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Top 20 Defense/Special Teams units for Week 3 fantasy football

As huge home favorites, you’d be hard-pressed to find two better units than Dallas and New England. Here are the top 20 D/ST for Week 3.

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and middle linebacker Jaylon Smith in action during the game between the Cowboys and the Giants at AT&T Stadium.  Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If you skipped ahead to the rankings and jumped back up here, well first off don’t just skip ahead to the rankings. Come on, man. Also, you probably noticed a trend. No? I’ll give you a hint, it’s in the headline caption above. Still don’t know? It’s home favorites!

As you can see, eight of the teams in my top 10 are playing at home and are favored in some capacity. When considering a D/ST unit in almost all fantasy football formats, the team playing at home which is heavily favored is usually in a good spot to return value/perform well. In this case, we’ve got two MASSIVE favorites in the Cowboys and Patriots, playing against two lowly AFC East teams in the Dolphins and Jets, respectively.

Now, I don’t think I need to get into either of those spots (you should be targeting against the Dolphins almost every week and the Jets’ starting QB moving forward is up in the air after Trevor Siemian (ankle) was hurt on Monday Night Football). So let’s look at a few of the other top options. I love the two NFC North squads: the Packers and Vikings. Both at home, favored against teams with uninspiring offenses.

Green Bay’s improved unit showed again that it is for real in a 21-16 win over Minnesota in Week 2. The Packers rank second in points allowed early on in the season (9.5 per game), mostly due to facing two terrible QBs (Mitch Trubisky and Kirk Cousins). Well, it doesn’t get much easier than facing “Elite” Joe Flacco at Lambeau Field. It’s also worth noting the Packers have forced five turnovers, which gives them a high ceiling.

The Vikings appeared headed toward a blowout by the hands of Green Bay, but stabilized things nicely after the first half while forcing a few fumbles. After a solid Week 1, the Raiders were flat vs. a poor Chiefs defense on Sunday, scoring 10 points with QB Derek Carr struggling. We also know RB Josh Jacobs (groin) and WR Tyrell Williams (hip) are dealing with injuries, so if either are out or limited, that bodes well for Minny. The Vikings have a solid pass rush that can get to the QB with ease.

Speaking of QBs, we’ve got two backups starting in Week 3. The Saints will roll out Teddy Bridgewater and the Steelers will turn to Mason Rudolph. Let’s start with Bridgewater, who was ineffective in place of Drew Brees (thumb) is a loss to the Rams in Week 2. Bridgewater went 17-of-30 for 165 yards despite having offensive weapons like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Now, he’s forced to go on the road cross country to Seattle in one of the toughest environments in the NFL.

Rudolph has a somewhat less shaky outlook given his performance relieving Ben Roethlisberger (elbow, out for season) vs. the Seahawks. He went 12-of-19 for 112 yards and two TDs with Pittsburgh just coming up short in a 28-26 loss. The 49ers may appear to be a decent matchup given recent history, but San Fran has been solid so far this season, ranking eighth in yards allowed per game (305.5) while also forcing five turnovers (two pick-6s). Both the Seahawks and 49ers make for decent streaming options in Week 3.

Defense/Special Teams rankings, Week 3

Ranking Team Opponent
Ranking Team Opponent
1 Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins
2 New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
3 Green Bay Packers vs. Denver Broncos
4 Minnesota Vikings vs. Oakland Raiders
5 Chicago Bears at Washington
6 Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
7 Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals
8 Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Giants
10 Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans
11 San Francisco 49ers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
12 Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns
13 Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions
14 Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans
15 Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
16 Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
17 Houston Texans at Los Angeles Chargers
18 Indianapolis Colts vs. Atlanta Falcons
19 New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20 Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers

“All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS contests.”