In fantasy football, there are about five elite defenses — Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Chicago Bears. There are a couple of more defenses that fall into this category as well, but I won’t list them all. If you have one of these defenses on your team, you are starting them regardless of the matchup.
However, there are defenses that you don’t, or at least shouldn’t, trust every week, like the Atlanta Falcons or Baltimore Ravens. In this case, you are frequently checking the waiver wire, looking for a defense with an excellent matchup that you can start for one or two weeks. If you are one of those fantasy owners, I found the perfect defense for you to start in Week 3: The Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings welcome in the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The same Browns team that traded away their star running back, Trent Richardson. The same Browns team that will be starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback. For that alone, the Vikings defense is must-start, but I’ll explain why.
Minnesota has three interceptions and three forced fumbles (one returned for a touchdown) in two games. They also have a special teams weapon for opponents to worry about. Rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson started last week off with a bang, a 105-yard kick return to put the Vikings up 7-0.
The Vikings’ 65 points allowed in the first two games, third among defenses, is nothing to worry about heading into Week 3. The Browns won’t get anywhere near the 31 points the Bears or the 34 the Detroit Lions put up. Even with the addition of Willis McGahee, the Browns’ offense is going to struggle. McGahee did not participate in any form of training camp or preseason. He was cut from the Broncos after he tore his MCL and fractured his leg last season. Bobby Rainey and Chris Ogbonnaya are the two backs that could see carries if McGahee struggles in his first game back.
The passing game doesn’t get much better for Cleveland. Hoyer is 0-1 as a starter. He has thrown for 616 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in four appearances. Josh Gordon will be back after serving a two-game suspension, but Jordan Cameron will be Hoyer’s go-to target for this game so the Vikings should double team him often.
The Vikings should be added by everyone for Week 3. The Browns don’t have any weapons that can beat Minnesota’s defense in the air or on the ground.