Top 5 Fantasy Sleeper Defense: Week 4

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Published: September 25, 2013

Fantasy Sleeper Defenses

Fantasy Sleeper DefenseIt has been an interesting and somewhat surprising start to the NFL season. Many expected studs have disappointed, C.J. Spiller, Stevan Ridley and Roddy White. There have also been several surprise stars through 3 weeks. Joique Bell, Michael Vick and Eddie Royal are a few players who have far exceeded expectations thus far. That’s part of the fun of fantasy! Players come out of nowhere to have monster years and become “must start” studs, while some first and second round picks become back-ups or even waiver wire material. All NFL players can be a complete roll of the dice and your starting D/ST is no different.

There are some surprise names on top and bottom of the D/ST rankings so far this season. The Kansas City Chiefs (yes the 2-win, number 31 ranked fantasy D of 2012) are the early leaders in D/ST scoring with 51 points. They have already outscored their entire point total of last year… in THREE games! The Panthers, Saints and Browns also crack the top 10. These are all teams that finished last season near the bottom of fantasy in D/ST scoring. On the flip side, the Rams, Steelers, Chargers and 49ers are all teams that finished last season in the top 12, but are near the bottom this season. Never let past seasons cloud your judgement of a current season.

We are only three games in, so nothing is etched in stone yet, but we are starting to see exactly what teams are made of. Some of the big names of years past are no longer weekly plays, while many of the teams you would’ve never touched before are now very valuable. Here are a few things we have learned so far:

  • The vaunted 49ers D is actually worst in the NFL against RBs.
  • The Chiefs defense is for real. They have the current NFL leader in sacks, Justin Houston, lead the NFL in sacks as a team and lead the AFC in turnovers forced.
  • The Steelers are washed up. Their defense is old and it shows. They are being dominated by good offenses.
  • “The Bears are who we thought they were!” (okay, okay, I know it’s old and played out, but I couldn’t resist). Their D, even with a new coaching staff, is still the best at taking the ball away and scoring touchdowns. Even without Brian Urlacher, they are very dangerous.

It’s obviously too early to completely give up on old stalwarts or go 100% in on new up and comers, but it’s time to bench a team that has underwhelmed and wait until they improve. If you have one of these squads, here are the 5 best sleeper D/ST of week 4. This sleeper rating is based on teams owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.

#5) Kansas City vs. New York Giants

This is most likely the last week the Chiefs will qualify for the “sleeper” list. They are steadily climbing in ownership. As said above, the Chiefs have been dominant and lead fantasy in D/ST scoring. They are slowing teams down in the running game and the passing game while racking up sacks and turnovers like they are going out of style. They’ve scored 2 TDs, recorded 15 sacks and 9 turnovers so far. In week 4, they get a team fresh off being shutout with 3 turnovers and 7 sacks last week. That was just against the Panthers, a team that gave the first four fans to enter the stadium a starting roll in their defensive backfield. The Giants O-line is bad and KC is in for a big game.

#4) Detroit vs. Chicago

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Detroit has been a mostly solid play thus far. They have forced 7 turnovers, recorded 6 sacks and scored a TD so far. They get the Bears this week, a team that has played well offensively. The Lions have always given Jay Cutler trouble though, averaging close to 4 sacks a contest since he joined the NFC North. Their 5 ints ranks second in the league and Cutler has been known to throw a pick or two. Detroit will harass Cutler all day, recording several sacks and causing a few turnovers.

#3) New Orleans vs. Miami

Mostly a gut feeling here, but I love the Saints on Monday nights, especially at the Superdome. Since 2006, the Saints are 10-2 in Monday night games. They have won those 10 games by an average of almost 17 points a game, while forcing over 2 turnovers and 2.5 sacks. In their home MNF games during the same span, they have allowed 18 points a game. The Superdome will be rocking for this battle of unbeatens and the Dolphins shouldn’t come a knocking!

#2) Indianapolis at Jacksonville

The Colts shocked the NFL with a complete thrashing of the Niners in San Francisco last week. The defense lead the way by completely shutting down Colin Kaepernick and the SF passing game, holding the Niners to just 139 yards. This week, they get the Jaguars. Blaine Gabbert is no Colin Kaepernick.

#1) Tennessee vs. New York Jets

The Titans continued to flex their defensive muscle last week, holding the previously high-powered San Diego offense to just 17 points and 277 yards. The Titans have tallied 9 sacks, 5 turnovers, 1 TD and given up just 18 points a game. Their D/ST has averaged 10 fantasy points a game against three of the more established QBs in the league. This week they get rookie Geno Smith, who had a nice showing at home last week. Still, that was just the Bills… The Titans should feast on the rookie this week and rack up the points.

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Discussion2 Comments

  1. Dawn Eboch says:

    Through Week 3, KC is ranked #1 for 2013. I hardly call them a sleeper.

  2. Josh says:

    “Sleepers” were qualified as teams owned in 50% or less of ESPN leagues.

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