Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 5
As we finish up the first 1/3 of the fantasy regular season, I decided to take a look back to last year. It seems like fantasy D/ST scoring was way down and that appears to be correct. Last season, the Patriots had 84 fantasy points after the first four games, while the Colts are at just 52 this season. Comparing teams to the 2019 Patriots isn’t exactly fair but it’s more than just that, even the 2019 #12 DEF had 10 more fantasy points than this year’s #12. At this point last season, the top-12 DEFs had combined for 16 D/ST TDs, this season they have just nine. Turnovers and sacks are happening at the same pace but, while offenses are scoring more, defenses aren’t finding the end zone and giving us the big plays we like to see. While scoring is down, have a top DEF still gives you an advantage over your opponents. Let’s see wh had that advantage last week and who could have it next week.
Week 4 Top Performances
Kansas City Chiefs vs NE
Oh, the power of the Kansas City offense and playing a 2nd, then 3rd-string QB. The Chiefs make it hard for most any offense to keep up and the Brian Hoyer-ed Patriots were no exception. Hoyer was benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham but things did not improve. While the Chiefs only registered two QB sacks, they had three interceptions and a fumble recovery in the game, taking one of the picks back for a TD. As with most weeks this season, a TD is probably good enough to land you in the top-3. This week, it took the crown.
Week 5 Matchup: vs LV (Possible COVID problems for Las Vegas)
The Chiefs will have every chance to repeat in the top-3 as they face an injury-riddled Raiders team. Las Vegas gives up the 14th most points to fantasy defenses and Kansas City’s D/ST has scored at least 5 fantasy points in every game this season.
Philadelphia Eagles @ SF
Another defensive TD, another QB benching, another top-3 finish. The Eagles beat up on Nick Mullens, and then CJ Beathard all day, registering five sacks and 15 QB hits. They had three total takeaways: two interceptions and a fumble recovery, and took one of the Mullens INTs back for a TD. If they hadn’t allowed 20 points scored, they may have taken the top spot this week.
Week 5 Matchup: @ PIT
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers will put up a much better fight than the QB-less 49ers did. Nobody really started Philly last week and you’re not doing it this week either.
Los Angeles Rams vs NYG
Some games are easier to predict than others. While the Rams offense did not live up to expectations, their DEF certainly did. They only registered one INT but held the Giants to just 9 points scored and added five QB sacks to their total. It wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was good enough for top-3 in Week 4.
Week 5 Matchup: @ WAS
The Rams just finished top-3 against New York and get Dwayne Haskins (or Kyle Allen, or Alex Smith) and Washington next. If you were lucky enough to have them last week, enjoy them again in Week 5.
Week 5 Starts
New England Patriots vs DEN (Possible COVID problems for New England)
Go and check your free agency right now, the Patriots might be there. A lot of managers may have been scared off by the Chiefs matchup (rightfully so) and dropped them to make room for a stream. They should rebound nicely against the Broncos 3rd string QB this week. Denver has allowed fantasy DEFs to score 8+ fantasy points in each of their last three games.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs PHI
Pittsburgh got an unexpected week off and they seem angry about it. They will likely take that anger out of this still depleted Philly offense. The Eagles give up the 4th most points to fantasy defenses and the Steelers have finished top-12 in all three of their games this season.
Baltimore Ravens vs CIN
Yes, all three teams mentioned this week are very chalk…sometimes that’s just the way things are. The Bengals may actually scare a few fantasy managers, but rookie QBs still make mistakes and the Ravens are the right defense to force those mistakes out of Burrow. Even with their high-flying offense, the Bengals still give up the 13th most points to fantasy DEF.
Stream of the Week
Arizona Cardinals @ NYJ
Arizona has looked like a decent streaming option is just about every game this season but has only really delivered in two out of four games. Last week, they did not do much against Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers but should find the going much easier against Joe Flacco and the Jets. To no one’s surprise, the Jets allow the most points to fantasy defenses this season. Arizona is available in exactly 50% of fantasy leagues right now, my cutoff for naming a team a Stream of the Week.
Other Options: Chiefs, Browns, Texans, Cowboys
Week 5 Sits
Tennessee Titans vs BUF (Tennessee continues to have COVID issues, putting the game in jeopardy)
This is not the season to bet against Josh Allen. The Bills just hung 30 on Las Vegas, resulting in a 0 for fantasy points, and haven’t allowed more than seven fantasy points to any DEF this season. The Titans defense has looked good, not great, and is coming off of the most tumultuous bye week I can think of, dealing with massive COVID issues.
Chicago Bears vs TB
Brady is fresh off of a five TD game and the Bears D/ST didn’t put up very many fantasy points against the Colts last week. The Buccaneers haven’t given up more than 4 fantasy points to and D/ST since Week 1.
Los Angeles Chargers @ NO
The Chargers haven’t had a terrible week on defense yet but their offense continues to lose pieces and may have lost its most important piece, Austin Ekeler, for a while. They will likely struggle on offense and have a hard time stopping Brees, Kamara, and a somewhat healthy Michael Thomas. The Saints already gave up the 2nd fewest points to fantasy DEF before they got Thomas back.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
*All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Rank vs Pass/Run based on yards allowed.