Week 2 Team Defense Recap

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If you were looking for proof of the volatility of fantasy team defenses, look no further than the San Francisco 49ers. Fresh off a shutout in Week 1, the Niners went from 1st to worst in points allowed when they let Cam Newton and friends hang 46 on them in Week 2. But Week 2 wasn’t all bad, we had another team score 2 defensive TDs and 3 teams not allow a single TD (2 of them played each other!) Let’s look back at Week 2’s top defensive fantasy performances and try to figure out what we can expect in Week 3.

Week 2 Standout Performances

Denver Broncos: vs Indianapolis Colts
The Broncos have emerged as an every-week start. They’ve faced elite QBs in back-to-back weeks and they have bent them to their will. In Week 2, they held Andrew Luck under 100 yards until the 4th quarter, sacked him 5 times and caused 2 turnovers, both of which they took to the end zone. It was a masterpiece of a game for one of the league’s best defenses.

-Week 3 Matchup: @ Cincinnati Bengals
This will be the worst QB they’ve faced all year. The Bengals offense has not looked great so far and the Broncos defense has. I meant it when I said “every-week start.”

New York Giants: vs New Orleans Saints
The storyline heading into this game was the 101 points they scored when they last faced each other. The story line coming out is the Giants DEF/ST. They held the Brees and company to 13 points and scored 7 of their own. Janoris Jenkins has been a gem against outside WRs and they added 2 sacks for good measure.

-Week 3 Matchup: vs Washington Redskins
This might be their easiest matchup thus far. The Redskins aren’t even averaging 20 PPG, have turned it over 3 times, and if you believe recent reports, may be turning on their own QB. In other words, it’s a great situation for those who own the Giants DEF/ST in Week 3.

Arizona Cardinals: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After Jameis Winston threw 4 TDs in Week 1, owners of the Arizona DEF/ST were probably a bit hesitant to start them. After he threw a pick on his third pass of the game, those butterflies flew away. The Cardinals dominated the Buccaneers on both sides of the ball and controlled the game. Winston would go on to throw 3 more INTs and the Cardinals would go on and take one back to the house. Add in their 3 sacks and a forced fumble and you have an excellent fantasy start for Arizona.

-Week 3 Matchup: @ Buffalo Bills
This should be another game Arizona owns from start to finish. The Bills are still struggling with injury problems and the Cardinals should be able to take advantage of them. I doubt you were even considering benching them after Week 2 but start with confidence.

Honorable Mentions:
I’d feel ridiculous talking defense and not mentioning that Houston, Seattle, and Los Angeles did not allow a TD in their games. Without defensive TDs and turnovers, these types of games won’t always pop on a fantasy sheet but Points Allowed is usually a more telling stat when looking for truly dominant defenses.

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Week 3 Starts

Houston Texans: @ New England Patriots
Typically, I will try to avoid naming the universally owned stud defenses here, but I feel this is worth mentioning. You might consider benching a good defense against New England but this week it’s full steam ahead. On Thursday, the Patriots will either roll out a hurt Jimmy Garappolo or a rookie 3rd string QB who had only 9 attempts in his debut and was sacked twice. With a short week of preparation, neither will be ready for J.J. Watt and the Texans. Houston should find themselves near the top of the DEF/ST rankings again in Week 3.

Miami Dolphins: vs Cleveland Browns
When describing a perfect situation for a defense, being at home against a rookie QB making his debut is probably as good as it gets. The fact that it’s the Cleveland Browns is just the icing on the cake. This Browns offense is erratic at best and they are going to be far from their best with Cody Kessler at the helm.

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Philadelphia Eagles
Please don’t think it’s a coincidence that all 3 of my favorite DEF/ST starts this week are (probably) against rookie QBs. Carson Wentz has not faced a defense like Pittsburgh yet and with 2 weeks of tape, I expect Mike Tomlin to be amply prepared and able to rattle this young man.

Week 3 Sits

New England Patriots: vs Houston Texans
I just don’t like the situations the Patriots offense could end up putting their defense in. I expect to see the Texans working with a short field far more often than we’re used to seeing against New England. Short fields with guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Lamar Miller, and the emerging Will Fuller is all bad news for the Patriots DEF/ST.

Kansas City: vs New York Jets
Even at home, I’m not playing Kansas City against the Jets this week. The Chiefs have allowed 23 PPG this season and the Jets have scored almost 30 PPG. Eric Decker and Matt Forte look unstoppable and even if Brandon Marshall proves to be banged up, the Jets have an emerging slot WR in Quincy Enunwa. Plain and simple, the Jets have too many weapons.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

This is arranged by total Fantasy Points, but all statistics are sortable by clicking on them at the top.

Team Fantasy Points Points Allowed Sacks Interceptions Fumble Recovery Defensive / Return TD Safety Blocked Kick Overall Rank vs. Pass Overall Rank vs. Run
1 Vikings 35 30 7 2 4 2 0 0 10th 6th
2 Broncos 28 40 8 2 1 2 0 0 2nd 24th
3 Cardinals 27 30 5 4 3 1 0 0 15th 11th
4 Texans 25 26 9 1 3 0 0 0 3rd 12th
5 Eagles 24 24 6 2 0 0 1 0 5th 10th
6 Panthers 22 48 4 4 2 1 0 0 7th 17th
7 Seahawks 20 19 8 0 0 0 0 1 4th 3rd
8 Ravens 18 27 5 2 0 0 0 1 1st 16th
9 Giants 15 32 2 0 0 1 0 1 13th 4th
T10 Packers 14 40 7 1 1 0 0 0 19th 1st
T10 49ers 14 40 3 3 3 0 0 1 12th 25th
12 Bears 13 52 4 1 0 1 0 0 6th 22nd
13 Bills 10 50 4 0 2 1 0 0 24th 15th
T14 Bengals 9 46 2 3 0 0 0 1 11th 32nd
T14 Rams 9 31 2 0 2 0 0 0 9th 19th
T14 Dolphins 9 43 5 1 2 0 0 1 17th 31st
T14 Chargers 9 47 5 3 1 0 0 0 29th 7th

Predicting DEF/ST production is always tough, while we knew Minnesota would handle business against the Titans in Week 1, nobody thought they’d still be #1 after a bout with the Packers. But they are. The Broncos have faced two of the best QBs the league has to offer and they are still right back at the top. If you are streaming, my advice remains the same: play the matchups. But if you are lucky enough to own one of the elite defenses, don’t over think it.

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