Jeff Brubach

Three And Out

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Getting Defensive: Week 3

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Heavy hitters from the fantasy D/ST world were out in full force in Week 2, as top fantasy defenses battered opponents into submission. Familiar faces like Denver, Arizona, Carolina, and Houston were all among the top-scoring units of Week 2, pumping out crucial points for fantasy footballers looking to grab early season victories.


Week 2 also saw numerous defenses come back to the pack after startling Week 1 performances. San Francisco is now allowing 23.0 points per game including a Week 1 shutout, while the Los Angeles Rams held Seattle to a lone field goal after coughing up 28 points to the 49ers in their regular season opener. While the performances of most defenses stabilized, a few notable teams doubled down on brutal performances and now find themselves out of the weekly D/ST trust tree. Sorry, Oakland.


Now that two regular season weeks are tucked in and put to bed, Week 3 is bearing down upon us with numerous juicy matchups to dissect. The NFL could very well see such illustrious names as Brian Hoyer, Jacoby Brissett, Trevor Siemian, Blaine Gabbert, and Case Keenum all start in the same week, dumping blood into the shark infested D/ST waters.


Let’s dive right in and get to work.



Top Shelf Defenses



The top tier for Week 3 is four defenses strong and boasts quality units in advantageous matchups.


The Seattle Seahawks (vs San Francisco) have allowed just 19 total points through two games, although the Seahawks are one of three NFL teams yet to force a turnover. Week 3 brings San Francisco to CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks D/ST will feast on Blaine Gabbert, who is fresh off a two interception performance at Carolina where he completed just 47.2 percent of his pass attempts. The lack of turnovers is hurting the fantasy output of the Seattle defense but expect this group to put the hammer on San Francisco at home.


Sam Bradford played well is his Minnesota debut, but will find a tougher matchup in Week 3 at the Carolina Panthers (vs Minnesota). The Panthers have forced three turnovers in each of their first two games, while recording multiple sacks in both of those contests. Trevor Siemian and Blaine Gabbert haven’t provided the most imposing opposition for Carolina to start the season, but this defense has been productive as expected.


The Houston Texans (at New England) have shot out of the gate hot this season, leading the NFL with nine sacks through two weeks, including four takedowns of Alex Smith in Week 2 that were accompanied by three forced fumbles. Week 3 brings a mouthwatering matchup for the Texans as they travel to take on New England, who will be led by rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett on a short week. Brissett will be shoved into starting action with Jimmy Garoppolo nursing a bum shoulder, and the rookie attempted just nine passes in Week 2 while taking two sacks. Bill Belichick won’t be able to scheme his team around this matchup.


The Denver Broncos (at Cincinnati) D/ST has been stomping on quality quarterbacks once again this season, holding both Cam Newton and Andrew Luck under 200 yards passing while racking up eight sacks and two defensive scores in two games. The Denver defense does take a bit of a hit with the loss of LB DeMarcus Ware (forearm), but this group is so packed with playmakers that they can be started in nearly any circumstance. Bengals QB Andy Dalton has taken an NFL-high eight sacks this season, and in Week 3 he will be hunted by the top defense in the league. Giddy up.


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One Notch Down, But Enticing



The second tier of D/ST options for Week 3 includes rising units and potential streamers in interesting matchups.


Welcome to the party, Arizona. After a disappointing Week 1 performance, the Arizona Cardinals (at Buffalo) D/ST bounced back in Week 2 by smashing on Jameis Winston and the Bucs. The Birds racked up three sacks and five turnovers in the game, including four interceptions from Winston. Week 3 brings a road trip to Buffalo for the Cardinals, where this group will face an offense operating under a new offensive coordinator. The road date isn’t ideal, but this Cardinals defense has loads of playmaking ability and is in the D/ST1 mix.


The New York Giants (vs Washington) have performed well on defense this season and it appears that their offseason acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball are paying off. While this group has yet to force a turnover in two games, they did hold New Orleans to just 288 total yards last week and have stuffed Ezekiel Elliott and Mark Ingram in consecutive weeks. Week 3 is a division game for the Giants, as they host Washington at MetLife Stadium. The Redskins have yet to get their ground attack rolling while QB Kirk Cousins has chucked three interceptions with just one touchdown in two games.


After a respectable performance at Seattle in Week 1, the Miami Dolphins (vs Cleveland) defense was dismantled by New England last week. Their appearance on our list in Week 3 is a matter of opponent more than the Dolphins D/ST, as rookie QB Cody Kessler will start for Cleveland this week after both Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III were dealt shoulder injuries. Kessler has yet to throw a regular season NFL pass and was sacked seven times while throwing just 28 passes in the preseason. The Miami defense is owned in only eight percent of Yahoo leagues and is a fine streaming target this week.



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Jeff Brubach covers fantasy football for Rotoworld.com and is the co-owner and editor of TheFakeFootball. Jeff can be found on Twitter @Jeff_Brubach.
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