Week 4 is in the books and truthfully, it’s one that I’d like to forget. After three straight weeks of great DFS profits, I was due for a rough week and that was definitely Week 4. But as we gain confidence through the profitable weeks, we sometimes question our process when we whiff. It happens. You won’t profit from every slate in DFS, but the goal is to be in the green more often than not. We look ahead to Week 5 and we start to encounter Bye weeks.
We have 10 games on Sunday’s main slate giving us 20 D/ST’s to choose from. There are some teams in smash spots and obviously others we’d like to avoid. Be sure to take advantage of all our NFL DFS Tools like our NFL DFS Projections, NFL DFS Lineup Generator, Vegas Odds, and MORE when constructing your winning lineups for this weekend’s action. Here are the D/ST’s I’m looking at for Week 5!
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NFL DFS D/ST TOP TIER PICKS
The Ravens had a “get right” performance in Week 4 after we received late news Sunday morning that Deshaun Watson wouldn’t get the start for the Cleveland Browns. In his place, Dorian Thompson-Robinson got the start and the Ravens roughed the rookie up. Baltimore could be in a similar spot this week. For starters, the Pittsburgh Steelers may be without Kenny Pickett. Pickett is dealing with a bruised knee. On top of that, Pat Freiermuth is likely to miss this game and the Steelers are still without Diontae Johnson.
If Pickett misses this game then the Steelers will turn to Mitch Trubisky to run the offense. Baltimore has been tough on the defensive side. They have 15 sacks through four games and they’ve been tough to run on. This projected total is incredibly low at just 38 points and the Ravens are favored by roughly a field goal. Despite this being a road game, it’s a great spot for Charm City.
The Dolphins have been hyped sporadically through the start of the season because they’re a defense coached up by Vic Fangio. I just don’t really buy into the personnel on that side of the ball. But I don’t really need to when the New York Giants come to town and this offense is horrendous. If Saquon Barkley returns, then maybe I downgrade this play. The projected total is on the higher end of the spectrum at roughly 50.5 points, but the Dolphins are big home favorite at 11 points. The Giants have a short week since they played on Monday night and they surrendered 11 sacks to the Seattle Seahawks.
This offensive line is bad, they don’t have Andrew Thomas currently, Evan Neal was horrible on Monday, and the G-Men are seeing how bad of an idea it is to have a 31-year-old tight end as their WR1. It’s not working for them and Daniel Jones has been so tough to watch. $3,600 on DraftKings might actually be a discount for this D/ST knowing the Giants also have to stand around in the South Florida humidity in direct sunlight all afternoon.
NFL DFS D/ST MID-TIER PICKS
For what it’s worth, I don’t hate the Denver Broncos D/ST in this matchup either. Do I think the Broncos are one of the worst defenses I’ve seen in the last couple of seasons? Yes. But it’s a home game and this matchup isn’t terrible despite the Jets looking like a competent team against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night. I still like the Jets D/ST in this matchup. This is a road matchup at altitude, but the Broncos offensive line hasn’t been very good and they’ve struggled with penalties so far. If the Jets play with spirit like they did on Sunday, I think they could give this offense problems.
This defense stood up against two of the best quarterbacks in the league in Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. They had one bad outing against Dak Prescott and groupthink has them as overrated now? I don’t get it. Obviously, they need to get more pressure on the quarterback. They have just two sacks in their last three games, but I’d rather pay $3,100 for the Jets than $3,200 for the Broncos D/ST.
The Saints could be fairly popular this weekend. They’re pretty hard to run on and no quarterback has topped 250 passing yards on them yet. The pass rush the last couple of weeks hasn’t been great, but this is still a spot where they can do some damage. Remember how bad the Patriots offense was last year? They averaged 18.5 points per game through the first four games.
This year that’s dropped to 13.8 PPG through four weeks. This offense is horrendous and while the Saints had some personnel turnover in the offseason, they’ve been tough to move the ball on so far in 2023. Mac Jones has completed just 54% of his pass attempts in the last two weeks, so we don’t really want to see the Patriots go run-heavy in this matchup because that caps the upside for New Orleans. But this is a reasonable price tag in the mid-tier. The over/under is right around 40.5 points and the Saints are only 1.5-point underdogs on the road.
NFL DFS D/ST VALUE PICKS
The Cincinnati Bengals offense couldn’t get it done last week against the pass funnel defense of the Tennessee Titans. Why should we expect them to be any better against Arizona? Unless Joe Burrow’s calf magically heals itself by game time, I’m fine paying down to the Cardinals.
The ceiling is far from great, but they open up salary at just $2,800 on DraftKings. Vegas is actually giving this game a respectable total at 45 points, but the Cardinals are three-point underdogs. The Bengals won’t have Tee Higgins in this matchup and Burrow is clearly being impacted by the calf injury.
He has just two touchdowns through four games and he hasn’t thrown one since Week 2. Ja’Marr Chase is clearly frustrated but we all expect him to get fed in this matchup. But despite all those targets, I think Arizona can keep pace with Cincy’s offense. Burrow is only completing 57.6% of his passes currently and he has a 33.6 QBR through four games.
Here’s the one thing I’m hung up on with this call. Arizona’s only blitzing at a 14% rate, that’s the lowest in the NFL. The league average is right around 30%. If they don’t get pressure on Burrow I think he can actually do enough damage to keep Cincinnati’s offense on the field. This lack of a blitz with Arizona is concerning but they’re still my favorite value play.
The value range is a little tough this week if you need a true punt, so unless you want to gamble on the Carolina Panthers in a controlled environment, I don’t have too many cheap plays I’ll be considering. The Baltimore Ravens had a field day against the Cleveland Browns last week and that may turn some people off Pittsburgh in this matchup. I get it. As someone who played a lot of the Brown’s D/ST last week, I get the sentiment. The Steelers got embarrassed last week against Houston. Didn’t force a turnover. Couldn’t get a sack. They had 30 points dumped on their head.
The Baltimore Ravens are still a little beat up, so we’ll need to monitor their practice reports heading into this matchup. But Lamar Jackson has been playing with fire lately. Through four games he’s already fumbled the ball SIX times and lost three of them. We forgive him in fantasy football because he can score with his legs. But he’s been a little too cavalier with the football and it’s a tough divisional game. He’s only played the Steelers twice since 2020 but they’ve played him tough in previous matchups and if the Ravens are still missing key pieces on offense, I’m fine paying down to Pittsburgh in Tournaments.
NFL DFS D/ST FADE
This one pains me, but I can’t play my beloved Patriots this weekend. The Saints come to town. And truthfully, the Saints’ offense has looked pretty poor. Derek Carr has been awful with just two touchdowns on the season and a QBR of 45.2 through four games. He’s thrown for just 230 yards the last two games and it’s baffling the Saints haven’t given Jameis Winston a start. If they do start Winston then I’m off the Patriots even more in this matchup.
The Pats will be without Matthew Judon and Christian Gonzalez in this matchup. So that factor actually does aid the passing attack for New Orleans, who also got Alvin Kamara back this week and they still have other weapons such as Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and Rashid Shaheed. With too many injuries on the defensive side of the ball, I’m out on the Pats in Week 5.