Week 5 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming, Presented By fuboTV: Backing the Birds
After Week 3 surprised everyone with a number of upsets, the NFL was a bit more predictable in Week 4, which was good for our defensive streaming picks. Two of our three selections finished as top-12 options, including the Green Bay Packers (8th) and Cincinnati Bengals (12th).
Now it's on to Week 5, where we'll cover two defenses flying under the radar through four weeks and one hosting a west coast team traveling east for an early start.
If you haven't been following this column all season, we search the waiver wire to identify low-owned teams that have a great matchup for fantasy production. The focus will be on teams owned in about 50% or fewer of Yahoo fantasy leagues and our goal is to identify squads poised to finish as a top-12 scorer.
Here are three teams most likely sitting on your waiver wire that you can pick up and plug into your starting lineups for Week 5.
Owned in 41% of Yahoo leagues
numberFire Projected Rank: 3rd
Carson Palmer has been slinging the ball all over the field in recent weeks, averaging 338 yards per game over his last three. But while Palmer's stat lines and fantasy production has been gaudy, he's been taking a beating behind a depleted offensive line. Over the past three games, Palmer has been sacked 13 times while taking 30 quarterback hits, both league highs. He's also thrown a pick in two of the three games.
The Cardinals will fly across the country for a 1 p.m. start against an Eagles defense that posted multiple sacks in three out of four games and multiple turnovers in two out of four. Palmer should continue to be at risk behind a raggedy offensive line because without David Johnson, Arizona has been passing the ball on nearly 60% of offensive snaps. Palmer averages 45.8 pass attempts per game, most in the league.
The Eagles are listed as a 6.5-point favorite, and the Cardinals have an implied team total of 19.25. While the Eagles haven't been a top-12 defense since Week 1, they're in prime position to have a big game in Week 5.
Owned in 13% of Yahoo leagues
numberFire Projected Rank: 12th
It might be time to start considering the Buffalo Bills defense as an every week fantasy starter and not a streaming option after they've finished in the top-10 of defensive scoring every week. The Bills just went into Atlanta and held the Falcons to their lowest scoring output of the season while forcing three turnovers, ending the week as the fifth-highest scoring defense.
Buffalo ranks in the top 10 in a number of significant categories for fantasy scoring, including sacks (8th), quarterback hits (9th), and interceptions (3rd). They've also only surrendered two touchdowns -- both against the Falcons -- as they're holding opponents to just 13.5 points per game, best in the league.
Now in Week 5, the Bills travel to take on the Cincinnati Bengals, a team whose offense has improved under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor over the past two weeks. But despite that improvement, Andy Dalton has continued to be pressured behind a less-than-stellar offensive line. Dalton has been sacked three times in each of his last two games and 14 times this season, which is the third most in the league. Additionally, through four games, the Bengals have given up the fourth most fantasy points to opposing defenses.
The over/under on this game is set at 39, the lowest on the week. The Bengals are currently three-point favorites, but after thwarting Matt Ryan and the Falcons at home, the Bills defense needs to be considered a team that can produce fantasy points regardless of the matchup.
Owned in 36% of Yahoo leagues
numberFire Projected Rank: 10th
Like the Bills, the Detroit Lions have been a top-notch defense through four weeks, finishing as a top-seven option in each of their four games. Although the Lions fantasy production has been powered by defensive scores in three of their four games, this unit ranks second in both interceptions (7) and fumble recoveries (4).
Now the Lions host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, an offense that had been sluggish until they exploded for 33 points against the porous defense of the New England Patriots last Sunday. It's been a rocky start for Newton coming back from offseason shoulder surgery -- he's thrown five interceptions through four games (third most in the league) and has taken multiple sacks in every game but one.
The Lions defense ranks as the second best per our metrics and the Panthers have given up the sixth-most points to opposing defenses. Although Newton looked more like his old self this past week in New England, the Lions pose a far stiffer test than the Patriots. Detroit is currently listed as a three-point favorite in this game with a 43.5-point over/under, the second lowest on the week.