Week 4 is in the books and the picture of which teams are good and which are terrible is mostly in focus now, both in the NFL and in your fantasy league. Streaming is getting serious with four teams out for the first week of byes. Fortunately for us there has been no short of abysmal offensive performances this year, and that looks to continue. Before we get to the Week 5 projections, lets go over some defenses that I think are worth holding on to for the next few weeks:
- Buffalo (vs JAC this week, vs NYG Week 6 and @NE Week 7, then TB–CIN–DEN–NYJ the following weeks). I don’t love them against the Jags this week because Trevor Lawrence‘s low sack rate and good ball security aren’t very conducive to fantasy scoring, but I wouldn’t argue if you feel good about starting Buffalo this week. Afterward their schedule gets downright tasty.
- Kansas City (@ MIN this week, then vs DEN Week 6 and @ DEN Week 8). Like the Bills, KC is in a matchup I don’t love this week, but then they get the Broncos in two of the following three weeks.
- Miami (vs NYG this week, vs CAR Week 6). The Dolphins are a great play this week, and they’ll be a great play again against the Panthers in Week 6.
- Washington (vs CHI this week, @ ATL Week 6, @ NYG Week 7). The Commanders are also a great play this week facing the Bears, and they get two more nice matchups afterward. They’re set and don’t forget to bench them against PHI in Week 8.
- Indianapolis (weeks 5-10: vs TEN, @ JAC, vs CLE, vs NO, @ CAR, @ NE). The colts have six consecutive matchups that I would consider good or better before their Week 11 bye. They may not be top-tier all of those weeks, but they will be usable.
Week 5 D/ST Projections
This is a tough week for streaming – it’s the first week of byes with CLE, LAC, SEA and TB all resting, and some of the best defenses – like PHI, SF and DAL – in difficult matchups. Fortunately there are some very low-rostership teams in great matchups, with three teams I rank as starters rostered in under 15% of leagues. I also have a “Maybe You Can’t Find Someone Better” tier for the first time this season, with a few highly-available teams if you really need them. Rostership numbers are from Yahoo. You can find me on Twitter.
|The Start Them With Confidence Tier|
|The Still a Fine Choice Tier|
|The Maybe You Can’t Find Someone Better Tier|
|The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier|
|28||MIN||KC||Patrick Mahomes II||29.25||1.6||1.2||3.48||12%|
- DET vs CAR: Bryce Young turned in another dud for the Panthers this week, whose offense amounted to just two field goals. Mean while the Lions’ defense, who in recent years have been a liability even in good matchups, have looked pretty good. They performed well in terms of sacks and points allowed in their last two games against Atlanta and Green Bay. Sure those are both good matchups, but Carolina is even better.
- WAS vs CHI: Justin Fields actually had his best statistical performance to date in last week’s loss to the Broncos, with 4 TDs and over 300 passing yards. Still, he maintained his high sack rate and an egregious fumble six made it a good day for the Broncos defense anyway. The Bears remain an excellent matchup for fantasy defenses, especially solid ones like Washington.
- MIA vs NYG: Daniel Jones was an absolute disaster against a merely OK Seahawks defense on Monday Night Football, turning the ball over 3 times and taking an eye-watering 10 sacks. Miami’s high-powered offense should create a game script favorable for more turnovers and sacks from the Giants.
- BAL @ PIT: Kenny Pickett left Sunday’s game with what turned out to be a bone bruise. He’s officially questionable for Week 5, but I’m expecting him not to play given the opportunity to get double rest with Pittsburgh’s Week 6 bye. Mitchell Trubisky is the backup and should start. Trubisky is a known quantity thanks to his years as the future of the Chicago Bears. He takes sacks and throws picks at moderately high rates, and has the arm to occasionally burn you. I’m not super worried about him doing that against Baltimore, who have one of the best defenses in the league.
- DEN vs NYJ: Like Daniel Jones, Zach Wilson had his best game of the season in a loss, but it’s a bad sign when your best game of the season is 2 touchdowns and just one turnover. The Broncos defense held up against the equally terrible Bears last week. Denver still doesn’t reach my top tier because it would be truly reckless to have no doubts about them, but I expect them to be able to take advantage of the best possible matchup.
- HOU @ ATL: The Desmond Ridder-led falcons just turned in their second consecutive failure to reach 10 points in a game. Meanwhile the Texans DST has had 10+ fantasy points in both of their last two games. This is a hot team with an OK defense in a great matchup, and an excellent streamer – the Texans D/ST is rostered in just 4% of Yahoo leagues at the time of writing.
- IND vs TEN: Ryan Tannehill has yet to have a game with fewer than three sacks. The Colts defense has faced some tough offenses and come out OK, finishing with a respectable 9 fantasy points each against the Ravens and Texans. This week starts a string of positive matchups, so the Colts D/ST could be worth rostering at least until their Week 11 bye, if not for the entire season.
- NE vs NO: The Saints offense has been mediocre this season. The Patriots defense has a solid outlook but perhaps limited upside against Derek Carr. He’s taken a respectable 3.25 sacks per game since joining the Saints, which is way up from his career rate of 1.8. He’s still not someone who commits a lot of turnovers, but that’s not a problem if he’s also not scoring points.
- NYJ @ DEN: In this game between two of the most dysfunctional teams in the NFL, we still have a very good Jets defense facing a Russel Wilson offense that has shown signs of life as he learns to rely on his arm more and his legs less. I’m not that excited about it but if you’ve stuck with the Jets defense to this point, it’s not yet the week to bench them.
- ATL vs HOU: C.J. Stroud has been the best rookie quarterback so far this season. The current Vegas lines are downright disrespectful, making Houston 1-point underdogs in a game with a total of just 41.5. That implied team points projection of 20.25 is just barely above their lowest performance of the season. That said, if you agree with Vegas that this game is going to be a real disaster with neither team scoring much, you could do worse than a Falcons defense you can almost certainly get in your fantasy league.