The Washington defense struggled with the Baltimore first-team offense on Saturday, allowing Joe Flacco to throw for 137 yards and touchdown with a 122.9 passer rating.
Washington did come out on top in this contest by a score of 31-13, but the first-team issues are concerning for a team that struggled against the pass in 2014. New offensive coordinator Joe Barry’s defense should be shelved in fantasy leagues and will have a tough time handling the offenses of the NFC East.
The Titans first-team defense gave up 17 points to the Kansas City offense over their first three possessions on Saturday.
The Titans allowed Alex Smith to connect with his two favorite targets as both Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce hauled in touchdown catches early in the game. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said, "We knew it would be tough coming in here and I think we just made too many mistakes early." The Titans D/ST can be avoided in fantasy drafts and despite facing a rookie quarterback in Jameis Winston, will not be recommended for use in Week 1 as the Titans travel to Tampa Bay.
Saints CB Brandon Browner will likely miss Sunday’s game against Houston, giving fellow CB Delvin Breaux a chance to start.
Breaux has turned in a solid offseason and will get a chance to shine on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as the Saints host the Houston Texans. The New Orleans D/ST had a rough 2014 season, but defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will look to turn things around in his third season as the leader of the Saints defense. The Saints D/ST can be safely ignored in fantasy drafts and also draws a rough Week 1 matchup on the road against Arizona.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recorded just one sack and zero turnovers on Saturday as they fell to the Cleveland Browns 31-7.
Despite the poor showing, the Bucs D/ST should be in the forefront of the minds of fantasy defense streamers, as Tampa Bay will host the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of the regular season. The Titans allowed the sixth most sacks among NFL teams in 2014 and will be handing their offense to rookie Marcus Mariota, who may provide a reasonable streaming target as the regular season gets underway.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted big plays as an issue for the Steelers defense after Pittsburgh fell to Buffalo 43-19 in Week 3 of the preseason.
Safety Will Allen told the Post-Gazette, "You better be concerned about it, especially when it’s happening to the first-team defense, or any defense that’s out there." Buffalo started the big play fireworks with bursts from running back Fred Jackson and tight end Charles Clay on their way to a blowout win. The Pittsburgh defense will not be worthy of starting in Week 1 of the regular season as the Steelers travel to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots, despite the absence of Tom Brady.
The St. Louis defense held the Indianapolis Colts to 28 rushing yards on 15 first half carries on Saturday.
It is definitely worth noting that Frank Gore was watching this game from the sidelines, but the effort was still solid from the Rams defense. St. Louis will need a similar showing from its defensive line in Week 1 of the regular season as Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks will visit the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams D/ST is currently being drafted fourth among fantasy defenses and should be a solid group in 2015.
The Chargers defense kept the Seattle Seahawks offense out of the endzone on Saturday in a 16-15 loss.
The 16 points from Seattle came courtesy of three Steven Hauschka field goals and a Tyler Lockett punt return. The San Diego defense was formidable in yardage statistics in 2014 but struggled to record enough sacks and turnovers to be a weekly fantasy option. The Chargers are currently outside of the top-20 drafted fantasy D/ST units and begin the regular season with a tough Week 1 test against the Detroit Lions.
The Patriots defense held the Carolina Panthers offense to just 129 yards of total offense on Saturday.
The New England defense also allowed Carolina to convert just three of nine third-down attempts in the game. The Boston Globe noted the defense of the Patriots as one of their five post-game takeaways and the performance is encouraging for fantasy owners who are eyeballing the New England D/ST as the ninth defense selected in drafts.