These Week 5 fantasy football defenses aim to make your weekend profitable.
When you’re at the plate, your heels dug in and your knuckles white as you wring the handle of your bat, ready to swing for the fences, you know two scenarios are likely: You’re going to put that bat’s sweet spot directly on that incoming pitch, or your home run swing is going to slide right past that ball.
Home run or a swing and a miss.
That’s what we do with large tournament selections, and especially with defenses, as the week’s best defensive plays are owned by large percentages of daily fantasy footballers. Hence, the Week 4 tournament recommendations of the Falcons and Saints defenses — two units that, put simply, were shredded to pieces by their opponents.
Our Week 4 cash game defenses acquitted themselves nicely, with the Lions and Charges finishing the week as top-eight plays.
I wouldn’t begrudge you for using the cash game defenses mentioned in this space as tournament plays in the coming weeks, as long as you remember that variance in other parts of your lineup is critical to taking down the week’s biggest tourneys.
Below are the Week 5 fantasy football defenses I think best fit as options for head-to-head matchups and 50/50s, and the Week 5 fantasy football defenses with more variance ideal for tournament play. My analysis is largely based on Streaming Scores – numbers assigned to each and every defense indicating how good or bad their matchup is that week.
A team’s Streaming Score doesn’t incorporate the how stifling or generous a certain defense has been. It’s entirely matchup based.
Week 5 Fantasy Football Defenses for Cash Games
Seattle Seahawks ($8,300) at Washington
I cringe at the thought of paying absolute top dollar for a DFS defense, but I wouldn’t include Seattle in this space if I didn’t think they could meet their price and more against a Washington offense that allows 11.4 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses, when adjusted for strength of schedule.
My thinking here is straightforward: Washington has what could very well be the worst secondary in the NFL. I expect Russell Wilson to torment that coverage unit on the way to a healthy lead. That should force Kirk Cousins — who, as we saw last Thursday, can be wildly inaccurate — to throw and throw against Seattle’s elite secondary. I see the Seahawks as an ultra-safe play in Week 5.
San Diego Charges ($6,800) vs. New York Jets
Opponents have sacked Geno Smith 10 times this season and collected eight turnovers against the Jets’ offense. Even better for those who tap San Diego as a high-floor, high-ceiling Week 5 play: Smith averages 1.56 interceptions per game on the road, compared to one pick per game at home. That’s a big difference. Geno is awful on the road (and in losses).
The Chargers don’t do anything particularly well on defense, but that shouldn’t matter too much in this one. Deploy the Chargers and feast on Geno’s mistakes.
Week 5 Fantasy Football Defenses for Tournaments
Dallas Cowboys ($5,750) vs. Houston Texans
Dallas doesn’t exactly constitute a steal at their Week 5 price, though a date with Ryan Fitzpatrick is tough to pass up. Like Geno, Fitzy averages more than a half an interception more per game on the road, and we’ve seen him struggle away from the friendly confines of Houston this season.
Only seven defenses have more fantasy points than the Cowboys through four weeks. That goes right along with sentences I never thought I’d write. Perhaps the absence of Morris Claiborne is more than a small boon for the Dallas secondary, which looked historically awful in the season’s first week. Fire up Dallas in tourneys this week.
New York Giants ($5,500) vs. Atlanta Falcons
It’s not every day that I recommend using a defense against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and company. The G-Men might have an upper-echelon coverage unit though, and with Eli Manning finding his way in New York’s new offense, Big Blue’s defenders won’t be put in such unenviable spots.
Remember that this defense wasn’t bad last year when game flow was normalized. New York has collected nine turnovers in their past two games.
Matt Ryan averages .65 interceptions at home and 1.16 picks on the road. I think it’s safe to assume the Giants will pressure Ryan throughout this game. The Giants’ defense might have a high ceiling in this one, but their floor is a tad scary if Atlanta’s offense is clicking.