If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed a series of tweets I share on a weekly basis regarding player and team defensive performances, all from a fantasy lens. I’m going to be sharing some of that same information with you here.
I use this each week as I am making my own lineup and waiver wire decisions and thought you might find this valuable as well.
Note: The scoring system used for this data is always PPR with four points for passing touchdowns.
All year to date fantasy ranks are based on total points.
Week Four QB1s (top 12 scorers)
The Week Four tilt between Seattle and Detroit game quickly became a shootout and resulted in some fantasy goodness. Most notable was the impressive performance from the veteran quarterbacks Jared Goff and Geno Smith. Daniel Jones passed for less than 100 yards and missed portions of the second-half with an ankle injury but his two rushing scores were enough to land him on this list. Finally, Zach Wilson made his season debut for the Jets, leading them to victory and notching his first QB1 game of the year.
Year to Date QB1s
Goff and Smith were the big winners in the season-long QB1 race after they each posted some gaudy numbers. The shine is quickly fading in Washington for Carson Wentz after a pair of strong games to open the season as he fell from QB6 to QB10 last week. Expect him to fall off this list completely next week. Russell Wilson is a season-long QB1 for the first time this year, jumping into the QB12 spot while Trevor Lawrence and Derek Carr fell off the list.
QB1 Games this Season
Most QB1 Games Allowed
The Lions and Raiders have each allowed a QB1 performance in each game they’ve played this season. The Lions might catch a break in Week Five as they face the healthiest option for the New England Patriots. My guess is that would be rookie Bailey Zappe. I expect this Lions’ streak to end. The Raiders have a more difficult challenge as they find a way to stop Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. In eight career games against the Raiders, Mahomes has never scored less than 20 fantasy points.
We still have six teams who have yet to allow a QB1 game all season. While a fortunate schedule is still a viable reason, it’s also time to start avoiding these teams, when we face a coin-flip decision. The Bills face rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett in what will certainly be a challenging starting debut. Lamar Jackson was held off the QB1 list a week ago by Buffalo and now faces a Bengals team who has not yet faced a real challenge at the position. There’s no way Jackson is getting out of fantasy starting lineups coming off a tough loss.
Matthew Stafford is playing the worst ball of his career and now hosts one of the toughest defenses in the league in the Cowboys. Stafford has exceeded 11 fantasy points just once this season. He should be on benches this week, potentially even in superflex leagues. The Broncos are in action to begin the week against the Colts, which is just another reason Matt Ryan should not be a starting fantasy option this week. The Eagles have a challenge in slowing down Kyler Murray, who has posted a top-eight fantasy score in three of four contests this season. Finally, the 49ers have yet to allow a QB1 game this year and it would be a serious surprise if Baker Mayfield changed that this week.
Week Four RB1s (top 12 scorers)
Chargers veteran back Austin Ekeler had been a disappointment in the first three weeks due to a lack of touchdowns. He changed that on Sunday with three trips to the end zone, earning the overall RB1 for the week. “Dead zone” alumni Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders and Rashaad Penny each had huge Week Four performances as well, already paying off their very reasonable off-season cost. JK Dobbins popped up with a pair of touchdowns, giving dynasty managers confidence he might be close to 100% healthy following his lost 2021 season.
Year to Date RB1s
Austin Ekeler wasn’t even among the RB1 group a week ago but now finds himself in the RB3 slot. Christian McCaffrey, Sanders, Jacobs and Derrick Henry were other big risers in Week Four. On the other hand, Cordarrelle Patterson fell from RB6 to RB11 and will surely be off the list next week after he landed on the injured reserve list. He’ll miss the next month, at least. D’Andre Swift (formerly RB5), Khalil Herbert (RB9), Jonathan Taylor (RB9) and Antonio Gibson (RB12) are all gone from the RB1 ranks, for now.
