Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 4 Edition
If we take just one lesson away from Week 3, it should be that Jacksonville is really, really bad. I realize that may not be breaking news, but for defensive streaming purposes, it’s a crucial piece of information. The Jaguars can be targeted every week moving forward.
From a talent perspective, Indianapolis’ defense is nothing special, and they finished second in fantasy defense scoring in Week 3. Four sacks, three forced turnovers, and a defensive score will go a long way in propelling fantasy teams to weekly wins. The Colts have another good matchup in Week 4 as they host the Titans, too.
Cleveland was highly disappointing as a streamer, finishing as the 30th-best unit. They allowed 160 yards rushing to Baltimore, with most of the damage being done by rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro. Only able to force one turnover, the Browns defense wasn’t much of a factor.
Chicago didn't disappoint fantasy owners on Monday Night though, as they forced three turnovers including an interception return for a touchdown, and three sacks on Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith. The Geno saga continues to unfold, and his offense needs to be targeted by defensive streamers more often than not.
Week 4 means bye weeks begin, making waiver wire pools much more shallow. Finding a top-12 defense now becomes more difficult, but also more rewarding doing it without any draft-day capital invested.
San Diego Chargers
Owned - ESPN: 4.2%, Yahoo: 14% Week 4 numberFire Rank: 3rd
Coming off a surprise victory against Seattle in Week 2, the Chargers traveled east last week to face the 2-0 Bills. Totally disregarding the fact they were underdogs, the Chargers’ defense largely controlled the game, only allowing 292 total yards and sacking E.J. Manuel three times. It was an impressive showing by a team that made a cross-country trip for a 1pm kickoff.
Although San Diego only ranks 20th in Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) on the season thus far, Jacksonville’s -35.34 Adjusted Team NEP ranks dead-last and numbs the brain like chugging a milkshake.
In all fairness, Chad Henne is on the hook for the majority of that nastiness, and rookie Blake Bortles did play fairly well after coming on in relief of Henne last week. Bortles has massive amounts of potential, but expecting him to go on the road for his first career start is asking a lot of any rookie quarterback. And truth be told, he doesn’t have much proven talent around him.
The Chargers are early 14-point favorites for Sunday’s game, meaning Bortles will most likely be forced to throw a lot late in the game which often leads to turnovers.
Owned - ESPN: 8.8%, Yahoo: 42% Week 4 numberFire Rank: 1st
In a game Vegas had pegged as one of the highest scoring of Week 3, the Detroit Lions’ defense shut down Aaron Rodgers and held the Packers to just seven points.
The Lions’ front-four disrupted the pocket with regularity and forced Rodgers into uncomfortable positions. Detroit only allowed a measly 76 yards on 22 carries, further frustrating Eddie Lacy owners. If they can rattle arguably the best quarterback in the league and shut down one of the best offenses in the game, what do they have planned for an encore against the NY Jets?
While each week is a new chapter and few things stay static, considering the way Smith performed against Chicago, Detroit becomes a very favorable defensive play.
They rank second in terms of Adjusted Defensive NEP through Week 3, and we have them ranked as the top defensive play of the week. You will be hard-pressed to find a defensive unit that has a higher floor or higher ceiling in Week 4. You know what to do.
Owned - ESPN: 1.7%, Yahoo: 17% Week 4 numberFire Rank: 6th
Make no mistake; the Dolphins’ defense got gutted last week against Kansas City.
They surrendered 174 yards on the ground, and three passing touchdowns to Alex Smith. Despite all of that, Miami finished as the 11th-best defense last week largely due to five sacks and two forced turnovers.
Through the first three weeks, Miami ranks fourth in sacks (9) and third in fumble recoveries (4). Not to mention that, as a team, they rank fifth in Adjusted Defensive NEP and have been a legitimately good defense despite last week’s loss.
They now travel across the pond to face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in a game that Vegas sees as very low scoring (40 over/under). The Dolphins are slight favorites (-4.5), meaning Derek Carr is likely to have to throw against a very talented Miami secondary if the Raiders have any intentions of keeping it close.
Carr currently ranks 31st among quarterbacks in terms of Passing NEP, and if he is indeed forced into late-game passing volume, Miami’s defense should be able to take advantage.
Indianapolis Colts (vs. Tennessee Titans), Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)