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Week 5 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

That Patriots have to play a legitimate offense at some point, right? This week they've got...sigh. Never mind.

Below are RotoBaller's Week 5 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 5 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver wire pickups to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 5.

Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker. Below 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 5 pickup or add. Good luck in Week 5 RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


Week 5 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues and Tier 5 being desperation plays or good defenses in horrendous matchups.

Returning for this year: Confidence Ratings - since every league's DST scoring is different, projections don't always make a ton of sense. The confidence rating is a guideline for how much more I like one team over another instead of a straight point projection. A zero means "do not start," then the confidence rises from there. I take a lot of factors into account here--opponent injuries, home field advantage, weather, etc. We've got four weeks of data to work with now, so we're going to be able to be a bit more precise basing our ratings on hard numbers.

On bye this week: Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins (thank goodness)


Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 New England Patriots Defense @ WAS 12.7
2 1 Chicago Bears Defense @ OAK 12.25
3 1 Los Angeles Chargers Defense vs. DEN 11.8

The Patriots DST is quite literally a league-winning asset right now. That shouldn't stop against the Washington Redskins and either Case Keenum or Dwayne Haskins. Neither QB has enough talent or weapons around them to surprise this defense.

The Bears are top-five in total defense, the Raiders are bottom-10 in total offense. The Bears have a dominant front seven and they should harass Derek Carr all day. Slam-dunk here.

The Broncos offense has flashed capability through the first month of the season, but can't seem to cash in; they're 19th in total yards per game, but 26th in total points per game. I don't see any reason for optimism against a fierce Chargers pass rush. A long day for Joe Flacco is on the horizon.


Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
4 2 Buffalo Bills Defense @ TEN 11.1
5 2 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. BUF 10.95
6 2 Houston Texans Defense vs. ATL 10.25
7 2 Baltimore Ravens Defense @ PIT 9.6
8 2 Philadelphia Eagles Defense vs. NYJ 9.1

I don't have any stats to back it, but this Bills/Titans game feels like a trap. The Bills defense should dominate--after watching them almost completely shut down Tom Brady, Marcus Mariota should be like a day at the beach. On the other side of the field, the Titans are a solid play given the Bills' woeful offense and Josh Allen's mistake-prone play through four games. That's dependent on if Allen even clears concussion protocol. If not the Titans will stare down Matt Barkley, whose conservative play might actually make it more difficult for the Titans DST to score points. This has all the makings of a 13-10 yuck-fest, which is why I think it's a trap. Not anything I would actually analyze or advise, just a gut feeling, ya know?

There was a time when you would run from a matchup against the Falcons, especially when they were home. Now you can almost stream against them (not that the Texans DST is available in most leagues). Through four weeks they are 26th in the NFL in points per game, and for all the talent that Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley have, this offense simply isn't clicking right now. The Texans should take this game easily, and keep points off the board as long as Julio doesn't get going.

My Eagles ranking is dependent on who starts at QB for the Jets. As of this writing, Sam Darnold has been cleared for non-contact drills and appears to be on the path to playing. If he can't gain full clearance, it'll be Luke Falk under center once more, and the Eagles will become a top-five streamer for me.


Middle and Lower Tier Defenses

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
9 3 Minnesota Vikings Defense @ NYG 8.5
10 3 Carolina Panthers Defense vs. JAC 8.1
11 3 Green Bay Packers Defense @ DAL 7.65
12 New Orleans Saints Defense vs. TB 7.15
13 3 Dallas Cowboys Defense vs. GB 6.5
14 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense @ NO 6.2

The Vikings defense is still up-and-down phenomenal on paper, and they've posted the stats to back that up. They're sixth in the NFL in total defense, but have a modest six turnovers and 11 sacks through four games. This matchup is really interesting because it will pit that defense against an offense that is still figuring itself out, but that seems to be skyrocketing thanks to new quarterback Daniel Jones, or"Danny Dimes" to some. I'll still take the Vikings in this one, as Wayne Gallman is not Saquon Barkley, and Jones has so far beat up on the shoddy Tampa Bay and Washington secondaries. This will be his first true test, and I don't think he comes out of it silky smooth.

The Saints did a great job shutting down Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in an ugly affair on Sunday night, and now they'll tangle with Jameis Winston and a Buccaneers offense that just hammered the Rams Defense for 55 points. That game served as a showcase for how good Winston's weapons are--he played very well, but with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to throw to, he doesn't need to be a superhero. Winston is coming off of back-to-back games with 380 yards or more, three or more touchdowns and only one pick in each, so he's settling into his groove. The Saints are still a streamable option given the matchup at home and Winston's historic propensity for turnovers, but they're on the fringe.


Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
15 4 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense @ CAR 5.7
16 4 New York Jets Defense @ PHI 5.5
17 4 New York Giants Defense vs. MIN 5.15
18 4 Seattle Seahawks Defense vs. LAR 4.9
19 4 Los Angeles Rams Defense @ SEA 4.45
20 4 Cleveland Browns Defense @ SF 3.85
21 4 San Francisco 49ers Defense vs. CLE 3.55
22 4 Kansas City Chiefs Defense vs. IND 3.1

It's not often you'll find the Jaguars way down in Tier 4, and I admit I may be overreacting slightly. But I feel snakebitten by this defense's subpar performance against the Broncos in Week 3, and I am incredibly wary of chalking them up as a "must-start" DST moving forward. This week they'll get Kyle Allen, who was horrendous last week after a stellar debut. I think this game boils down to whether or not the Jags let Christian McCaffrey beat them. Apply the pressure to Allen early and often and they could be in business--I'm just not sure that's how it plays out.

The Jets DST has looked good on paper, but their stats are a bit misleading. In Week 1 they did a good job exploiting Josh Allen's erratic game play while also keeping points off the board, but managed just one sack. They weren't so fortunate in Week 2, as they mustered a single turnover and yielded 23 points despite three sacks. Their Week 3 fantasy value was salvaged by a pair of garbage time defensive touchdowns, salvaging the whooping that Tom Brady was putting on them--and again, just one sack. Take those two touchdowns out against the Patriots and the Jets have been a below-average defensive unit that doesn't seem to be able to generate a ton of pressure. They're a low-end streaming option for me against Carson Wentz, especially given that he should have Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders all well-rested from the long week and ready to roll.


Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Opponent Confidence Rating
23 5 Arizona Cardinals Defense @ CIN 2.9
24 5 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense vs. BAL 2.35
25 5 Oakland Raiders Defense vs. CHI 1.9
26 5 Atlanta Falcons Defense @ HOU 1.25

More Fantasy Football 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.

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