Let’s revisit the color-coding system before we start:
Red – For a second-tier D/ST, this is
generally a bad option to start that week (high-powered offense,
low-turnover offense or both). For elite D/STs, expect them to
struggle to create sacks/turnovers.
Yellow – For a second-tier D/ST, this
is a questionable start at best. For the elite D/STs, expect average
White – This one can go either way, but
I favor the D/ST over the matchup. For the elite D/STs, expect
Green – For non-elite D/STs, the stage
is set for a productive day. For the elite D/ST, this matchup
is about as good as it gets.
“SD” refers to schedule difficulty. (The bigger the
number, the more favorable the schedule.) In short, here is how
I scored each matchup:
Green - two points White - one point Yellow – minus-1 Red – minus-2
As you can tell, the defenses were not ranked based entirely
on schedule difficulty, but it was the primary factor after I
completed my matchup analysis - which takes into account a host
of variables, including each defense's aggressiveness and the
offense's propensity for allowing sacks and committing turnovers.
The first four defenses should not need to be streamed very often,
if at all. The Browns boast a ton of talent on defense now, although
I'm not overly confident DC Joe Woods is the man to make it all
work. The 49ers should be significantly better this year with better
injury luck, although they will miss Richard Sherman. While new
Rams DC Raheem Morris is a proven defensive coach, it is always
a bit scary when a new guy comes into a situation and hopes to keep
the defense of his predecessor intact - those are rarely seamless
transitions. The Dolphins and Steelers are aggressive enough to
pay off some weeks, but they should not be expected to be the consistent
forces they were at times in 2021.
Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured
in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He
is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst
on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM's
"Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy
Sports Writers Association.