Week 3 Fantasy Defense Rankings

We’re strong advocates of playing matchups with D/STs, but we fully admitted the past two weeks that it’s tough to say with any certainty what constitutes a favorable or unfavorable matchups this early in the season. After two weeks of results, we have a little more clarity, and based on what we’ve seen, it’s tough to spot many “safe” waiver wire streamers or sleepers in our Week 3 fantasy defense rankings.

That’s partly because of the schedule makers, and it’s also partly because there have some disappointments among some popular preseason D/STs. Washington has looked positively mediocre despite having a favorable, short-week home matchup in Week 2 (29 points allowed, no takeaways against the Giants). The Giants, who we also projected to be a decent streamer, struggled last week against Taylor Heinicke (30 points allowed, one INT, two sacks). This week, Washington plays the Bills and the Giants play the Falcons. The former is a tough matchup, and the latter is a favorable matchup — assuming you trust the Giants.

Given some of the week’s other matchups, you might have to trust one or both of those two teams. The Dolphins (@ Raiders) and Colts (@ Titans) both are in less-than-ideal spots again (and have performed less-than ideally all year), while the 49ers (vs. Packers), Seahawks (@ Vikings), Bears (@ Browns), and Rams (vs. Buccaneers) are all facing tough opponents, too. There’s a chance most or all of these D/STs were drafted in your leagues, and it’s tough to feel good about any of them. The Rams are the best overall unit and at least playing at home, but Tom Brady and the Bucs usually don’t give up many fantasy points.

To make matters worse, some of our favorite QBs to pick one are playing downright bad D/STs. Sam Darnold and the Panthers are facing the Texans, and Daniel Jones and Giants get the Falcons. It’s tough to trust either Houston and Atlanta, especially after Carolina and the Giants played well in Week 2.

There are a few legitimate sleepers, though. We always like to pick on rookie QBs, and the Broncos (vs. Jets), Saints (@ Patriots), and Cardinals (@ Jaguars), will get to further help educate Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, and Trevor Lawrence, respectively, on the ways of the NFL. All three D/STs are in our top-12, with the Saints and Cardinals being available in many leagues. The Panthers (@ Texans) and Browns (vs. Bears) are also in another good spots and will potentially be facing rookie QBs. The Browns are heavily owned, but the Panthers are available in fewer than 20 percent of Yahoo leagues and riding high after two good games. The Raiders (vs. Dolphins) are also in play as a streamer regardless of who starts for the Dolphins, and we might even be willing to recommend the Titans if Jacob Eason is starting against Indianapolis.

Other than that, you’re likely stuck with whoever you drafted. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but those obvious streamers simply aren’t there this week. We could be overlooking a legitimate breakout D/ST simply because of reputation, such as the Bengals (@ Steelers), who don’t have a terrible matchup, but we’re not quite sold on them yet. If you are, take a chance. If not, set it, forget it, and hope for a random return TD.

Note: We’ll be updating these D/ST rankings as needed throughout the week. so check back for the latest movement and analysis.

Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 3: Who to start, sit at D/ST in fantasy football

Steelers vs. Bengals

Panthers @ Texans

Broncos vs. Jets

Patriots vs. Saints

Bills vs. Washington

Ravens @ Lions

Saints @ Patriots

Cardinals @ Jaguars

Browns vs. Bears

Buccaneers @ Rams

Giants vs. Falcons

Rams vs. Buccaneers

Raiders vs. Dolphins

Titans vs. Colts

Colts @ Titans

Washington @ Bills

Falcons @ Giants

Packers @ 49ers

Chiefs vs. Chargers

49ers vs. Packers

Bears @ Browns

Seahawks @ Vikings

Bengals @ Steelers

Dolphins @ Raiders

Jets @ Broncos

Texans vs. Panthers

Eagles @ Cowboys

Cowboys vs. Eagles

Chargers @ Chiefs

Vikings vs. Seahawks

Lions vs. Ravens

Jaguars vs. Cardinals

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