We're now three weeks into what has been a high-scoring NFL season, and fantasy football owners are probably tearing their hair out trying to find reliable D/STs. Given the way that the schedule has fallen and the plethora of 30-point performances we've seen week in and week out, it's been difficult to know who to trust on the defensive side of the ball. Thankfully, our Week 4 fantasy defense rankings have some solid streamers and sleepers to target while some of the best defenses have risen back to the top after a weird week.
Week 3 knocked out a good chunk of top-tier fantasy defenses because of poor matchups -- the Chiefs-Ravens, Packers-Saints, and Rams-Bills games all dropped defenses that would normally be startable out of the top 12. Week 4 looks a lot better. The Ravens (@ Washington), Rams (vs. Giants), and Saints (@ Lions) all should be able to put together nice outings and are likely worth starting. One of those units may be available on your waiver wire given that some fantasy owners like to stream defenses.
Speaking of streamers, there are a handful of solid ones available this week. The Seahawks haven't played well this year, but they're taking on the Dolphins in Week 4. Ryan Fitzpatrick was on fire on Thursday night, but interceptions are always a possibility when he's on the field. The Cardinals (@ Panthers) should also have a chance to be a potential starting unit as they play the undermanned Panthers.
One of the more intriguing matchups of the week from a defensive standpoint will be the Broncos-Jets Thursday night game. Both teams are weak on offense, as the Jets are dealing with injuries to most of their receiving corps while the Broncos will be without Drew Lock (shoulder) lock for the game. It's hard to trust either defense, but maybe you can roll with the Broncos given how bad the Jets have been to kickstart this season. There are safer options, but if you need to take a flier on a unit, feel free to give the Broncos a shot.
NOTE: Check back for updates and further analysis throughout the week.
8San Francisco 49ers vs. Eagles. Carson Wentz is all sorts of out of sorts so far this year, as he has thrown two interceptions in each game that he's played while being sacked 11 times and throwing for just three TDs. The 49ers may be without Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Dee Ford, and Richard Sherman, but that didn't stop them from holding the Giants to just nine points. Expect them to do well against the Eagles and get a lot of pressure against their beleaguered offensive line that may have suffered another key injury (Jason Peters).
Week 4 Fantasy Defense Rankings
|1||Baltimore Ravens @ Washington. Dwayne Haskins and Washington avoided turnovers for the most part in their first three games of the season, but against the Browns on Sunday, they turned the ball over five times. Haskins had three picks and a fumble while Antonio Gibson also lost a fumble. Washington also allowed three sacks of Haskins to cap off a solid day for the Browns defense. The Ravens are stronger and healthier than the Browns on that side of the ball so they are, far and away, the best defensive matchup of the week.|
|2||Los Angeles Rams vs. Giants. Speaking of second-year quarterbacks struggling with turnovers, Daniel Jones and the Giants had another multi-turnover game. He threw a pick and fumbled against the undermanned 49ers while Darius Slayton also lost a fumble. The Rams can be beaten on defense, but they limited the Cowboys and Eagles offenses to fewer than 20 points before running into the Bills last week. They should feast against Jones and the Giants and will have a chance to add to the Giants' turnover total on the year (7, tied for second-most in the NFL).|
|3||Indianapolis Colts @ Bears. The Colts are allowing the second-fewest points per game in the league, 15.0, and are allowing the fewest total yards, 225.3, in the league as well. The latter number is nearly 65 yards better than the next-best mark. Indy shouldn't have trouble forcing the Bears into mistakes even if Nick Foles does start at quarterback. Foles has committed 11 turnovers and been sacked 17 times in his last nine games, including his solid outing against the Falcons last week.|
|4||Denver Broncos @ Jets. This may feel like a big-time risk, but Sam Darnold is playing on a short week after throwing two pick-sixes and could still be without Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and Le'Veon Bell ahead of a Thursday night clash with the Broncos. The Broncos are banged up in their own right (they're without Von Miller and AJ Bouye on defense) and have to travel to the East Coast, but they should make enough plays to be a top defense this week. The Jets are only averaging 12.3 points per game anyway, so Denver shouldn't have trouble containing them.|
|5||Chicago Bears vs. Colts. The Bears defense isn't quite as strong as it once was, but it's still a rock-solid unit that has allowed just 20.7 points per game this season, good for ninth in the NFL, while forcing four turnovers. Philip Rivers has been solid to start the season, but he is still prone to bouts with inaccuracy and interceptions, as evidenced by the three he has already thrown. The Bears should have a chance to pick him off in what could be a Week 4 defensive struggle.|
|6||Pittsburgh Steelers @ Titans. The Steelers defense isn't the elite unit that was on display last year, but they have shown well through three games allowing just 19.3 points per game. They'll get a tougher test against the Titans, but they could force Ryan Tannehill into another interception after he threw his first last week. And if Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is out, the Steelers will have a big advantage in pass rushing situations.|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chargers. Justin Herbert has thrown for at least 300 yards in his first two games but he has looked like a rookie at times. He had an ugly interception against the Panthers and the Bucs will look to make him uncomfortable. Coming off solid defensive outings against the Panthers and Broncos in which they totaled six turnovers and 11 sacks, they can be trusted at home against a young quarterback.|
