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Let’s Stream Defenses: Week 5 (2022 Fantasy Football)

Oct 4, 2022
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups & FAAB Advice: Defenses (Week 13)

This is the last week before byes start, and streaming starts to get more difficult. This week is a bit of a preview of that, just as a consequence of who’s playing who. Even so, I don’t typically start stashing defenses for future weeks this early in the season. That starts to make sense as the fantasy playoffs get near, but in Week 5 those bench spots are too valuable – they still belong to running backs.

Week 4 had a clear theme for quarterbacks in bad way, so we have yet another round of QB situation changes:

  • Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa is the big story of the week. In a game he probably shouldn’t have been playing, Tua suffered his second concussion in five days, shedding light on the clown show that is the NFL’s system of unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants. He will certainly miss Week 5, if not more. Teddy Bridgewater will start for the Dolphins. Bridgewater has been a starter quite a lot in his career, so we know that he’s a boom/bust kind of DST target. Starting defenses against him will mean a lot of upside and a lot of risk.
  • Giants QB Daniel Jones suffered an ankle injury last week, and it’s unclear if he’ll play in Week 5 when the Giants face the Packers in London. If he’s out, that puts the Giants in a tight spot with Tyrod Taylor in concussion protocol. The next man up is likely to be Davis Webb, who is currently on the Giants’ practice squad.
  • Brian Hoyer started for the Patriots last week while Mac Jones was out with an ankle injury. Hoyer left the game with a head injury, and rookie Bailey Zappe debuted to replace him. Zappe played well enough that he’ll probably keep the backup job when Hoyer is healthy again. We don’t know if Jones will be able to play this week, but I’m currently operating under the assumption that we’ll see another week of Zappe.
  • In a refreshingly non-concussion-related change, the Steelers benched Mitch Trubisky at halftime for rookie Kenny Pickett. Pickett is the future of the team, and the future is now. We don’t know if he’s the next Patrick Mahomes or the next Sam Darnold, but as is tradition with rookies, I’ll be starting defenses against him until he proves that I shouldn’t.

Week 5 D/ST Projections

Even though we still don’t have any teams on bye, this is a tougher streaming week than the last few have been. I feel good about the defense in my first tow tiers, and a couple have low rostership, but that’s only nine teams this week. Rostership numbers are from Yahoo. You can find me on Twitter.

Rank Team Vs. O/U Spread PA Sack Turnovers TD FPTS Rost%
The Start Them With Confidence Tier
1 MIN CHI 44 -7 18.5 3.3 1.2 0.10 7.39 41%
2 BUF PIT 47 -14 16.5 2.6 1.3 0.11 7.36 99%
3 GB NYG 41.5 -8 16.75 2.9 1.2 0.10 7.35 96%
The Still a Fine Choice Tier
4 JAC HOU 44.5 -7 18.75 2.8 1.2 0.10 6.82 12%
5 NO SEA 45.5 -5.5 20 2.8 1.3 0.10 6.66 54%
6 TB ATL 48 -8.5 19.75 2.6 1.2 0.10 6.47 96%
7 SF @CAR 39.5 -6.5 16.5 1.8 1.2 0.10 6.46 95%
8 MIA @NYJ 44.5 -3 20.75 2.7 1.2 0.10 6.19 22%
9 BAL CIN 48.5 -3 22.75 3.1 1.2 0.10 6.19 62%
The If You Can’t Find Something Better Tier
10 DET @NE 46.5 3 24.75 3.0 1.3 0.10 6.05 4%
11 TEN @WAS 42.5 -2.5 20 2.4 1.2 0.09 6.04 9%
12 WAS TEN 42.5 2.5 22.5 2.8 1.2 0.10 6.02 3%
The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier
13 IND @DEN 43.5 3 23.25 2.8 1.2 0.10 5.89 41%
14 LAC @CLE 47.5 -3 22.25 2.8 1.1 0.09 5.80 73%
15 DEN IND 43.5 -3 20.25 2.1 1.2 0.10 5.72 70%
16 NYJ MIA 44.5 3 23.75 2.6 1.2 0.09 5.50 2%
17 DAL @LAR 43.5 4.5 24 2.4 1.2 0.10 5.46 86%
18 NE DET 46.5 -3 21.75 2.1 1.2 0.10 5.45 39%
19 CAR SF 39.5 6.5 23 2.3 1.2 0.10 5.38 5%
20 PHI @ARI 49.5 -5.5 22 2.2 1.2 0.09 5.38 87%
21 SEA @NO 45.5 5.5 25.5 2.3 1.2 0.10 5.07 3%
22 KC LV 51 -7 22 1.8 1.2 0.10 5.05 38%
23 NYG @GB 41.5 8 24.75 2.4 1.1 0.09 5.03 38%
24 CIN @BAL 48.5 3 25.75 2.5 1.1 0.09 4.97 36%
25 HOU @JAC 44.5 7 25.75 2.0 1.2 0.10 4.75 1%
26 CLE LAC 47.5 3 25.25 2.0 1.2 0.10 4.68 25%
27 LAR DAL 43.5 -4.5 19.5 1.2 1.1 0.09 4.67 93%
28 CHI @MIN 44 7 25.5 1.9 1.2 0.10 4.59 20%
29 ARI PHI 49.5 5.5 27.5 2.1 1.1 0.09 4.03 5%
30 PIT @BUF 47 14 30.5 2.3 1.2 0.10 3.85 83%
31 ATL @TB 48 8.5 28.25 1.7 1.2 0.10 3.77 2%
32 LV @KC 51 7 29 1.6 1.2 0.09 3.52 3%


