Seattle Seahawks @ Cardinals
20 Carolina Panthers @ Saints
21 Arizona Cardinals vs. Seahawks
22 Cincinnati Bengals vs. Browns
23 Las Vegas Raiders vs. Buccaneers
24 Atlanta Falcons vs. Lions
25 Houston Texans vs. Packers
26 Detroit Lions @ Falcons
27 New York Jets vs. Bills
28 Denver Broncos vs. Chiefs
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Steven Gregory