|8||San Francisco 49ers vs. Eagles. Carson Wentz is all sorts of out of sorts so far this year, as he has thrown two interceptions in each game that he's played while being sacked 11 times and throwing for just three TDs. The 49ers may be without Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Dee Ford, and Richard Sherman, but that didn't stop them from holding the Giants to just nine points. Expect them to do well against the Eagles and get a lot of pressure against their beleaguered offensive line that may have suffered another key injury (Jason Peters).|
|9||Buffalo Bills @ Raiders. The Bills have allowed 60 total points the past two weeks, but it's important to note that they were without their top two linebackers (Matt Milano, Tremaine Edmunds) when the Dolphins dropped 28 on them. The Patriots just limited the Raiders to 20 points and forced three turnovers on the day, so the Bills could follow the blueprint of limiting Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs to put forth a solid week.|
|10||Philadelphia Eagles @ 49ers. The Eagles have been awful to start the year on offense, and they haven't been much better on defense. However, they still have pass-rushing upside as evidenced by their eight sacks of Joe Burrow in their Week 3 tie with the Bengals. They're not a sexy play, but against a 49ers team that may be helmed by Nick Mullens and possibly without the likes of Deebo Samuel, Tevin Coleman, and Raheem Mostert, they'll have a chance to be a decent streamer. Their ceiling is high, but their floor is low.|
|11||Seattle Seahawks @ Dolphins. Consider the Seahawks to be a similar play to the Eagles. They have a lot of upside, but their floor is a crater. Though they're 3-0, the Seahawks defense has allowed the most yards per game to offenses at just a shade under 500. They're also allowing nearly 30 points per game. That said, they've played a rather tough schedule so far consisting of the Falcons, Patriots, and Cowboys. They should have a better chance of containing the Dolphins and forcing Ryan Fitzpatrick into some turnovers. The Seahawks are second in the league in takeaways with six (four picks, two fumble recoveries).|
|12||New York Jets vs. Broncos. The Jets could take advantage of a favorable matchup with Brett Rypien on a short week at home despite their poor start to the season. The Jets aren't a safe play by any means, but if this game gets sloppy, they could put up a good amount of points.|
|13||Arizona Cardinals @ Panthers. Most of the time, Teddy Bridgewater is accurate and avoids turnovers, so it will be hard for the Cardinals to generate a lot of points against Carolina. That said, Chandler Jones could help the Cardinals to log a few sacks and give them a chance to force a fumble. Plus, Christian McCaffrey is still out, so if Arizona can slow the run game and render Carolina one-dimensional, they'll have a chance to be a startable defense this week.|
|14||New Orleans Saints @ Lions. The Saints have a better matchup this week against the Lions, but their defense has still been subpar over the past two weeks. The Packers gashed them in all facets of the game in Week 3 after the Raiders used Darren Waller to destroy them the previous Monday night. Still, the ceiling of the unit is high if they can return to their Week 1 form in which they logged three sacks, two picks, a fumble recovery, and defensive TD against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. They just have to get some pressure on the Lions and make Matthew Stafford uncomfortable in the pocket.|
|15||Los Angeles Chargers @ Buccaneers. The Chargers have only allowed 19 points per game to offenses, which is good for fourth-best in the NFL. They did a good job of limiting the Chiefs when they squared off a couple of weeks ago and may have a chance to do the same against Brady and the Bucs. It's not a guarantee, especially with Melvin Ingram and Chris Harris out, but if they can play as well in the red zone as they did against the Panthers, they could turn out to be a good streaming option. It also may help their cause that Chris Godwin (concussion) will likely be questionable for the game.|
|16||Tennessee Titans vs. Steelers. The Titans defense has given up back-to-back 30-point games, but they still have strong personnel on the defensive side of the ball. If they can just get a little bit of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, they could limit the Steelers like they limited the Broncos scoring-wise in Week 1. The Titans aren't yet a recommended play, but it feels like they're close to being at least a solid defensive unit.|
|17||Carolina Panthers vs. Cardinals|
|18||Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jaguars|
|19||Jacksonville Jaguars @ Bengals|
|20||Houston Texans vs. Vikings. The Vikings have the most giveaways in the NFL at eight, so the Texans could capitalize on that. However, the Texans just give up too many points (31.7; fourth-most in the NFL) to be trusted against a Vikings team that is desperate for a win.|
|21||Minnesota Vikings @ Texans|
|22||Dallas Cowboys vs. Browns|
|23||Green Bay Packers vs. Falcons|
|24||Kansas City Chiefs vs. Patriots. The Chiefs will, inevitably, be a streamer at some point soon, but the ground-dominant attack of the Patriots and the fact that they're playing with one fewer day to prepare because of Monday Night Football makes them a recommended sit this week.|
|25||New England Patriots @ Chiefs. Most weeks, you can start the Patriots defense, but not against Patrick Mahomes.|
|26||Cleveland Browns @ Cowboys|
|27||Washington Football Team vs. Ravens|
|28||Las Vegas Raiders vs. Bills|
|29||New York Giants @ Rams|
|30||Miami Dolphins vs. Seahawks|
|31||Detroit Lions vs. Saints|
|32||Atlanta Falcons @ Packers|