Fantasy Football: Week 3 DEF/ST Recap

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Try as we might to predict these games, watch as much film as we can, the NFL loves to prove that we know nothing. That became evident very quickly in Week 3, as the Buffalo Bills boat raced the Minnesota Vikings and re-established with the last game of the week when Ryan Fitzpatrick went from Fitz-magic to F-INT-zpatrick, back to the magic man all in the same game. Some things were more predictable, the Browns shut down the Jets and Khalil Mack is going to break the NFL sack record…book it. It was an exciting Week 3 so let’s look at the best it had to offer and take a guess at who we might be talking about after Week 4.

Week 3 Top Performances

Buffalo Bills: @ Minnesota Vikings
So…who saw this coming? Guessing by the fact that Buffalo was only owned by 1% of fantasy teams, it’s fair to say that no one did. But, for the first time I remember, the lowest-owned and one of the lowest ranked DEF/ST finished atop the weekly ranks. The Bills destroyed the Minnesota offensive line the entire game and came away with 4 sacks and 3 takeaways. When you consider that Minnesota didn’t cross their own 50-yard line until late in the game only scored 6 points on last 3 minute garbage time TD…this could have been worse.

Week 4 Matchup: @ Green Bay Packers
F-L-U-K-E. You didn’t own them last week and you’re not starting them in Week 4 against Aaron Rodgers.

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Clearly, the crystal ball was cloudy this week. We expected this to be a high scoring game…and it was, the 4th highest of the week in fact, but somehow the Steelers defense managed to tie for the DEF/ST high score. Scoring one of the only defensive TDs helped their cause. In total, they picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick 3 times, sacked him 3 times, and recovered a fumble. A player to watch is Steelers’ LB Jon Bostic, who seemed to be in on every play last night. For the Steelers, it was an ugly win. For fantasy football, it was a top performance.

Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire

Week 4 Matchup: vs Baltimore Ravens
In all honesty, I have no idea what to make of this defense. They have the capability to get a lot of takeaways while still giving up a ton of points. Pittsburgh has allowed 90 points in 3 games this season and Baltimore has not been friendly to fantasy DEF/ST this season so you can’t trust the Steelers in Week 4.

Seattle Seahawks: vs Dallas Cowboys
This one I did see coming. Dallas can’t seem to pull themselves together and the Seahawks had been playing solid defense. Seattle had only allowed 2 FGs until late in the game, finishing with only 13 points allowed. They sacked Dak Prescott 5 times and managed 3 takeaways of their own. It was another solid performance from a defense that has been overshadowed by the struggles of their own offense.

Week 4 Matchup: @ Arizona Cardinals
Seattle gets a rookie QB in his first start on an offense that still has no real identity. That is the definition of a plus matchup. The reemergence of David Johnson is a looming threat but the Seahawks should be able to stack the box and slow him down. Seattle is tied for the league lead in interceptions and we should see that total rise after this game against the Cardinals. Start Seattle.

Week 4 Starts

Chicago Bears: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There is no way to bench the league-leading Chicago Bears with their recent performances and last week against the Steelers, Ryan Fitzpatrick proved that a pass rush can get to him and force turnovers. Tampa Bay has scored a lot of points so far I don’t know if they’ll finish top 5 again, but Chicago should be a solid start based on sacks and turnovers in Week 4.

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Los Angeles Chargers: San Francisco 49ers
Pretty simple here, the 49ers offense wasn’t all that great with Jimmy Garappolo, and they are going to take a step back without him. It looks like CJ Beathard will be the starter for the immediate future and the Chargers are chomping at the bit. The 49ers offense has a severe lack of playmakers and that should mean good, maybe great, things for the Chargers defense.

Cleveland Browns: @ Oakland Raiders
I’ve been writing this article for 3 years now and the only time I’ve ever mentioned the Browns on back to back weeks is as a team you should be streaming against. This season, the Browns defense is a top 5 fantasy unit and gets an Oakland offense coming off of a 3 sack, 2 INT performance. The Browns have made better QBs than Derek Carr look bad this year and should be a solid start again in Week 4.

Stream of the Week

Detroit Lions: @ Dallas Cowboys
Fresh off an upset of the New England Patriots, the Lions head to Dallas to face a Cowboys offense still struggling to find itself. The Lions are owned in less than 10% of leagues on both ESPN and Yahoo and should be able to keep Dallas one-dimensional yet again…and off the scoreboard much. Dallas has given up 5 or more sacks in 2 of 3 games this season and just gave up a top 3 performance to the Seahawks.

Week 4 Sits

Minnesota Vikings: @ Los Angeles Rams
The Vikings reward for losing the most shocking game of 2018, and about a million survivor pools…a date with the red-hot Los Angeles Rams. Goff is having no trouble finding any of his trio of WRs and Todd Gurley is just running over, around, and through defenses. Despite their top 11 ranking, you cannot touch the Vikings this week.

Houston Texans: @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts and Andrew Luck are getting better on a weekly basis and had a good chance to upset the Eagles last week. This week, they will get a home game, in a dome, against a Texans defense that has struggled so far in 2018. Weather played a factor in slowing Luck and Co. down in Week 3 so when you take that out of the equation, they could put up a lot of points against what appears to be a mediocre Houston team.

Denver Broncos: vs Kansas City Chiefs
Despite the Broncos being a bottom 12 fantasy defense this season, they are still owned in over 80% of leagues. Week 4 is the definitive time to let go.  Vegas set the over/under on this game at 55, the highest of Week 4, so you want no part of the defensive side of this fantasy matchup.

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 Bears 44 3 55 14 5 3 2 0 0 11 2
2 Rams 42 3 36 4 4 2 2 0 1 6 9
3 Jets 39 2 58 8 5 2 2 0 0 7 12
4 Dolphins 34 3 52 6 7 1 1 0 0 29 7
5 Browns 32 3 59 9 5 6 0 0 0 12 16
6 Titans 30 2 50 8 3 1 1 0 0 10 23
7 Seahawks 29 2 64 8 7 1 0 0 0 8 30
8 Steelers 27 1 90 11 4 2 1 1 0 28 25
9 Jaguars 25 1 44 7 1 2 1 0 0 3 21
9 Redskins 25 1 44 7 3 2 0 0 0 5 8
11 Bengals 24 2 77 7 3 3 1 0 0 24 26
11 Colts 24 2 63 10 2 3 0 0 0 15 15
11 Vikings 24 1 72 10 3 1 1 0 0 9 14

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