Carlos Dunlap Bengals 2015
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap, left, and the rest of the Bengals D/ST should fit in nicely for fantasy owners seeking a replacement for the St. Louis Rams. Getty Images

With the St. Louis Rams, fantasy football’s seventh-highest scoring defense/special teams (D/ST) this season, sitting out for their bye, owners are in dire need of a replacement in Week 6.

Only two other defenses, Denver and Green Bay, have done a better all-around job getting to the quarterback than St. Louis. Through five games, the Rams are third in the NFL with 19 sacks and tied for fifth with 31 quarterback hits. And that ceaseless pass rush has garnered St. Louis’ owners better than nine fantasy points a week, according to

Furthermore, the Rams early schedule proves it should stand as a top 10 fantasy D/ST for the fourth straight year. They’ve faced the likes of Arizona’s Carson Palmer, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and have stood their ground for only 22.6 points allowed per game.

The Rams’ schedule after the bye makes them a must-own DST for the rest of the season as well. They’ll host middling Cleveland out of the bye, then San Francisco’s last-ranked offense in Week 8 and Week 17, the Vikings No. 23 attack in Week 9, and only have three more matchups against the top 10 ranked offenses (Arizona in Week 13 who they already beat, at Baltimore Week 11, at Cincinnati Week 12)

So if you happen to own the Rams DST, don’t outright cut them in preparation for Week 6. Hold’em tight and instead save a roster spot for one of our three Week 6 D/ST plug-ins.

Cincinnati Bengals

Nestled right next to the Rams, Broncos, Packers, and Cardinals’ pass rush, the Bengals have also been one of the most effective DSTs in fantasy with 15 sacks and 32 quarterback hits. And they too of faced some of the league’s top quarterbacks like Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, San Diego’s Philip Rivers, and Seattle’s Wilson.

This week they have an even better matchup against Buffalo and likely starting quarterback E.J. Manuel, who could fill in for injured Tyrod Taylor and has a career 78.5 passer rating. The Bills also have few weapons with running back LeSean McCoy injured for most of the season, his replacement Karlos Williams missing practice all week so far while recovering from a concussion and in danger of his sitting out his second straight game.

Chicago Bears

The Bears haven’t offered fantasy owners anything this season, 2.8 points per week through five games, but they’ll face the Lions mess of an offense in Week 6. The Lions are putting 16.6 points per game, third-worst in the NFL, and they’ve coughed up 15 total turnovers while fielding the worst rushing attack in the league with 48.8 yards per game. Chicago’s coming off two comeback victories during which its held Kansas City and Oakland to an average of 265 yards.

Minnesota Vikings

Without much warning or fanfare, the Vikings are sixth in the NFL with 18.2 points allowed per game and could well exceed their fantasy average of 8.25 points this week against Jamaal Charles-less Kansas City. Take Charles out of the equation and Kansas City’s barely improved from last year when no receiver caught a touchdown, with just two hauling in scores through five games.

Even with Charles the Chiefs offense is No. 14 in the league with 23.4 points per game, and has converted only 17 third downs all year, tied for second-worst in the NFL. That, along with running back Adrian Peterson tearing up the Chiefs middling rush D, will mean lots of fresh legs on Minnesota’s defense.