Week 3 Streaming Defenses: There may be risk when it comes to streaming, but not when it comes to defense. Here are three teams you should consider this week.
Public Service Announcement
Streaming defenses is the way to go in fantasy football. Over the past two weeks, so many quality defenses have not lived up to their hype based on their matchups.
For example, the Eagles were a top three defense going into the year, and last week Ryan Fitzpatrick gave them all they could handle. Of course, Fitzmagic is playing like the best quarterback in the league, and Philly’s offense is garbage right now. But when people pick a top defense, they feel obligated to use them.
So last week, the Eagles owners only got 3 points. That most likely cost a couple owners the entire week. When streaming, owners feel no personal connection to the defense and are willing to drop a defense on a moment’s notice. The defenses I’ve discussed on 5thdownfantasy.com have averaged 10 points per game (a number that would be higher, but I forgot that Eli Manning wasn’t very good). Plus all of those teams were owned in less than 30 percent of leagues (when written).
I know there is a risk when streaming, but not when it comes to defense. It is all about matchups. So unless you absolutely love your defense, have a great matchup, or want to keep waiting for your team to produce, take a look at these three defenses that can easily score you 10+ points either this week or next week.
Week 3 Streaming Defenses
Hard-Knock Defense: Cleveland Browns
It is hard to deny that something is happening in Cleveland. Even with the departure of Josh Gordon, they were able to keep up with the high-powered Saints offense. And it wasn’t through brilliant play from their offense, although the fourth quarter touchdown from mid-field was rather brilliant; it was the defense that held the awesomeness of Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara in check.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Brees and company got rolling. Before that, the Saints offense tallied less than 150 total yards in the first half and only 19 total yards in the third quarter. To the fortune of all those who were depending on the three horsemen of the Saints to carry their fantasy teams, the fourth quarter salvaged their Week 2 scores. But before that, it was the Browns show. They controlled the Saint’s offense, limiting their production and forcing two turnovers while on offense, they systematically worked the ball down the field, and made very few mistakes.
Although they ended up losing the game, mainly due to the tenacity of Brees, the Browns are emerging as a top-10 defense. Through two weeks, they have held the Steelers and the Saints–two teams who historically have high-powered offenses–to 21 points a piece and managed to average 10 fantasy points over the past two weeks. And I would bet that number is going to go up with the Jets up next on a short week.
The Jets are a team that is great for defensive fantasy points, both ways. They have shown that they have cleaned up their defense and are able to make big plays when it matters. Over the last two weeks, they have scored a respectable 25 and 10 fantasy points as well as given up 11 and 9. So just like last week, whether you take the Jets or play against them, there will be plenty of defensive points available.
My choice, though, would be the Browns. Based on the smart play calls and lack of turnovers (2 total), I don’t believe the Browns will give the Jets many opportunities to make big plays. On the other side, the Jets have given up everything but the kitchen sink. Over the past two weeks, they have given up 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles, 1 touchdown (could have been two but a linebacker doesn’t know how to run downfield), and 5 sacks. That is an average of 11 bonus points per week for the defense.
Verdict: Either way, I don’t think you will be disappointed with either team, but the Browns clearly are the more appealing team due to the turnover rate of the Jets. Also, playing on a short week, the point totals will likely be low. As long as the Browns continue their smart plays, they’ll have another decent week.
Prediction: PA: 10-20, Total Yards: 250-300, Sacks: 2, Fumbles: 1, Interceptions: 2, TD: 0, Fantasy Points: 10-15
Broken Record: Dallas Cowboys
After two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys are currently a top five defense. Just two weeks ago I predicted that they would be a top five defense potentially. Of course, it has only been two weeks and they have had somewhat of a favorable schedule (Panthers and Giants), but I’m still holding on to my bold prediction. Why I am writing about them again is because they have another great matchup against the Seattle Seahawks and they are still only owned in 11 percent of ESPN leagues. They have scored 13 and 8 points so far (nothing huge), but they’re consistent and have another great opportunity to score 10+ points.
The Seahawks just got crushed by the Bears’ defense (a streaming option I had last week), and it was because of Russell Wilson’s lack of playmakers and his terrible offensive line. In that game alone they gave up an interception, a fumble, 6 sacks, and a touchdown. Most of this came towards the end of the game where Russell needed to put up points and fast, causing him to try to force big plays. One of them lead to a pick 6 that essentially sealed the game for the Bears.
In the previous game against Denver, Seattle gave up 2 interceptions, 1 fumble, and another 6 sacks. This offense still has the potential to score, but only having a shell of their once powerful defense left, they are usually forced to play from behind. Plus, one of the coaches that helped make Seattle’s defense so intimidating is now coaching for the Cowboys as their defensive back coordinator. And for those who have a short memory, Seattle used to be nearly impossible to throw against.
Verdict: Dallas has the offense to put points on the board and limit the amount of opportunities for turnovers. They showed some flash against the New York Giants last week (a good defense that would be a lot better if their offense could move the ball) and should be able to put up points against Seattle, yet again leaving them to have to play from behind. Unfortunately, the strength of Dallas’s defense is the pass rushing (averaging 4.5 sacks per game) and Seattle’s weakness is pass protection (averaging 6 sacks per game). Because of this, Dallas will rack up the sacks, forcing Wilson to scramble and make plays. Dallas will capitalize on this and have at least one big play.
Prediction: PA: 10-20, Total Yards: 300-350, Sacks: 5, Fumbles: 0, Interceptions: 2, TD: 1, Fantasy Points: 8-13
Stash ‘Em: Green Bay Packers
There are two reasons I’m making this one of my streaming options. For one, I have noticed how the team is rallying around Aaron Rodgers. He is clearly the heart and soul of that team, but he is not at full health. With a strained knee, Aaron Rodgers is playing through the pain for his team, which without him is pretty helpless. Because of his sacrifice, the rest of his team is stepping up, including the offensive line and the defense. Playing against possibly one of the best offenses in the league, the Minnesota Vikings, the defense made some big plays and kept the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers. At the end of the game, both defenses gave up big plays but overall, Green Bay’s defense did a great job against possibly a serious Super Bowl contender.
The second reason I am picking the Packers is their upcoming schedule. They play Buffalo, Detroit, and San Francisco who have all allowed on average double digit fantasy points to opposing defenses, with Buffalo being the most charitable. You can possibly play the Packers this week and for the following next three weeks. I like this defense solely because of the matchups, and I believe they will step up for Captain Rodgers.
Verdict: The Washington Redskins do not have their offense down yet and are lacking big playmakers. Alex Smith was surrounded last season by big playmakers, which made him look a lot better than he was. Now he is simply a mediocre quarterback who takes very little risk and doesn’t put points up on the board. They will be trailing early in the first half, which will force Smith to throw down field, which will open up opportunities for the defense. Although I doubt any big play will happen, the Redskins will not put up very many points and the Packer’s defense will have a decent outing.
Prediction: PA: 7-14, Total Yards: 200-250, Sacks: 3, Fumbles: 0, Interceptions: 1, TD: 0, Fantasy Points: 5-10