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By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Click here to read about 2015 defense streamers, starts, tiers and rankings for Week 3 of the 2015 season. The below piece is for the 2014 defense matchups for Week 3.

For those of you fantasy football owners out there who are streaming defenses, RotoBaller has got you covered with around-the-league analysis of the Week 3 NFL matchups.  Week 3 promises to be another exciting three days of football action, so be sure to stay on top of the NFL matchups and defensive opponents for that early season push!

This week seems to have some "slam dunk" matchups, and the rest seem to leave a lot be desired for fantasy purposes. We're here to give you the insight to help make your defense streaming decisions and Week 3 lineup decisions a bit easier. Some of these defenses may have good matchups, and be available on your league's waiver wire, so make sure to take a look at your waiver wire options as well.

Editor’s Note: if you’re looking to improve those rosters, our fantasy football waiver wire pickups list is a daily updated running list of waiver adds and analysis for all NFL positions. You can also read more in-depth waiver wire analysis at each position, as we dig deeper and identify even more waiver wire options at each position weekly. Here are some of those waiver wire articles:


Week 3 Defenses: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1: Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals

Not much to say here, these elite defenses all have decent matchups other than Seattle. The Seahawks will host the Broncos Sunday afternoon in a long awaited rematch of last year's Super Bowl. The Panthers host the Steelers, the Patriots host the Raiders, the Bengals host the Titans while the Texans find themselves at the Meadowlands against the New York football Giants. Start all of these tier 1 defenses in Week 3 of fantasy football action.


Tier 2: Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints

The Rams take on the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo who's liable to be terrible every week. St Louis's only chance to win this game is if it's a low scoring one, and that's what I expect in this game.

The Cardinals take on San Francisco in week three, and while both defenses have injuries that seem to be piling up, they both are still performing well. Colin Kaepernick's three interceptions against the Bears poor secondary doesn't bode well for the Niners against Patrick Peterson and the Cardinal's defense. On the other side, everyone keeps talking about the demise of the defense in San Francisco, but they keep proving people wrong. Yes, they let up four touchdowns this past week, but they held Jay CutlerMatt Forte, Alshon Jeffery and the Bears in check for the majority of the game. Look for more of the same against the Cardinals who may be without Carson Palmer for a second week in a row, and have a banged-up Andre Ellington.

Matt Cassel and the Vikings looked lost this past Sunday against New England, and I expect Rob Ryan and the Saints defense to continue to shut them down in Week 3. Cassel's three interceptions were a killer for them last week, but the O-line also let up six sacks, and they let up a blocked field goal as well. I would feel good about starting any of these tier 2 defenses in Week 3.


Tier 3: Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts

The Titans find themselves at Paul Brown stadium on Sunday, a place in which the Bengals will be seeking their franchise record 11th straight home win. Tennessee did keep the Scott Linehan led Cowboy's offense in check for a good portion of the game, and with Tyler Eifert out and A.J. Green possibly being out, this matchup might not end up being all that scary.

The Ravens face a third straight divisional opponent to start the season, this week against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens have defended the run fairly well this season, and should be able to contain the Brown's lackluster receiving core better than the Saints did, especially if Jordan Cameron misses the Week 3 game again. The Browns also make for a decent play. The corners will be focused on keeping Torrey Smith and Steve Smith in check, forcing them to lean on their running game without Ray Rice, and headed up by Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett.

The Chiefs take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 3, who were held to only 10 points against the wagon-circling Bills. Even with the injuries starting to pile up for Kansas City, this has the makings of a low scoring affair for both parties.

Chicago goes up against Geno Smith and the New York Jets this week. While Geno has looked good thus far, the Bears have the personnel to keep the dual-threat QB in check just as they did against Colin Kaepernick in Week 2. Look for the pass-rush to continue to improve for Chicago, which lead to four sacks and three interceptions against a more creative offense in San Francisco.

It should be noted that many of the defenses in tier 3 are widely available on the waiver wire of many fantasy football leagues, and the Colts are no different. After two nightmare matchups in Denver and Philadelphia, Indianapolis faces Jacksonville in Week 3. After taming the high-flying Eagles for a little more than a half, I'm ready to instill a bit more faith in this defense, even with the loss of Robert Mathis.


Tier 4: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles

Going up against the Rams is a better matchup than most for any defense these days, but we are talking about the Cowboys here. They did hold the Titans to ten points in Week 2, but Austin Davis looked good against Tampa Bay and may be starting to build chemistry with the first team offense.

The New York Giants will face the Houston Texans this week, who may be starting to find their offensive identity. Arian Foster and Ryan Fitzpatrick have been doing well, and with the loss of Walter Thurmond for the Giants, I'm looking for big games from DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson.

One of the bigger early season surprises of the NFL season has been the Buffalo Bills. Even though their defense isn't getting all the love they deserve, this weekend isn't the time to start showing that love as they go up against the Chargers. After shredding the unquestioned best defense in football, Phillip Rivers and Co. will look to build off Week 2 and continue their high-flying ways against the Bills. The Chargers defense has looked a bit better than expected through the first couple of weeks, especially keeping Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in line. Look for Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney to give E.J. Manuel some trouble in this one.

Pittsburgh faces Cam Newton and the Panthers on Sunday, which will be their first test against the dual-threat QB this season. This certainly isn't the curtain we're used to seeing out of the steel city, giving up more than 25 points to both the Browns and Ravens, and I expect Cam to improve in his second game this season as he gets closer to 100%.

The Miami Dolphins will take on the Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs this week. The epitome of a game-manager, Alex Smith, will look to take care of the rock in this one and avoid costly turnovers against a defense who's only forced two turnovers so far all season. This looks to be one of the better matchups in tier 4 though, and should be a low scoring game.

The Green Bay Packers face a divisional foe in the Detroit Lions, which has all the makings of a shootout. Look for Matt Stafford and the Lions offense to bounce back in a big way after being held to only seven points against one of the leagues top defenses in the Panthers.

Both New York teams face tough wide receiver duos this week. The Jets face the tougher test though against Jay Cutler and dahhhh Bears. While the Jets may be able to keep Matt Forte and Chicago's run game in check, their corners won't be able to stay with Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall.

Another lackluster defense here in the Philadelphia Eagles, and with Kirk Cousins now at the helm this matchup is much less than enticing. Watch out before picking up some of these tier 4 defenses off the Week 3 waiver wire, or plugging them into your Week 3 lineups.


Tier 5: Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars

And that brings us to the tier 5 defenses, or what I like to call the "don't touch" list. Not much to explain here: the Raiders take on the Patriots, Vikings against the Saints, Lions against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, Redskins take on the Eagles, and the Jaguars face Andrew Luck and the Colts. Tampa Bay and Atlanta clash in a divisional matchup - one decent defense up against an elite offense, and one terrible defense against a terrible offense. Stay away from these defenses on the Week 3 waiver wire, and avoid them in your Week 3 fantasy lineups at all costs.


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.