Defensive tackle is one of the most streamed positions in fantasy football. Here we will look at who the best weekly start, sit and sleeper options are based on matchup.
Defensive tackle is probably the lowest scoring position in fantasy football. There are only a few true high-end options as the position is very top-heavy. To help find who to play each week I will be writing this article to see who the top defensive tackle starts, sits and sleepers are based off of their matchup. Lets take a look who we have going into week four.
Defensive Tackle Starts
Larry Ogunjobi – Cleveland Browns 2019 Stats: 11 tackles (seven solo), two tackles for a loss, two sacks and three QB hits.
Matchup: Baltimore Ravens (Give up the 8th most points to defensive tackles)
Run Blocking – Ranked 5th
Pass Protection – Ranked 14th
When looking at the offensive line ranks for the Ravens this choice may seem like a bit of a head scratcher. The Ravens offensive line is actually quite good. The stat you need to recognize though is the amount of fantasy points they give up. In three games the Ravens have given up 16 tackles (10 solo), two tackles for a loss and one sack to defensive tackles. Teams are really focusing on setting the edge to keep Lamar Jackson in the pocket.
This should be the same with the Browns having two exceptional defensive ends in Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon. They should make it difficult for Jackson and the Baltimore running backs to run outside. Larry Ogunjobi is coming off a great game against the Rams where he posted three tackles, one for a loss and a sack. He also stays on the field for about 75% of the teams defensive snaps. Ogunjobi has been one of the bright spots for the Browns this season and should continue in week four.
Geno Atkins – Cincinnati Bengals 2019 Stats: 13 tackles (five solo), one tackle for a loss, one sack and two QB hits.
Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers (Give up the 10th most points to defensive tackles)
Run Blocking: Ranked 25th
Pass Protection: Ranked 5th
Geno Atkins has been a top ten defensive tackle for years now since he broke out in 2012. He is a disruptive force in the middle and continues to make plays. He has averaged just under 10 sacks a season over the last four seasons. This week he squares off against the Mason Rudolph led Steelers. The Steelers offensive line gave up only two sacks in the first two games but gave up two in last week alone. Rudolph’s pocket presence is far worse than Ben Roethlisberger‘s. The Bengals have been getting great pressure off the edge with Sam Hubbard and Carlos Dunlap. This should continue and Rudolph should step right into Atkins.
Adam Butler – New England Patriots 2019 Stats: 7 tackles (three solo), two tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, one pass defensed and three QB hits.
Matchup: Buffalo Bills (Give up the 7th most points to defensive tackles)
Run Blocking: Ranked 6th
Pass Protection: Ranked 17th
Adam Butler is the most recent success story with the Patriots, the one of many. He was an undrafted free agent who played sparingly his first two seasons in the NFL. Butler has seemed to blossom here in his third season and the Patriots are taking notice. Defensive tackle seemed to be a position that the Patriots would more or less get by with having minimal talent. Butler seems to be swaying that opinion. In his lone start this season he produced four total tackles, two for a loss, two sacks, one pass defensed and two QB hits.
Since week one Butler has seen 49% or more of the teams defensive snaps. The Bills are going to try to get the running game going and that means a healthy dose of Frank Gore. Gore is a between the tackles runner which bodes well for Butler’s tackle production. What may work even more though is if New England jumps out to an early lead putting the Bills in heavier passing situations. This would allow Butler to work more as an interior pass rusher which is what he does best. Butler should continue his breakout in week four and have yet another productive outing.
Defensive Tackle Sits
Chris Jones – Kansas City Chiefs 2019 Stats: Eight tackles (five solo), one tackle for a loss, one sack, one pass defensed and four QB hits.
Matchup: Detroit Lions (Give up the 3rd fewest points to defensive tackles)
Run Blocking – Ranked 26th
Pass Protection – Ranked 3rd
Chris Jones is off to quite the slow start compared to how he finished last season. Most figured he would continue his interior dominance but so far this has not been the case. As good as Frank Clark is, the combination of him and Alex Okafor by no means matches what Dee Ford and Justin Houston brought to the table. With less talent on the line more attention is put on keeping Chris Jones away from the quarterback.
