Week 4 Team Defense Recap

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As we reach the quarter pole of the season, we must all pay our respect to the current king of DEF/ST: the Minnesota Vikings. Fresh off of another solid performance, the Vikings are the #1 Team Defense and their stats tell their story: #1 in Turnovers, #1 in DEF/ST TDs, #2 in Points Allowed, #2 in Sacks. More impressive is what they’ve done to opponent’s WR1 the last 2 weeks. Regarded as two the of best in the league, Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham Jr. were held to 3 catches for 23 yards COMBINED! Clearly, thru the season’s first 4 weeks, the Vikings were the most impressive, but let’s take a look at all of Week 4’s top performers.

Week 4 Standout Performances

Buffalo Bills: @ New England Patriots
So, I was a week early on my “Jacoby Brissett is going to be shut down” prediction. The Bills went into Foxborough and did something that hasn’t been done in 20 years: shutout the Patriots at home. Add in their 3 sacks and a turnover and you have a great performance that almost nobody saw coming.

Week 5 Matchup: @ Los Angeles Rams
Another good matchup for Rex and the Bills. They face an offense that is last in yards and 30th in points scored. Case Keenum has turned it over 4 times in 4 games and the Bills are top 5 in takeaways. I don’t love the East Coast team in the West Coast time zone aspect, but I’m still starting the Bills.

Denver Broncos: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No surprise here. When a QB who is among the league leaders in INTs faces off against the best pass defense in the league this is the expected conclusion.  The Broncos harassed Jameis Winston early and often. They finished the game with 5 sacks, 3 turnovers, and only allowing 7 points. That was good enough for the top spot in fantasy this week.

Week 5 Matchup: vs Atlanta Falcons
Dilemma of the week: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Do I see Matty Ice going for 500+ again and/or Julio going for 300+ again? No. Am I starting the Broncos defense? Yes. Am I comfortable? No.

Cincinnati Bengals: vs Miami Dolphins
Cincinnati had me nervous after allowing a long TD on broken coverage to start the game but they rebounded fantastically. They didn’t allow another score and sacked Ryan Tannehill 5 times. They also forced 2 turnovers for good measure. Home defenses on Thursday night may be an emerging trend to watch.

Week 5 Matchup: @ Dallas Cowboys
I cannot endorse the Bengals in this one. Dallas is at home, has a QB that hasn’t turned the ball over yet, might get Dez back, and has a superstar in the making in Ezekiel Elliott. The game should be low scoring but I don’t see the Cincinnati DEF/ST notching many other stats in this one.

Week 5 Starts

Miami Dolphins: vs Tennessee Titans
The Dolphins should find the going much easier in Week 5. They actually held their own against the Bengals running game and Marcus Mariota is the lowest rated starting QB in the league.

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New England Patriots: @ Cleveland Browns
Yes, I have picked on the Browns in this article every week. This one is much more of a concern about the situation they find themselves in. The Patriots get Tom Brady back and are coming off of a shutout. They may score 100 points to make up for lost time. While I doubt it will be that high, they are going to score a lot and give their defense the ability to pin their ears back and get after Cody Kessler. It could get Ryan Fitzpatrick-ugly.

Note: I mean to say his 6 interception performance against the Chiefs was ugly and mean no personal slight against Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Los Angeles Rams: vs Buffalo Bills
A home game against a one dimensional East Coast opponent sounds good to me. I expect this to be a low-scoring, run out the clock sort of game, which is why I already told you to start the Bills as well. The Rams have been solid every week since their Week 1 debacle against the 49ers. They were flat out fantastic last week against the Cardinals. Start with confidence.

Week 5 Sits

Both Teams: New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers

Both Teams: New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers

I’m not trying to be lazy here…let’s call it efficient. The same narrative pops for both of these games so I’m just saving you time. Not one of these 4 teams has a top 15 fantasy DEF/ST yet, due to name recognition, people like to start them. The home teams both seem to have plus matchups but I feel like their own high-scoring offenses will hurt them. Both the Jets and Giants have a lot to prove and should see the ball often. Not only that, but they will need to score plenty of points to win. Both of these games stink of 50+ point totals and all defenses should be avoided.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
Team Fantasy Points Games Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum. Rec. Def/Return TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs. Pass Rank vs. Run
1 Vikings 67 4 50 15 6 5 3 1 0 9 8
2 Broncos 53 4 64 17 5 3 2 0 0 2 22
3 Bills 43 4 66 13 4 4 2 0 0 17 13
3 Cardinals 43 4 74 11 5 4 1 1 0 7 20
5 Eagles 40 3 27 10 3 3 0 1 1 6 3
6 Texans 37 4 73 11 2 3 1 0 0 1 27
7 Ravens 36 4 72 9 5 1 0 0 2 3 5
8 Seahawks 35 4 54 12 4 0 1 0 1 4 6
9 Chiefs 33 4 92 5 8 2 2 0 0 11 28
10 Rams 27 4 70 7 4 5 1 0 0 23 17
11 Bengals 28 4 82 9 4 2 0 0 2 10 14
12 Panthers 25 4 110 9 5 2 2 0 0 14 10
13 Jaguars 24 4 111 12 3 2 0 0 0 5 18
14 Patriots 23 4 61 7 3 4 0 0 0 20 15
14 Chargers 23 4 108 9 6 2 1 0 0 27 17

Again, choosing a DEF/ST is tricky, my predictions were much more accurate last week but the statistics are startling. Thru 4 weeks, 27 teams have finished with a top 12 weekly score. The only 5 teams to never hit the top 12 are Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Dallas, Detroit, and Washington. There have only been 4 teams to hit the top 12 every week they’ve played: Minnesota, Denver, Arizona and Philadelphia. At this point, 85% of the league has fantasy starting potential. If you didn’t draft one of the studs, just stay active and look for favorable matchups to help you succeed.

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