Now that the regular season has finally arrived, an enormous percentage of your focus each week will involve decisions concerning RBs, WRs, TEs, and your signal callers. Making the amount of planning that you dedicate to team defense waiver wire pickups far less extensive. While that is understandable, it still behooves you to maximize your chances of winning by examining all of your existing options. Those of you who secured the elite units of Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago, should keep them locked into your starting lineups until their bye weeks. But any owners who prefer deploying their defenses based upon exceptional matchups, will have several enticing options this week. Here are three appealing alternatives for Week 3, among teams that most likely are residing on your waiver wires.
Bills at Jets
Sunday’s battle between long-time rivals Buffalo and New York actually provides two appealing options for owners who wish to scan their waiver wires for defensive units. The Jets’ renovated unit has been particularly impressive, even though they have six new defensive starters, and are forging onward without the services of Darrelle Revis. They appear to be gelling swiftly, as gaining yardage against them has been an equally arduous task via the air, or the ground. First they limited Doug Martin to 65 rushing yards in their opener, then they held Tom Brady to less than 200 yards for the first time since 2011 in Week 2. They currently rank second in total defense, and are allowing just 241 YPG. Not only do they rank an impressive sixth versus the pass (181.5 YPG), but their outstanding run defense is fourth overall, surrendering a mere 59.5 YPG. The Jets have also permitted just 30 points after their battles with the Buccaneers and Patriots, and should keep scoring to a minimum for the Bills. The Jets have the personnel to neutralize Buffalo’s 23rd ranked passing attack, and create havoc for E. J. Manuel. The far more intriguing aspect of the matchup will involve C. J. Spiller’s attempts to navigate through the Jets’ stingy run stoppers. However, Gang Green has demonstrated enough in their first two encounters to believe that Spiller will be forced to earn ever yard. The Jets are still available in nearly 96% of all ESPN leagues, deserve strong consideration for this week’s matchup, and have the potential to become a locked-in weekly start.
Other Favorable Matchups
Bills at Jets
The Bills have not been forced to encounter a formidable offense in their initial two contests, having benefitted from matchups with a limited Carolina unit, and a Patriot attack that lacks the usual assortment of playmakers. As a result, Buffalo has performed reasonably well despite several noteworthy injuries in their secondary. They currently rank a respectable 14th versus the pass, and have also accumulated eight sacks. Now, they have yet another opportunity to flourish, when they line up against an undistinguished Jet offense that possesses multiple deficiencies. New York is ranked 25th in total offense, and has averaged just 14 points per game in their initial two contests. While Geno Smith has displayed some signs that he could eventually develop into a viable NFL starter, he is certainly a limited threat as he enters the third game of his career. In part because his primary targets are exceptionally underwhelming. He currently is completing just 53% of his passes. The team also does not have an effective ground game to conceal the inadequacies that permeate their passing attack, as the combination of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell are averaging an anemic 3.0 and 3.1 YPC respectively. Plus, the Jets have gift wrapped an AFC worst six giveaways, including four INTs. Buffalo is only owned in 3% of all ESPN leagues, and can provide an excellent Week 3 solution for your lineup.
Cardinals at Saints
When you begin formulating thoughts about the Saints, your initial images include Drew Brees, and the various weapons that reside within the team’s perpetual aerial assault. But after two contests, they have actually performed reasonably well on the defensive side of the ball. Rob Ryan’s unit currently ranks 11th in total defense, and a surprising eighth against the pass (196 YPG). New Orleans has also seized four takeaways during their initial matchups, while also generating four sacks. Even though they have been more hospitable versus the rush, that shortcoming will not be exposed in this week’s matchup with the Cardinals. Attempting to run behind Arizona’s flawed offensive line would be challenging enough for an explosive back. But the marginally talented Rashard Mendenhall is as good as it gets for the Cardinals, and will only yield modest results He is averaging 4.1 YPC, and should not cause headaches for the opposing coordinators who prepare to face him. That will certainly include Ryan, who should also concoct schemes to negatively impact Carson Palmer. Arizona can connect on deep throws, which will assuredly be dialed up by Bruce Arians. The health of Larry Fitzgerald will also be a major factor. But even if Fitzgerald performs as expected, the Saints should pose many problems for Palmer, and will garner at least one INT. They are still obtainable in 94% of all ESPN leagues, and should generate enough Week 3 fantasy points to warrant a roster addition.