The Lions so far have been great in pass protection. They have allowed only three sacks in three games and are off to a great start. Through three games they have given up only eight total tackles with one for a loss to opposing defensive tackles. I expect a tough day at the office for Chris Jones and as hard as it is to do, I’m sitting him.
Linval Joseph – Minnesota Vikings 2019 Stats: 12 tackles (nine solo), four tackles for a loss, two sacks and three QB hits.
Matchup: Chicago Bears (Give up the 6th fewest points to defensive tackles)
Run Blocking – Ranked 19th
Pass Protection – Ranked 21st
When you look at the matchup with how the Bears offensive line matchup is this looks like quite the juicy matchup. The numbers are a bit deceiving though as the middle of the offensive line is quite good, it’s on the edge they struggle. When it comes to sacks only 0.5 have come from the defensive tackle position where 5.5 sacks have come off of the edge. The Bears have squared off with three rock solid defensive tackles in Kenny Clark, Shelby Harris, and Da’ron Payne. Between the three if them they totaled 14 tackles (four solo) and 0.5 sack in those three games.
Linval Joseph is having yet another great year so far at the young age of 31 years old. As good as he has been I think that the Bears continue their impressive interior protection and continue to be beat off the edge.
Quinton Jefferson – Seattle Seahawks 2019 Stats: Nine tackles (four solo), two tackles for a loss, two sacks, two passes defensed and five QB hits.
Matchup: Arizona Cardinals (Give up the 8th fewest fantasy points to defensive tackles)
Run Blocking – Ranked 17th
Pass Protection – Ranked 29th
This is another deceiving matchup based on offensive line ranks. The Cardinals have given up the second most sacks in the NFL with 16 through three games. Zero of those 16 sacks came from the interior line. All came off the edge by a defensive end or an outside linebacker. As a matter of fact with the air raid offense that the Cardinals run barely any production goes up the middle. Through three games defensive tackles accounted for only 10 total tackles with one going for a loss.
Quinton Jefferson started off the season with a huge game of six total tackles, two for a loss, two sacks, two passes defensed and three QB hits. Since that explosion he has posted a dismal three total tackles and two QB hits in two games. Jefferson plays a high snap count but has been very quiet since week one. Going against the Cardinals air raid offense I see Jefferson being a let down for the third consecutive week.
Defensive Tackle Sleeper
Dexter Lawrence – New York Giants 2019 Stats: Seven tackles (three solo), one tackle for a loss, one sack and two QB hits.
Matchup: Washington Redskins (Give up the 12th most points to defensive tackles)
Run Blocking – Ranked 23rd
Pass Protection – Ranked 11th
Dexter Lawrence is a great rookie talent and seems to finally be getting his feet wet after a poor week one showing. The past two weeks he has put up six total tackles, one for a loss and a sack. Lawrence is hovering around 45% of snaps but with a team loaded with young talent I think they up his snap count. He is definitely the most talented player on the interior of that defense and I expect him to keep ascending upwards.
Lawrence gets the Redskins this week who have given up a sack for three consecutive weeks to defensive tackles. Dexter Lawrence is the best pass rusher on the interior so if one were to get a sack my bet is on him.
Defensive tackle decisions are tough to make but hopefully this helps a little. Larry Ogunjobi and Geno Atkins are two great at their position with excellent matchups, they are must starts. Adam Butler is a start for me as well-being the best player on the interior for the Patriots so far and also has a great matchup. Chris Jones has been underwhelming so far this year and has a truly difficult matchup and needs to ride the pine this week as. Linval Joseph has played well this season but also has a poor matchup and don’t expect much from him. Quinton Jefferson has cooled off and should not make an impact week four. Dexter Lawrence is an ascending tackle and is my matchup sleeper at the position for week four.
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