Intro: In this 'pairing' series, we'll take a quick look at the top defensive units (talent-wise, per me) and try to find their best 'pairing' match schedule-wise for 2023. We have to consider pairings at DST right off the bat because there are no shutdown defenses and there are so many good offenses now, it's hard to find any one DST that has a great schedule run on its own -- but combining two DSTs that have schedule's that complement each other might just get us by with an advantage at the position.


The Patriots-DST was the #1 FF scoring DST last season, and no matter what the offense is up to or no matter what's happening in the win-loss category…Belichick's defenses always seem to find a way to be nice FF producers. And going into the summer of 2023, the Patriots-DST is a top 5 ADP DST…the public loves them with good reason. And the Patriots defensive personnel is getting better, not worse, in 2023 with Christian Gonzalez added to a secondary that needed a shutdown CB. I like the NE defensive unit for 2023, in general.

However, there's a problem right off the bat…

No DST has a worse 1-2 punch starting schedule than the Patriots-DST. Philly then Miami Weeks 1-2. Not good. Their next 4 games are more favorable before they run into another 1-2 punch in Weeks 7-8 with BUF-MIA. A Week 11 BYE kicks off an every other week/matchup issue for NE-DST the rest of the season…Week 13/LAC, Week 15/KC, Week 17/BUF.

If you're wanting a DST to pair with NE for Best Ball or bigger roster redraft, our computer says there is no one defense that has a perfect schedule match, but it likes Washington-DST the most of all the options.

When NE has the Weeks 1-2 punch, WSH has ARI-DEN.

When NE hits the Weeks 7-8 issue, WSH has NYG and PHI…and the PHI part is not good. You got not-great options with either DST for Week 8.

When NE goes into the Week 11 BYE and the Weeks 13, 15, 17 every other week problem…WSH has NYG to cover the BYE and then MIA-LAR-SF in the Weeks 13, 15, 17 rough patch. Not great Weeks 13 and 17, on paper…but WSH is helping earlier weeks better than most DSTs to pair.

WSH comes up as a top hit pairing, but the runners up DSTs aren't bad either for a pairing (by comparison) -- Seattle and Denver scratch a lot of NE itches as well, with a few non-help weeks when NE needs it…but no DST pairing is perfect for NE in 2023. Good defense…choppy/weird schedule.