Nothing about this defense has warranted their once must-start status in 2017, but that all changes in Week 4. The Colts come to town on Sunday night and theyre led by one of the most inept offenses (when not facing the Browns) in the NFL. In six career appearances, Brissett has been sacked 13 times and has three times as many turnovers as touchdown passes (granted, its just 3-1). Sacks and turnovers, thats what Seattle (at home) does! Thats literally a line from the unreleased Wedding Crashers 2. Going back to the beginning of the 2016 season, the Seahawks have compiled 24 sacks and 7 turnovers in 9 home games. Dont mind the smell folks, thats just some Brissett getting smoked on your Sunday Night Football telecast.
Averaging four sacks and almost three takeaways per game, it's clear the money Jacksonville spent on defense in the offseason was put to good use. After boat-racing the Ravens in London last week, the Jaguars return state-side for a date with the Jets. Gang Green hasn't been nearly as fantasy-friendly as anticipated, but they've still allowed seven sacks and turned the ball over five times through three games. If you're into tempting fate, the Jags are one of just four NFL teams Josh McCown has never thrown an interception against; of course, he only has eight career attempts against them.
Since week 12 of last year, the Cardinals have 27 sacks which is good for most in the NFL. On the season, they have 6 sacks and two turnovers to go with one score. Their opponent this week, San Francisco has already allowed 10 sacks (3.3 per game) and five turnovers. This is a matchup the Cardinals can exploit for some easy points.
There is little doubt if Aqib Talib could snatch the eyeliner off Derek Carrs face he would and while the mere thought of such a thing is terrifying, there isnt a ton of potential fantasy production in intercepted makeup. Denver is certainly one of the leagues scariest defenses, that has tremendous talent at all three levels but through three weeks they havent been worth their price tag outside of Dallas drubbing in Week 2. The Broncos are surprisingly just 15th in takeaways and even more surprisingly, just 16th in sacks. They are also facing one the league leaders in turnover differential, with just two giveaways in three games and have allowed the 5th-fewest sacks. Youre starting them if youve got them in season-long, but there are better values in Fanballs slew of games.
The Steelers have been a marginal-at-best D/ST play through three weeks of the young season. Outside of the seven-sack explosion against Cleveland in Week 1, Pittsburgh has been a minimal contributor with sacks, fumble recoveries and interceptions. (Zero defensive touchdowns on the year.) The same could be said about the 2016 campaign, when the Steelers averaged 2.5 sacks and one turnover against the Ravens.
The Packers have shown a lot of improvement in the secondary and it has shown in their pass defense, allowing just 207 yards and one touchdown per game. However, opposing quarterbacks have been efficient against them, throwing no interceptions and posting a combined passer rating of 100.8. The issue for the Packers has been stopping the run. Opponents have run 75 times for 341 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears combination of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen have led a Chicago run offense that has averaged 122 yards a game and scored three touchdowns. As is often the case in Packers-Bears games, the critical element will be Green Bay containing the Chicago run game.In their last meeting, Howard ran 17 times for 90 yards and a touchdown, so the onus on the Packers will be to bottle up their two-headed backfield, which they've had their share of difficulty doing this season.
Only the Bengals and Browns have given the ball away more than the Redskins, opening the door for a Chiefs D/ST that's been flirting with fantasy relevancy (11 sacks, five takeaways) to bust on through. KC led the league last year in takeaways, turning them into five defensive scores; given the current slippery fingers of the Redskins there's ample opportunity here. The cherry on top is the potential for a Tyreek Hill return score, making the Chiefs' D/ST a fine fantasy sundae on Monday night.
The Bengals got off the D/ST schneid last week, tallying one pick-six and then sacking Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers six times--their highest output in three years. Last season, they also combined for five sacks and three interceptions against the Browns (this week's opponent). That's the good news. On the down side, Cincinnati hasn't recorded a fumble recovery in 14 games. Ouch.
The Vikings defense has been one of the best run stoppers in the league, primarily because they have built early leads in the first half of their previous two home games and have forced opponents to largely abandon the run. They held the Saints to just 60 yards on 21 carries and Tampa Bay to just 26 yards on nine rushes. The Steelers and Le'Veon Bell rushed for 102 yards, but it took 32 carries for them to get there. Minnesota has yet to allow a rushing touchdown, which doesn't seem to be a huge issue with the Lions lack of power running. The Vikings have allowed 862 passing yards (287 ypg), but much of that has come from second half garbage time yardage when their primary goal has been to keep the clock moving. Having played against Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Jameis Winston, the Matthew Stafford passing attack won't be anything unusual. But, the intangible may be the two heartbreaking end-of-game losses to Detroit that kept the Vikings out of the playoffs. Mike Zimmer is going to have them prepared to attack and revenge should never be discounted by fantasy owners.
When it comes to Fanball defenses the name of the game is turnovers, and the Patriots have only produced three thus far in 2017. The antidote could be on the way this weekend in the form of a matchup with the struggling Carolina Panthers offense. The Panthers will be without Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin, and Cam Newton is coming off a game in which he threw three interceptions against the hapless New Orleans' defense.
The Eagles have regressed a bit since Week 1, when Philly's defense accounted for four sacks, three fumble recoveries and one pick-six against the Redskins. Since then, the D/ST has taken on the appearance of a bottom-five unit and one that's not worthy of consideration this week against the Chargers; and yes, we know about Philip Rivers' three interceptions and two sacks from Week 3.
The return of JJ Watt was supposed to elevate the Houston defense to fantasy deity status, but it's been a slow build. They were blanked in Week 1no sacks, no takeawaysrebounded mildly in Week 2, then broke out last week with five sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown against the Patriots. They're back? Better rein in those expectations, as the Titans have allowed just two sacks and one takeaway through three games. Houston recorded five sacks, two takeaways and a kick return touchdown in last season's series but it's still a bit of an uphill climb for fantasy relevancy this week.
The biggest issue with the Giants defense is that is hasn't been able to keep opponents down early. They've been outscored 40-7 in the first half and have forced the offense to be in the position to throw often to try to make up for the deficits they have faced. The Giants pass defense has been solid, allowing just 566 yards and four touchdowns, but there are two problems behind that number. First, they don't have an interceptions and opposing QBs have posted a combined passer rating of 97.6. The other issue is the Giants run defense. Because teams have been able to get early leads, they have rushed 102 times for 460 yards and two touchdowns - an average of 34 carries for 153 yards a game. With Doug Martin still two games away, the Bucs won't have their full complement of running backs, but those rushing numbers are troubling.
Amazing week one with two sacks, two fumble recoveries and a defensive score but the wheels fell off with zeroes across the board and 34 points allowed to the Case Keenum-led Vikings. The Giants are only one of six teams without a rushing score in 2017 so the Bucs should be in line for an easier go this week. Eli Manning has thrown four interceptions while averaging the third most pass attempts per game so the Tampa secondary should have a chance or two to force a turnover.
If Atlanta is to generate DST points here they will come via the sack; Buffalo's banged-up offensive line has surrendered an average of three sacks per game thus far while the Falcons have recorded well, whaddya know, an average of three sacks per game. Put those in the bank, then hope that pressure can create more than the two takeaways the Falcons have generated thus far this seasonnot that the Bills will help, with only one turnover on the year.