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Week 5 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts: 2015 Fantasy Tiers & Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 5 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream and start for Week 5 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our tiered defense rankings are your guide to making waiver wire pickups and adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 5.

Are you looking for some assistance with your lineups? Not sure which defenses have good matchups for Week 5? Can't decide which defenses to target off the waiver wire, or whether you should stream a different defense for this week? No worries, we are here to help every week of the fantasy football season.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference maker, so we have broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 5 defenses have good matchups and are not widely owned, representing sleeper opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 5 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 5 RotoBallers!


Week 5 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Bye Weeks: Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings

Tier 1 Defenses: Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks

The Broncos have devastated opposing quarterbacks, and currently lead the NFL with 18 sacks through four games. In Week 5 they'll face the Raiders in Oakland, and while Derek Carr has been finding Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree early and often and Latavius Murray has been running well, this one smells like a sack-fest to me.

The Arizona Cardinals have a date with the hapless Detroit Lions in Week 5, and while they only have seven sacks on the season they are second in the league in interceptions. With seven picks through the first four games (three of which have been returned for touchdowns), it's clear that Tyrann Mathieu and company are legitimate ball-hawks. I expect them to pick Matthew Stafford off at least twice, and they likely won't yield many points as long as Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Ameer Abdullah are held in check.

I was very tempted to leave the Seahawks out of the top tier, as they'll head to Cincinnati to face the red-hot Andy Dalton and the Bengals in Week 5. I simply couldn't resist though, as I believe the Seahawks match up far too well against that offense. The interior defense should be able to shut down Jeremy Hill, and you can be sure the Seahawks will have a spy on Gio Bernard whenever he's in the game. Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman may not be able to stop A.J. Green, but I'm sure they'll be able to contain him. Throw in the fact that "Bad Andy Dalton" is due to show up any minute now, and this one might get ugly.


Tier 2 Defenses:  Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Giants

Rex Ryan wanted to "build a bully" in Buffalo, but so far the defense has been a major concern. After being torched by Tom Brady in Week 2, the Bills couldn't stop Eli Manning from throwing for three touchdowns in Week 4. I'm banking on a Week 5 matchup with the Titans to return them to their former sack-happy glory. Bishop Sankey sure won't scare them, and Marcus Mariota will likely be force to look for Delanie Walker and Kendall Wright all afternoon. I don't like his chances of success against the "Cold Front" of the Bills.

The Patriots actually haven't looked great in 2015--they managed just five fantasy points against the supposedly lowly Jaguars in Week 3, and their ranking among the league's sack leaders is due in large part to an eight-sack effort against Tyrod Taylor and the Bills in Week 2. They head to Dallas in Week 5 fresh off their bye, and with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant still out, I like their chances of beating up on Brandon Weeden.

I'm just as surprised to see the Giants here as you are. This ranking is based on matchup, as they'll get to face Colin Kaepernick and the free-falling 49ers at home. Nothing seems to be going right for the 49ers at the moment--Carlos Hyde has been sub-par after a huge Week 1, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith have disappointed, and Kaepernick simply hasn't been able to move the ball down the field. The Giants were able to shut down a mobile quarterback in Tyrod Taylor last week, and they should be able to do the same in Week 5.


Tier 3 Defenses:  Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs,  Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals

I was tempted to leave the Ravens out of this tier, but I'm just not sure I buy the Cleveland Browns offense yet. It has been much better over the last two weeks, as Josh McCown has played well and the run game has been above average with both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson playing their roles well. In a matchup at home though, I think the Ravens defense wins out. They've got 11 sacks through four games, and I think they'll add to that total in Week 5.

The Chiefs have been b-a-d, BAD so far in 2015. They've ceded 30+ points three weeks in a row now, but they can't possibly allow the Bears to do that, right? Even with a healthy Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery is still hampered by injury (if he's even active) and Matt Forte is rumored to be on the trading block. The Chiefs defense has to come up big here...if not, they're dead to me.

