Week 5 is upon us, and so are the bye weeks. We’ll be without the Browns, Seahawks, Chargers, and Buccaneers on this slate, but have no fear; the waiver wire always has plenty of fresh options to choose from. If you’re looking a week ahead, the Packers and Steelers are off in Week 6.
The lesser-owned defenses came through in Week 4. We received top 12 performances from sub-50% owned clubs such as the Jaguars, Vikings, Chargers, and yes, even the Broncos (mentioned here last week). While Cowboys D/ST dominated the headlines, the overall results show that exploiting matchups is truly the way to win while streaming the position.
Our top target last week, Seattle, came through with a monster MNF performance. The Seahawks sacked Danny Dimes 10 times and forced a pick-six to secure the rout.
As usual, we want to focus on defenses that will be taking aim at poor QB situations, bad offensive lines, and positive game scripts. I’ll use Yahoo’s roster ownership percentages for this week’s waiver adds.
Miami Dolphins (MIA, 48%) vs. NYG — After getting smoked in Western New York by the Bills, the Dolphins return home to host Daniel Jones and the Giants. Miami’s pass rush has netted ten sacks thus far and created five turnovers. In the heat of South Florida, I love the Dolphins' chances of melting an underwhelming Giants attack and possibly the worst offensive line in football.
New England (NE, 62%) vs. NO — Losing Matthew Judon is a crushing blow for the Pats. Second-rounder Keion White will fill his role at OLB. This matchup is really about the health of Derek Carr for the Saints. He looked like a player who shouldn’t have been on the field last Sunday. Carr threw for just 127 yards and tossed a pick vs. the Bucs. I don’t expect him to feel much better when he heads to Foxboro. The Patriots are a wounded animal right now, but I trust Bill Belichick to rally the troops and cause havoc against whichever Saints signal-caller is under center.
Washington Commanders (WSH, 26%) vs. CHI — Despite giving up 30+ points each of the three past weeks, the Washington D/ST is my favorite play of the week. The main reason is that they play the Chicago Bears — the same Bears who just allowed a hapless Denver squad to finish as a top-10 unit thanks to four sacks and a defensive score. Justin Fields, on the road, on a short week. Sign me up for the Commanders on Thursday night.
Detroit Lions (DET, 11%) vs. CAR — The public perception is that the Lions defense stinks — we don’t think so. And, for fantasy, they’ve scored double-digit points in consecutive weeks. The boys from Motown have 12 sacks and forced three turnovers since their loss in Week 2. Enter a Panthers team that is just lost on offense. Bryce Young, in his three starts, has been sacked 11 times. This game should perfectly fit the game script we want for a streaming defense. They are a home favorite, pinning their ears back in the second half against a struggling young QB. Giddy up!
Houston Texans (HOU, 4%) @ ATL — Don’t look now, but Houston is hot. Winners of two straight and their D/ST has scored double-digit fantasy points in each of those contests. This week, the Texans travel to Atlanta, where, according to Fantasy Points Data, Houston owns the fourth-best pressure rate over expectation in the league. Going against Atlanta means one thing: stop the run. They simply don’t want to throw the football. If C.J. Stroud can get Houston out to an early lead, we could see this underrated pass rush stymie Desmond Ridder and produce fantasy points for those of us needing a streaming option.
Denver Broncos (DEN, 40%) vs. NYJ — This is one I like a lot more for DFS than season-long, but anytime you play Zach Wilson, you have to be mentioned. The Broncos didn’t even look competitive for most of the Bears game but somehow found a way to win. Wilson had his best outing of the season and threw the ball like an NFL quarterback. If the Jets feel down after an emotional loss to the Chiefs, the Broncos could be a sneaky play.
Week 6 Look Ahead
Patriots @ Raiders
Seahawks @ Bengals
Panthers @ Dolphins
Vikings @ Bears
Broncos @ Chiefs