Fantasy Football: Week 4 Team Defense Recap

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While my Week 4 predictions certainly went better than Week 3, mistakes were made. My Stream of the Week finished in second-to-last place and one of my Sits finished tied for 1st place. Overall, it wasn’t the dumpster fire for DEF/ST that we saw in Week 3. In fact, all 3 of the top performers are well regarded defensive units. We saw 6 DEF/ST touchdowns and 4 teams allow fewer than 10 points, both up from Week 3.  That’s not to say Week 4 was without surprises, let’s look at those top performers.

Week 4 Top Performances

Houston Texans: vs Tennessee Titans
So the Houston defense finishing as the top unit may not be all that surprising, but the utter dismantling they did of the Titans certainly was. They were up 30-14 at halftime, and both of the TDs they gave up were on the ground to Marcus Mariotta. After Mariota got hurt, the Tennesse scoring was over. The Texans ended the game with a league-leading 5 takeaways, one returned for a TD,  2 QB sacks, and tied atop the standings for best fantasy defense in Week 4.

Week 5 Matchup: vs Kansas City Chiefs
Coming into this season, I would’ve called a home game against Alex Smith and the Chiefs a dream matchup for fantasy DEF/ST purposes. Kareem Hunt changed all that. The Chiefs haven’t given up more than 5 points to opposing fantasy defenses this season. Look for better options in Week 5.

Seattle Seahawks: vs Indianapolis Colts
The Seahawks finally paid you back for that draft pick you used on them, assuming you didn’t cut them after their (-4)  performance last week. A home tilt with the Colts seems to be a “get right” recipe. Looking at the stats, Seattle only had 3 sacks and 2 takeaways but they took both of those back for 6. Seattle is only the 2nd team this season to score 2 defensive TDs in a game (Rams) and for the 2nd time this season that was good enough for a top performance.

Week 5 Matchup: @ Los Angeles Rams
Based on early season stats this game could be full of DEF/ST TDs but I’m not betting on that. The Rams offense has been scoring in bunches and I’m not confident that Seattle can slow them down…a phrase I honestly thought I’d never say.

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Baltimore Ravens
After their drubbing in London, it looked like the Ravens offense lacked any serious firepower and that proved to be true again in Week 4. The Steelers defense held them without a first-half score and ultimately to 9 points in this game. The Ravens barely mustered 300 yards of total offense. Pittsburgh ended the game with 3 takeaways and 4 sacks. Baltimore ended the game with more questions than answers on offense.

Week 5 Matchup: vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Another Week 5 matchup of solid fantasy DEF/ST. Blake Bortles is due to remind us that he is still Blake Bortles and this should be that game. The Pittsburgh offense is freakishly good at home and that should put the Jacksonville offense is bad situations all day. Start the Steelers.

Starts

Minnesota Vikings: @ Chicago Bears
The Vikings defense has turned it on as of late and get Mitch Trusbisky in his first NFL start. The Bears have given up the 5th most points to DEF/ST this season. You’ll have to wait until Monday night to see the results but my guess is you’ll be happy you started the Vikings.

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Baltimore Ravens: @ Oakland Raiders
Baltimore has been shaky the last 2 weeks after finishing as a top 5 unit in each of the first 2. The Raiders offense has also looked bad the last 2 weeks and will be without Derek Carr. This seems like the kind of game where defense is going to win out. I expect a low score and Baltimore harassing EJ Manuel all day long.

Cincinnati Bengals: vs Buffalo Bills
You may be safe starting both teams in this game, it has the lowest projected total score of the week, but I think the Bengals are the play here. They are at home facing a mediocre offense that just lost it’s #1 WR. The Bengals defensive woes over the first couple of weeks were largely caused by their own offense and that seems to be corrected.

Stream of the Week

San Francisco 49ers: @ Indianapolis Colts or New York Jets: @ Cleveland Browns
The Niners and Jets find themselves in just about the exact same situation in Week 5. They haven’t been great but they’ve played better recently. The face the #1 and #2 teams when it comes to fantasy points given to DEF/ST. They are both on the road. They are both owned in less than 2% of fantasy leagues. If you’re streaming this week I’d probably go Jets, but I’m not sure there is a wrong answer here.

Sits

New England Patriots: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Statistically speaking, The Patriots are the worst defense in the NFL. They have scored a total of (-1) fantasy points this season and yet, they are owned in a staggering 91% of fantasy leagues. While I respect your commitment, this would be a good week to give that up. Jameis Winston and Mike Evans have looked solid and the Bucs get Doug Martin back this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars: @ Pittsburgh Steelers
As I mentioned before, this Pittsburgh offense is just too good at home. I know Jacksonville has done well for you…bench them.

Carolina Panthers: @ Detroit Lions
Carolina’s defense has scored a total of 0 fantasy points over the last 2 weeks and faces another solid QB in Matt Stafford. The loss of Kurt Coleman hurts this secondary and I’m not confident they’ll be able to slow down the Lions offense.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

The table is arranged by YTD fantasy points but all categories are sortable. Also, I have ranked teams on a Yards-per-Game basis in Passing/Rushing.

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
1 Lions 57 4 64 10 7 4 3 0 0 21 7
2 Jaguars 52 3 74 18 5 5 2 0 0 1 32
3 Steelers 49 3 59 15 4 3 1 0 1 2 23
4 Texans 43 3 82 10 4 3 2 0 0 9 14
5 Bills 41 4 54 11 6 1 1 0 0 11 13
6 Broncos 38 2 74 10 4 0 1 0 1 10 1
7 Bengals 36 2 67 12 3 0 1 0 0 3 17
8 Rams 34 1 105 12 4 3 2 1 0 13 30
8 Redskins 34 2 77 12 4 3 1 0 0 17 11
10 Seahawks 33 2 75 9 3 1 2 0 0 4 27
10 Ravens 33 2 80 9 9 2 0 0 0 16 25
12 Eagles 29 1 86 10 3 4 1 0 0 30 2

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