Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 4
Every year I tell you to avoid drafting a DEF and just pick one up before Week 1. The stats this year make my point for me. Yes, we are only three weeks in but we’ve already seen 27 different D/ST finish in the weekly top-12. Only four teams have finished in top-12 in all three weeks so far: Ravens, Patriots, Steelers, and Chiefs. Now, it is true that you would have had to spend a draft pick to land any of those four but with the quality of streaming options, I question if it’s truly worth it? Week 3 gave us some great performances from defenses you didn’t need to draft. Let’s look at those and glance ahead to Week 4.
Week 3 Top Performances
Indianapolis Colts vs NYJ
Beating up on the Jets has basically become a favorite pastime since they hired Adam Gase, both on the football field and fantasy football. The Jets have given up at least 5 fantasy points to all opposing fantasy defenses and allow the most points on the season after this game. The Colts defense only allowed seven points to the Jets offense in this game and also scored two TDs of their own, both on interceptions. They added a third interception in the game and a safety, giving us the highest fantasy output from a fantasy D/ST this season.
Week 4 Matchup: @ CHI
This game could go either way and those aren’t the odds you want when playing a fantasy DEF. Yes, Indy looked great in Weeks 2 and 3… do not chase past points. I’d feel better if this were a home game, but on the road, with a refreshed Chicago team, is not a good spot for the Colts.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ DEN
Denver came into this game without their starting QB and top WR, it was always going to be an uphill battle. The Buccaneers sacked Driskel six times, one for a safety, and forced two interceptions. Denver managed just 10 points scored and the Buccaneers even added a blocked kick on their way to finishing as the #2 DEF in Week 4.
Week 4 Matchup: vs LAC
This could be a high-scoring game, so you’re banking on sacks and turnovers. The good news is that the Chargers give plenty of those up and Tampa Bay is doing well at getting them. You could do worse than Tampa Bay in Week 4.
New England Patriots vs LV
The Patriots didn’t fill up the stat sheet in this game but they did enough. The Raiders did score 20 points while allowing Carr to be sacked only twice. Unfortunately, Carr fumbled the ball on both of those sacks and the Patriots scored a TD on one of them. The Patriots actually added a 3rd fumble recovery and that was enough to bring them to the weekly top-3.
Week 4 Matchup: @ KC
Nope. Kansas City is already in mid-season form and just dropped 34 on Baltimore’s defense, a much better fantasy DEF. The Patriots have a nice matchup with Denver next week, so I wouldn’t cut them, if possible.
Week 4 Starts
Baltimore Ravens @ WAS
The Ravens are angry after their Week 3 loss to Kansas City and the Washington offense is just plain bad. Dwayne Haskins is playing his way to an early benching and Baltimore is likely to move that process along. Baltimore’s D/ST has looked great in 2020 and even managed to put up decent fantasy points against KC. They are going to destroy Washington and we could be looking at a shutout.
Los Angeles Rams vs NYG
The Giants look awful and it’s even worse without Saquon Barkley. There is a legitimate chance that Aaron Donald scores more fantasy points than Daniel Jones in this game. It won’t be pretty and the Rams are still available in 42% of Yahoo leagues. Grab them now.
Buffalo Bills @ LV
The Bills defense hasn’t had to do much in 2020 with Josh Allen basically scoring at will, but they are better than they’ve looked and are getting healthier. The Raiders are middle of the road when it comes to fantasy points surrender to DEF but will likely be playing from behind a lot in this game. That should lead to sacks and turnovers for Buffalo and a good fantasy day for their DEF.
Stream of the Week
Denver Broncos @ NYJ
The Jets are an absolute trainwreck and they aren’t getting better any time soon. They just gave up the #1 score to Indy in Week 3 and allow the most points to fantasy DEF in 2020 so far. The Broncos have had a rough schedule so far but have recorded a sack in every game. The Jets are the perfect opponent for them to maximize their potential. As of this writing, Denver is available in 63% of fantasy leagues.
Other Options: Rams, Cardinals, Texans (COVID), Bengals, Jets
Week 4 Sits
Tennessee Titans vs PIT
(Note: This game, and the Texans vs Vikings game, could be postponed due to COVID-19 concerns)
The Titans have looked pretty good so far this season and are currently rostered in 47% of Yahoo leagues. That will need to end in Week 4. Pittsburgh is giving up the 8th fewest fantasy points to fantasy DEF and hasn’t allowed a D/ST to score more than five fantasy points yet this season.
New Orleans Saints @ DET
New Orleans has ridden a great Week 1 and they are 75% rostered in Yahoo leagues. That will likely not play out well in Week 4. They just scored -3 fantasy points against the Packers and Detroit is likely to give them problems on the road this week. The Lions gave up a ton of fantasy points to the Green Bay D/ST in Week 2, but held their own against Chicago and Arizona. The Lions are not a great matchup for fantasy defenses.
Los Angeles Chargers @ TB
The Chargers defense has looked better than expected through three weeks, which explains their current 71% rostered % in Yahoo leagues. Cut bait now. Tampa Bay looks like a good matchup if you check fantasy points against but that is mainly due to a Week 1 belly-flop. They have only allowed seven total points to fantasy D/ST over the last two weeks and Brady is starting to gel in this offense.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
*All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Rank vs Pass/Run based on yards allowed.