Week five presents some interesting line matchups. Here I will give you the best defensive end starts, sits, and sleepers based on offensive line matchup.
We all know that you start your studs, pretty much no matter the matchup. Each week I will be providing matchup based defensive end starts, sits, and sleepers. These articles include the tier two guys who you are wondering about. Tier one players should almost always play but the question comes after them what to do. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst week five matchups.
Defensive End Starts
Carlos Dunlap – Cincinnati Bengals 2019 Stats: 15 tackles (eight solo), three tackles for a loss and three QB hits.
Matchup – Arizona Cardinals (Give up the 8th most points to defensive ends)
Run Blocking – Ranked 11th
Pass Protection – Ranked 28th
There is a changing of the guard on the defensive line in Cincinnati. Carlos Dunlap has been a pretty dominant defensive end for almost 10 years now. Last year the Bengals drafted Sam Hubbard and he ended up being the most productive defensive end on the team the second half of the season. That has since carried over in 2019 as Hubbard has emerged as a true stud. This does not mean that Dunlap is not useful. He is still averaging almost four tackles a game and teams may start running away from Hubbard as he is terrific at setting the edge. this should lead to more tackle opportunity for Dunlap.
Dunlap gets the Cardinals in week five in a dream matchup. In the past two weeks Arizona’s offensive line has given up 13 tackles (12 solo), five tackles for a loss, five sacks, one pass defensed, one interception and one touchdown to defensive ends. Dunlap and Hubbard have played over 80% of the teams defensive snaps this season and should be able to eat against Arizona.
Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers 2019 Stats: 11 tackles (eight solo), two tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and nine QB hits.
Matchup – Jacksonville Jaguars (Give up the 12th most points to defensive ends)
Run Blocking – Ranked 17th
Pass Protection – Ranked 19th
Brian Burns is looking like a late first round steal for the Panthers. After a somewhat slow start he has 2.5 sacks over his last three games. He has provided great pressure off of the edge as he has nine total QB hits. This shows he is getting behind the line of scrimmage often and some of these hits may start turning into sacks. Burns takes his recent success up against another rookie sensation in Gardiner Minshew and the Jaguars for week five.
Over the season the Jaguars have given up 34 tackles (22 solo), seven tackles for a loss, eight sacks, one pass defensed, one interception, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery to edge defenders. Brian Burns plays in a hybrid defense and switches between defensive end and outside linebacker throughout the game. Luckily for him the Jaguars give up very good production to both positions.
Ezekiel Ansah – Seattle Seahawks 2019 Stats: Five tackles, one tackle for a loss, one sack and two QB hits. (one game)
Matchup – Los Angeles Rams (Give up the 9th most points to defensive ends)
Run Blocking – Ranked 7th
Pass Protection – Ranked 5th
This seems like a negative matchup for Ezekiel Ansah based off of the Rams offensive line ranks. The Rams have a very good offensive line but their offensive scheme is highly conducive to scoring for defensive ends. Over the last three weeks the Rams have given up 17 tackles (13 solo), three tackles for a loss, five sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery to defensive ends.
Ziggy Ansah has been eased back into action with serious precaution but the move to sign him seems to have paid off. In Ansah’s first game action with the Seahawks he posted five tackles, one for a loss and a sack. He has never played across from a player of Jadeveon Clowney‘s talent and it should benefit him greatly. Finally Ansah does not have to be an offensive line’s primary focus. If Ansah can stay healthy he could have a great season.
Defensive End Sits
Yannick Ngakoue – Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 Stats: Nine tackles (six solo), one tackle for a loss, one pass defensed and one QB hit.
Matchup – Carolina Panthers (Give up the 5th fewest points to defensive ends)
Run Blocking – Ranked 20th
Pass Protection – Ranked 18th
Yannick Ngakoue held out most of preseason workouts looking for a new contract. This was in hopes of garnering a new contract from his team but enters the season still on his rookie deal. To make things worse this year’s rookie selection Josh Allen seems to be out playing Ngakoue. Allen has even out snapped Ngakoue 75.8% to 58.7%.
