Welcome back folks to another edition of the top 20 fantasy defense/special teams rankings on DraftKings Nation! I’m your host, Benjamin Zweiman, and I’ve got a jam-packed show, oh wait, this isn’t a show, I’m typing. Okay, well forget all that. Let’s take a look at how the D/ST plays shake out heading into Week 4 with the 49ers and Jets on bye.
I want to start with the Patriots-Bills game, because I think many are going to overlook Buffalo in this contest. Yes, New England has dominated the Bills — even in Buffalo — but I think this week may be different. The Pats are still favored by 7.0 points, but the OVER/UNDER on DraftKings Sportsbook is at 42.5, which seems low if the public feels New England will beat Buffalo easily.
There are a few factors playing in the Bills’ favor though. For one, they’ve done a great job limiting the run game, allowing 88 rushing yards per game. Sony Michel has been a non-factor this season and the Pats don’t feature any backs who instill much fear. On top of that, WR Julian Edelman is a bit banged up nursing a rib injury. It appears he’ll be able to play, but I doubt he’s 100%.
This sets up pretty well for Buffalo at home. The Patriots have coasted through the past two weeks and may underestimate the Bills a bit. The key for Buffalo is getting pressure on Tom Brady, which won’t be easy, though the Pats’ O-Line is more susceptible than it has been in the past. LT Isaiah Wynn is on IR, which could open up chances to get to Brady.
I think there are plenty of worse plays than the Bills D/ST at home vs. the Patriots. Plus, the upside is many season-long teams will likely dump Buffalo on the waiver wire because of the matchup. So if you believe in these words, you could pick up Buffalo this week and have the Bills long-term, which is ideal. Remember, they’ve got to play the Dolphins twice still and the Jets again, along with easy matchups against Tennessee, Washington and Denver left on the schedule.
I’m also not crazy about the Patriots defense despite ranking them relatively high this week. Sure, they shut down the Steelers in the opener, but we now know Pittsburgh’s offense was a bit overrated. The past two weeks they’ve beat up on the Dolphins and Jets, hardly a good barometer for defensive performance. Plus, top LB D’Onta Hightower may not play Sunday due to a shoulder injury. I know Buffalo’s offense has been inconsistent, but it’ll likely be the toughest test for New England so far this season. QB Josh Allen can extend plays, WR John Brown can stretch the field and the Bills have a lot of momentum on their side. We’re heading into Sunday with #NoRagrets (similar to my colleague Adam Levitan).
Aside from Pats-Bills, here are a few other spots I like. The Chargers. I mean that’s obvious, they’re facing the Dolphins. I think the Colts make for a decent streaming option at home vs. the Raiders, especially if star LB Darius Leonard (concussion) can get back on the field. By this point the Packers D/ST probably isn’t available, but I’ve got to give a shoutout to my boys Preston Smith and La’Darius Smith. They ate Joe Flacco alive last week, combining for 5.0 sacks in a dominant effort.
Defense/Special Teams rankings, Week 4
|1||Los Angeles Chargers||at Miami Dolphins|
|2||Baltimore Ravens||vs. Cleveland Browns|
|3||New England Patriots||at Buffalo Bills|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||at Denver Broncos|
|5||Chicago Bears||vs. Minnesota Vikings|
|6||Green Bay Packers||vs. Philadelphia Eagles|
|7||Los Angeles Rams||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|8||Indianapolis Colts||vs. Oakland Raiders|
|9||Minnesota Vikings||at Chicago Bears|
|10||Denver Broncos||vs. Jacksonville Jaguars|
|11||Buffalo Bills||vs. New England Patriots|
|12||Dallas Cowboys||at New Orleans Saints|
|13||Atlanta Falcons||vs. Tennessee Titans|
|14||Houston Texans||vs. Carolina Panthers|
|15||Kansas City Chiefs||at Detroit Lions|
|16||New York Giants||vs. Washington|
|17||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||at Los Angeles Rams|
|18||Seattle Seahawks||at Arizona Cardinals|
|19||Pittsburgh Steelers||vs. Cincinnati Bengals|
|20||Tennessee Titans||at Atlanta Falcons|
“All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS contests.”