In Week 4 only ten D/STs scored more than five points with ESPN’s standard defensive scoring. Leagues that add return yards or extra categories such as pressures and QB hits may have added some valuable points, but up to half of your league is likely gaining an advantage at the D/ST position. The biggest disparity would have been if you started the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense against a team who started the Green Bay Packers, a thirty point swing even in ESPN’s scoring and tough to overcome. Things like this are hard to predict. We all knew the Bears defense was good, but who expected six touchdown passes from Mitchell Trubisky? I didn’t and, though I didn’t pick up the Tampa Bay defense, I didn’t really see them as a horrible start against the Bears less than lackluster offense.
This week, I’m confident in the Titans and the Panthers, but to a lesser extent the Broncos. However, the Broncos have a good matchup. Last week, I shied away from the Packers based on prior performances by both the Packers defense and the Bills offense the prior week, but the matchup held true, as should the Broncos matchup this week. For those of you needing IDPs this week, scroll a little further down the page. Lastly, is the Saints defense back? They were one of the ten teams with over five points last week on defense.
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills ($4,000 – DK / $3,900 – FD)
The Bills on the road last week made the Packers look like the best defense in the history of the NFL. This week they are at home, but the Titans have a better defense than the Packers. I don’t expect things to get quite as out of hand, but they may come close. The Bills offensive line won’t be able to contain the Titans pass rush and the Titans do have some playmakers in the secondary as well, including Kevin Byard whose eight interceptions got him into the Pro Bowl a year ago. Maybe you can finally get rid of Derrick Henry after the big game this week!
Denver Broncos @ New York Jets ($3,200 – DK / $4,100 – FD)
Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold impressively did not have a turnover last week in his game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which means he’s probably due this week. Denver should also be able to get to Darnold for a few sacks in what I think could be a game decided late in the fourth quarter. Darnold has definitely shown talent, but he will need time and the Broncos defense offers another hard challenge this week.
Carolina Panthers vs New York Giants ($3,300 – DK / $4,400 – FD)
The Panthers have had an extra week to prepare and get healthier for the Giants. Eli Manning has been unable to put points on the board despite the talent around him on offense and this week faces a fresh Panthers team on the road. I think the Panthers will again hold the Giants under twenty points and frustrate Eli. Giants coaches may be wishing they had taken a quarterback in the draft.
I also like with confidence: Jacksonville, LA Rams …and with less confidence: Arizona, Houston, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Baltimore.
Jurrell Casey (DT/Titans)
The Titans have to be a surprise at 3-1 and leading their division. Their defense is a big reason for this and Jurrell Casey leads the charge. Buffalo showed vulnerability up the middle against Green Bay last week and the front line of the Titans should have a big game.
Tre’Davious White (C/Bills)
White will most likely cover the Titans new target hog, Corey Davis. An elite corner, White will have plenty of opportunities to make plays this week as Mariota looks to feed Davis.
Von Miller (LB/Broncos)
Miller should get to Sam Darnold a few times this week, with at least one sack on the stat sheet and a few quarterback hits. The Jets have given up sacks each week and Miller is the most likely candidate to take advantage of the Jets’ average offensive line.
Jamal Adams (S/Jets)
I like both safeties in this game. Justin Simmons for the Broncos and Jamal Adams for the Jets should be active in many facets of what could be a close matchup. Adams is one of the leading tacklers for the Jets and good against both the run and the pass.
Luke Kuechly (LB/Panthers)
I know if you have him you’ll be starting him, but this is a great matchup for him this week covering Saquon Barkley out of the backfield. This could be a high tackle week for Luke who excels in covering running backs out of the backfield.
Alec Ogletree (LB/Giants)
I like Ogletree to be busy as well this week especially as much as Cam likes to run. If McCaffrey runs like he did before the bye, the Panthers will be hard to stop, but Ogletree will benefit with good fantasy numbers as the Giants’ best tackler at the linebacker position.
Against the Grain
New Orleans Saints vs Washington Redskins
I’m not going to recommend you start the Saints this week, but I picked them up in a couple of leagues for the Monday night start. It’s more than just liking Monday nighters in my lineup. Their defense finally showed up last week. I know, they were only playing the Giants, and Barkley had over four yards per carry, but didn’t get the ball and Shepard had a nice game. What I liked though is Kamara had nineteen carries and Mark Ingram is due back this week. This means the Saints will be using more of the clock and their defense will be fresher like last year. I think we may finally see the defense we may have thought we were picking up if we drafted them this year, but if not this week then soon.