Week 5 DST & K Rankings
Week 5 DST Sleepers
Week 5 Start N' Sit
Week 6 Waiver Wire Tips

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San Diego Chargers defense
Photo of San Diego Chargers defense © Greg Buch
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By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
If you keep more than one DST on your roster, it's important not just to look at how each unit performed last year but also how stingy their opponent was toward opposing defenses. If you've got one of the elite units, you probably won't want to risk exposing them to waivers. However, if one of your DSTs are just so-so, you may want to consider picking up one of the units that are high on our list. Since most fantasy players keep just one kicker on the roster, it's usually a good strategy to just roll with who you have regardless of the match-up. But if you don't have one of the elite kickers, playing the waiver wire each week based on the match-up can be a rewarding strategy. The DST rankings are based on a standard league where fumble recoveries and interceptions count for 2 points each and sacks count for 1 point with a typical sliding scale for points and yardage allowed, while the K rankings are based on field goals counting for 3 points (with 5 points awarded for 50+ yard FGs) and extra points counting for 1 point.

  1. San Diego Chargers
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. New England Patriots
  5. Philadelphia Eagles
  6. Seattle Seahawks
  7. San Francisco 49ers
  8. Dallas Cowboys
  9. Cleveland Browns
  10. Denver Broncos
  11. New Orleans Saints
  12. Green Bay Packers
  13. New York Giants
  14. Indianapolis Colts
  15. Carolina Panthers
  16. Buffalo Bills
  17. Houston Texans
  18. Cincinnati Bengals
  1. Shayne Graham
  2. Shaun Suisham
  3. Nick Novak
  4. Steven Hauschka
  5. Cody Parkey
  6. Mason Crosby
  7. Brandon McManus
  8. Adam Vinatieri
  9. Phil Dawson
  10. Stephen Gostkowski
  11. Alex Henery
  12. Justin Tucker
  13. Josh Brown
  14. Chandler Catanzaro
  15. Graham Gano
  16. Matt Bryant
  17. Robbie Gould
  18. Blair Walsh
Patriots DST
By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
If you own one of the top-ranked DSTs, you're not going to expose them to waivers just because of a bad match-up, but if you keep two DSTs on your roster or own just one borderline one, it can sometimes be worthwhile to scour the waiver wire and pick up a less-highly regarded team defense with a better match-up. This week a lot of the premier DSTs face high-powered offenses, so there are some options on waivers that may be worth considering.

New England Patriots
Patriots DST
A lot of fantasy experts won't touch this and will shy away from a match-up against the Bengals, who've allowed a miserly 0.3 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses. However, statistics can be deceiving this early in the season and Dalton has a history of choking on the road in big games against better teams. The Patriots defense is tied for 5th in fantasy points scored this season, courtesy of 9 sacks and 8 turnovers. They match up well with the Bengals, who rank 11th in passing but have averaged just 3.6 yards a carry on the ground. New England has the stingiest pass defense in the NFL, allowing just 185 yards a game, but has struggled at times against the run. If the Patriots can stuff the Bengals' ground game, look for them to pick off some ill-advised Andy Dalton throws. I'm looking for them to build a lead in this game and poach a few passes from the Red Rifle when desparation sets in. Don't hesitate to start this DST.

San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers defense
Photo of San Diego Chargers defense © Greg Buch
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The Chargers, who are tied for 9th in scoring among fantasy DSTs, host a Jets team that gives up 8.5 fantasy points a game to defenses and will be making a cross-country road trip. Add to that a mistake-prone QB who's thrown one or more interceptions in 16 of his 20 career starts and you have the perfect recipe for a cupcake. And to put the icing on the cupcake: the Chargers match-up really well with the Jets' ground-heavy attack, as their stout run defense has allowed just 97 rushing yards a game this season.

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals defense
Things have a way of righting themselves in the NFL. Call it a hunch but I think the Patriots offense gets back on track this week and the fierce Bengals DST turn into pussycats this week. The Patriots have pretty much owned this series: since Bill Belichick took over as Head Coach in 2000 the Patriots have won 5 of the 7 games between the teams. The Patriots have been allowing 7.0 fantasy points a game this year to opponents, which isn't bad, but combine the teams' history with home-field advantage and it might be wise to sit the Bengals DST this week.

Houston Texans
Texans DST
The Texans are the second-leading fantasy DST this season but if a road trip to Dallas isn't reason enough to sit this defense, I don't know what is. DeMarco Murray, who's stayed healthy for a change, leads the league in rushing and Tony Romo appears to be back at full strength. While the Cowboys are allowing a respectable 7.5 fantasy points a game to defenses, this figure is deceiving, as most of these points came in Week 1 when a mistake-prone Romo allowed the 49ers to rack up 18 points. Since then, they've given up an average of only 4.0 fantasy points to the Rams, Titans, and Saints. Sit the Texans if you have other options.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers defense
I was wrong about the Steelers last week, as the change at quarterback for the Bucs made a big difference and the Steel Curtain produced only 3 points for fantasy owners. But I don't see Groundhog Day happening again and believe Dick LeBeau will have this group pumped up this week. They face a Jacksonville team featuring an inexperienced rookie QB and allowing an NFL-high 13.8 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses. The Jags' have been unable to get their running game going, which should help a Steelers defense that's had its problems stopping the run, allowing 4.7 yards a carry. They should be able to drop extra defenders into coverage and I'm sure Coach LeBeau won't pass up the opportunity to blitz the rookie Bortles. I'm looking for Pittsburgh to rebound in a big way and expect plenty of sacks, along with a few INTs. If you have other options, keep an eye on the status of MLB Ryan Shazier and starting CB Ike Taylor, as both left last Sunday's game.

Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles DST
I'm considering the Eagles DST a sleeper this week, despite the fact they lead all fantasy defenses this season, as they're only owned in 8.2% of ESPN fantasy leagues. They've got a juicy match-up this week at home against a Rams offense that's allowing 13.0 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses and will be featuring a mistake-prone journeyman quarterback. Shaun Hill didn't look impressive at all against the Vikings in Week 1, going 8 of 13 for 81 yards with an interception and a fumble before giving way to rookie Austin Davis due to injury. He's bound to be a little rusty and if I'm Eagles DC Bill Davis I'm bringing pressure all day to make him as uncomfortable as possible in the pocket. Look for them to mix up putting 8 in the box to shut down Zac Stacy and blitzing to keep Hill under duress. This one shouldn't even be close and I'm looking for Philly to pick off a few passes and notch several sacks.

Chargers DST
Photo of San Diego Chargers defense © Greg Buch
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By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
Don't get too discouraged if your draft didn't work out as you planned. Fantasy success isn't the exclusive result of a solid draft - often it's the in-season waiver wire moves that determines who makes it to the post-season. We've got some hot tips for you that should help you improve your roster and catch up to those lucky sons-of-guns who always seem to draft the right players:

Defenses to Add

San Diego Chargers
Don't look now but the San Diego Superchargers are playing the kind of defense they played back when the legendary Junior Seau was roaming the middle of the field. Through the first five weeks of the season the Chargers are allowing an NFL-low 12.6 points a game and rank 3rd in the league in yards allowed. They've accumulated a respectable 12 sacks and 8 turnovers, even though they lack a superstar player like a J.J. Watt. As an added bonus, they've got a nice match-up coming up this week against an Oakland Raiders team that's been giving up 8.8 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses. They're our top DST add this week, as not only do they make a good match-up based play but should have lasting value.

Cleveland Browns
The Browns defense has been underwhelming so far this year. They've given up 26.3 points a game and allowed the 2nd most yards of any defense in the NFL. But if you've got a very large risk tolerance, they may be worth a shot this week when they travel to Jacksonville. The Jaguars have allowed a whopping 14 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses and feature a mistake-prone rookie quarterback. This is a match made in heaven so if you're lacking options at DST, it's worth considering picking up this DST for a one-week stint.

Chicago Bears
The Bears are only owned in 32% of NFL.com leagues, despite having the 9th-highest scoring fantasy defense so far this year. I'm not sure I buy into the hype, as they've given up over 26 points per game but they've shored up their run defense this year (they now rank 16th in the league against the run as opposed to dead-last by a mile last year) and have been middle-of-the-pack when it comes to yardage allowed. They're worth a pick-up this week off the waiver wire if you're hurting for a DST, since they play a mistake-prone Dolphins team that's given up 9.3 fantasy points a game at home at Soldier Field.

Defenses to Drop

Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals had an easy schedule prior to their bye in Week 4 but now things get much tougher for them. Fresh off a blowout loss to a revived Patriots offense, where their DST actually lost you 3 points, they'll face the Panthers, Colts, and Ravens in upcoming weeks. They're a fair-to-middlin' start at home this week against a Panthers team allowing 7.0 fantasy points a game to defenses, but I don't advise starting them on the road against the Colts or at home against an improved Baltimore offense that's giving up only 4.0 fantasy points a game to opposing DSTs and will be out for revenge. I have a feeling they'll bounce back this week and we'll see a low-scoring defensive battle so you might want to give them a chance to redeem themselves this week but after that they don't have an attractive match-up until Week 9.

Pittsburgh Steelers
If you gave the Steelers DST the benefit of the doubt and started them against the Jaguars last Sunday, like we recommended, you were rewarded with 15 points. Time to thank them and move on, as they are strictly a match-up play this season, and have difficult games coming up against a Browns team that's allowed the lowest number of points to fantasy DSTs this season and a run-heavy Texans offense that's given up a miserly 4.8 points a game.

Kickers to Add

Brandon McManus
Despite the fact McManus has only missed on 1 field goal attempt this year and kicks for the NFL's highest-powered offense, he's only owned in 2.8% of NFL.com leagues. The Broncos waived their long time kicker, Matt Prater, who was suspended for the first four games, and proclaimed that McManus had earned the starting job, so you shouldn't have any concerns about his future this year. Pick him up if you're in need of a kicker.

Kickers to Drop

Alex Henery
Well, last week's "Must Add" becomes this week's "Must Drop", as Henery, who was Mr. Reliable with the Eagles, missed on all 3 of his attempts last week and was promptly cut by the star-struck Lions, who's kickers have had their share of problems identifying the uprights at Ford Field, making just 1-of-9 field goal attempts this year. If you own a mule with a strong leg, you can probably get an all-expenses paid trip to Detroit, as the Lions are having tryouts all week and are reportedly considering anyone and everyone.