RB1 Games this Season
Most RB1 Games Allowed
A quartet of teams has been especially forgiving of opposing running backs, allowing three RB1 games each through four weeks. These are certainly teams that should be targeted as we face Week Five lineup decisions. The Texans take on the Jaguars, giving James Robinson a strong chance to stay hot. The best running back in the league this year has been Nick Chubb and now he faces the Chargers, who are one of the teams allowing the most RB1 games through the first month. Easy call. The Bills have gotten Devin Singletary involved in the passing game, which has increased his fantasy upside. Singletary should enjoy this week’s matchup against the Steelers. Finally, the Seahawks continue to struggle in all phases of defense and could be facing Alvin Kamara, who surprisingly missed last week’s London game.
The Browns and Rams have yet to allow a single RB1 game this year. That is potentially bad news for Austin Ekeler, but would not be enough to get him out of my fantasy lineups. The Rams will attempt to slow down the Dallas duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Each Cowboys back is off to a solid start this year but neither have broken through with a huge fantasy day.
Week Four WR1s (top 12 scorers)
Week Four was a chance for the best receivers in the league to shine, and they did not disappoint. After a pair of disappointing performances, Justin Jefferson delivered against the Saints across the pond and finished as the top receiver on the week. Mike Evans returned from his one-game suspension to dominate the Chiefs while Deebo Samuel did whatever he wanted against the Rams on Monday night. Josh Reynolds was the chalk of the week after we learned Amon-Ra St. Brown would not play and the veteran delivered while Jamal Agnew surprised with a pair of touchdowns.
Year to Date WR1s
Again, the star receivers are the story here as Tyreek Hill, Jefferson, Davante Adams and Marquise Brown all moved up the season-long WR1 list. Amari Cooper and Curtis Samuel were quiet in Week Four and are now off the list, while Courtland Sutton and Ja’Marr Chase joined the group. Cooper Kupp is somehow on pace to outdo his 2021 stat lines.
WR1 Games this Season
Most WR1 Games Allowed
The Rams are the only team to allow four WR1 games through four weeks. This week, they face the red-hot CeeDee Lamb along with Michael Gallup. Lamb is an obvious weekly starter regardless of matchup but I would try to find a way to get Gallup in my lineup this week, too.
There are still seven teams who have yet to allow a WR1 game this season. Digging a little deeper, the Bears have allowed the fewest fantasy points to the wide receiver position so far. That changes this week as Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen face off against the Chicago defense.
Week Four TE1s (top 12 scorers)
With no D’Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown or even DJ Chark, Lions tight end TJ Hockenson had the game of his life, racking up 179 yards and two touchdowns to finish as the clear TE1 on the week. Will Dissly stayed hot with his third double-digit fantasy game through four weeks. Finally, the Colts stung the Titans for a pair of TE1 games as Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson each got it done.
Year to Date TE1s
The list of this week’s TE1 is the same group as last week, in a different order. Hockenson was obviously the big mover, jumping from TE12 to TE3, while Darren Waller continues to disappoint, falling to TE12. The Rams are using Tyler Higbee instead of veteran receiver Allen Robinson and the tight end has climbed inside the top five as a result.
TE1 Games this Season
Most TE1 Games Allowed
The Colts have surrendered four TE1 games through four weeks and visit the Broncos in Denver on Thursday night. Albert Okweugbunam was the trendy TE1 sleeper this season but he hardly played last week, seeing one snap and no routes run. He could be on his way to “healthy scratch” status once rookie Greg Dulcich is healthy. Even with the juicy matchup, I’m staying away here. The Seahawks have also given up a ton of production to the tight end position, making Juwan Johnson and Adam Trautman interesting sleepers this week.
With six teams yet to allow a TE1 game, let’s focus on fantasy points allowed. The Saints have only given up 20.6 total fantasy points in four games to opposing tight ends, making Will Dissly and Noah Fant sketchy Week Five options. The Rams and Bills have been stingy as well, allowing less than six fantasy points per contest. That’s not good news for Dalton Schultz (vs. Los Angeles Rams) and Pat Freiermuth (vs. Buffalo). While both typically have top-five upside in any given week, I’m trying to avoid them this week.
Finally, here is the chart summarizing how teams have fared against each position. I’ve also included the schedule for this week for reference.
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