Ngakoue is trending down and now faces the Panthers who do not give up much production to defensive ends with the amount they use Christian McCaffrey in the passing game. The Panthers have given up only one sack to defensive ends this season and that was to J.J. Watt. Ngakoue is going to have a tough time in week five.
Justin Houston – Indianapolis Colts 2019 Stats: 11 tackles (seven solo), one tackle for a loss, one sack, one fumble recovery and three QB hits.
Matchup – Kansas City Chiefs (Give up the 9th fewest points to defensive ends)
Run Blocking – Ranked 30th
Pass Protection – Ranked 4th
Here is the revenge game we are all looking for. Justin Houston going up against his former team in which he posted 78.5 career sacks with. Think again as Houston has not made quite the splash that everybody hoped for. Houston looks like a shell of his former self having just one sack in his first four games with the Colts.
To make matters worse Jabaal Sheard came back week four and made an instant impact with four tackles on 51% of snaps. Most thought the return of Sheard would push Al-Quadin Muhammad back to the bench but he still posted 60% of snaps only 6% less than Houston. This seems to be a defensive end rotation without a single player playing over 70% of snaps. Justin Houston is also a sack artist and not known as well for his run defense. the Chiefs rank 4th in pass protection and have only given up 1.5 sacks to defensive ends this season. I expect the Chiefs to win this battle.
Everson Griffen – Minnesota Vikings 2019 Stats: 12 tackles (eight solo), three tackles for a loss, two sacks and eight QB hits.
Matchup – New York Giants (Give up the 6th fewest points to defensive ends)
Run Blocking – Ranked 9th
Pass Protection – Ranked 10th
Everson Griffen has again been quite effective off the edge for the Vikings this season. He is a boom or bust option though as it seems as if he hits every other week. Weeks one and three he accumulated seven tackles, two for a loss, two sacks and three QB hits. In weeks two and four he tallied five tackles, one for a loss and five QB hits. By that logic Griffen should have himself a good game.
On the other hand the Giants have only given up 1.5 sacks to defensive ends through four games this season. Griffen remains one of the better pass rushers in the league but plays across Danielle hunter who is top three at his position. Griffen will be sitting on the bench for me this week.
Defensive End Sleeper
Jonathan Bullard – Arizona Cardinals 2019 Stats: Three tackles (two solo), one for a loss, one sack and a QB hit.
Matchup – Cincinnati Bengals (Give up the 6th most points to defensive ends)
Run Blocking – Ranked 31st
Pass Protection – Ranked 27th
Jonathan Bullard did not see significant action until week four. In week one he only saw 18% of the teams snaps and did not record any stats. He then missed weeks two and three due to a hamstring injury. Bullard was cleared for week four and actually got the start. He played on 54% of the teams defensive snaps which was second to only Rodney Gunther for defensive ends on the team. In week four Bullard came away with three tackles, one for a loss, one sack and a QB hit.
Bullard faces the Bengals in week five who just finished week four by giving up eight sacks to the Steelers. The Steelers run a very similar defense to the Cardinals with a base 3-4. The defensive ends in that front came away with seven tackles (five solo), one for a loss, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and five QB hits. It would be hard to find a better spot for Bullard to produce.
Week five I am giving Carlos Dunlap the starting nod going up against a Cardinals offensive line that has given up the most sacks in the league with 20. Brian Burns should continue his hot play going against the Jaguars who have given up eight sacks to edge defenders so far this season. Ezekiel Ansah will look to produce his second straight game as the number two option on the team.
Yannick Ngakoue looks to be having a disappointing season so far after a holdout and that will continue for week five. Justin Houston also has not lived up to expectations for 2019 and is sitting on a crowded line in a tough matchup. Everson Griffen is going up against a vastly improved Giants offensive line and should also be sat. Jonathan Bullard is my sleeper for the week in what is a very tasty matchup against the dismal Bengals offensive line.
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