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Getting Defensive

Getting Defensive: Week 4

by Gary Davenport
Updated On: September 29, 2020, 1:11 pm ET

Last year, the New York Jets ranked dead last in the NFL in total offense. The Jets allowed the third-most sacks (52) in the NFL. The Jets were eighth in giveaways with 25. And in most fantasy scoring systems, the Jets allowed the most fantasy points to defenses.

Through three weeks of the 2020 season, the New York Jets are dead last in the NFL in total offense. New York has allowed the eighth-most sacks in the NFL. Gang Green has turned it over five times in three games. And after Sunday's fiasco in Indianapolis, the Jets are once again pacing the league in fantasy points allowed to defenses.

Everything that could go wrong did for the woeful Jets against the Colts. Sam Darnold threw three interceptions—two of which were returned for touchdowns. He was also sacked twice—including once in his own end zone for a safety. The Jets had just 263 yards of offense and scored only seven points.

Without Le'Veon Bell (or with him, really), the Jets can't run the ball worth a dang. Darnold doesn't have a "go-to" receiver who can win one-on-one against NFL defensive backs—and it shows.

Simply put, the Jets Offense is a hot mess.

And that makes them a must-target in fantasy football leagues—including on Thursday night this week.

 

THE NO-DOUBTERS

Baltimore Ravens (at Washington Football Team)

After getting boatraced for 260 passing yards in the first half of their Monday night affair with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs last week, the Ravens Defense is no doubt looking to take out their frustrations on someone. Enter the Washington Football Team, who turned it over five times a week ago in a 14-point loss in Cleveland. Washington is 30th in the NFL in total offense, and only one team has turned the ball over more this season. This feels like a game where the Ravens are going to pour on the points and then get after a WFT playing in catch-up mode.

Indianapolis Colts (at Chicago Bears)

The Indianapolis Colts are the No. 1 defense three weeks in in many fantasy football leagues, thanks largely to that two-touchdown performance against the Jets last week. But the Colts are also leading the National Football League in total defense as well, surrendering just 225.3 yards per game. But wait, there's more! After the Baltimore Ravens duked it out with the Chiefs on Monday night, Indy's 15 points allowed a game also became the high-water mark in the league. Chicago may be better offensively with Nick Foles, but they still aren't scaring anyone.

Los Angeles Rams (vs. New York Giants)

Starting the Los Angeles Rams Defense in fantasy football in Week 4 might not appear an especially palatable idea after the Rams were roasted by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills last week in Orchard Park. But Sunday's matchup isn't on the road against an undefeated Bills team. It's at SoFi stadium against the dumpster fire that is the New York Giants. The Giants are presently dead last in the NFC in total offense at 272.3 yards per game, Big Blue is down their star tailback and their No. 1 wide receiver and only the Eagles have turned the ball over more this season.

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San Francisco 49ers (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)

Remember when the Philadelphia Eagles were good? Yeah—neither do we. Philly's nightmare season continued last week with a tie with the winless Bengals in Philadelphia, and it's not hard to see why the Eagles are 0-2-1 and reeling. No team in the National Football League has turned the ball over more than the Eagles in 2020, with Carson Wentz's six interceptions the biggest reason why. The Niners are admittedly banged-up on defense, but so are the Eagles on both sides of the ball. In Week 4 fantasy managers will get the production they hoped for from San Francisco when they drafted them.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

Tom Brady and the Tampa offense gets all the run, but the past two weeks the Buccaneers Defense has been playing at a high level. Over that span, the Bucs have notched 11 sacks, taken the ball away six times. allowed just 27 points and ranked as the No. 1 fantasy defense in the NFC. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has played relatively well in his first two NFL starts, but he's still a rookie quarterback making his first career road start against a team that has excelled in recent weeks at getting after the quarterback. Tampa's a solid fantasy play in Week 4.

