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Week 4 Defense Rankings

The Patriots and Titans are on a bye this week. Which defense/special teams should you target in Week 4? Read on.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

First things first: the defensive rankings will now be coming out on Thursday mornings, so yes, now the Thursday night defenses will be ranked. However, instead of all 32 teams being ranked this week, there will still only be 30 due to the Patriots and Titans on a bye week. You probably don't own the Titans defense, but if you own the Patriots defense, you may want to see if one of the following streamers are available in your league.

Streaming Defenses

My top streaming defense of the week is the Indianapolis Colts. The are home against the rival Jaguars who are 1-2 just like every team in the AFC South. What I like about the Colts is that they have a shut down corner in Vontae Davis who is likely to be on Allen Robinson the majority of the time. Last week the Colts were able to record two interceptions, one of which was turned into a touchdown. They also sacked Marcus Mariota three times.

The Oakland Raiders are also an interesting defense this week with their matchup against the Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler has been limited in practice for the Bears and Jimmy Clausen is still the fill in if he doesn't play. Last week was embarrassing against the Seattle Seahawks, and even though the Raiders aren't nearly as good as Seattle, they should have a good chance to create points against Clausen.

The last streamer is the San Diego Chargers. They haven't won any fantasy games for anyone just yet, but this week could be different against the Browns. Last week, the Oakland Raiders recorded 10 fantasy points against the Browns in Yahoo standard formats. Travis Benjamin has scorched defenses with long touchdowns early in the season, but I'd be surprised if he was able to do that this week with Eric Weddle at the safety position.

Rank Team Opponent
1 Seattle Seahawks Detroit Lions
2 Arizona Cardinals St. Louis Rams
3 Denver Broncos Minnesota Vikings
4 at Miami Dolphins
5 Carolina Panthers
6 Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars
7 Buffalo Bills
8 Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
9 Green Bay Packers at San Fransisco 49ers
11 Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
12 Miami Dolphins New York Jets
13 San Diego Chargers Cleveland Browns
14 St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
15 Oakland Raiders at Chicago Bears
16 Houson Texans at Atlanta Falcons
17 Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals
18 Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
19 Cleveland Browns at San Diego Chargers
20 Washington Redskins Philidelphia Eagles
21 Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks
22 Atlanta Falcons Houston Texans
24 Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints
25 Pittsburgh Steelers Baltimore Ravens
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carolina Panthers
27 New York Giants at Buffalo Bills
28 Chicago Bears Oakland Raiders
29 Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
30 San Fransisco 49ers Green Bay Packers

Injury Notes

Luke Kuechly's status is still questionable. When he gets back the Panthers defense gets a significant bump but he is still not practicing with the team as of Wednesday according to the Charlotte Observer.

The Chiefs lost their slot cornerback Phillip Gaines to a torn ACL.  On the bright side for the Chiefs, top cornerback Sean Smith is returning from his three game suspension. It will be interesting to see if the Bengals attack the slot and possibly put A.J. Green there for a few plays.

Speaking of the Bengals, Adam Jones is questionable for Sunday with an elbow injury. They are already missing linebacker Vontaze Burfict who is set to return week eight.

Browns cornerback Joe Haden is questionable with a rib injury. When he was taken out of the game early against the Raiders in week three, Amari Cooper burned the Browns secondary for 134 yards.

The Lions defensive line continues to produce question marks as defensive end Ziggy Ansah is uncertain to play Monday night with a groin injury. Lucky for the Lions, Marshawn Lynch has had an injury riddled start to the season and might not play Monday night. On the downside, Russell Wilson should have plenty of time to wait in the pocket or escape outside to keep plays alive.

Trent Cole could be out Sunday with a knee injury. The Colts pass rush was able to total three sacks against the Titans last week despite Cole not playing. The team totaled one sack in the first two weeks when Cole was starting and healthy.

The Vikings defense had a good week against the Chargers last week, giving up just 14 points and collecting four sacks and two turnovers.  Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was taken out of that game in the second quarter for a concussion protocol, but he will play this week against the Broncos.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been practicing and will likely participate in Sundays game against the Bills. He suffered a concussion in week two and didn't participate in last weeks contest against the Redskins on Thursday night.

Sheldon Richardson is expected to come back from suspension in week five. Todd Bowles has indicated that he won't rush Richardson back into the lineup full time, but he will get plenty of reps. Darrelle Revis is expected to play this week despite  hurting his hamstring last week. He has been limited in practice.

Mychal Kendricks is expected to play according to Eagles defensive coordinator, Bill Davis. Fellow linebacker Kiko Alonso, who's injury is more serious, got some good news and was told that his ACL is still in tact. He will get back on the field later this season.

Final Notes

The Miami Dolphins have been incredibly disappointing through the first three games. During preseason, the first team defense was on fire, but for the last two weeks they have failed to get at least one fantasy point in standard scoring Yahoo leagues. I'm not ready to give up on them just yet as they go up against the rival Jets at home, with a weakened run game due to Chris Ivory's quadriceps injury. They should still be started in 12-14 team leagues. This is their last chance to impress before their bye week comes up. If they fail yet again, you can drop them and never look back.

The Cardinals had an amazing game against the 49ers, recording two pick sixes. However, I think this is more of an issue with Colin Kaepernick, so look for the Packers to have a decent week if he continues his troubles. Game flow has forced Carlos Hyde out of games early due to the 49ers falling far behind. Don't be surprised if the same thing happens against Aaron Rodgers.

The Broncos remain the highest scoring fantasy defense, but they will have a challenge this week. They will have to stop Adrian Peterson from breaking off any big runs like he did last week. If they fail to do that, Teddy Bridgewater and Mike Wallace may finally connect on a big passing play down the field. That may be no easy task however, if shut down corner Aqib Talib is covering him.

Two defenses that were drafted as starting fantasy defenses on a week-to-week basis may have to be benched this week if you can find a better matchup on your waiver wire. The Rams and Texans face the Cardinals and Falcons, respectively, and the Texans have been disappointing with their highest point total of six so far.