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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 drafting defenses, making waiver wire pickups/adds to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 5.

I'll be trying out a bit of a different format this week, touching briefly on each team that I have ranked instead of picking just a few to analyze in depth. Let me know what you think on Twitter (@Roto_Dubs).

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 fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 4 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 5 RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Our friends at RTSports have best ball leagues with no in-season management. Just draft your team, and that's it! Use your phone for this casual draft by getting emails or texts when you're on the clock. Sign Up Now!


Week 5 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Teams on bye: Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints


Tier 1 Defenses (The "Duh" DSTs)

1. Buffalo Bills (@ CIN)

If you can head into ATLANTA and not only come away with a victory but also hold the Falcons to 17 points, nobody can question your defensive legitimacy. While it's true that Matt Ryan lost both Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu over the course of the game, the Bills were without Shaq Lawson, lost E.J. Gaines during the game and had what looked like a very limited Marcell Dareus, so it's not like they were at 100%. The Bills came away with two picks and a forced fumble from the consistently careful Atlanta signal-caller, and while they only registered one sack they were able to get constant pressure on Ryan. This week they'll get a Cincinnati Bengals team that is tied for fourth in the NFL for most sacks allowed (14), and you can count on a turnover or two given how much pressure will be on Andy Dalton.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. JAX)

The Steelers are worlds better at home than they are away, and I fully anticipate them to be playing ahead all game. The Jaguars actually lead the NFL in rushing thanks to a commitment to Leonard Fournette and the ground game, but they are 27th in passing. With a likely deficit, Blake Bortles will be forced to throw the ball, and given his inconsistency and diminished set of weapons (we miss you, Allen Robinson) I don't see many points going on the board. The Steelers are also second in the NFL in sacks (15), so they should be able to get through the Jags solid offensive line.

3. Baltimore Ravens (@ OAK)

Ruh-roh Raiders. With Derek Carr out 2-6 weeks with a back fracture, there is simply no reason not to start the Ravens against them. E.J. Manuel will be under center, and that just equals DST success, plain and simple.

Tier 2 Defenses (Rock-Solid Starts)

4. Tennessee Titans (@ MIA)

The Dolphins have committed to Jay Cutler for at least one more week, but Smokin' Jay simply isn't getting the job done. They were shut out by the Saints (THE SAINTS, YOU GUYS) in London, and simply don't pose much of a threat. Jay Ajayi can only do so much.

5. Detroit Lions (vs. CAR)

The top-scoring DST through four weeks (Monday night pending) is primed for another big week against the Panthers. Their 11 takeaways will translate well in a home game against Cam Newton, who is still in my "shaky" column despite a great game against New England in Week 4. They are an elite DST until they prove otherwise.

6. Minnesota Vikings (@ CHI)

Mike Glennon's time as the Chicago starter is done, which means Mitch Trubisky will be under center for the Bears in Week 5. While Trubisky showed great potential in the preseason, you have to like a DST's odds going up against a kid making his NFL debut. Vikings are averaging 2,75 sacks per game, so the floor for fantasy scoring should be very high here.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. ARI)

Arizona's offensive line is getting destroyed--they lead the NFL in sacks allowed (17). The Eagles have 10 sacks through four games, and they've got the pass rush to get to Carson Palmer a few times at the very least. As much as Carson Palmer is being forced to sling it around with David Johnson out, there is also plenty of potential for turnovers.

8. Oakland Raiders (vs. BAL)

The Raiders DST has been unimpressive in the early stages, but they'll now draw a home game against the Ravens, who are currently ranked 30th in total offense and third in total giveaways. This is a situation where you'll want to stream against a very bad offense, plain and simple. Joe Flacco simply ain't gonna beat 'em.

