Week 3 of the NFL Schedule was full of surprises. The Buffalo Bills got their first win in impressive fashion and made Minnesota D/ST owners shake their heads. The Saints, Chiefs and Steelers continue to put up lots of points and give up lots of points. The biggest news of the week, however, had to be, “The Browns Win”!
I’m sure Week 4 will also have plenty of surprises, but regardless my picks are below for D/ST starts this week, followed by IDP targets from these games. If you faced any of the Thursday night players or benched any of the Thursday night players thinking it would be a defensive game, then choose your D/ST wisely this week because every point counts, and good luck the rest of this Fantasy Football Season.
Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans ($2,200 – DK/$3,600 – FD)
The Colts defense has played well to start the season. Rookie Darius Leonard has to be the early favorite for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He and fellow rookie Kemoko Turay contributed 3.5 sacks last week against the Eagles, one of the best offensive lines, and this week face one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Safety Clayton Geathers is questionable and will be a huge help if he is able to play. Malik Hooker is also questionable at the other safety spot, but regardless the Colts should be able to pressure Deshaun Watson plenty this week creating sacks and turnovers.
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots ($2,000 – DK/$3,100 – FD)
Along with the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins are ranked as a bottom two defense this week by both major DFS sites. However, even on the road in New England, there is enough for me to like about the Dolphins this week. They give up yards against both the pass and run, but have the sixth-best scoring defense this year and very opportunistic. Xavien Howard is tied for the league lead in interceptions with three and Reshad Jones is right behind him with two despite missing Week 3 with a shoulder injury. Jones is questionable this week, but has been a full practice participant the last couple of days. The Patriots offense has struggled to start the year and their receivers have underperformed. The Dolphins will be motivated to keep their undefeated start to the season going.
Cleveland Browns @ Oakland Raiders ($2,900 – DK/$3,500 – FD)
The Raiders have been a good first half team to start the year and two of their three losses are to undefeated teams. However, they have been a poor second half team and quarterback Derek Carr struggled in Week 3. This week quarterback Baker Mayfield gets his first NFL start, after leading a comeback victory against the NY Jets last week for the Cleveland Brown. Cleveland also should get defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah back this week to pair with Myles Garrett on the other side giving the Browns an above average pass rush against the Raiders this week. Cleveland’s secondary has also played well to start the season and their success should continue in Oakland this week.
I also like: Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Seattle and the LA Chargers.
Clayton Geathers (S/Colts) – Make sure Geathers is active before starting him, but he gives the Colts another tackling machine to pair with Darius Leonard.
Kareem Jackson (S/Texans) – Jackson is leading the Texans in tackles, passes defended and tied for the team lead in forced fumbles with J.J. Watt. The Colts running game is non-existent, so Jackson should be busy in the secondary this week.
Xavien Howard (C/Dolphins) – Howard should see a lot of Josh Gordon this week if Gordon is active. The Patriots will need to target Gordon downfield in an effort to finally open up the passing game. Howard should have the upper hand this early in Gordon’s Patriots career.
Trey Flowers (DE/Patriots) – Flowers is the Patriots best rusher and should be able to get to Ryan Tannehill a time or two this week.
Myles Garrett (DE/Browns) – Garrett has quietly become one of the leagues best defensive ends in just his second season and is tied for the league lead with 4.0 sacks. He should add to his total this week.
Christian Kirksey (LB/Browns) – Kirksey should return this week in Oakland and lead the Browns in tackles.
Against the Grain
Green Bay Packers vs Buffalo Bills
I’ve picked the Packers once as a start so far this season and they let me down last week against Washington. Many people may have picked them up specifically for this matchup against Buffalo this week, but how can we trust it now after the shellacking the Bills put on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3. Green Bay wasn’t able to stop the run or pass against Washington and their offense sputtered keeping the defense on the field more than they would like. I don’t think last week was a fluke for Buffalo. The rookie quarterback, Josh Allen, has played well in his two starts and I wouldn’t risk the Green Bay defense this week to stop him.