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Week 4 Defense/Special Teams Rankings

Bye weeks have started so for those of you that need a second option, I got some advice for you.

Yeah, he did get this interception
Yeah, he did get this interception
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 is upon us and it is that time when teams start having bye weeks. This week is especially brutal because what would be two top-10 defenses (Green Bay and Philadelphia) are on byes. Week 4 will bring us a Bills-Patriots matchup to see if the Bills really are clicking on defense again or the higher likelihood of Belichick pulling the same voodoo he did last week embarrassing the Texans. Keep in mind that matchups are based a lot on matchup along with their overall performance so far. Week 4, let's dive in!

Week 3 Rank

Team

Opponent

Previous Week's Ranking

Notes

1

Denver Broncos

@TB

1

Ahead of the Vikings here by virtue of matchup. If Denver can force Bad Jameis Winston to show up, they'll have a field day. If it weren't for an all-time bad performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, TB would be leading the league in picks thrown.

2

Minnesota Vikings

vs. NYG

2

Everson Griffen has looked like a monster in this Mike Zimmer defense getting in QB's faces. Minnesota has a chance here to continue forcing turnovers and put up big points. The Giants do have some potent weapons though and have yet to face a receiver of Odell Beckham Jr.'s caliber this season.

3

Seattle Seahawks

@NYJ

5

Richard Sherman has yet to allow a touchdown reception this year and only 23 yards allowed to WR he's covering. The secondary as a whole has yet to let up a TD reception this year. The NYJ receivers couldn't get anything going last week, don't expect this to be the week they turn it around.

4

Arizona Cardinals

vs. STL

3

Despite being blown out by a Buffalo team that was supposedly washed, this defense still managed to put up points including a why-isn't-Patrick-Peterson-playing-WR moment. They have 5 picks and 4 forced fumbles this year and play a Rams team that finally scored on offense last week.

5

New England Patriots

vs. BUF

11

Anchored by Jamie Collins, this defense has been the product of good coaching and great game planning. Bill Belichick and the Pats cleaned up against a strong HOU receiving core. NE has also won 8 of their last 10 games against BUF.

6

Carolina Panthers

@ATL

6

CAR is 3rd in total yards allowed, but play a red hot ATL offense. In their last four games against each other, CAR has outscored ATL 111-33, including a 38-0 shutout last season. CAR should continue to play ATL well.

7

Kansas City Chiefs

@PIT

21

As predicted, Interception Marcus Peters showed up last week, but the entire Chiefs team was joining in on the interception fun. Last week, the Steelers' Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown connection worked as well as any week, but had nothing anywhere else. Be cautious here though because I don't expect Big Ben to repeat his subpar Week 3 performance.

8

New York Giants

@MIN

7

The Giants let up some points last week, but managed to get 2 forced fumbles. Damon Harrison was a beast on the line amassing 9 solo tackles. The combination of Harrison, Olivier Vernon, and Jason Pierre-Paul should put in work against the Vikings Swiss cheese offensive line.

9

Cincinnati Bengals

vs. MIA

8

CIN's usually great defensive line has struggled getting to the QB this season with only 4 sacks so far. Geno Atkins and Co. need to start applying pressure. Their run defense will get a boost though with the return of Vontaze Burfict. They've allowed 3.8 rush yards per attempt with him on the field vs 4.4 without him.

10

Buffalo Bills

@NE

25

Last week the Bills feasted on Carson Palmer as he struggled to bring his team back in the game during the 4th quarter. Better believe, though, the Patriots will have a better game plan for these Bills. As learned last week, no matter who starts at QB for the Pats a defense can still struggle against them.

11

New York Jets

vs. SEA

15

The Jets have only allowed 71.7 rush yards per game, but have been carved up through the air. Against this Seahawks team that has a banged up Russell Wilson, they stand a good chance to hold them in check offensively. Especially with SEA going west to east for an early game.

12

Houston Texans

vs. TEN

4

The long term loss of Watt is huge for this defense because he's such a great player you have to plan for. I'm not sure Jadeveon Clowney will live up to the challenge of taking control of that defense. Despite playing a weak Titans team, losing a Top-5 NFL player is not easy for any team (not named New England) to recover from.

13

Los Angeles Rams

@ARI

17

The Rams' defense is still a little suspect being in the middle of the pack for yards per game allowed at 366. They have a chance to play the Cardinals close though and force Carson Palmer into more mistakes. Or the Cardinals could come out angry like they did after their opening game loss. Exercise caution.

