Fantasy Football: Week 2 Team Defense Recap

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Two weeks in and we’ve already seen the unpredictability that fantasy DEF/ST brings. Last week, the Rams and Jaguars tied for first place with 29 fantasy points each. This week they combined for 0, that’s zero, fantasy points and were bottom 5 units. But, on a happier note, my Stream of the Week finished as the #1 team defense and most of my recommendations played out like I thought they would. An interesting note: there was another tie for 1st place and both of the teams were owned in less than 10% of leagues. Let’s take another look at what happened in Week 2 and try to guess who might flop in Week 3.

Week 2 Top Performances

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: vs Chicago Bears
I can say that I was one of the lucky 7.7% that owned Tampa Bay in Week 2. The Bucs owned this game from start to finish and didn’t give up their 1st (and only) TD until late in the 4th quarter. After solid a solid opening week from Jordan Howard and Tarek Cohen, the Bears were held to 20 total rushing yards. Tampa Bay ended this game with 4 takeaways, one of which was a gorgeous pick 6 by Robert McClain, and one sack. Not bad for their first outing of the season.

Week 3 Matchup: @ Minnesota Vikings
My confidence here is heavily influenced by the health of Sam Bradford. You should start Tampa Bay this week, and if the Vikings run Case Keenum out there, the Bucs could very well finish as the #1 DEF/ST again. If it’s Bradford, I don’t love the matchup, but you could certainly do worse.

Detroit Lions: @ New York Giants
Another week, another tie for 1st place. I didn’t expect much out of the Lions on Monday night but the Giants’ offensive line is just plain bad. Detroit harassed Eli Manning all night and ended the game with 5 sacks and 1 interception. They also added the season’s first and only return TD early in the 4th quarter and that was good enough to lock them into the top spot for Week 2.

Week 3 Matchup: vs Atlanta Falcons
Detroit has played well this season and finished as a top 12 fantasy defense in both weeks but the Falcons offense is not to be toiled with. To be honest, you probably didn’t even on Detroit but if you do, bench them.

Denver Broncos: vs Dallas Cowboys
It took a week but that high pick you spent on the Denver Broncos paid off in Week 2. The Broncos fought off a tough offense and lightning delay to finish as the #2 fantasy defense in Week 2. They held Ezekiel Elliott in check all day and appeared to beat the will to compete out of him. It was a ho-hum day for every Cowboy not named Jason Witten. The Broncos finished with 2 interceptions, one taken back for a TD, and 2 sacks.

Week 3 Matchup: @ Buffalo Bills
The Bills offense looks terrible, the Broncos defense looks as if they are ready to be great again. Start Denver with great confidence.

Baltimore Ravens: vs Cleveland Browns
After what Baltimore did to Cincinnati and what Pittsburgh did to Cleveland in Week 1, this was not that hard to predict. For the 2nd straight week, the Ravens scored 5 turnovers. For the 2nd straight week, they had the most takeaways in the league. For the 2nd straight week, they are a top 5 fantasy defense.

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Week 3 Matchup: @ Jacksonville Jaguars (in London)
Blake Bortles is back and giving gifts to opposing defenses like Christmas in September. The Ravens have been dominant so far and you’re not dreaming of benching them. Enjoy another top 5 week Ravens’ owners.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Week 3 Starts

Los Angeles Rams: @ San Francisco 49ers
After their Week 2 flop, the Rams are not an easy recommendation but 49ers are only scoring 6 points per game. The Rams should be able to get after the QB and slow down this passing game. Carlos Hyde will be their biggest worry as they are one of the worst teams against the run.

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Chicago Bears
Pittsburgh has looked great and the Bears are exactly who we thought they were. Somehow, Pittsburgh is only owned in half of leagues, pick them up now.

New England Patriots: vs Houston Texans
I’m getting bold with my Starts this week. The Patriots have not looked good at all this season but I have a gut feeling. The Texans are starting a shaky rookie QB that likes to lock onto one target and that scenario could be bad for a team facing Bill Belichick. It should also be noted that the Pats shut the Texans out in this game last season.

Stream of the Week

If I’m going to make statements like “Don’t Draft a Defense“, I’m going to back it up with advice. Every week I will give a lesser owned DEF/ST that you can stream if you passed on a defense at your draft.

Philadelphia Eagles: vs New York Giants
The Eagles are currently owned in less than 15% of fantasy leagues and face the team that gave the most fantasy points in Week 2. If Odell Beckham was at full speed I would be more concerned, but he’s not and the Giants offensive line is going to get Manning killed.

Week 3 Sits

Houston Texans: @ New England Patriots
You can’t confidently start any defense against Tom Brady. The Patriots are at home and looking like a juggernaut on offense yet again. I see a game where the Texans offense is constantly putting their defense in bad situations and Tom Brady just dominates.

Carolina Panthers: vs New Orleans Saints
You may be surprised to find out that the Panthers have only allowed 6 points this season. You will not be surprised when Drew Brees and Co. add a lot to that total this week.

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Oakland Raiders: @ Washington Redskins
Oakland was solid in Week 2 but the Redskins have already derailed one top DEF/ST this year when they beat down the Rams defense last week. The Raiders benefited from the inept Jets offense and really didn’t look all that great despite a top 10 finish. I think this will be a high-scoring affair.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

The table is arranged by YTD fantasy points but all categories are sortable. Also, I have ranked teams on a Yards-per-Game basis in Passing/Rushing.

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 Ravens 37 2 10 8 8 2 0 0 0 17 12
2 Lions 34 2 27 6 4 1 2 0 0 21 4
3 Rams 30 1 36 6 2 1 2 1 0 3 30
4 Steelers 28 2 27 9 1 1 1 0 1 5 8
4 Jaguars 28 1 44 11 2 3 1 0 0 4 29
6 Eagles 27 1 38 8 1 3 1 0 0 16 14
7 Panthers 24 2 6 7 1 1 0 0 0 2 6
8 Broncos 22 1 38 3 3 0 1 0 1 15 3
9 Bills 21 2 21 7 2 0 0 0 0 8 5
10 Cardinals 18 1 42 5 2 0 1 0 0 22 10
10 Buccaneers 18 1 7 1 2 2 1 0 0 28 1
12 Falcons 17 1 40 7 1 1 1 0 0 23 16
12 Redskins 17 1 17 4 2 2 1 0 0 26 9