Waiver wire activity will increase as we enter the first round of bye weeks, so some league managers in your league who hoarded second defenses will now be forced to let them go. Therefore, be on the lookout for a defense or two that doesn’t belong on waivers. That said, before we move forward, let’s take a look back at last week.
The Cincinnati Bengals defense put up some sacks and a turnover in a passable performance, except in leagues that count yards allowed, as Derrick Henry put in his best day of the season so far. The Indianapolis Colts offense had trouble staying on the field and found themselves on the wrong side in the time of possession battle. Going to overtime did not help matters either allowing extra time for additional yards against. On the flip side, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put in a solid day’s work, and anyone who decided to roll with the Detroit Lions was happy with their decision. Now we venture into Week 5 and see which matchups improve our odds. As always, we’re looking for teams that are rostered in around 50 percent of leagues or lower.
Please note: there’s a decent chance that better teams above this 50 percent threshold are out there in your league, but we cannot assume they’re out there for everyone; we have to draw the proverbial line somewhere. Stay active and monitor the league home page; someone might drop a desirable defense after the waivers clear.
Opponent: vs. Carolina Panthers
ESPN % Rostered: 5%
Yahoo % Rostered: 15%
Every source and statistic I pour over before writing these all heavily favor this matchup to a point where it almost becomes suspicious. Looking into the matchup, we can see why. The Detroit Lions have sacked opposing quarterbacks 13 times in the last three games and are averaging a turnover per game on the season. The Carolina Panthers have given up multiple sacks every game for a total of 14 sacks on the year. They’ve turned the ball over five times in Bryce Young‘s three starts including last week against the Minnesota Vikings, giving the Vikes their only double-digit D/ST performance on the year. Carolina has the eighth fewest total yards per game while Detroit has allowed the fourth-fewest. Led by Aidan Hutchinson and his 3.5 sacks over the last two games, the Lions have the fewest rushing yards allowed and the second-highest quarterback pressures in the league.
Opponent: vs. Chicago Bears
ESPN % Rostered: 19%
Yahoo % Rostered: 28%
In this week’s edition of “Who Do the Bears Play Next?” we arrive in Washington, as the Commanders are coming off back-to-back games that would be described as anything but confidence-instilling. However, I would counter that those two games were against the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles, two of the NFL’s top 5 scoring offenses. Now they get to host Chicago and their generous 13+ points to the opposing D/ST per game. The Commanders have 13 sacks and 5 turnovers in 4 games while the Bears have given up 17 sacks and an astonishing eight turnovers this season. Perhaps most notable (but not dependable) are the three of the four games they have given up a defensive touchdown. One drawback, Washington is the most penalized defense in the league.
Opponent: vs. New York Jets
ESPN % Rostered: 7%
Yahoo % Rostered: 40%
Likeable matchups seem to fall off a slope after those first two. The best of the rest are the Denver Broncos, who play host to the New York Jets. The Broncos are led by Kareem Jackson, who has recorded every single one of their interceptions through four weeks. They’ll look to build on their improved performance last week in which they generated two turnovers, as the Jets have committed six turnovers so far in 2023. The Jets have also allowed multiple sacks per game with a total of 11 on the year. Denver is now on a two-game streak of having scored a defensive touchdown in back-to-back games. New York is bottom five on offense in total yards and passing yards.
These teams did not meet the consideration threshold for the main highlight section, but you should check to see if they’re available in your league:
Baltimore Ravens – ESPN: 60% Y!: 81%
- With Kenny Pickett (Q) hurt from last week, they could be matching up against Mitch Trubisky. This might actually be a good thing for a struggling Steelers offense, but it could very well make things even worse!
Miami Dolphins – ESPN: 61% Y!: 50%
- Who wouldn’t want to start a defense hosting Daniel Jones, the New York Giants, and their 23(!) sacks given up on the year?
New England Patriots – ESPN: 85% Y!: 66%
- This matchup against the New Orleans Saints looks good on paper, but I am very hesitant after the losses of Matthew Judon and Christian Gonzalez last week. It remains to be seen if Jonathan Jones(Q) will be back after his absence since Week 1.
If you see something I don’t leave a comment or hit me up with feedback @MikeoftheFF on Twitter!
Photos by Zach Bolinger & Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)