Week 5 Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy

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Week 4 was filled with a few fantasy surprises, not least of which was the 55-40 shoot-out between the Buccaneers and the Rams. Adding to that surprise was that both D/STs finished with positive fantasy points. Both teams managed a defensive TD and finished as the #6 (TB) and #17 (LAR) defenses for the week. The Browns offense finally showed up and destroyed the Ravens fantasy defense in what was thought to be a good matchup for Baltimore at home. The Ravens were one of four fantasy D/ST to finish with either 0 or -1 fantasy points this week, joined by Miami, Atlanta, and Green Bay.

But that’s enough about the bad things that happened last week, time to see who ruled Week 4 on defense and who we might be talking about next week.

Week 4 Top Performances

New York Giants vs WAS
While it wasn’t unreasonable to expect a good performance from New York against one of the worst offenses in the league, 1st place is quite the surprise. The Giants hadn’t had a top-10 week yet this season, but they held Washington to just three points in Week 4. On top of that, they added three QB sacks and intercepted Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins four times, taking one of those back for a TD.

Week 5 Matchup: vs MIN
Congrats to the 2% of you that owned the Giants last week. You can cut them now.

New England Patriots @ BUF
Not much of a story here. The Patriots have steam-rolled opponents all year and Week 4 was no different. A questionable hit put Josh Allen out of the game but he had already thrown three interceptions up to that point. The Pats finished with four interceptions, five QB sacks, and a blocked punt that they took back for a TD.

Week 5 Matchup: @ WAS
The Redskins just gave up the #1 performance to the Giants and the Patriots are the #1 fantasy DEF/ST by a large margin. Start of the Week.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs CIN
In what amounted to a dreadfully boring football game, the Steelers defense did dominate the Bengals offense. Primetime Andy Dalton was in full effect, as the Bengals only managed a single field goal on Monday night. Pittsburgh ended the night with two takeaways and a league-leading eight sacks.

Week 5 Matchup: vs BAL
Holding the Bengals to three points is impressive…but the Ravens will be a whole different story. Baltimore gives up the 3rd fewest points to fantasy defenses and Pittsburgh had allowed 24+ points in the three games coming into last week. Not a great matchup and you should look elsewhere.

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Week 5 Starts

Minnesota Vikings @ NYG
Daniel Jones was the hottest waiver wire pickup after his amazing first start…and he came back to reality very quickly in Week 4. The Giants gave up nine fantasy points to the Redskins last week and the Vikings D/ST is a much tougher matchup. Minnesota hasn’t allowed more than 21 points to any offense yet this season and should get after Jones far better than Washington did last week.

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ CAR
Kyle Allen has been more than competent for the Panthers in the absence of Cam Newton, but he came crashing down to earth in Week 4. Houston’s D/ST managed 10 fantasy points vs Carolina last week. The Jags busted against Denver, but Carolina gives up more sacks, more turnovers, and more fantasy points than the Broncos. Look for a bounce-back for the Jags, especially if they can get Jalen Ramsey on the field.

Philadelphia Eagles vs NYJ
Sam Darnold may return this week but I don’t think that changes much. The Jets have given up double-digit fantasy points every week they’ve played and that should make up for the Eagles mediocrity thus far. Philadelphia feels like a safe play in Week 5 with a so/so ceiling but a high floor.

Stream of the Week

Tennessee Titans vs BUF
If Josh Allen plays, this is still a pretty solid stream option. If he doesn’t, it’s all systems go against Matt Barkley. Both QBs combined for four interceptions last week against New England. Tennesse bounced back after a poor showing vs Jacksonville in Week 3 and managed a top-10 week against the Falcons in Week 4. Vegas projects this as the week’s lowest-scoring game and that bodes well for fantasy D/ST. The Titans are at home and available in 75% of fantasy leagues.
Other Week 5 Streaming Options: Chiefs, Panthers, Cardinals

Week 5 Sits

Baltimore Ravens @ PIT
A poor showing against the Browns has now made it two consecutive weeks of zero or negative fantasy points for Baltimore and three straight missing the top-10. Even with the Steelers being led by Mason Rudolph, I have no confidence in the Ravens fantasy defense.

Los Angeles Chargers vs DEN
I expected more out of the Chargers last week vs MIA. They only managed five sacks and one takeaway against the league’s worst offense. Denver has only given up one top-10 week to a fantasy defense this season and they do not turn the ball over enough to consider the Chargers in this one.

Houston Texans vs ATL
The Falcons offense has not looked great to this point but I have a feeling that is going to change this week. It is a home game for Houston but the dome environment will play into Atlanta’s hands as well. The Falcons offense only has two turnovers in the last two weeks and they have only allowed six sacks in their last three games. I don’t see the Texans putting much on the stat sheet in Week 5.

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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Team Fantasy Points Weeks in Top 12 Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Patriots 84 4 15 18 10 0 3 0 1 2 2
2 Bears 52 3 45 17 4 4 1 0 0 12 3
3 Buccaneers 44 3 97 11 4 5 2 0 0 31 1
4 Titans 43 3 62 13 4 2 1 1 0 14 15
5 49ers 41 1 48 9 5 2 2 0 0 6 5
6 Jets 39 2 70 5 4 3 3 1 0 28 8
7 Saints 37 2 92 10 2 4 2 0 0 24 20
7 Steelers 37 2 88 14 3 6 0 0 0 19 22
9 Lions 36 2 89 9 2 7 1 0 0 26 23
9 Packers 36 3 69 12 4 4 0 0 1 3 26
11 Panthers 35 2 80 18 4 1 0 1 1 1 24
12 Seahawks 33 2 83 10 2 4 1 0 0 16 6

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