Miami Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey, right, kicks the winning field goal in the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday at StuHub Center in Carson, Calif. Photo by Lori Shepler/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Our top 20 defense and top 15 kicker rankings look to give an edge to your Week 3 fantasy football lineup.
Unless you drafted a top-tier defense, streaming a defense/special teams unit is your best bet for consistency out of the position. Kickers can also easily be streamed week-to-week, unless you already have 'your guy.'
You want to look for defensive units with playmakers, but you also want to take the matchup into account. With kickers, you are looking for players on good offenses or players in games that you expect to be close.
Here are my top 20 defense/special teams units and top 15 kickers for Week 3. You can visit other positional rankings in the links below.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense went undrafted in many leagues, but has had a great start to the 2017 season. This week the Steelers face the Chicago Bears. Chicago has scored just 24 points so far this season and was severely limited in last weekend's 29-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Pittsburgh allowed 18 points in Week 1 and nine points in Week 2. I'm looking for another solid effort here from this unit, which had nine sacks, a fumble recovery, an interception and a touchdown in the first two weeks of the 2017 campaign. The Los Angeles Rams are another unit which has surprised some in the football world. Los Angeles ranks as a top-5 fantasy football defense and should have another strong outing Thursday against a weak San Francisco 49ers attack.
Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowler Justin Tucker is my top kicker for Week 3. I'm expecting to see plenty of leg in this road matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Blair Walsh and the Seattle Seahawks should put up some points Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Walsh has multiple field goals in each game so far this season, but missed his only extra point attempt. If the Seahawks offense starts scoring, Walsh could be a candidate for fantasy football's top kicker.
Week 3 Defense/Special Teams Rankings
The Philadelphia Eagles allowed 27 points last week, but I'm predicting a rebound in Week 3 against a New York Giants offense that appears to be in disarray. The Eagles have eight sacks and have been forcing turnovers and the Giants are playing on a short week. The Miami Dolphins have another road game in Week 3 when they battle the New York Jets. New York scored 12 points in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills and put up 20 points in its Week 2 loss to the Oakland Raiders. I'm expecting the Dolphins to limit Jets possessions by using a dominant running game, headlined by Jay Ajayi, and the Jets to be in catch up mode. This should lead to plenty of sacks for Miami and turnover opportunities.
Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby is another kicker with oddly low extra point attempts. I'm looking for that trend to turn around in Week 3, with the Packers lighting up the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field. Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater stays at home in Week 3 with a matchup agains the Atlanta Falcons. I'm expecting a shootout here, but the Lions might attempt to control the clock with their running game early on. If the Lions succeed with their sluggish style, expect Prater to benefit. Either way, I expect the Lions to be in field goal range plenty of times in this spot.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had everyone talking in Week 1 after they shutdown the Houston Texans 29-7. In Week 2, they came back to earth in a 37-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans. This week the Jaguars host the Baltimore Ravens. This Jaguars pass rush should dominate a banged-up Ravens offensive line while the Jacksonville running game sets the pace for the contest. Jacksonville's defense/special teams unit is a fringe starting defense for me in Week 3. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense faces a Minnesota Vikings offense which could again be without starting quarterback Sam Bradford in Week 3. Bradford was limited in practice on Wednesday, so you will need to monitor his status. The situation is as simple as this: if Bradford plays, you start the Buccaneers. If he doesn't you leave them on the bench.
Dustin Hopkins cashed in for two field goals and three extra points in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams. This week the Washington Redskins host the Oakland Raiders. The Redskins might struggle to run the ball in this contest, meaning Kirk Cousins should be up there when it comes to pass attempts. Hopkins will benefit from Cousins putting his team in field goal range frequently. Miami Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey won the game for his team in his franchise debut on Sunday with a 54-yard kick against the Los Angeles Chargers. He should come into play again in Week 3 against the New York Jets. The Dolphins shouldn't struggle to score here and Parkey has given his coaches confidence in knowing he can hit from any range.