As we reach the quarter pole of the NFL season, I like to take this time to reflect. The first 4 games have brought us some interesting truths we need to come to grips with. First and foremost, Khalil Mack is a man on a mission and is going to break the NFL sack record. The Bears are the #1 fantasy defense and have 18 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, and 2 DEF/ST TDs. Mack has 5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries and one of those TDs. Mack alone has better fantasy numbers than 6 full DEF/ST.
Secondly, how do you feel about spending that high draft pick on the Jaguars? They are ranked #7 and have only managed two top 12 finishes and 3 takeaways. Teams just aren’t throwing on Jacksonville, so unless their own offense can give them some positive game scripts, it could be a situation where they are a great real defense and a mediocre fantasy play.
Finally, we need to acknowledge that this game of ours is almost all educated guesswork and we know nothing. I missed on 4-of-5 Starts last week while “playing the matchups”. But I was correct on all 5 of my Sits using the same methodology. Anytime we think we have figured it out, let’s just go back and rewatch Week 3’s Bills vs. Vikings. All of that being said, let’s jump into Week 4’s top performers and my predictions for Week 5.
Week 4 Top Performances
Green Bay Packers: vs Buffalo Bills
A shutout, 7 sacks, and 3 takeaways is always a recipe for DEF/ST success. In Week 4, it landed the Packers in the top spot. A week removed from their beatdown of Minnesota, Buffalo got a taste of their own medicine as Green Bay kept them from getting any semblance of offense in this game. This is the Bills team we expected this season based on their roster and it is the team we can expect moving forward.
Week 5 Matchup: @ Detroit Lions
The Lions aren’t the Bills and this seems like it will be a high scoring game. Despite Matthew Stafford’s recent penchant for turnovers, you can’t trust the Packers here.
Chicago Bears: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A turnover prone QB going against the most aggressive defense in the NFL this year typically spells disaster for Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bears beat the Bucs down from start to finish and put Fitzmagic back on the bench. Chicago ended the game with 4 sacks and 3 interceptions and a forced QB change at halftime while leading 38-3. The biggest story of the game was the emergence of Mitchell Trubisky but this Bears DEF/ST may be the very best in the league this year.
Week 5 Matchup: Bye Week
(Note: DO NOT CUT THE BEARS! Find a roster spot elsewhere and go sign Carolina or Tennessee, more on them later.)
Houston Texans: @ Indianapolis Colts
Not too often you can allow 34 points and still crack the top 3 for fantasy DEF/ST but 2018 has been weird so far. The Texans took OT to get the win and finished with 4 sacks and 2 takeaways. If it wasn’t for the Jadeveon Clowney fumble recovery in the end zone, we wouldn’t even be talking about them right now but DEF/ST TDs are few and far between this season so this one propelled the Texans to the top-3.
Week 5 Matchup: vs Dallas Cowboys
The issue here is we don’t know who Dallas is and really don’t know who the Texans are. Too much risk for my blood but if you can’t find a waiver wire gem, you could do worse than the Texans.
Week 5 Starts
New England Patriots: vs Indianapolis Colts
This goes against my traditional thinking but I have a feeling here. It’s a short week and the Colts should be without TY Hilton. Brady found his stroke last week and gets Julian Edelman back. My prediction is that the Patriots are going to boat race the Colts on Thursday and force a pass-heavy game script that should lead to turnovers and sacks for New England.
Carolina Panthers: vs New York Giants
Carolina is coming off of a bye and is available in over half of both Yahoo and ESPN leagues. The Giants are giving up the 4th most points to fantasy DEF/ST and can’t seem to get out of their own way. Eli is struggling and that spells good news for the Panthers at home.
Denver Broncos: @ New York Jets
The Broncos actually played admirably against the Chiefs and get a far easier Week 5 tilt with the Jets. New York has given up the 3rd most points to opposing DEF/ST and is coming off of beat down by the Jaguars.
Stream of the Week
Tennessee Titans: vs Buffalo Bills
Buffalo was back to their old Buffalo ways in Week 4, giving up the top DEF/ST performance to the Green Bay Packers. The Titans are at least as talented as the Packers and are owned in less than 20% of Yahoo leagues, 40% on ESPN. Grab them now while you still can.
Week 5 Sits
Jacksonville Jaguars: @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are what fantasy DEF/ST nightmares are made of. They are solid at every offensive position and can score at will. I know it hurts sitting that 8th round pick on your bench but you did this to yourself!
Both Teams: Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles
I’m envisioning the second coming of Rams/Vikings. Lots of points on offense, none for fantasy DEF/ST. Carson Wentz is coming back into form and just got Alshon Jeffrey back. The Vikings are red hot and can’t be happy with that loss. Stay away.
Los Angeles Chargers: vs Oakland Raiders
The Raiders just dropped 40 on a good Browns defense and the Chargers struggled with CJ Beathard. Somehow, LAC is owned in over 80% of leagues but that needs to end in Week 5.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Ranks vs Pass/Run are based on Yards per Game allowed.
|Team||Fantasy Points||Weeks in Top 12||Points Allowed||Sacks||Int||Fum Rec||Def/Ret TD||Safety||Blocked Kick||Rank vs Pass||Rank vs Run|