Fantasy Football: Week 2 DEF/ST Recap

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Week 2 was an interesting and low scoring week for fantasy defenses. Our top scorers would have barely cracked the top 10 in Week 1. Part of the problem was the teams with “gimme” matchups really seemed to underperform (Looking at you, Houston!)  One thing is very clear: if you want to rush the QB, and your name isn’t Jon Gruden, you want Khalil Mack on your team. Mack has made the Chicago Bears a DEF/ST to own in fantasy football and Week 3 should be a repeat of the first 2 weeks. All in all, the matchups in Week 3 should lend themselves to much more fantasy-friendly performances but before we dig into those, let’s see who shined in Week 2.

Week 2 Top Performances

Chicago Bears: vs Seattle Seahawks
Another week, another episode of the Khalil Mack show.  The biggest question everyone will be asking after this season is how in the world did the Raiders let this guy go? Seattle’s offense wasn’t able to get anything going until late as both of their TDs came in the 4th quarter. The Bears scored the lone DEF/ST TD of Week 3 and they tied for the league lead in sacks. Add in their 2 takeaways and you have Week 3’s top DEF/ST.

Week 3 Matchup: @ Arizona Cardinals
Khalil Mack is plainly and simply a force to be reckoned with…and Arizona has no one ready to do any reckoning. Unsurprisingly, the Bears lead the NFL in sacks and this Arizona offense looks terrible. That should mean another big game for the Bears DEF/ST. Somehow, the Bears are only owned in 58% of ESPN leagues so go put your waiver claim in right now!

Miami Dolphins: @ New York Jets
Well, I expected one of these defenses to be near the top for Week 2, I just thought it would have been the Jets after their great Week 1 performance. Instead, Miami took care of business and harassed rookie QB, Sam Darnold, all game long. The Dolphins finished with 3 sacks and 3 takeaways while only allowing the Jets 12 points.

Week 3 Matchup: vs Oakland Raiders
Oakland’s offense is still missing a spark, even after an efficient Week 2 loss to Denver. If you rostered Miami in Week 2 and there are no better teams available on waivers (see below), the Dolphins should be a decent stream (less than 20% ownership) in Week 3 at home.

Los Angeles Rams: vs Arizona Cardinals
The week’s lone shutout came via the Rams. Arizona’s offense looks like one of the worst in the league despite the return of David Johnson. Los Angeles only managed 1 sack and one takeaway but zero points allowed is still a benchmark for DEF/ST and it was enough to propel the Rams towards the top of the fantasy rankings.

Week 3 Matchup: vs Los Angeles Chargers
Look, you’re not benching the Rams but don’t expect a top-5 performance again in Week 3. They only have 2 sacks in 2 games and the Chargers offense looks fantastic. If you can roster another defense without cutting the Rams, that would be my recommendation.

Week 3 Starts

Jacksonville Jaguars: vs Tennessee Titans
Minnesota Vikings: @ Buffalo Bills
Two absolute stud DEF/ST going against offenses that are the absolute opposite of studs. Tennessee isn’t quite as bad as Buffalo but they are very injured and the Bills are so bad their players are quitting at halftime. If you own either the Jags or Vikings, congrats on your enormous Week 3 success.

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Seattle Seahawks: vs Dallas Cowboys
The loss of 3/4 of the Legion of Boom has really destroyed the legend and ownership % of the Seattle DEF/ST. But Seattle has played surprisingly well this season and the Dallas offense has not. Seattle should be able to register more than a few sacks in this one and Tyler Lockett seems primed for a return TD.

Houston Texans: vs New York Giants
Apparently, it’s a week of me telling you to start big-name defenses. After 2 shoddy weeks, your confidence may be waning in the Texans, they may even be available on your waiver wire, but the Giants offense essentially consists of dump offs to Saquon Barkley and underneath routes to Odell Beckham. The Texans should be able to get after Eli Manning and keep the score low in this one.

Stream of the Week

Cleveland Browns: vs New York Jets
The Browns defense is coming off of a more than respectable performance against the high powered New Orleans offense and has actually been in the top 12 in each of the first 2 weeks. They are owned in less than 10% of leagues on both Yahoo and ESPN. The Jets just gave up a top-3 performance to the Dolphins defense. The Saints are better than the Jets and the Browns are better than the Dolphins, you do the math.

Week 3 Sits

Philadelphia Eagles: vs Indianapolis Colts
The Eagles just got torched by Ryan Fitzpatrick and they haven’t finished in the top-12 yet this season. Andrew Luck is looking good and getting better. This should be a high scoring game and Luck shouldn’t turn the ball over enough to make it a good fantasy play for the Eagles DEF/ST.

Both Teams: Carolina Panthers vs Cincinnati Bengals
Both teams look tempting…don’t do it. Both of these offenses are coming into their own, especially the Bengals who are doing their best to make us forget about their disastrous 2017. This has the making of a high-scoring game for both teams and that makes both DEF/ST too risky in Week 3.

Los Angeles Chargers: @ Los Angeles Rams
The Rams offense is hitting on all cylinders and their defense is looking elite with the fewest points and 3rd fewest yards allowed in the NFL. That typically means good field position for an offense that can score in a hurry. The Chargers may win the Battle of Los Angeles, but they’ll need to score a lot of points to do so because their defense is going to have its hands full.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Ranks vs Pass/Run are based on Yards per Game allowed.

Team Fantasy Points Weeks in Top 12 Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Jets 35 2 37 4 5 2 2 0 0 8 11
2 Bears 31 2 41 10 2 2 2 0 0 18 4
3 Rams 30 2 13 2 4 0 1 0 0 6 5
4 Dolphins 26 2 32 3 5 1 1 0 0 24 8
5 Bengals 24 2 46 6 3 3 1 0 0 30 3
6 Browns 23 2 42 7 3 5 0 0 0 22 20
7 Vikings 21 1 45 7 3 1 1 0 0 15 13
8 Jaguars 18 1 35 4 1 2 1 0 0 9 16
8 Titans 18 1 44 5 3 0 1 0 0 20 26
8 Cowboys 18 1 39 9 0 2 0 0 0 5 12
8 Redskins 18 1 27 3 3 1 0 0 0 1 10
12 Eagles 16 0 39 6 2 1 0 0 0 28 1
12 Ravens 16 1 37 6 2 0 0 0 0 3 15
12 Packers 16 1 52 6 1 1 1 0 1 26 18