Welcome to Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Defense Edition for Week 5 of the NFL season. This week we feature one of the league’s worst statistical units, with a sweet enough matchup to tempt fantasy owners.
* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Be sure to also check out our weekly fantasy football defense rankings to better gauge where these start-sit options compare to the rest of the options at the position.
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DEF: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Rams DEF at WAS
After racking up 11.0 points against the Giants, the Rams continue their NFC East tour this Sunday against a Washington team that has allowed an average of 11.5 fantasy points to opposing D/STs over two of their past three games. The Rams have collected nine sacks over the past two weeks. Washington’s 13 sacks surrendered this year are tied for fifth-most in football.
Cardinals DEF at NYJ
A total of 5.0 points over the past two weeks certainly doesn’t scream must-start. However, a matchup against a Jets offense, who will likely be down Sam Darnold, certainly does. The Jets offense is the only unit in football to allow an average of more than 11.0 fantasy points to opposing D/STs this year, and now they’ll have Joe Flacco under center.
Patriots DEF vs. DEN *POSTPONED
The Patriots’ defense has delivered in every game they were expected to this year, only failing to eclipse double-digit points against the likes of the Seahawks and the Chiefs. Unfortunately for Denver fans, Drew Lock and/or Brett Rypien isn’t in the same league as Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes. Over the past three weeks, the Broncos have allowed an average of 13.0 points to defenses.
Sleeper: Cowboys DEF vs. NYG
The Cowboys defense is bad, really bad, especially when it comes to their secondary. However, as bad as the Cowboys defense is, the Giants offense is worse. Tied for the worst total offense in football, New York has allowed 11-plus fantasy points in three consecutive games.
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DEF: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Titans DEF vs. BUF
While unspectacular, the Titans defense has been above average this year. However, that’s not enough to withstand a matchup against a Bills team who has held opposing defenses to a total of just 6.0 points over the past three weeks. At this point, playing defenses against Josh Allen is like playing defenses against Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, don’t do it.
Bills DEF at TEN
The same matchup, opposite sideline. The Bills defense has put up similar numbers to that of the Titans. Yet while Buffalo’s offense has begun to gain their respect around the league, Ryan Tannehill’s Titans continue to demolish opposing defenses, with little fanfare. D/STs average a mere 2.33 points against Tennessee this year.
Jets DEF vs. ARI
Be smart. Yes, the Jets forced three interceptions a week ago. That was against Brett Rypien. This is Kyler Murray. Enough said. Steer clear.
Buyers Beware: Eagles DEF at PIT
Over the past two weeks, the Eagles defense has compiled 26 fantasy points, ranking as the third-highest scoring D/ST in football over that span. However, those games came against a rookie quarterback and a backup quarterback. This week the Eagles get a two-time Super Bowl Champion. The Birds have collected 13 sacks over their last two games. Yet, Pittsburgh has surrendered just 1.6 sacks per game this year.
- *Check out our other Week 5 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems to further optimize your lineups
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