Seven weeks of NFL play are officially in the books, which means bye weeks are in full swing. Gone are the days where you could just coast by on a strong draft. Now more than ever, you’ll need to search the waiver wire for the best available defense streams. Heading into Week 8, you should set your eyes on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Note that in order to make this list, the defense had to be available in over 50% of fantasy leagues. If you’re in smaller leagues, there may be better players available. Make sure to check your waivers to see if there are any diamonds in the rough before submitting your claims.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers Highlight Fantasy Football Week 8 Waiver Wire Defense Streams
Top Waiver Wire Defense Stream: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a great defense, but some fantasy owners dropped the unit in the bye week. Now is the time to capitalize on that mistake, as the Steelers face off against the Miami Dolphins next week. The Dolphins played surprisingly well by their standards against the Buffalo Bills, but that was probably a one-week fluke.
This is still one of the most talent-poor offenses in the league, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen are two of the most error-prone quarterbacks in football. Based on everything we’ve seen to this point, there’s every reason to believe the Dolphins will regress to what they were through the first six weeks of the season. The Steelers should accumulate sacks and grab an interception or two before the game is over.
The Carolina Panthers have a genuinely good defense and a favorable matchup. The Panthers entered Week 7 as the second-best fantasy football defense and had two weeks to prepare for the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are obviously one of the best teams in the league, but it’s not because of their offense.
Jimmy Garoppolo simply cannot recapture his 2017 form. The former second-round pick looked bad in 2018 and followed it up with an underwhelming 2019. Last week, the quarterback completed just 12 of his 21 pass attempts for 151 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. This game should be a low-scoring affair, which bodes well for fantasy defenses.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nobody wants to start the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, but they’re a viable option as a matchup-based play. The Buccaneers face off against a Tennessee Titans team which desperately wants to run the ball and minimize Ryan Tannehill’s impact on the game. The Buccaneers have a fantastic run defense which should take Derrick Henry out of the game.
This biggest gamble here is what happens with the passing game. If Tennessee is smart, they’ll start throwing on early downs to take advantage of Tampa’s subpar secondary. However, all evidence to this point suggests that the Titans coaching staff isn’t very smart. Tennessee will probably stubbornly run the ball into stacked fronts on first and second down before airing it out on third and long. The Buccaneers should have opportunities to rack up sacks and maybe snag an interception.
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