Tier 3 Defenses (Decent Streamers)

9. Seattle Seahawks (@ LAR)

Wunderkind Sean McVay has the Los Angeles offense firing on all cylinders--that's particularly true for Todd Gurley, who I'm pretty sure has all the fantasy points in 2017. The Seahawks are currently giving up 5.0 yards per rush, and I'm afraid they won't have an answer for Gurley, keeping them out of the top two tiers this week.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BUF)

Speaking of weak offenses, the shockingly 3-1 Buffalo Bills currently rank 27th in total offense, and are 30th in passing. LeSean McCoy hasn't really broken out yet this season, and Tyrod Taylor isn't much of a threat to erupt either. Cincinnati ranks third in sacks (12), and this DST should find some success in what should be a low-scoring fist-fight of a game.

11. San Diego Chargers (@ NYG)

The Chargers DST has been below average in 2017, thanks in large part to having just two total takeaways through four games. They are third in sacks though (12), and the Giants offensive line hasn't exactly been kind to Eli Manning this year. The vertical threats in the New York offense have my expectations tempered, but with no ground game and the always-ready-to-implode Eli under center, the Chargers should be a solid option in Week 5.

12. Arizona Cardinals (@ PHI)

The Eagles are allowing three sacks per game, which should provide a decent floor for the Cardinals DST. I wouldn't expect fireworks barring a pick-six or a special teams touchdown though, as Carson Wentz has been particularly careful with the ball this season (just two INTs) and LeGarrette Blount is starting to heat up now that he's receiving regular touches (203 yards and a TD on 28 rushes over last two games).

13. Kansas City Chiefs (@ HOU)

How about DeShaun Watson? A week after coming a field goal short of beating Tom Brady, the rookie led his team in an absolute trouncing of the Tennessee Titans. His mobility and explosiveness both on the ground and through the air has the entire Texans offense humming, and they should present a challenge to any opponent. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, are currently one of the most disruptive defenses in the NFL, and are averaging 3.67 sacks a game (Monday night pending) while Houston is tied for the league lead in most sacks allowed. There is definitely streaming potential in the counting stats, but this game could become a shootout quickly.

14. Houston Texans (vs. KC)

On the other side of the field, the Texans will be tasked with stopping one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce are all capable of beating any defense at a moment's notice, but the Chiefs are top-10 in sacks allowed. As I mentioned, this could become a shootout, but not one without some scoring potential for DSTs.

15. New York Jets (@ CLE)

Jets, what are you doing up here? Must have snuck out of the desperation plays section...oh wait, no. They've got the Browns this week. Stream, stream, stream against the Browns.

Tier 4 Defenses (Deep Streamers)

16. Carolina Panthers (@ DET)

After a great start against two lackluster offenses, the Panthers have paled in the face of quality opponents. Drew Brees and Tom Brady have hung 30 points on them in consecutive weeks, and now they've gotta stop Matthew Stafford and company. I'm not feeling great about this one, but there is some streaming appeal given the ferocity of the Panthers front seven.

17. Green Bay Packers (@ DAL)

Packers have been middle-of-the-road so far, and that's likely going to be the trend all season. In a matchup on the road against Dallas, I'm looking elsewhere if possible. Ezekiel Elliott is heating up and Dak Prescott is still a dual-threat quarterback who can hurt you at a moment's notice.

18. San Francisco 49ers (@ IND)

The 49ers have more talent on the roster than their record would suggest, and they absolutely shredded the Arizona offensive line in Week 4. They now get the Colts, whose offensive line is similarly porous, so they should be able to get to Jocoby Brissett a few times. However, the young quarterback still has enough weapons around him and enough mobility to do some serious damage.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars (@ PIT)

Le'Veon Bell is back, Antonio Brown is angry and the Steelers are at home. There isn't much to like here, but the Jaguars pass rush offers at least a little upside. If they get can get to Ben Roethlisberger a few times who knows what could happen?


Tier 5 Defenses (Desperation Plays)

20. Los Angeles Rams (vs. SEA)
21. Cleveland Browns (vs. NYJ)
22. Chicago Bears (vs. MIN)
23. New England Patriots (@ TB)

EDIT: Detroit Lions omitted when originally posted. Error has been corrected.
EDIT: Ravens rank shifted due to Derek Carr injury update.


More Waiver Wire Pickups and Analysis

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.