  1. MIN vs CHI: Justin Fields got absolutely hammered by the Bears last week, taking six sacks and fumbling once en route to just 12 team points, all of which were field goals. The Vikings aren’t the best defense in the league, but they aren’t bad enough that I would have any hesitation starting them against such a porous offensive line.
  2. BUF vs PIT: Kenny Pickett had a weird performance in his NFL debut in the second half of last weeks game against the jets. While none of his 13 pass attempts fell incomplete, three of them were caught by the wrong team. He did find the end zone twice as a runner, however. I don’t really expect him to keep throwing that many interceptions, though of course it’s possible – maybe it was just nerves in his first game. Nonetheless, he’s an unproven rookie quarterback, and we start defenses against those, especially top-tier defenses like Buffalo.
  3. GB vs NYG: The Giants have a complicated QB situation, with Daniel Jones and backup Tyrod Taylor both dealing with injuries. If neither of them can play, the Giants will have to sign someone like Davis Webb from their practice squad, or possibly Jake Fromm. The Packers are a good start against any of these guys, and a truly great one if it’s not Jones or Taylor.
  4. JAC vs HOU: Davis Mills met expectations last week, getting sacked four times and throwing two interceptions to the Chargers. The Texans are generally a good DST target, and this week is no different for a pretty good Jaguars defense.
  5. NO vs SEA: The Seahawks run game went off against a truly terrible Lions defense last week. It can be scary starting any defense against an offense that just put up 41 points (they also had a pick-six). But I don’t expect them to fare nearly as well on the road against the much better Saints defense. According to Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings, the Saints are solidly above average at rush defense, while the Lions are dead last.
  6. TB vs ATL: The Falcons didn’t score tons of points last week, but 24 was enough for the win against the Browns. I expect them to do worse against one of the best defenses in the league in Tampa.
  7. SF @ CAR: Baker Mayfield has continued to struggle as the Panther’s QB, getting picked off twice and extending his streak of scoring exactly one passing touchdown in each game. The 49ers got to be the #1 fantasy defense last week thanks to a defensive touchdown. You should never expect 21 points form your defense, but I do expect the 49ers to have a good day generally.
  8. MIA @ NYJ: While Zach Wilson led a comeback against Pittsburgh last week, it still ended up being a passable fantasy day for the Steelers defense thanks to two interceptions. My average expectation for the Jets is still worse than that, so the Dolphins remain a reasonable start with lower rostership.
  9. BAL vs CIN: Joe Burrow had a good game last week, but just 1 or 2 sacks still feels like the exception, not the rule for a player who’s average 3.3 sacks per game in his career. I expect more against a solid Ravens defense.
  10. DET @ NE: I don’t typically write blurbs for teams I don’t have ranked as starters, but I also don’t typically rank fewer than 10 teams. The two most common questions I get about my rankings on Twitter are, “why do you have [good defense in a bad matchup] so low?” and “why do you have [bad defense in a good matchup] so high?” I’m constantly beating the drum of “matchups matter more than how good the defense is,” but there are limits. Most years there are 1 or 2 defenses that are so bad I’ll bench them even in the best matchups, and the Lions are looking to be that team. The Patriots might be giving rookie Bailey Zappe his first start, and that’s usually something we want to target with fantasy defenses. The Lions are available in most leagues and the upside is there against Zappe, but wow does it scare me.

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Jacob Herlin is a Data Scientist for FantasyPros. For more from Jacob, check out his archive and follow him @jacoblawherlin.

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