In a season that has been crazy for fantasy DEF/ST, Week 5 stands out for a few reasons. To start, only 3 of last week’s overall top 12 made the Week 5 top 12. The top 3 defenses that we’ll detail later were all owned in fewer than 35% of fantasy leagues. The entire AFC North finished in the top 12 for the week and have all cracked the overall top 12 for the season. My favorite stat might be that that Bengals’ defense scored as many or more TDs (2) than 17 NFL offenses, including their own. Week 5 was wild, let’s talk about it and see who we might be talking about after Week 6.
Week 5 Top Performances
Cincinnati Bengals: vs Miami Dolphins
It’s not uncommon for a DEF/ST to salvage their day in the 4th quarter. The Bengals took that to a whole other level. Coming into the 4th quarter, the Bengals were ranked in the bottom 10 for the week and looking like a loss. They proceeded to sack Ryan Tannehill twice, forcing a fumble for a TD, intercepting him once for another TD and propelling themselves to the top of the DEF/ST heap. The Bengals ended the day with 3 totals sacks, 3 takeaways, and that 2 TDs…plus a big team win over the Dolphins.
Week 6 Matchup: vs Pittsburgh Steelers
We are still not in a position to gamble against the Steelers offense, even when they are on the road. Pittsburgh gives up the 6th fewest points to DEF/ST and is coming in hot from a beatdown of the Falcons. Stay away.
Kansas City Chiefs: vs Jacksonville Jaguars
I honestly didn’t expect either of these defenses to end up in the top 10 this week but sometimes…Bortles gonna Bortles. Blake did the Chiefs a few favors in this one as the Jaguars lack of firepower became more and more evident. The Chiefs ended the day with 5 sacks, tied for 2nd most on the week, and 5 takeaways, tied for the most of Week 5. True to form, all 5 turnovers were committed by Bortles. It was a rough week for Jacksonville, as they were also held to 14 points on top of the turnover bug and the Chiefs rode that to a top 3 finish.
Week 6 Matchup: @ New England Patriots
This is basically the opposite of their Week 5 matchup. Brady at home with more weapons than he’s had in quite a while means you’re not starting Kansas City.
Arizona Cardinals: @ San Francisco 49ers
At no point did any of us really consider starting either team here and Arizona sneaks into the top 3 despite being owned in fewer than 33% of leagues, Arizona repaid those brave few owners with 5 takeaways, including a fumble returned for a TD, and 4 QB sacks. They only allowed 18 points and found their way into the positional top 10 for the first time this season.
Week 6 Matchup: @ Minnesota Vikings
No. Just no. You didn’t start them last week and you’re not starting them on the road against the hot Vikings offense.
Week 6 Starts
Chicago Bears: @ Miami Dolphins
Yes, this is chalk but they were on a bye last week and may be available in your league. They are still the #1 fantasy defense despite being a week down to the competition and the Dolphins are reeling from a shocking loss to the Bengals.
Minnesota Vikings: vs Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals will be behind most of this game and that should put rookie QB in tough situations all day long. Minnesota DEF/ST has been rather disappointing this season but this should be a bounce-back week.
Baltimore Ravens: @ Tennessee Titans
Sticking with the chalk but an improving Titans offense may scare you off. Don’t let it. The Ravens just held the Browns to 12 points coming off their 40 point Week 4. Baltimore should be able to slow both the running and passing games of Tennessee and come out with a solid fantasy week again in Week 6.
Stream of the Week
Dallas Cowboys: vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Dallas is coming off of a less than spectacular performance and owned in fewer than 25% of all leagues but this is looking like a “plus” matchup. Jacksonville has a turnover prone QB, one healthy RB, and very little in the way of pass catchers. Dallas is a nice play for those who can’t follow “chalk” in Week 6.
Week 6 Sits
Cleveland Browns: vs Los Angeles Chargers
Normally, the Browns are so bad I don’t even need to tell you to bench them but 2018 is a different kind of year. The Chargers offense is far better than Baltimore and this stinks of another 30+ points shootout like when Cleveland faced the Raiders.
New England Patriots: vs Kansas City Chiefs
Nobody is stopping this offense and the Patriots are no exception. They are owned in more than 70% of leagues and are a huge liability in what should be the week’s highest scoring game.
Philadelphia Eagles: @ New York Giants
Gut feeling here: The Giants are due for a huge offensive game and I think it will be this week. At home, in the short week, against a defense that hasn’t found the top 10 since Week 1. The Eagles are owned in nearly every league and I think they are a trap in Week 6.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Ranks vs Pass/Run are based on Yards per Game allowed.
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