Going into Week 3 there are only a few great matchups for the top tier defenses. This is good for you if you are streaming defenses as you can probably find a top 9 play on the waiver wire. Navigating the DST landscape this week is going to be hard, but that is why you have this article.
There are one, maybe two, defenses this week that I see as ending up in the top 9 that should be available on the WW all week. This means that if you are in a league that lets you drop players on your bench even after they have played, like Yahoo, then go ahead and drop your defense and take a flier for your bench from the Thursday Night Game, like Laviska Shenault. See how he performs, and if he takes a massive step forward then you can drop someone else. However, if he performs badly then you can still drop him for your DST play.
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|Rank||Team DST||Opp||Projected Points|
|1||Pittsburgh Steelers||vs. HOU||9.8|
|2||Los Angeles Chargers||vs. CAR||8.9|
|3||Indianapolis Colts||vs. NYJ||8.8|
|4||Buffalo Bills||at MIN||8|
|5||Tennessee Titans||vs. LV||7.8|
|6||Washington Football Team||at CLE||7.8|
|7||New England Patriots||vs. LAR||7.5|
|8||Los Angeles Rams||at BUF||7.1|
|9||San Francisco 49ers||at NYG||6.7|
Vs Houston Texans
The Steelers’ defense is one of the top 3 in the league and they have a pretty favorable matchup against the Texans. While Deshaun Watson is a great QB, his weapons are depleted, Bill O’Brian’s play-calling has been bad, and the offensive line is struggling. I believe that the Steelers’ front headlined by TJ Watt will be way too much for the Texans’ line to handle, and getting pressure on a QB is what leads to points in DST. Sacks and forced turnovers from those pressures are the money makers.
Los Angeles Chargers
Vs Carolina Panthers
The Chargers have a great matchup against a Panthers’ squad who is missing Christian McCaffrey. While the Panthers do have playmakers, this Chargers’ defense has looked superb in their first two games. They have held two explosive offenses in the Bengals and Chiefs to 20 and 13 points in regulation. The Chargers are extremely safe and have the upside of benefitting from a matchup against a team that will have to rely on Teddy Bridgewater for their offense. I like Joey Bosa in this matchup to get a couple of sacks and up the baseline points for his defense.
Vs New York jets
The Colts have the coveted Jets matchup this week that makes any DST play viable. The Jets offense is horrific since Sam Darnold has no receiving weapons and Frank Gore is the current starting RB. Adam Gase is not a good coach and he will be controlling the offense which is just another reason to love this matchup. This Colts’ defense is a little banged up with Malik Hooker heading to IR, but this play is all about the matchup. The Jets will struggle to put up any points, and there is probably not a safer play this week than the Colts.
Vs Los Angeles Rams
The Bills are another one of those elite AFC defenses. I like them against almost any offense, and the Rams are still a plus matchup. Jared Goff consistently makes mistakes and the Bills will be all over them. The running game has not looked great for the Rams and that is an area that the Bills also excel at. I do not see the Rams putting up many points and I expect mistakes from Goff. In a week with few plus matchups, this is just enough to have the Bills as a top 5 D.
At Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings’ offense is atrocious and needs to rely on the ground game of Cook and Mattison to get anything going. The Titans’ front 7 excels at stopping the run and will force Kirk Cousins to try and pass the ball. Last week when this happened against the Colts, Cousins threw for 3 interceptions and the Vikings put up only 3 points. I think that the Titans’ defense is very similar to the Colts’, even with the injuries in the secondary to Malcom Butler and Adoree’ Jackson, and we should see a repeat performance from the Vikings’ offense in this game. The Titans’ defense is extremely safe with upside this week.
The Washington Football Team
At Cleveland Browns
This is the perfect matchup for this amazing Washington pass rush and front 4. Mayfield is awful under pressure, and the Washington Football Team is going to bring tons of it. I can easily see this being a 3 interception game from Mayfield, alongside some sacks. Coming into this game Washington leads the league in sacks with 11 and has been consistently fierce against the run game. This is such a plus matchup for Washington with the Browns being so reliant on the run and Mayfield being so prone to errors under pressure. That is why I have them all the way up to number 6 on the week.
New England Patriots
Vs Las Vegas Raiders
Bill Bellichick is an amazing defensive mastermind and I do think that the Raiders are a little too dependent on Jacobs and Waller for NE’s defense. Bellichick will scheme to stop those players and force Carr to try and win the game. When Carr is forced to play like that he often turns the ball over and becomes a sack machine for the defense. This is why the Patriots’ DST is ranked so high, despite the Raiders putting up big points against a good Saints’ defense. The total score of this game should be low with both teams wanting to keep it on the ground.
Los Angeles Rams
At Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen has been great thus far, but the Rams are #1 in the league against QBs right now. A big part of this is their great secondary led by Jalen Ramsey, and the pressure they force on the QB through Aaron Donald. When Josh Allen has played good defenses like this in the past he has forced too many throws leading to interceptions and oftentimes fumbled when trying to make something out of a dead play. I think that this is a bit of a scarier play; however, it has extreme upside with how traditionally we have seen turnovers from the Bills against good defenses.
San Francisco 49ers
At New York Giants
The 49ers are extremely banged up on their defensive line, and their secondary is nothing to brag about. However, they are still in a plus matchup this week against Daniel Jones and the New York Giants. The Giants are similarly riddled with injuries having Saquan Barkley and Sterling Shepard both out. This turns them into a decent matchup for any DST they come up against. The 49ers should still be solid and limit Jones’ playmaking ability, and your hope is that the remaining players in that front 7 can make plays and force sacks. I am not excited about this play, but it is safer than the ones that would replace it.
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