Week 5 Team Defense Recap

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At some point this season I may get tired of talking about the Minnesota Vikings…but not today. Before we get into Week 5’s best DEF/ST, let’s look at how important the Vikings have been in fantasy so far. In standard scoring, the Vikings DEF/ST are the only “player” to finish as the weekly #1 in their position twice. Looking at positions where you only have to start one player (QB-TE-DEF), the Vikings and Greg Olsen are the only players to finish top 12 in all 5 weeks. The Vikings are currently scoring as many fantasy points as a Top 10 QB, a Top 5 RB, and they would easily be the top scoring WR and TE (Thanks to Kyle Borgognini for drawing my attention to this). While you let that sink in let’s look at those top Week 5 defenses.

Week 5 Standout Performances

Minnesota Vikings: vs Houston Texans
I think I’ve devoted ample time to the Vikings in this article already but here’s a quick Week 5 rundown: Only 13 points allowed, 4 sacks, an interception, and their 2nd return TD of the season.

Week 6 Matchup: Bye Week
Clearly, you are not releasing them, scroll down to the Week 6 Starts for some streaming options.

Arizona Cardinals: @ San Francisco 49ers
The Cardinals had been relatively quiet for the last 2 weeks coming into Week 5. To no one’s surprise, a matchup with Blaine Gabbert was just what the doctor ordered. The Cardinals recorded 7 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 safety, and 1 fumble recovery. They were a defensive TD away from filling up the entire stat sheet. I think Ice Cube would agree, it was a good day.

Week 6 Matchup: vs New York Jets
Ryan Fitzpatrick has already thrown 10 interceptions and the Jets haven’t scored more than 17 points in the last 3 weeks. Start with confidence.

Buffalo Bills: @ Los Angeles Rams
This was not a hard outcome to predict. The Bills were the #3 defense coming into this game, they finished the week as the #3 fantasy defense and remain the #3 defense overall. The Rams are right near the bottom in Fantasy Points Allowed to DEF/ST and are one of the worst scoring offenses in the league. The end result is a 30-19 beatdown that was not as close as the score shows. Buffalo forced 3 turnovers, took one in for a TD, and sacked the QB 4 times. It was a solid fantasy showing for the 3rd straight week.

Week 6 Matchup: vs San Francisco 49ers
Not much analysis needed here. You’re starting the Bills this week. I will note that it sounds like Colin Kaepernick will be starting for the Niners. This doesn’t change much but Gabbert has been very fantasy friendly as of late.

Week 6 Starts

Tennessee Titans: vs Cleveland Browns
Streaming defenses against the Browns has failed yet. If you are a Vikings owner, the Titans should be a top waiver wire priority this week. The Browns are giving up almost 3 sacks and 2 turnovers per game this year. Tennessee had been good, not great, but they put it on the Dolphins last week. The Titans should make it 2 weeks in a row in the top 10.

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Detroit Lions: vs Los Angeles Rams
Another great streaming option, the Lions are owned in less than 5% of leagues. The Rams are giving up the 2nd most points to DEF/ST and the Lions are solid at home. This game has the lowest Over/Under this week and you have one of the league’s highest scoring offenses (DET) playing the league’s lowest scoring offense (LA). Those stats spell disaster for the Rams offense and make Detroit a good defensive start.

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Miami Dolphins
Pittsburgh’s defense has really come together the last 2 weeks and gets another plus matchup against the struggling Dolphins. Miami has been generous to opposing DEF/ST, allowing 3 sacks and more than 2 turnovers per game. Fantasy confidence is way down on Ryan Tannehill and that should mean success for the Steelers in Week 6.

Week 6 Sits

Los Angeles Rams: @ Detroit Lions
For basically all the reasons you should start Detroit, you should sit the Rams. The Lions are one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league and the Rams are dealing with defensive line injuries that left them looking very vulnerable against Buffalo last week.

Philadelphia Eagles: @ Washington Redskins
Always tough telling you not to start a top 5 defense, but I hate this matchup. Statistically, it is eerily similar to the Eagles road game last week against Detroit. The Redskins are averaging 23 points-per-game and have been tough on opposing DEF/ST this season. Their 4 sacks last week saved the Eagles DEF/ST from a horrid week and the Redskins are giving up fewer than 2 sacks per game. Only start the Eagles if you miss on the streaming options above.

Carolina Panthers: @ New Orleans Saints
I can’t imagine you were considering starting the Panthers after the last 2 weeks but just in case…DON’T. I know you drafted them higher than you should have but don’t compound that mistake. The Panthers are droppable at this point, they follow up this disastrous matchup with a Week 7 bye. It’s time to move on.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date

This is arranged by total Fantasy Points, but all statistics are sortable by clicking on them at the top.

Team Fantasy Points Games Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Vikings 84 5 63 19 7 5 4 1 0 9 7
2 Cardinals 60 5 95 18 7 5 1 2 0 6 25
3 Bills 59 5 85 17 6 5 3 0 0 19 14
4 Broncos 56 5 87 19 5 4 2 0 0 5 24
5 Eagles 48 4 51 14 3 4 0 1 1 2 2
6 Ravens 42 5 88 10 6 2 0 0 2 7 5
7 Texans 37 5 104 13 2 3 1 0 0 4 27
8 Seahawks 35 4 54 12 4 0 0 0 1 1 3
9 Patriots 34 5 74 9 4 4 0 1 0 20 10
10 Chiefs 33 4 92 5 8 2 2 0 0 8 18
11 Rams 31 5 94 9 4 5 1 0 1 16 29
12 Panthers 28 5 127 11 5 2 2 0 0 17 11
13 Bengals 26 5 110 10 4 3 0 0 2 13 21
13 Titans 26 5 87 12 6 0 0 0 0 11 16
13 Chargers 26 5 142 12 7 2 1 0 0 28 8

As the season progresses and teams begin to show us who they really are, I will really start focusing on Fantasy Points Against when predicting matchups. I urge you to do the same. There will be weeks when you should be benching a top 10 defense and there may come a time when you should flat out release them (Carolina). I will do my best to tell you which is which as we navigate these bye weeks.

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