Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 3
You know it was a bad week for injuries when even fantasy DEFs were affected. The 49ers, an early front-runner for DEF1, lost Nick Bosa for the year and enough other key guys that it will be harder to trust them moving forward. That was by far the biggest loss but there were plenty of other defenses that lost important players around the league. The week itself went pretty well for fantasy DEF, as we saw three defensive TDs and many multi-turnover games. Let’s look at who did the best in Week 2 and who survived well enough to make this list next week.
Week 2 Top Performances
Baltimore Ravens @ HOU
The Ravens defense has looked tough for two weeks in a row and Houston really could have used a stud WR1 in this game. Baltimore was all over Deshaun Watson this entire game, hitting him 13 times while registering four sacks. They came away with two takeaways, an interception and fumble recovery, plus took the fumble back for a defensive TD. They only allowed Houston to score 16 points and finished atop the fantasy DEF rankings in Week 2.
Week 3 Matchup: vs KC
Yes, the Chargers held their own against the Chiefs last week, you still don’t start fantasy defenses vs KC. This will be one of the highest-scoring games this week and you want all of the offense, none of the defense. Don’t cut Baltimore, there are better days ahead, just don’t play them in Week 3.
Indianapolis Colts vs MIN
The Colts took advantage of their own strong running game and a Minnesota offense that can’t stop tripping over themselves. They sacked Kirk Cousins three times and picked him off another three. One of those sacks was a safety, one of only three we’ve seen thus far this season. Those stats and only 11 points allowed put the Colts DEF in a tie for 1st place with the Ravens.
Week 3 Matchup: vs NYJ
When you have a top-3 DEF/ST from the previous week playing a team that gives up the 8th most fantasy points to DEF/ST…fire them up! Indy is available in 57% of fantasy leagues and was a serious consideration for my Stream of the Week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs CAR
All the hype this offseason surrounded the Buccaneers offense but their defense is not something to be ignored. Granted, the Panthers are not great, especially with CMC hurt, but Tampa Bay played a great game. Carolina scored 17 points but they gave up two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. The Bucs sacked Teddy Bridgewater five times in the game and ended the week as the #3 fantasy defense.
Week 3 Starts
Pittsburgh Steelers @ HOU
This Pittsburgh DEF/ST is just so good, especially against the run and that is just about all Houston has right now. With Will Fuller hurt already, Deshaun Watson will be running for his life against the team that led the NFL in sacks and QB hits in Week 2.
Tennessee Titans @ MIN
The Vikings offense does not look good and has given up the 4th most points to fantasy DEF so far in 2020. Cousins is not protecting the ball and his OL is not protecting him, allowing five total sacks in the first two games. This should be a low-scoring game, as both teams like to run the ball, and the Titans DEF feels like a safe pick for top-10 in Week 3.
San Francisco 49ers: @ NYG
This is the sketchiest “Start” recommendation I have to give this week. The Giants aren’t great but the 49ers DEF is hurting and didn’t have a great week in this same stadium against the Jets last week. My fingers are crossed that San Francisco doesn’t make me look foolish here.
Stream of the Week
Los Angeles Chargers vs CAR
The Chargers offense has been all over the place but their defense has looked pretty good. They just held Kansas City to 23 points scored and will have one of the easiest matchups of Week 3 when Carolina comes to town sans Christian McCaffrey. Carolina just gave up a top-3 week to Tampa Bay in Week 2 and the Chargers are available in 69% of Yahoo leagues.
Other Options: Colts, Browns, Cardinals, Washington, Jaguars
Week 3 Sits
Chicago Bears: @ ATL
The Bears had a solid Week 2 but Atlanta’s offense is far better than NYG. The Falcons have scored 25+ in each of their first two games and have too many weapons for Chicago to contend with in Week 3.
Kansas City Chiefs: @ BAL
As mentioned above, this is likely to be the highest-scoring game this week and you want no part of that when it comes to fantasy D/ST. As of this writing, Kansas City is rostered in 90% of Yahoo leagues…do not start them.
New Orleans Saints: vs GB
The Saints got all they could handle from the Raiders last week and Aaron Rodgers has looked solid. Even without Davante Adams, if he misses the game, this is not an offense to be trifled with in fantasy football.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
*All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Rank vs Pass/Run based on yards allowed.