With four weeks of the NFL season in the books, we are starting to get an idea of who the better defenses are. As you prepare for Week 5, we have our 2021 consensus fantasy football D/ST rankings and a few streamers that should be available on the waiver wire.
1. New England Patriots @ HOU
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. MIA
3. Baltimore Ravens vs. IND
4. Tennessee Titans @ JAX
5. Chicago Bears @ LV
6. Washington Football Team vs. NO
7. Los Angeles Rams @ SEA
8. New Orleans Saints @ WAS
9. Minnesota Vikings vs. DET
10. Carolina Panthers vs. PHI
Week 5 Defense Rankings | 11-20
11. Denver Broncos @ PIT
12. Green Bay Packers @ CIN
13. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. DEN
14. Los Angeles Chargers vs. CLE
15. Dallas Cowboys vs. NYG
16. Arizona Cardinals vs. SF
17. Atlanta Falcons vs. NYJ
18. Indianapolis Colts @ BAL
19. Kansas City Chiefs vs. BUF
20. Cleveland Browns @ LAC
Defense Rankings for Week 5 | 21-32
21. San Francisco 49ers @ ARI
22. New York Giants @ DAL
23. Cincinnati Bengals vs. GB
24. Buffalo Bills @ KC
25. Miami Dolphins @ TB
26. Seattle Seahawks vs. LAR
27. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. TEN
28. Las Vegas Raiders vs. CHI
29. Philadelphia Eagles @ CAR
30. New York Jets @ ATL
31. Detroit Lions @ MIN
32. Houston Texans vs. NE
Fantasy D/ST streamers for Week 5
Which defenses should you target off the waiver wire for Week 5?
Atlanta Falcons (vs. NYJ)
The Jets are heading across the Atlantic Ocean for the NFL’s return to England following a purely domestic 2020 season. The Jets won their first game of the season in Week 5 but did so at home.
The Falcons are the home team according to the NFL, but there is no home-field advantage in London. Both teams are on the road here. No one would mistake Atlanta’s defense for being a strong unit. They just gave up 34 points to Washington.
However, the focus — as always — is on the opposing offense. Even with New York’s impressive win over the Titans, in which they scored 27 points, they still average a mere 11.75 points per game.
Zach Wilson played inspired football in Week 4 but still completed just 61.7% of his passes and added another pick to his tally. While it’s not much, the Falcons have sacked the opposing quarterback at least once in every game thus far.
Fresh off a win, the Jets are in a perfect letdown spot. The Falcons should be able to get to Wilson at least a couple of times while also forcing 1 or 2 turnovers. They are a good Week 5 D/ST streamer.
Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYG)
The second D/ST streaming option to appear here is once again picking on a New York team. I promise that’s not intentional.
The Giants are also enjoying their first win of the 2021 season. Unlike the Jets, the Giants were able to get their victory on the road. Like the Jets, the Giants are also traveling in Week 5.
Whereas the primary focus of streaming the Falcons is the futility of the Jets’ offense, we like the Cowboys because their defense is just plain good.
Dallas has 9 sacks in its past three games, including 5 against Sam Darnold last week. They’ve picked off opposing quarterbacks twice in every game this season. 5 of those interceptions have come from Trevon Diggs, who is quickly becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
Although the Cowboys surrendered 28 points last week to the Panthers, they still recorded 8 fantasy points. The Giants’ offense is not as strong as the Panthers’ offense, and given their weak offensive line, New York is more prone to turnovers and sacks. With the Giants also in a perfect letdown spot, the Cowboys are a great Week 5 D/ST streamer.
Arizona Cardinals (vs. SF)
The Cardinals’ defense was likely dropped in many leagues last week as no one recommended using them as touchdown underdogs on the road against the Rams. That was sage advice as Arizona’s defense recorded just 1 sack and 1 interception of Matthew Stafford while allowing 20 points, scoring just 5 fantasy points.
This week, the undefeated Cardinals return home to face the San Francisco 49ers in what will be Trey Lance’s first career start. Lance is much more dynamic than Jimmy Garoppolo and will ultimately be the superior option for fantasy managers and the 49ers. However, he’s still a rookie, and that makes him prone to mistakes.
Last week, Lance completed 50% of his passes and was sacked once in basically one half of football. With Lance looking to run (he rushed 7 times for 41 yards last week), he opens himself up to taking sacks.
The Cardinals should force Lance into a few mistakes — interceptions or sacks — and do enough to give fantasy managers a respectable performance. In a week devoid of truly elite D/ST streaming options, the Cardinals are a fine option.