14

Baltimore Ravens

vs. OAK

9

The Ravens have had what you might call a "soft schedule." That doesn't mean you shouldn't have taken advantage of their matchups because that's a large part of fantasy football. But they play Derek Carr and the red hot Raiders offense, who are second in the league in total yards on offense. I'd say stay away from the Ravens D, but this will be a game that'll help show if this defense is legit or a product of the aforementioned "soft schedule."

15

Tennessee Titans

@HOU

19

Brock Osweiler now has a 3:4 TD:interception ratio which is something the Titans could capitalize on. TEN continues to be in the middle of the pack for rushing and passing yards allowed so unless you're in a really deep league and have PHI or GB D's on bye, I stay away.

16

Pittsburgh Steelers

vs. KC

14

The Steelers pass rush has been non-existent and the spotlight was on it heavily last week. It's reflected in their pass defense allowing a ridiculous 332 yards per game throw the air. Their run defense, however, has remained stout allowing just 75.3 rush yards per game. With KC's offense limited to short passes, PIT might have a chance to stop them.

17

Miami Dolphins

@CIN

18

Miami's D played well against the Seahawks in Week 1, but have allowed 31 and 30 points in their two contests following that. Unless they get inspired by the Thursday night lights in primetime, I don't see them slowing down AJ Green and them boys.

18

San Diego Chargers

vs. NO

26

SHOOTOUT ALERT. The Chargers were supposed to be able to handle the pass attack decently well this season, but have conceded 332 pass yards per game (good for the 3rd highest average at this point in the season). New Orleans is tops in the league in pass yards per game. Leave SD on your bench. Or actually on waivers, why are they on your team?

19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

vs. DEN

16

Despite playing the run fairly well, the Buccaneers are dead last in points allowed thanks to matchups against the Cards and Falcons. But also, allowing the Rams to drop 4 offensive TD's against them? Pretty sure that's illegal in the state of Florida.

20

Detroit Lions

@CHI

27

Granted, it was Aaron Rodgers, the patron saint of Wisconsin, but allowing 4 TD's in one half is not something you want out of your defense. They did tighten up, but only after GB went into game-management mode. A weak CHI offense will provide a little bit of relief, but until they get Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy back to full strength, this defense will continue to sputter.

21

Dallas Cowboys

@SF

23

Dallas hasn't been the worst defense to play this year, but their inability to force turnovers has hurt them. They have a combined 5 so far. Blaine Gabbert is averaging an interception per game so far though so they could do some things here.

22

Oakland Raiders

@BAL

30

Maybe the Raiders figured it out last week? Forcing 3 turnovers, they managed to keep the score under 35 points! Big improvement by them, but we'll see if they're actually improving this week against a Ravens team that is also trying to prove that they're good.

23

San Francisco 49ers

vs. DAL

13

SF has let up 46 and 37 points since their 28-0 drubbing of the Rams in Week 1. Dallas doesn't turn the ball over except for a pair of fumbles last week by Ezekiel Elliot. The Cowboys will be without Dez Bryant, but the 27.7 points per game allowed by this SF defense is alarming.

24

Cleveland Browns

@WAS

28

CLE has been able to force a few turnovers and get a defensive score so they might be able to do well on a Kirk Cousins-led team that has led their best scoring option to be Dustin Hopkins.

25

Washington Redskins

vs. CLE

22

WAS is in the bottom four in points allowed and total yards allowed. CLE isn't exactly the strongest offense, but this Redskins defense has plenty of holes. Unless they decide to put DeSean Jackson back to start fielding punts, this team won't give you a lot of points.

26

Atlanta Falcons

vs. CAR

24

ATL is in the bottom 3 for total yards allowed and play a CAR team that is looking to bounce back. With limited turnover ability and not really a chance to apply pressure to Cam Newton, ATL likely won't fare well here.

27

Chicago Bears

vs. DET

20

This Bears defense might be able to hold up well for the first 3 quarters of this game if the Lions can't get going. But once it hits the 4th, Matthew Stafford is a late game weapon that loves to destroy betting lines in the last few minutes.

28

Jacksonville Jaguars

vs. IND

29

Jalen Ramsey may be the real deal and he sure is confident. But the rest of this Jags defense has been a non-factor. They play Andrew Luck and Co. that have managed 285 passing yards per game this season.

29

Indianapolis Colts

@JAX

31

Bottom 3 in points allowed per game and allowing 400 total yards per game is not a recipe for victory. With Trent Cole heading to IR, this defense continues to take injury hits. It's so diplomatic to give London this heavyweight JAX-IND game!

30

New Orleans Saints

@SD

32

Dead last in fantasy points scored. Actually, if you play this defense against Philip Rivers and the Chargers, you might just be spotting your opponent 2 or 3 points. If you have this defense, you're either really confident or really bad at fantasy.