Streaming Defense Week 5: A few fantasy D/ST options to consider this week, including an Eagles defense that may finally live up to preseason expectations.
Drafting Strategy Gone Wrong
Over the past couple of years, I have had a lot of success in fantasy football. I have won multiple championships, been in over 8 finals, and made the playoffs in most of my leagues every year. This year might be different.
In two of my leagues, I am 0-4, and in another, 1-3. As I reflect on my terrible start to the season, I try to figure out why I am having so much bad luck. For one, in two of those leagues, I have been scored on the most or second most out of any other team in the league. That definitely hurts, especially since it is something I cannot stop.
But besides bad luck, my teams still are not performing how high they usually do and I believe it is because of my drafts.
For the six years that I have played fantasy, I have always tried to draft the same players, especially for my first couple picks and my lottery picks towards the end of the draft. This year was no different.
Unfortunately, I drafted some less-than-productive players. Case in point, JuJu Smith-Shuster. I have him in almost all of my leagues and he has been a huge disappointment. Just this past Monday night, I needed him to score 8 points in a PPR league, and apparently that is too much to ask.
Because of his bust status, and the underperformance of several other players, I am sitting with a combined record of 1-11 in three of my leagues. This is the peril you face when you draft the same people across the board. It is feast or famine, and I’ve grown fat over the years.
Yet, I still think I can sneak into one or two of the playoffs in those two leagues as long as my guys start performing and I have a little bit of luck. And if not, I still have a 4-0 team in a league that I did not draft JuJu.
Streaming Defense Week 5
MonO-ppurtinity: Philadelphia Eagles
Again this year, many people were burned with the draft pick of the Eagle’s defense, believing it to be a top ten defense for most weeks. Just like last year, the Eagles have started off poorly and have yet to be a solid starting option. With averaging just over 2 points per game, most people have written them off and left them sitting on free agency. But if they are still available in your league and you need a defense, snatch them up quickly.
They are playing the Jets this week which actually might be a tough test against most defenses, but without Sam Darnold, it becomes a dream matchup. Since Luke Falk took over, defenses have averaged 13 points per game against the Jets, making them a top-five defense.
The only issue concerning this matchup, and the reason why they are only owned in 42% of leagues (ESPN), is because there is a chance that Sam Darnold will come back. Although possible, after reading the latest reports, he is only cleared for non-contact and it is pretty late in the week to transition from non-contact to playing, especially with a life-threatening condition like mono. Expect Darnold to sit at least one more week.
Verdict: In two games combined, Falk has thrown for zero touchdowns, one interception, and less than 300 yards. Expect Le’Veon Bell to get a lot of work, leaving the receiving core to limited targets. Fortunately for the Eagles, their secondary is their weakness. The Jets will have to contend with the stout front of the Eagles D. Coming off a great win against Green Bay, the Eagles should shine in this matchup, both offensively and defensively.
Prediction: PA: 7-13, Total Yards: 200-250, Sacks: 4, Fumbles: 1, Interceptions: 2, TD: 0.5, Fantasy Points: 10-15
Mahomes’s Impact: Kansas City Chiefs
Sometimes I feel like I am going to go insane, that I am repeating the same day over and over again, kind of like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. By writing this article, I have found myself in an ever-repeating loop. Always writing the same thing, over and over again. But with streaming defenses, the same factors produce the same results. It is why I am able to consistently choose defenses that are owned under 40% that average over 9 points per game (over the course of two seasons).
Those factors are simple and easy to spot: a weak or unproven quarterback, a high powered offense against a terrible team, and my favorite factor, desperation. That only comes into play towards the end of the season when teams are on the fringe to make the playoffs, meaning they have to risk everything to try and win.
Easy points, my friends. For this week, it’s the classic high powered offense against a decent team and a slightly unproven quarterback.
When playing with the lead or in a close game, the Indianapolis Colts are a much better team. They are able to use their offensive line and running game to control the clock and keep opposing offenses off the field. But when they are chasing points and forced to throw, they are more prone to mistakes and have to abandon the run game: case in point last week versus Oakland (Oakland’s D scored 10 points and were up the entire game).
With Kansas City next on the schedule, it is almost a guarantee they will be trailing the entire game. Kansas City has a weak run defense, which teams have exploited in the past (expect the Patriots to run the ball 40+ times against the Chiefs).
However, I expect Patrick Mahomes to get back on track this week against a much weaker defense than the Lions, and by the end of the first half, the Colts will be down by at least two scores, leaving them to abandon the run game like last week.
Verdict: If Marlon Mack is more injured than the coaching staff is letting on, expect the run game to be abandoned very quickly, leaving Jacoby Brissett to force the ball down the field in a hurry. Although he has been playing decent, he is still prone to mistakes. With the pressure of keeping up against the phenomenal Mahomes, expect a few turnovers from the young quarterback.
Prediction: PA: 1-41, Total Yards: 300-350, Sacks: 3, Fumbles: 0, Interceptions: 2, TD: 0, Fantasy Points: 8-13