Pittsburgh Steelers (at Tennessee Titans)

At first glance, this might appear a matchup better-suited to the "Caveat Emptor" section of this article—the Tennessee Titans have been a bottom-five fantasy matchup for opposing defenses. But the Steelers led the NFL last year in both sacks and takeaways. They are leading the league in run defense so far this season, barely allowing 50 yards a game. The Titans will also more than likely be without top wideout A.J. Brown in this game due to a bone bruise in his knee. The Titans are 3-0, but they have been winning ugly—and their luck is going to run out at home on Sunday.

 

STREAMERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!

Denver Broncos (at New York Jets)

The only reason the Broncos aren't a "no-doubter" is that they were probably left on the waiver wire in many leagues in Week 3 thanks to the injuries that have hit the unit and an unfavorable matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If the Broncos are available in your league, they are a top waiver priority after watching what the Indianapolis Colts did to the Jets last week. It really can't be overstated just how bad the New York offense has been. About the only possible potential pitfall here is the possibility that Denver's offense will put the team in a bad spot. Luckily. New York's defense sucks, too.

Chicago Bears (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

The days of the Chicago Bears Defense being an every-week  no-brainer start in fantasy leagues are gone, at least for now—Chicago hasn't been as adept at generating pressure on the quarterback and making splash plays as in their heyday of a couple years ago (ah, the good old days). But when the matchup is right, the Bears remain a viable fantasy commodity. The Colts have looked great defensively the past two weeks, but the offense has sputtered at times. Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers has also thrown three interceptions in his first three games with the Colts.

Houston Texans (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

It's not hard to see why star defensive end J.J. Watt of the Texans isn't happy with how the team is playing defensively—the Texans haven't won a game yet this season (in part because of a positively brutal schedule) and Houston entered Week 4 with the fourth-worst scoring defense in the NFL. But the Texans have also already played both the Chiefs and the Ravens, while this week they host an error-prone Vikings team that is tied for second in the NFL in giveaways and ranks inside the top-five in fantasy points allowed to defenses. Watt gets his revenge on Sunday

Philadelphia Eagles (at San Francisco 49ers)

There has been precious little for the Philadelphia Eagles to cheer about in 2020, and tying a Bengals team that won all of two games last year no doubt didn't go over well with a fanbase that's not known for being shy about voicing its displeasure. But in that tie with the Bengals there was a bright spot—and Eagles pass rush that is finally starting to get healthy registered eight sacks of Joe Burrow, The San Francisco 49ers stomped all over the hapless New York Giants in Week 3, but this is still a Niners team missing most of their skill-position starters on offense—including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

New York Jets (vs. Denver Broncos)

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that this play is one that should be undertaken without substantial reservations. I wasn't kidding when I said that the Jets stink defensively—New York ranks in the bottom half of the NFL in total defense and 28th in scoring defense. But the Jeff Driskel-led Broncos Offense was a nightmare last week—just 226 yards of total offense, six sacks allowed and two turnovers. You probably aren't going to see that sort of output from the talent-deficient Jets, but there's some low-end starter potential there.

 

CAVEAT EMPTOR, FOLKS

New England Patriots (at Kansas City Chiefs)

The New England Patriots are the zen masters of scoring defensive touchdowns—only Darth Hoodie's evil powers could get a sack that was already ruled a safety overturned (all scoring plays are reviewed) and changed to a touchdown. That score last week against the Las Vegas Raiders capped off an impressive performance from a Pats D that has played well in 2020 considering all the personnel they lost in the offseason. But in Week 4, the Patriots travel to face a Chiefs team that just lit up the Ravens in Baltimore. If you start a defense against Patrick Mahomes, you're essentially asking to get blown up.

Gary Davenport

Gary Davenport is a Senior Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks, an NFL and Fantasy Football Analyst at Bleacher Report and a contributing author and Associate Editor at Football Diehards. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Gary was the winner of the 2017 and 2019 FSWA awards for Football Writer of the Year. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPSharks.