Fantasy Football: 3 Defensive Streamer Options for Week 4
Every point matters when it comes to winning in season-long fantasy football, meaning you can't afford to leave points on the table. We don't spend top-notch draft capital on D/STs in our fantasy football drafts, but ignoring them during the season can cost you dearly.
Streaming defenses throughout the year is a great way to ensure you get the most out of your D/ST slot. Even the best defenses draw tough weekly matchups, and even the worst defenses are capable of strong fantasy outings in the right situations.
This article is here to help you parse through all of those situations and to present you with three streamers available in most leagues.
Fantasy Football Defenses to Stream for Week 4
All projections via numberFire.
Matchup: at Chicago Bears
numberFire Projection: 8.14 (D/ST6)
This option is not for the faint of heart. Remember in the intro, when we wrote that "even the worst defenses are capable of strong fantasy outings in the right situations?" That's what we're talking about here with the Denver Broncos' D/ST.
It's impossible to ignore the Broncos' all-time bad Week 3 performance. They gave up the most offensive yards of all time to the Miami Dolphins and were a declined field goal away from becoming the record-holder for the most points allowed in a single game. It was an utterly bleak outing, and they'll try to put it behind them as they prepare for Week 4.
Fortunately for the Broncos, Week 4 looks a little bit more kindly upon them. They'll get to take on the Chicago Bears, one of the few NFL franchises to have an arguably worse start to their season than the Broncos have had so far.
The Bears' offense is down bad. Justin Fields has not taken the leap as a passer that many were hoping to see from him, making him one of the premiere quarterbacks to pick on when streaming defenses. His 13 sacks are tied for the second-most among NFL starters, the team's 6 total turnovers rank sixth-most, and the Bears have scored only 47 points -- the sixth-fewest in the league.
Chicago has been a disaster this season and is the perfect team for the Broncos to plot a bounce-back against.
The Broncos were already looking like one of the worst defenses in the league heading into Week 3, so there are certainly safer options out there. But no fantasy D/ST in the league has a more friendly matchup than the Broncos do this week. And until things change in Chicago, expect to see their opponents in this column on a near-weekly basis.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matchup: at New Orleans Saints
numberFire Projection: 7.55 (D/ST9)
This streamer option is probably a bit easier to stomach than our previous recommendation. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense has looked good to open the year, beating up on bad competition (like the aforementioned Bears) while putting up fights against strong offenses like the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles.
The Bucs' defense isn't playing at the same Super Bowl-winning level they were at just a few seasons ago, but they've been perfectly solid. They rank 10th in the league with 9 sacks and have proved capable of generating turnovers at a strong rate -- they've flipped the field 7 times this year, the fifth-most among NFL defenses.
In Week 4 they'll get to take on a turnover-prone old friend in former quarterback Jameis Winston, who will be filling in for Derek Carr (shoulder) for the New Orleans Saints. For his career, Winston holds a 3.4% interception rate and a 6.4% sack rate, both of which made him a quarterback to target with streamer defenses when he was the Bucs' starter. He committed 50 fumbles in his five seasons in Tampa -- a Buccaneers franchise record.
Winston's tendency to turn the ball over makes the Bucs' defense a strong streamer option for Week 4 on its own, but we can also take some comfort from the Saints' lack of offensive production so far this season.
Only seven teams in the league have scored fewer points than the Saints' 53 on the season. They've reached 20 points just a single time this campaign, meaning even if the Bucs can't generate turnovers, fantasy managers are unlikely to get punished by their defense allowing a lot of points.
Matchup: at Tennessee Titans
numberFire Projection: 7.39 (D/ST11)
The Cincinnati Bengals finally got their first win of the season on Monday night, benefitting from their defense shutting down the Los Angeles Rams' offense. The Cincy D has been getting no favors from their offense this season but has quietly been taking care of business on their side of the ball.
Despite facing offenses that have gotten the ball on their own 29.8 yard line on average (the 10th-best average starting field position in the league), the Bengals' defense has still been about average when it comes to allowing points. In other words, they could start performing even better once their offense starts clicking again.
The Bengals could have that chance this week against the Tennessee Titans, who have been getting roasted through the air. Joe Burrow looked better on Monday night than he had in the Bengals' first two outings (even while dealing with his serious calf injury) and could finally have a blow-up game in Week 4 against a Titans defense allowing opposing passers to throw for 7.1 adjusted net yards per attempt (the sixth-highest rate in the league).
The defensive side of the matchup looks pretty favorable for the Bengals, as well. The Titans' passing offense has been downright awful this year, making them the seventh-most friendly matchup to opposing D/STs so far this season.
Ryan Tannehill has played like one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL through the first three weeks, taking sacks at an absurd 13.5% rate while throwing 3 picks to just 1 touchdown. According to numberFire's Passing success rate metric, which tracks how often a passer generates positive Net Expected Points (NEP) on his drop backs, Tannehill's 31.25% success rate ranks dead last in the entire league -- even worse than Zach Wilson's.
To make matters worse, Derrick Henry hasn't looked great, either. "The King" has added positive NEP on only 31.37% of his rush attempts this season -- the third-lowest rate in the league. In previous seasons, the Titans could always rely on their devastating run game to carry them to victories, but it hasn't been working in 2023. That's put added pressure on Tannehill, and the veteran quarterback has not risen to the challenge.
The Bengals' defense came alive in Week 3, allowing the Rams to convert just one third down while getting their pass rush home -- six times, no less. The entire team looks ready to bounce back after their 0-2 start to the season, setting their D/ST for a strong performance in Week 4 and beyond -- they'll take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, making Cincy a potential top option in back-to-back weeks.
The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.