2023 Early-Season Fantasy Defense Targets


We hope you enjoy this FREE article preview! In order to access our other articles and content, including livestreams, projections and rankings, stat analysis and more, be sure to sign up today. We are here to help you #ScoreMore Fantasy Points!

2023 Early-Season Fantasy Defense Targets

If your fantasy football league still plays with a defense in 2023, I hope you pay attention to the edges that can be gained from drafting the right ones. Often, I see players selecting a defense and lazily keeping them in their starting lineup all year because they simply don’t know any better. Don’t be that guy.

If you land a team like the San Francisco 49ers or Philadelphia Eagles, there’s a good chance you will roll with them all season. But for the most part, you’ll be streaming defenses based on matchups. Start your season strong with these streamable defenses and their delicious schedules to feast on.

ESPN ADP used for this exercise

New Orleans Saints

ADP 109

The Saints might be viable for the first six weeks, if not more. They open with a home game against Ryan Tannehill and the Titans, who feature a bottom-five offense line. In Week 2, they travel to Carolina to rough up the #1 overall pick, Bryce Young. New Orleans then travels to Green Bay and hosts Tampa Bay to close out their opening four games.

Getting after the quarterback hasn’t been an issue in the Big Easy. New Orleans ranked fifth in sacks a year ago. That pressure helped their defense allow just the second-fewest passing yards in the league. With Derek Carr leading the offense, we can hope for more second-half leads and this vicious front pinning their ears back to rush the QB.

Denver Broncos

ADP 204

I love the Broncos D/ST this season. Vance Joseph is back at the helm of a defense that, in 2022, picked off 15 passes and allowed the fifth-fewest touchdowns as a unit. The additions of Frank Clark and Zach Allen will bolster the defense that allowed the fourth fewest yards per play a year ago.

Denver has a fast start out of the box as they host the Las Vegas Raiders and their turnstile offensive line before welcoming Sam Howell and the Commanders to Mile High in Week 2. The road gets rocky after that as the Broncos head to Miami, but a Week 4 date with Justin Fields and the Bears could provide sacks and turnovers. I’m likely using Denver for the first few weeks and then throwing them back to the wire when their schedule tightens up.

Seattle Seahawks

ADP 205

If you want to get off to a hot start, look to the Pacific Northwest as Seattle opens with the talentless Los Angeles Rams. I’d target Seattle at home because the Rams boast an immobile quarterback behind a subpar line. Add in the 12s losing their minds in the stands, and it could get ugly early for Stafford and company.

Seattle then travels to Detroit in Week 2 for a very interesting matchup before returning home in Week 3 to host Bryce Young and the Panthers. In Week 4, they welcome Daniel Jones, who has been known to give the ball to the other team. The game is on a short week, to boot.

Jacksonville Jaguars

ADP 225

Years of high draft picks are finally paying off, as the Jaguars boast some heavy hitters on the defensive side of the ball. Josh Allen, Travon Walker, and IDP king Foyesade Oluokun (last year's top LB in LB scoring) lead the boys from Duval County into the sneaky add category. If the Jags' high-powered offense can carry them to second-half leads, I love this front getting after a shaky bunch of early-season signal callers.

Opening the season at the Indianapolis Colts could produce fantasy fireworks as rookie QB Anthony Richardson will make his first start. You’ll likely want to bench these cats in Week 2 against the Chiefs but pick them back up for dates with Houston and a London game against the Falcons. We’re always targeting bad/young quarterbacks, and three of the Jags' first four games read like a who’s who of that list.

Other teams with juicy early matchups include:

Washington Commanders vs Ari and @Den

Green Bay Packers @Chi and @Atl

Baltimore Ravens vs Hou, @Cin, vs Ind

Brian’s journey across the fantasy universe began as a writer for Fighting Chance Fantasy. He co-created his own podcast, “The Fantasy Football Hustle” which was nominated for the FSWA podcast of the year in 2022. He also hosted the PFF postgame show on SiriusXM for two years and currently hosts the "Two-Point Stance Podcast" with Joe Dolan.