Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.
You may not pay a ton of attention to which defense you're playing every week, but identifying the right matchups and capitalizing on it in your starting lineup could win you a matchup
So that's where we come in by ranking the top 20 defense/special teams units in the NFL before Week 2 games begin.
2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL D/ST RANKINGS: WEEK 2
1. Washington Football Team (vs. Giants)
After an underwhelming performance against the Chargers in Week 1, Washington's defense will surely be hungry to inflict their will on the Giants on Thursday night. New York's offense gives them a good shot at it too, boasting a terrible offensive line, turnover-prone quarterback and an unimaginative offensive scheme led by coordinator Jason Garrett.
2. Denver Broncos (vs. Jaguars)
The Jaguars may just be the worst team in the NFL this season after getting blown out by the Texans in Week 1. Meanwhile, the Broncos played well in their season opener against the Giants and appear poised to do some damage against Trevor Lawrence, who threw three interceptions in his pro debut.
3. New England Patriots (vs. Jets)
Death, taxes and Bill Belichick torturing rookie quarterbacks. Zach Wilson flashed in Week 1 despite his team's loss to Carolina, but this will not be an easy matchup for the first-year field general. The Patriots' scheme is built on causing confusion post-snap, which tends to give young quarterbacks fits. There's potential for a lot of turnovers by the New England defense in this one.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Falcons)
Arthur Smith put together one of the least inspiring game plans you'll see in Week 1 against the Eagles. Atlanta's offense started the game well by moving the ball on the ground, but once the defense made a few adjustments it was all over. The Falcons gained more yards in their first two drives against the Eagles than they did the rest of that game combined.
5. Cleveland Browns (vs. Texans)
The Texans' season-opening win over the Jaguars felt more like an indictment on Jacksonville than anything else, so it's probably a good bet to start the Browns this week. Tyrod Taylor is a solid veteran who can stabilize an offense, but there's a reason he hasn't been a starter for more than three years at a time. If Cleveland can control time of possession with their run game, it'll be hard for Houston to put up points.
6. Los Angeles Rams (vs. Colts)
The Rams delivered in Week 1 as a top fantasy defense against the lowly Bears, and they'll have a chance to deliver once again. However, Carson Wentz and the Indy offense is much more formidable than Chicago's, especially considering they'll be searching for their first win of the season.
7. Green Bay Packers (vs. Lions)
After getting dominated by Jameis Winston and the Saints last week, the Packers need to bounce back in a big way on both sides of the ball. The Lions scored a lot of points last week, but most of them came in a last-ditch second-half comeback after the 49ers pulled their foot off the gas.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Raiders)
The Steelers did as good a job as you'd hope for against Josh Allen and the Bills, helping them get out to a 1-0 start on the season. The Raiders won't be an easy matchup either, but they'll seem that way coming off the heels of a matchup with Buffalo.
9. San Francisco 49ers (vs. Eagles)
Are the Eagles actually good or are the Falcons just that bad? That's the question surrounding this Eagles team in Week 2 after a dominant 32-6 win over Atlanta in Week 1. The 49ers have a much better defensive line than the Falcons, which should make it much harder to run the ball and will likely put Jalen Hurts under more pressure in the pocket. If the Eagles are for real, they'll put up some points here, but if not you're going to wish you started San Francisco this week.
10. New Orleans Saints (vs. Panthers)
The Saints are riding high following their blowout of the Packers in Week 1 and will go from slowing down Aaron Rodgers to trying to stifle Sam Darnold. If you believe in this defense, starting them against Carolina is an easy choice.
11. Buffalo Bills (vs. Dolphins)
12. New York Giants (vs. Washington)
13. Carolina Panthers (vs. Saints)
14. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. 49ers)
15. Baltimore Ravens (vs. Chiefs)
16. Miami Dolphins (vs. Bills)
17. Chicago Bears (vs. Bengals)
18. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Bears)
19. New York Jets (vs. Patriots)
20. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Cowboys)