One of the biggest strategies in fantasy football is streaming defenses. Each week owners will look at matchups and make waiver wire acquisitions almost every week to find their starting defense. Here are fantasy football defenses to stream in week 5. (Note: All defense mentioned are owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues)
1. Tennessee Titans
The Titans have the fourth-ranked defense in fantasy football so far this season, as they average 10 points per game. A lot of that comes from their 22-point opening week performance against the Browns, but the Titans have played solidly in other weeks too.
This week the Titans play the Buffalo Bills. The Bills don’t have the most high-powered offense and enter the game banged up. Josh Allen is in concussion protocol, while Devin Singletary is still trying to come back to 100 percent health with a hamstring injury. Playing the Titans is a solid idea with those players healthy. If those players are inactive, the Titans should be started without question. They are owned in 47 percent of ESPN leagues.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia doesn’t have a great fantasy defense this season. They rank 25th in fantasy points, averaging 2.5 points per week. They have two weeks in which their defense scored no points, which really brings them down the rankings of defenses.
Playing the Eagles defense all comes down to their matchup. The Eagles are hosting the New York Jets this weekend. Sam Darnold has just been cleared for non-contact drills so Luke Falk will start again. Philadelphia’s defense should be able to stack the box against Le’Veon Bell and limit the Jets to short completions in week 5. With a third-string quarterback in, they may add to their score with some turnovers. Their defense is owned in 42 percent of ESPN leagues.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is another team with a bad defense. They have just three fantasy points on the whole season and rank 30th in the league in fantasy points. The Cardinals have been without Patrick Peterson, who has been suspended, and have failed to figure things out so far this season.
Luckily, they are playing an offense that hasn’t been good this season in week 5. The Bengals feature the worst rushing offense in the league and their passing offense isn’t good enough to cope with that. Cincinnati’s offensive line is also pretty weak, as they allowed eight sacks against Pittsburgh on Monday night. Chandler Jones and the rest of the Cardinals’ defense could have big days. The Cardinals defense will be available in virtually every league.
4. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are starting to look like they have as good of a defense as a few years ago. Their defense was the main reason they were able to come away with a win against Houston on Sunday. They are fourth in the league with 10 points a game.
Carolina plays Jacksonville this week, which is a matchup they should be able to take advantage of. Gardner Minshew is playing well, but the Jaguars aren’t scoring a lot of points. With the Panthers’ defense being good, they should be able to shut down Leonard Fournette and force Minshew to beat them. Carolina’s defense is owned in a third of ESPN leagues.
5. Dallas Cowboys
Despite the loss on Sunday night to the Saints, the Cowboys defense has played pretty well this season. They rank 15th in fantasy points at 6.7 points per game. With playmakers on every level, it is tough to find a way to really attack the defense.
The Cowboys are last on this list because they play the Green Bay Packers. On Thursday Night Football, the Packers seemed to find their offense again, as Aaron Rodgers threw for over 400 yards. The Eagles were banged up though, which could be one reason the Packers went off. It is risky to play the Cowboys, but they have a solid defense and the Packers offense could revert back to how they played in the first few weeks of the season. Dallas’ defense is owned in 44.9 percent of ESPN leagues.