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The injuries are already piling up...fantasy football, baby! Below are RotoBaller's Week 3 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 3 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to drafting defenses, making waiver wire pickups/adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 3.

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 fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 3 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 3 RotoBallers!

Once you're done here, be sure to read about even more Week 3 waiver wire analysis columns, with in-depth analysis for all fantasy-relevant positions. Just click on any link: ALL - RB - WR - TE - QB - DEF - FAAB

Editor's Note: Our friends at RTSports have best ball leagues with no in-season management. Just draft your team, and that's it! Use your phone for this casual draft by getting emails or texts when you're on the clock. Sign Up Now!


Week 3 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1 Defenses (The "Duh" DSTs)

1. Denver Broncos (@ BUF)
2. Baltimore Ravens (@ JAX)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (@ CHI)
4. New England Patriots (vs. HOU)

So what if we don't waste your time and my breath with me explaining why the Broncos, Ravens and Patriots are here this week?

The Steelers draw a favorable matchup against a Bears "offense" that was a garbage-time TD away from getting shut out by the Buccaneers. With the Chicago defense tasked with stopping the Steelers offense, which really hasn't even gotten going yet this year, I don't see how the offense is playing in anything other than desperation mode. Desperation breeds catastrophe, and with Jordan Howard ailing and Mike Glennon starting, there is almost no risk of a backfire for anyone starting the Steelers.

Tier 2 Defenses (Rock-Solid Starts)

5. Los Angeles Rams (@ SF)
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ MIN)
7. Seattle Seahawks (@ TEN)
8. Kansas City Chiefs (@ LAC)
9. Carolina Panthers (vs. NO)

The 49ers actually showed some flashes on offense against the Seahawks in Week 2. Sorry, did I say offense? I meant Carlos Hyde. They had some flashes of Carlos Hyde. He is the focal point of that offense, but he simply can't do it all. The Rams front seven should have no problem abusing Brian Hoyer through four quarters, and even if Hyde gashes them they'll be a top DST.

It's rare to start a DST against Drew Brees, but this looks like a gimme to me. Through two games, the Panthers have more sacks for than they have points against. That's neither a typo nor an exaggeration--they have seven sacks and six points against. The Saints are away and are off to a slow start (per usual), and barring some garbage time touchdowns from Michael Thomas or Ted Ginn, the Panthers DST should eat all day.

Tier 3 Defenses (Decent Streamers)

10. Green Bay Packers (vs. CIN)
11. Arizona Cardinals (vs. DAL)
12. Minnesota Vikings (vs. TB)
13. Miami Dolphins (@ NYJ)
14. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG)

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. BAL)
16. Tennessee Titans (vs. SEA)

The Packers DST isn't going to be this high in my rankings most weeks, but in a home matchup against the pitifully ineffective Bengals offense you've gotta feel good rolling them out there. Neither Joe Mixon nor Giovani Bernard nor Jeremy Hill has separated themselves from their colleagues in the Cincy backfield, and Andy Dalton doesn't even look like an NFL quarterback through two games. If they can contain A.J. Green, the Packers are going to make plenty of fantasy owners happy. Hell, even if they DON'T contain A.J. Green, they'll be fine.

Your guess is as good as mine as to which Jaguars defense is the real one. After massacring the Texans in Week 1 with 10 sacks, they were blasted by the Titans, allowing 37 points and mustering just one sack and an interception. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're somewhere in the middle of those two performances, especially against a Ravens team that is currently running through Terrance West and Javorius Allen. The Jaguars will be able to key in on the pair, and should see plenty of success (especially with Marshal Yanda done for the season).

Tier 4 Defenses (Deep Streamers)

17. Buffalo Bills (vs. DEN)
18. New York Giants (@ PHI)
19. San Diego Chargers (vs. KC)
20. Oakland Raiders (@ WAS)

It's a shame the Bills offense is so pathetic, because this defensive unit is talented as hell. They allowed just 12 points to the Jets in Week 1 and forced two interceptions, which isn't that impressive. This week they sacked Cam Newton six times, bottled up Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey and allowed just nine points to the Panthers, which is significantly more impressive. The Broncos offense looked great in Week 2, but they succeeded against a beat-up Dallas defense. C.J. Anderson will have much more trouble against the Bills front seven, particularly star-in-the-making Shaq Lawson.

I'm not sure what to make of the Chargers DST so far, as I had much higher expectations for them coming into Week 2. They force a ton of pressure and were playing free-throwing Jay Cutler, but they came away with almost nothing fantasy-wise. They're going to be challenged with containing Kareem HuntTyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in Week 3, and this is going to be a measuring stick game for me--show me what you really are, Chargers DST.

Tier 5 Defenses (Desperation Plays)

21. San Francisco 49ers
22. Indianapolis Colts
23. Dallas Cowboys
24. Cleveland Browns


More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis

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.