Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy for Week 6
With the Week 5 games finally in the books (Tuesday games are weird), we now have just two teams that have failed to finish as a top-12 DEF/ST in any games this season. One of them just pulled off a huge upset victory, the other is basically in shambles: the Las Vegas Raiders and the Atlanta Falcons. So, we’re not even half-way through the season yet and 30 of 32 defenses have made an appearance in the top-12. Talk about parity. Week 5 gave us some predictable outcomes but a few surprises too. Let’s see who finished in the top-3 and take some guess at who might be there after Week 6.
Week 5 Top Performances
Baltimore Ravens vs CIN
The outcome of this game was pretty predictable but there was some worry about Joe Burrow putting up garbage time points. That did not happen and the Bengals only managed to score three total points. Baltimore managed three total takeaways (2 INTs and a fumble recovery) and sacked Burrow seven times in the game. The cherry on top was when rookie Patrick Queen scooped up a 4th quarter fumble and took it back for a TD, meaning the Ravens defense scored more points than the Bengals offense.
Week 6 Matchup: @ PHI
The Eagles have been giving out fantasy points to DEF like candy and Baltimore is going to take all they have. Philly allows the 4th most points to fantasy DEFs and Baltimore is the #1 fantasy defense on the season. Easily the best start of Week 6.
Cleveland Browns vs IND
The Browns as a team have played well for much of this season and that was true again against the Colts. Cleveland had just one QB sack in this game, by Myles Garrett of course, but found other ways to get the job done. While their defense didn’t light up the scoreboard, they did enough for a win and they added a TD, which is usually good enough for a top-3 finish. The TD was on a pick-6 from Philip Rivers, one of two INTs the Browns forced in the game, and Cleveland even added a safety scored when Rivers was called for intentional grounding in his own end zone.
Week 6 Matchup: @ PIT
Cleveland has played great this year but so has Pittsburgh. I can’t see the Browns beating them up like they have some lesser competition these last few weeks. Hard avoid.
Los Angeles Rams @ WAS
Even with the benching of Dwayne Haskins, most people saw this coming. Kyle Allen also did not last long and we saw the return of Alex Smith from his devasting injury. Feel-good story aside: the Rams got after Allen and Smith in this game, recording eight QB sacks, the most in the league this week. They could have finished higher on the list but they recorded no other stats; no takeaways, no TDs. Those sacks were good enough to land them in the top-3 though.
Week 6 Matchup: @ SF
Last week, I would’ve said to stay away from this game…but after what the Niners let the Dolphins do to them, the Rams seem like a fine play this week. The 49ers are actually giving up the 11th most points to fantasy D/ST.
Week 6 Starts
Pittsburgh Steelers vs CLE
While no one can deny that the Browns are far better than they have been…the Steelers DEF is just better. Cleveland is actually giving up the 5th fewest points to fantasy defenses but Pittsburgh’s fantasy DEF has scored 10+ in every game this season and is ranked 6th, despite playing one fewer game than most of the league.
Indianapolis Colts vs CIN
The Colts DEF’s worst fantasy week this year was a game where they only allowed 11 points scored. They are getting it done every week and the Bengals allow the 13th most points to fantasy DEF. Cincinnatti also just gave up the #1 score to Baltimore last week and will be in for another tough matchup in Week 6.
New England Patriots vs DEN
Stop whatever you’re doing right now (reading this?) and go check if the Patriots DEF/ST is on your waiver wire. The unexpected Week 5 bye forced a lot of managers to cut them. It also means they may have to face Drew Lock instead of Brett Rypien but that shouldn’t stand in the way of another top-12 finish.
Stream of the Week
Miami Dolphins vs NYJ
Someday…probably soon…the Jets will fire Adam Gase and I will have to find someone else to pick on for my Stream of the Week. Not this week though! The Dolphins just put a beat down on San Francisco and there aren’t words to describe how much better San Fran is than the Jets. Gase and Co still give up the most points to fantasy D/ST on weekly basis. I have no idea when your waivers are running but the Dolphins are available in 97% of leagues as of Tuesday.
Other Options: Bengals, Broncos, Giants, Panthers
Week 6 Sits
Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs (Both Teams)
Two of the best QBs in fantasy football will be facing off and you want nothing to do with the defensive side of the ball in this game. Patrick Mahomes is QB2. Josh Allen is QB3. Do you need any more reasons to avoid both DEF for fantasy purposes?
Arizona Cardinals @ DAL
Usually, when a team has to run a backup QB out there, the opposing DEF is an easy start. Andy Dalton and his experience stifle that instinct. The Dallas offense is incredibly talented and the Cardinals DEF has only had one really good game thus far, yet they are rostered in 74% of fantasy leagues.
Tennessee Titans vs HOU
Tennessee played better than I expected in Week 5 but Houston already looks like a new team post-Bill O’Brien. The Texans are giving up the 5th most points to fantasy DEF but played far better against Jacksonville than they had been previously. Due to their recent COVID scares, the Titans aren’t rostered in a ton of leagues but don’t let their early weeks of success sucker you into adding them.
Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
*All Stats and Scores from FantasyData.com, your league scoring may differ. Rank vs Pass/Run based on yards allowed.