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Week 3 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2015 Fantasy Tiers & Rankings


Below are RotoBaller's Week 3 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for week three of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to making waiver wire pickups and adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 3.

Are you looking for some assistance with your lineups? Not sure which defenses have good matchups for Week 3? Can't decide which defenses to target off the waiver wire, or whether you should stream a different defense for this week? No worries, we are here to help every week of the fantasy football season.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference maker, so we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 3 defenses have good matchups and are not widely owned, representing sleeper opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 3 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 3 RotoBallers!

 

Week 3 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1 Defenses: Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Houston Texans

Ready for my in-depth analysis? The Seahawks defense is significantly better than an injured Jay Cutler or healthy Jimmy Clausen. Seattle is the top dog this week, and it isn't particularly close. Matt Forte, Eddie Royal, Martellus Bennett and maybe Alshon Jeffery (if healthy) may have a rough day at the office. Forte will always get his touches, but this is a tough matchup, especially if Cutler sits.

Despite a late rally by the Bills, the Patriots essentially shut them down for a majority of the game in Week 2. They recorded an absurd eight sacks on Tyrod Taylor, and this week host the Jaguars in Foxboro. Are you buying the Jaguars Week 2 victory as a sign that their offense is on the rise? Because I'm not. Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, T.J. Yeldon and company will have their hands full dealing with New England.

The Texans have another delicious matchup in Week 3, as they'll host Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. While Winston looked much better against the Saints last week, I don't foresee him having the same success against the fearsome Houston pass rush. Expect some sacks, and more than likely a big turnover or two, as Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Doug Martin and the entire offense will have a stiff opponent.

 

Tier 2 Defenses: Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals,

The Cardinals did exactly what I said they would do against the hapless Bears offense in Week 2, putting up big numbers thanks to two touchdowns (one defensive and one kick return). This week they get the 49ers at home, who couldn't manage to get anything going against the lackluster Steelers defense. This defense is too good to let Carlos Hyde go wild over them, and Colin Kaepernick simply doesn't scare me with Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis at his disposal. Start the Cardinals defense with confidence.

Look at that, two huge weeks from the Broncos D/ST so far. I expect the good times to continue to roll against the Lions, as the pass rush should be able to get to Matthew Stafford (if he plays) and turn him over a time or two. They'll look to stop Calvin Johnson first and foremost, and I expect them to succeed (at least as much as a team can succeed against Megatron). That will leave Golden Tate, Ameer Abdullah, Eric Ebron and Joique Bell to try and move the offense.

The Jets are a good defense, in just about every aspect of the game. They have Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie (who may be questionable heading into their Week 3 matchup) over the top to complement the elite pass-rushing crew is a recipe for success, and against the atrocious offensive line of the Eagles I expect a huge game. Chop Kelly has already expressed concerns with Sam Bradford, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and the entire offense. It'll be interesting to see how they respond in Week 3 versus a tough Jets defense.

The Bills defense, for whatever reason, simply can't handle Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Their Week 2 loss is not an indicator of their defensive prowess, and I expect them to return to form against the Dolphins in Week 3. The Dolphins haven't been able to get anything going on the ground, and they certainly won't against Buffalo. The only key will be slowing down Ryan Tannehill, a task that the Bills should be able to handle. Jarvis Landry looks to be matchup proof - but Lamar Miller, Jordan Cameron, Rishard Matthews and others will have their hands full.

The Bengals have yet to allow 20 points to an opponent thus far, and I don't think they will against the Ravens on Sunday. The Ravens put up 33 on the Raiders in Week 2 (and still lost), but the difference between the Raiders defense and the Bengals is significant. They should be able to get to Joe Flacco at least a few times, potentially limiting the upside of Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken, and won't get beat by Justin Forsett and the run game.

 

Tier 3 Defenses: Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants

The Browns get the Raiders in Week 3, and while Derek Carr looked spectacular in Week 2 against the Ravens, I don't see it as the beginning of a trend. I'm still taking my chances streaming against the Raiders, and the Browns defense is solid enough to be a really good play against Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and company.

The Panthers still boast one of the better defensive fronts in football, even without Luke Kuechly, who missed Week 2 with a concussion. If he is able to return for Week 3, he should wreak havoc against Drew Brees and the Saints, who are scaring nobody through two weeks of play. Carolina should have a high floor, which is what you're looking for from a D/ST. Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Brandin Cooks and Brandon Coleman may be in for another long day at the office.

Remember how I said the Patriots got to Tyrod Taylor eight times in Week 2? Well now the Dolphins get a crack at that same offensive line. I like their chances to do something similar (not eight sacks, but a few) as N'damukong Suh leads an improved front seven into Week 3. It'll be a tougher matchup for LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin.

The Vikings host the San Diego Chargers in Week 3, and will be a low-level streaming option against Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead and Ladarius Green. Rivers looked great in Week 1, but that was not the case against the Bengals in Week 2. The Vikings defense will likely produce something in the middle, and will be a good option if you're looking for a safe pick.

My ranking of the Giants is entirely based on matchup, as they'll host the Redskins in Week 3's Thursday night game. They'll likely be without Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who suffered a concussion in Sunday's game and likely won't ave enough time to pass through the league's concussion protocol. Still, Kirk Cousins isn't going to beat them with Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed, so if they can hold Alfred Morris and Matt Jones in check they could be a viable streaming option.

 

Tier 4 Defenses: San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Chargers are one of the riskier plays this week as I'm not sure they can stop Adrian Peterson, who looked like his old self in Week 2. He gashed the Lions for 134 yards on 29 carries. You're only adding the Chargers in particularly deep leagues and praying that they can get to Teddy Bridgewater for a few sacks and a turnover or two, limiting his ability to feed AP, Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson and Kyle Rudolph.

So, uh...what happened, Baltimore? Derek Carr and the Raiders lit them up for 37 points in Week 2, just seven days after they essentially shut down Peyton Manning and the Broncos. I'm considering last week a hiccup, and expect them to return to fantasy relevance in Week 3. They get Andy Dalton and the Bengals, and while Dalton has been great so far in 2015, the Red Rocket is always a candidate for a total meltdown. It'll be an interesting game for A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard who will be facing a Baltimore defense looking to rebound.

The Eagles defense has been mediocre so far this year, but they've played against two above-average offenses (the Falcons and Cowboys). This week they get the Jets, who despite solid play are still worth streaming against. Ryan Fitzpatrick can be careless with the ball at any moment, and it wouldn't shock me to see a pick-six in this game. Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall and Chris Ivory are solid offensive pieces, so this should be an interesting matchup that can go either way.

Dan Quinn has the Falcons revved up on defense, and despite two average performances I like their chances against the Cowboys in Week 3, who will be forced to turn to Brandon Weeden with Tony Romo on the IR/designated to return. They'll get a few sacks and Weeden has no chance at lighting them up, so they should be a nice, safe play if you're streaming. With Dez Bryant out for several weeks, the Cowboys will look to Joseph Randle, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley to carry the load.

I'm throwing the Buccaneers on here because they've got a great matchup and they actually looked pretty good against the Saints in Week 2. They'll face a Texans offense in flux, as Ryan Mallett is the starter (for now) and he doesn't have much to work with besides DeAndre Hopkins. Arian Foster will likely still be out for this game, and the RBBC that the Texans will send out (Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes) isn't going to beat them. If you're desperate, you could do much worse.

 

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