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Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Week 5 Defenses

Week 5 start 'em and sit 'em recommendations for the team defense position from senior fantasy football expert Michael Fabiano.

Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate weekly look at the NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as Patrick Mahomes and Alvin Kamara will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system.

Be sure to check out my Week 5 PPR rankings before finalizing any lineup decisions or if your league has special scoring rules, sign up for SI Fantasy+ for customized rankings. Members also get access to myself and our team of high-stakes winners all week long to answer your specific fantasy questions.

Week 5 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

MORE: Week 5 Rankings, Articles, Reports & Tools Hub

Week 5 Start 'Em: Defenses

Byes: Lions, Packers

Start of the Week

Cardinals D/ST at Jets

The Jets are a mess on both sides of the football, most notably on offense. Sam Darnold, who will miss the game due to an injured shoulder, had led his offense to a mere 16.3 points a game. Also, no team has averaged fewer net yards (278.0). The Jets have also allowed 12 sacks with five giveaways, and defenses have averaged the most fantasy points (11.3 PPG) against them. Start the Cardinals.

Start ‘Em

Patriots D/ST vs. Broncos

The Patriots were a fade for me last week in a tough road game against the Chiefs, but I’d get them back into your fantasy lineup when Denver visits Foxboro. The Broncos quarterback situation is a mess with Drew Lock out, and neither Jeff Driskel nor Brett Rypien makes this a tougher matchup for the P-Men. In all, defenses have averaged the third-most points (10 PPG) when facing the Broncos.

Steelers D/ST vs. Eagles

The Steelers are coming off a surprise bye week due to the COVID outbreak in Tennessee, so they'll be well-rested when the Eagles visit. Carson Wentz and crew had to fly back from a late game on the west coast last week, and their offensive line is an absolute mess. That's evident in their 14 sacks allowed and 40 quarterback pressures. Look for the Steelers to produce in this battle of Pennsylvania.

More Starts

  • Rams D/ST at Football Team
  • Cowboys D/ST vs. Giants

DFS Bargains

  • Colts D/ST at Browns (DraftKings: $3,300)
  • Texans D/ST vs. Jaguars (DraftKings: $3,000)

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Week 5 Sit 'Em: Defenses

Sit of the Week

Eagles D/ST at Steelers

The Eagles scored a very impressive 18 fantasy points in last week’s win over the Niners, but I wouldn’t chase those points ahead of a Week 5 game in Pittsburgh. Enemy defenses have struggled against the Steelers, averaging just 1.7 sacks and one giveaway per game this season. In all, defenses have averaged fewer than four fantasy points against Ben Roethlisberger and his impressive offensive crew.

Sit ‘Em

Bills D/ST at Titans

Buffalo’s defense posted a respectable stat line in last week’s win over the Raiders, but I’d fade them when they visit the Titans. Tennessee is fresh off a COVID-19 bye week, and Ryan Tannehill and crew have been a tough matchup for defenses. In fact, D/ST units have averaged fewer than two fantasy points against them after three games. At least for this week, Buffalo should be on the sidelines. Also, this game has been rescheduled to Tuesday due to COVID-19.

Chargers D/ST at Saints

The Bolts defense is banged up with the losses of both DL Melvin Ingram and CB Chris Harris Jr., and this week’s matchup in New Orleans is anything but attractive. Defenses have failed to score many points against the Saints, even without Michael Thomas, averaging a meager 1.25 per game. DK Sportsbook has this game with an over/under at 52 as well, so look for quite a high-scoring affair.

More Sits

  • Vikings D/ST at Seahawks
  • Broncos D/ST at Patriots (COVID-19)

DFS Fades

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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for the latest news and analysis!

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