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Week 4 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2015 Fantasy Tiers & Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 4 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 4 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to making waiver wire pickups and adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 4.

Are you looking for some assistance with your lineups? Not sure which defenses have good matchups for Week 4? Can't decide which defenses to target off the waiver wire, or whether you should stream a different defense for this week? No worries, we are here to help every week of the fantasy football season.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference maker, so we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 4 defenses have good matchups and are not widely owned, representing sleeper opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 4 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 4 RotoBallers!

 

Week 4 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Bye Weeks: New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans

Tier 1 Defenses: Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos

The Arizona Cardinals have won many fantasy matchups single-handedly in the last two weeks thanks to a total of four touchdowns (a kickoff return and three pick-sixes). They had four total interceptions in Week 3 against a seemingly lost Colin Kaepernick, and while I don't expect anything close to that in Week 4, they do face a Rams offense that only managed six total points against the Steelers' sub-par defense. At the moment, the Cardinals are a rare must-start D/ST.

I'd usually recommend the Jets regardless of matchup, but with Ryan Tannehill and the anemic Dolphins offense opposing them they become a top-3 option. The similarly stout Buffalo Bills just manhandled the 'Phins, picking off Tannehill three times (returning one for a touchdown). The Jets secondary is even stronger than that of the Bills, so expect great things from this D/ST in Week 4.

Kam Chancellor has ended his holdout, and the Seahawks just got a major confidence boost in shutting out the godawful Bears in Week 3. They now face the 0-3 Lions at home...this one might get ugly.

The Denver Broncos are averaging over 3.5 sacks per game so far this season, along with 10 total turnovers and two touchdowns over three games. With Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware coming off the edge and Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby ball-hawking over the top, none of this comes as a shock. They'll get the Vikings at home in Week 4, and I think they can contain Adrian Peterson enough to make them a top D/ST once again. Teddy Bridgewater might be awful sore next Monday.
Tier 2 Defenses: Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers

After a Week 2 drubbing courtesy of the Patriots, the Bills got back on the horse with their own blowout of Miami, "squishing the Fish" in a 41-14 bloodbath. As I mentioned before, they had three interceptions against Ryan Tannehill, and with Eli Manning and company coming to town they may be in for some more. I don't see the New York run game getting anything going, which means Rex Ryan will be aiming to take Odell Beckham Jr. out of the game.

While the Eagles may have lost linebacker Kiko Alonso for a while, their defense still looked pretty terrific against a Jets team that was on a roll. They allowed only 17 points and forced four turnovers, and tacked on a Darren Sproles punt-return touchdown. They'll face Washington in Week 4, and I like their chances against Kirk Cousins--the only question is whether they can slow down Alfred Morris and Matt Jones.

Carolina has yet to allow more than 22 point so far this season, and I expect that trend to continue against Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers in Week 4. They've already racked up seven sacks in the first three weeks, and have at least one interception in each game. The Panthers might not have the potential to win you the matchup, but they may have one of the higher floors of any D/ST in Week 4.

The Packers are middle-of-the-road as far as fantasy D/STs go, but with Colin Kaepernick opposing them in Week 4 I love them as a streaming option. The 49ers' Week 1 victory now appears to be more mirage than anything, and I don't see them figuring it out against Green Bay. They are the definition of a low ceiling, high floor play in Week 4.
Tier 3 Defenses: Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens

Did you see the Bears game on Sunday? I use the word "game" lightly, because that looked like a varsity/JV scrimmage. Granted, it was the Seahawks who forced Chicago to punt on literally every possession, but I'll take my chances streaming the Raiders against them as well.

The Cleveland defense has seven sacks in three games, and Philip Rivers has already racked up four picks and two lost fumbles on the young season. This matchup has all the conditions for a nice streaming play in Week 4.

The Cowboys D/ST has been up and down so far in 2015, putting up a great game against Philadelphia in Week 2, but getting blasted for 39 points (most of which came in the second half) by the Falcons in Week 3. The reason I think they're worth streaming is simple--Luke McCown and Brandin Cooks are not Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Look for the Cowboys to bounce back and at least manage 5-7 fantasy points.

I can't get a read on the Baltimore Ravens, which is why I'm leaving them in Tier 3. They've looked solid at times, and have a pick in each game so far along with seven total sacks. On the other hand, they were blown up by the Raiders in Week 2 and mangled by Andy Dalton in Week 3. This week they'll face a Michael Vick-led Steelers team (following the injury to Ben Roethlisberger), and have the potential to put up a solid fantasy day. I expect the Steelers to lean heavily on Le'Veon Bell, but if the Ravens can take advantage of the opportunities I believe Vick will present to them, then they could be worth a stream in deep leagues.

 

Tier 4 Defenses: Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Bengals will be more of a desperation play than anything in Week 4, as the Chiefs tend to take care of the ball fairly well. Cincinnati already has seven sacks in 2015, and that's what you're hoping for against Alex Smith in Week 4. Jamaal Charles will likely have a vice grip on the ball following his Week 2 fumbling issues, but it wouldn't shock me if the Bengals got a pick or two off tipped balls.

Likewise, the Chiefs are a Hail Mary play in Week 4. Good Andy Dalton has been under center for the Bengals in 2015, and if you start the Chiefs you're banking on Bad Andy Dalton showing up. I don't like their chances, but in super-deep leagues you may have no other choice.

The St. Louis Rams are tied for the NFL lead with 13 sacks so far, and the only reason the Patriots are tied is because they had an absurd eight sacks against the Bills in Week 2. That's what you're looking for when they head to Arizona in Week 4, because I don't think there is anyone who can stop Carson Palmer and the Cardinals passing attack at the moment.

The Buccaneers have been halfway decent in 2015, posting seven sacks and five turnovers in three games. Cam Newton and the Panthers will come to town in Week 4, and I think this has all the makings of a trap game for the Panthers. Cam Newton can certainly play poorly at times, and I believe his receiving corps has completely over-performed up to this point. If the Bucs can neutralize Greg Olsen, they may surprise quite a few folks in the fantasy community.

The Falcons defense has been below-average so far in 2015, and they only make my rankings because they face the Houston Texans offense in Week 4. With Arian Foster still likely out, the Texans will need to rely on Ryan Mallet, who will more than likely turn the ball over a couple of times. This is an example of a bad defense playing a potentially worse offense, and you're only streaming them in the deepest of leagues.

The Steelers looked okay against the 49ers and Rams the last two weeks, but neither of those offenses are intimidating. They'll face the 0-3 Ravens on Thursday night, who are similarly impotent on offense. Pittsburgh has nine sacks already on the season, and should be able to add to that total. Maybe Antonio Brown returns a punt and stomps on another punter? Have your lady blow on the dice and then toss them.

 

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