Week 3 Team Defense Recap

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Well, thru 3 weeks a few things have become very clear. 1) Minnesota’s defense is the real deal. 2) There is nothing else clear about DEF/ST. 3) Predicting team defense is hard. I like to be honest with my readers so, in the interest of full disclosure, I make about 8 predictions in this article every week and I’m a shade under .500 right now after a tough Week 3. But I think I learned some things. Let’s look at the week’s top performers and see if we can figure out what will happen in Week 4.

Week 3 Standout Performance

Minnesota Vikings: @ Carolina Panthers
Coming into Week 3 the Vikings were the #1 overall team defense in fantasy and by a decent margin. However, traveling to Carolina to face Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin, #2 and #1 at their respective positions, most owners thought their luck had run out. Not so fast. After giving up a FG and TD early, the Vikings sacked Cam for a safety near the end of the 1st quarter and never let them score again. They also held Benjamin without a target until late in the 4th quarter and he didn’t even catch that. The Vikings sacked Cam 8 times, picked him off 3 times, and kept the (former) #1 fantasy WR off the stat sheet completely. Good show.

-Week 4 Matchup: vs New York Giants
At home against the Giants isn’t a great matchup but should certainly be easier than Week 3. There is no way you’re benching them and no way I’m telling you to.

Kansas City Chiefs: vs New York Jets
Your top Week 3 defense was the Kansas City Chiefs. One word can explain how they topped the league in Week 3: turnovers! The Chiefs took the ball away from the Jets 8 times and took two of them back for touchdowns. Kansas City did not allow a TD all game and the Jets only managed to score a single FG. The MVP of this game was Ryan Fitzpatrick and his 6 interceptions. It was a great game if you’re a Chiefs fan, and one you hope to forget if you’re a Jets fan.

-Week 4 Matchup: @ Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s a tough matchup but the Steelers were held to only 3 points by Philadelphia last week. I don’t expect to see them at the top again and would be cautious starting them against an offense that is way better than they showed last week. Oh, did I mention the Steelers get Le’Veon Bell back this week? Avoid the Chiefs.

New England Patriots: vs Houston Texans
Speaking of not allowing touchdowns…New England took it a step further and didn’t allow any points in Week 3. The Patriots DEF/ST gave us the week’s only shutout and flat-out made me look silly on Thursday. I honestly thought this game would end lopsided, just the other way around. On Thursday, the Patriots showed us why they have finished near the top of the league year in and out. No matter what adversity they face, they rebound and thrive. They held the Texans to less than 200 yards passing and kept DeAndre Hopkins under 60 yards, while adding 2 sacks and 3 turnovers to ensure this shutout did not go unnoticed.

-Week 4 Matchup: vs Buffalo Bills
The Bills offense has found a way to score points, despite injuries, since their Week 1 dud. As of today, we aren’t even sure who will be playing QB for the Patriots in Week 4. All of that said, after seeing them shut out Houston last week, and the severe lack of weapons in the Buffalo passing game, I expect to see the Patriots DEF/ST near the top again.

Week 4 Starts

Cincinnati Bengals: vs Miami Dolphins
The Bengals haven’t played bad on defense this season, they just haven’t found a way to shine. I think this is the week. The Dolphins have turned the ball over 7 times and allowed 6 sacks this season. The Bengals should get themselves on track in Week 4.

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Pittsburgh Steelers: vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Steelers defense isn’t nearly as bad as it looked last week and Kansas City benefited from Ryan Fitzpatrick forgetting what team he played for. The Chiefs only actually scored 10 offensive points against the Jets and I doubt Big Ben is gonna throw 6 picks.

Washington Redskins: vs Cleveland Browns
To be clear, this a streamer pick, don’t start the Redskins over Seattle or Arizona. But if you need a last minute replacement, Washington has a good matchup against the Browns. Cleveland hasn’t scored more than 23 points on offense this season and is running an offense reminiscent of some HS football teams. It worked for them against the Dolphins, so did the Wildcat the first time we saw it. The Redskins will have tape and will shut it down in Week 4.

Week 4 Sits

Los Angeles Rams: @ Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are at home with something to prove. I expect a fast-paced, high-scoring offense from Carson and the boys and the Rams defense won’t be able to slow them down.

Buffalo Bills: @ New England Patriots
After last week’s 5 sack-4 INT performance, I’m sure you’re tempted to run Buffalo out every week. Beware! They were fresh off a game where they allowed 37 to Jets and the Patriots already showed us that it does not matter who is playing QB.

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 Int Fumble Recovery Defensive / Return TD Safety Blocked Kick Overall Rank vs. Pass Overall Rank vs. Run
1 Vikings 60 40 15 5 4 3 1 0 9 7
2 Eagles 40 27 10 3 3 0 1 1 8 2
3 Broncos 37 57 12 3 2 2 0 0 4 27
3 Chiefs 37 49 3 8 2 2 0 0 11 24
5 Cardinals 36 57 9 5 3 1 1 0 6 28
6 Ravens 33 44 9 5 0 0 0 2 3 8
7 Bills 31 66 10 4 3 2 0 0 22 14
8 Texans 28 53 10 1 3 0 0 0 1 26
9 Panthers 26 68 6 4 2 1 0 0 5 11
10 Seahawks 24 37 8 1 0 1 0 1 2 9
11 Patriots 21 45 5 3 4 0 0 0 19 11
12 Chargers 18 73 7 4 2 1 0 0 30 6
13 Packers 16 67 10 2 1 0 0 0 28 1
14 Rams 15 57 4 1 3 1 0 0 17 16
14 Giants 15 61 0 4 1 1 0 1 15 5

In Week 3 we saw 9 DEF/ST score more than they had in the first 2 weeks combined. We also saw 3 of those DEF/ST score more than the RB13 and WR13. There are points to be had, we just need to find them. It won’t always be the studs that you drafted but they are definitely lower risk. It seems to me, when looking for those streamer diamonds in the rough, you need to focus on home teams in what should be low scoring games. I’ll monitor this theory over the next few weeks and see if we can figure this thing out a little bit.

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