The Jaguars make the list simply because they get to see Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers in Week 5. Mike Evans has been a ghost in the early goings, and as long as they don't let him, Vincent Jackson or Doug Martin burn them the Jaguars should have no trouble putting up a solid day.

The Chargers have been one of the most "meh" defenses in football this year. However, a Week 5 matchup against the Michael Vick-led Steelers holds some promise. The key here is shutting down Le'Veon Bell, which is no small task. Even with Martavis Bryant returning from suspension and Antonio Brown still being Antonio Brown, I think Vick will play too conservative to do any real damage here.

As we were watching the falcons dismember the Texans defense, my buddy and I were joking that J.J. Watt was going to go to his cabin for the week and show up next Sunday ready to end lives. The Texans will get the Colts in Week 5, and I fully expect Watt and the Texans pass rush to return to form. Andrew Luck may still be out, and if Matt Hasselbeck is at the helm he may soon wish he wasn't. I don't see either quarterback having any time to find T.Y. Hilton or Donte Moncrief on deep balls, so it should be a low-scoring affair.

The Bengals barely made the list, as they'll get the Seahawks in Week 5. They will most likely not have to see Marshawn Lynch though, who is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. That leaves just Thomas Rawls and Fred Jackson in the ground game, who I think the Bengals can stop. They have 11 sacks already this year, and should be able to get to Russell Wilson for two or three more.


Tier 4 Defenses: Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers

I don't quite know what to make of the Eagles defense yet. They've forced nine turnovers, but only have six sacks on the season. Darren Sproles is one of the more dangerous return men in the game, but you obviously can't bank on a kick return. They'll get the Saints at home in Week 5, and that offense isn't the high-powered machine that Drew Brees once operated. Philadelphia will likely be a low-ceiling, high-floor option if you're streaming.

The Browns have been particularly unexceptional in 2015, forcing just five turnovers through four games. They have sacked the quarterback nine times though, and they'll likely be able to put Joe Flacco on the turf at least a few times in Week 5. Justin Forsett put up 150 rush yards last week, but that was against the Steelers in one of those awful Thursday night dumpster fires. Steve Smith has four microfractures in his back, and while he won't require surgery he will miss at least one week. That leaves Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, and I'm not entirely sure who else in the passing game. Another low-ceiling, high-floor team here.

The Titans are as uninspiring as can be on defense, but they'll draw the Bills at home in Week 5. Coming fresh off their bye, the Titans have a shot at limiting the Bills banged-up offense, which will be without LeSean McCoy and possibly Sammy Watkins. Rookie running back Karlos Williams and tight end Charles Clay are the big threats here along with Tyrod Taylor, but I don't see the Bills parading down the field. The Titans are a dice roll, but it may work out in deep leagues.

The Packers shut down the 49ers in Week 4, but then again just about everyone has and will in 2015. I'm not so confident in them in Week 5, as they'll host Nick Foles and the surprisingly decent Rams offense. Rookie phenom Todd Gurley had his official coming-out party last week against the above-average Cardianls run defense, and the Packers are more vulnerable against the run by a long shot. If you stream them, cross your fingers for a bunch of sacks, which is possible considering they are second in the NFL with 17 through four games.

The Buccaneers barely made this list, and only nudged their way on thanks to a matchup with Blake Bortles and the Jaguars. Bortles has actually been much more careful with the ball in 2015, and Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are legitimate pass-catching threats, but I can see Tampa Bay coming up with an interception or two still. They also have nine sacks on the young season, and should be able to add to that total as well.

The Steelers have only forced four turnovers this season, but they are third in the NFL with 14 sacks through four games. They'll be able to tack on a few more against the Chargers, and while Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen are solid offensive weapons, Philip Rivers will likely turn the ball over once or twice. The Steelers should only be streamed in the deepest of leagues.

NFL & Fantasy Football Chat Room

Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.


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