Week 4 Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy

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After Week 3, I think one thing is very clear…the Bears defense must read my article. I talked trash about them and they responded with an epic fantasy night. All kidding aside, after falling out of the top-12, they rewarded the owners that wasted a draft pick on them with the week’s top performance. In fact, both of the last two top yearly D/ST found their way into the top-3 this season, but we’ll talk about them later.

The Patriots still reign supreme among D/ST, which is no surprise given their cupcake schedule. The Patriots 61 fantasy points through three weeks are more than both Chicago and Jacksonville had in their season-leading years. It’s the most since the Vikings in 2016, who had 63 fantasy points in three games and ended up as the #2 fantasy defense at season’s end. The one thing that is surprising about the Patriots start is that they have only allowed five offensive points thus far. One field goal and two extra points. That’s it. Those two extra points were a product of one of Week 3’s best performances so let’s see who you should have started last week and who you need to start this week.

Week 3 Top Performances

Chicago Bears @ WAS
The Bears defense struck quickly in this one with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix taking an INT back for TD about five minutes into the game. Chicago would go on to add two more INTs, plus two fumbles recoveries, for five takeaways on the night. They also sacked Case Keenum four times and only allowed 15 points on their way to the top of Week 3’s fantasy D/ST rankings.

Week 4 Matchup: vs MIN
The Bears glory may be shortlived. Minnesota is in the bottom-5 when it comes to fantasy points surrendered to D/ST and Dalvin Cook is not to be toiled with so far this season. Take this opportunity to sell the Bears to an owner that is not as smart as you and try to recoup what you lost when you spent that 8th Round pick.

New York Jets @ NE
Not too often that a team that allowed 30 points and lost in a relative blowout finds themselves as one of the top fantasy defenses. That’s what TDs can do for you. The Jets defense outscored three offenses this week, including their own, with two TDs. After allowing 30 unanswered points to New England thru basically three quarters, they returned a punt for a TD and Jamal Adams added a pick-six late in the 4th. They added a sack and finished with two takeaways, but it was the TDs that saved the day for the 2% of you psychos that started them against the Patriots.

Week 4 Matchup: BYE

Jacksonville Jaguars vs TEN
Gardner Minshew put the Jags out to an early lead and against Marcus Mariota, that is usually all it takes. In this bad weather game, Jacksonville was able to slow down Derrick Henry and pin their ears back against Mariota. They sacked him nine times, most for the week and the 2019 season by any team. They only allowed seven points, a TD to Henry in the 4th quarter, and added a fumble recovery to cement their place in the top-3 fantasy defenses for Week 3.

Week 4 Matchup: @ DEN
Jacksonville looked like their old selves last week against the Titans but that was a home game in bad weather. Denver should provide a little more resistance than Mariota and Co. It’s not necessarily a bad matchup, the Broncos have allowed the 13th most points to fantasy D/ST, but just don’t expect another top-5 finish.

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Week 4 Starts

Los Angeles Chargers vs MIA
It’s the Dolphins, so that means it’s my Start of the Week. Miami has allowed 13 sacks and only scored 16 points this season. Josh Rosen made almost no difference in his first start last week and the Dolphins continue to be the Holy Grail of fantasy matchups. The Chargers only have four sacks and haven’t managed double-digit fantasy points yet this season but that should all change this week.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers vs PHI
The Packers defense has led the team to their 3-0 start. They have 12 sacks and eight takeaways to start the season. The Eagles have given up 10+ fantasy points to D/ST in each of their last two games and could be without their top WRs, Jeffrey, and Jackson, yet again in this short week. The Thursday game has given us a top-10 performance every week this season and the Packers should find themselves there again after Week 4.

Baltimore Ravens vs CLE
The Browns offense has all the firepower and no spark. Their OLine leaks like a sieve and that means trouble on every play for Baker Mayfield. Cleveland has given up top 12 performances in two of its three games and Baltimore has played pretty well everywhere outside of Kansas City. This should be a low-scoring game with Baltimore controlling both sides of the ball.

Stream of the Week

Pittsburgh Steelers vs CIN
The Bengals continue to be one of my favorite offenses to pick on in 2019. They have given up top-12 performances in two of their three games and allowed Andy Dalton to be sacked 11 times already. Combine that with their eight turnovers in three games, and you have a great matchup for opposing D/ST. Pittsburgh has improved since their Week 1 beatdown at the hands of New England and is only owned in about 19% of fantasy leagues.

Week 4 Sits

Houston Texans vs CAR
Cam Newton is already declared out and Kyle Allen is not the matchup you are looking for in a QB.  The Panthers dropped 38 on the Cardinals last week and their offense really seemed to click with Allen at the helm. Houston only has one top-12 finish this season and has looked mediocre for the most part, with only three takeaways and ten sacks thru three games.

Tennessee Titans @ ATL
The Titans let everybody down in a plus matchup vs Jacksonville last week and now travel to Atlanta. The Falcons have scored 24 points in each of their last two games and only allowed one sack total. After a poor showing in Week 1, Atlanta has only given up nine fantasy points D/ST in their last two games combined.

Dallas Cowboys @ NO
The Saints proved formidable without Drew Brees against Seattle last week. Dallas didn’t look as good as expected against a terrible Dolphins team. There are far better matchups to be had in Week 4.

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.

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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 Patriots 61 3 5 13 6 0 2 0 0 1 1
2 49ers 41 1 48 9 5 2 2 0 0 7 7
3 Jets 39 2 70 5 4 3 3 1 0 26 9
4 Packers 37 3 35 12 4 4 0 0 1 5 25
5 Bears 35 2 39 11 4 2 1 0 0 14 5
6 Titans 32 2 52 8 4 1 1 1 0 3 21
7 Lions 29 2 61 9 2 3 0 0 0 22 22
7 Buccaneers 29 2 63 9 1 4 1 0 0 21 6
9 Bills 27 2 39 7 4 3 0 0 0 9 8
9 Vikings 27 1 47 10 3 3 0 0 1 11 13
11 Rams 26 3 49 8 3 2 0 0 0 4 11
11 Saints 26 1 82 9 1 2 1 0 0 30 26

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