Lottery Ticket: Although this article is about streaming defenses, I’m going to give you a separate tip to make your fantasy team a lot better.
For the past few days I can’t stop thinking about Malcolm Brown. He has run really well in the past few games with very limited touches. He is also on a high-powered offense that scores a lot of points. The only thing that is stopping him from being a top-10 running back is the number one back in the league, Todd Gurley.
But, maybe not for long. Call it intuition or a gut feeling, but something tells me Gurley is not going to make it a full year and once he goes down, there will be a mad scramble for Brown. If you have a roster spot, go and get him now. If Gurley goes down, you will have the pickup of the year. Plus, Minnesota is going to be scrappy this Thursday to make up for the embarrassment that happened last Sunday so there is a chance he gets banged up. Although I would never hope for a player to be injured, with his heavy usage, the probability of it happening is high. Now, onto the reason you are here.
Week 4 Streaming Defenses
And on the 3rd Game, They Rose Again: Seattle Seahawks
They’re back! The Seattle Seahawks defense has come back to life and is now the top defense in fantasy football! Just kidding, but they do have a great opportunity to be a top 5 defense this week based on their matchup and carry-over confidence from the previous week. As predicted last week, the Cowboys had a favorable matchup against Seattle but failed to produce. Instead, it was Seattle that had the great outing against a typically stingy Cowboys offense.
Although only owned in 7% of ESPN fantasy leagues at the time of writing, the Seattle Seahawks have been dominant in one particular area: interceptions. Over the past three weeks, they have intercepted the ball seven times. It should be noted that this has been against some second tiered quarterbacks such as Dak Prescott, Mitch Trubisky and Case Keenum, but wait until I tell you who they are facing next.
The Arizona Cardinals have been horrendous on offense. Either the new coach doesn’t have a complete feel for the team, they have faced decent defenses (Redskins, Bears, and Rams), or, more likely, they have underutilized their best player. David Johnson fans have been dumfounded by the lack of usage he has gotten over the past three weeks. Johnson’s output, with having less than 20 overall touches per game, does not look promising once again on an offense that is already struggling.
Two years ago, Johnson was touching the ball about as much as Carson Palmer. Fantasy owners were all hoping for the Cardinals to deploy Johnson in the same fashion, but to their dismay, this has not happened (yet). Last week, on what might have been the most important play of the game, the Cardinals were trying to get into field-goal range for a potential one-point lead towards the end of the fourth quarter. It was 3rd and 2, and any coach across the country (besides Pete Carroll) would have given it to Johnson. Instead, they gave the ball to their backup who did not pick up the first down, which led to a 4th down interception. This resulted in the Cardinals starting their season 0-3, which is probably like a lot of people who drafted David Johnson.
Verdict: The Arizona Cardinals will eventually stop being terrible on offense, but until that time, go with whatever defense is facing them. Seattle is a great streaming option this week because not only did they show last week they have a competent defense, but they have a habit of intercepting the ball. This habit will only continue with the rookie Josh Rosen under center. Plus, until the coach figures out how to use Johnson correctly, they will be playing from behind every single quarter. I’m predicting a big game from the Seattle defense this week.
Prediction: PA: 10-20, Total Yards: 250-300, Sacks: 4, Fumbles: 1, Interceptions: 3, TD: 1, Fantasy Points: 15-20
The Payoff: Green Bay Packers
If you read last week’s article, you might have stashed Green Bay. Hopefully, you did. The Packers will be playing the Bills this week and will likely have a modest outing (8-10) with the potential of a big payoff (15-20). This is the type of defense you want from week-to-week, one that has a favorable matchup and is a seemingly safe pick to get you the points you need to win with potential high upside. If you need more than 10 points from your defense each week to win, your team most likely isn’t that great and might as well go for the home runs. Green Bay is not a home run this week, but it is a solid streaming option that shouldn’t lose you the week.
The Buffalo Bills were a goldmine for defenses the first two weeks, and still gave up five points to Minnesota after blowing them out of the water. That was in large part to the defense holding Kirk Cousins to a terrible stat line for most of the game. Aaron Rodgers (even a hurt Rodgers) is not Kirk Cousins. He has yet to throw an interception and is averaging over 250 yards per game with a sprained knee. The Bills defense is the weakest one Rodgers has faced yet and he will likely throw for well over 300 yards and at least three touchdowns. He will also make very few mistakes and force the Bills offense to beat the Pack. Although Chris Ivory looked good last week, it was mostly from one long catch-and-run. Josh Allen threw for less than 200 yards, and no receiver had over 29 yards. With that low of offensive potency, there is very little hope that they can keep up with Rodgers and company.
Verdict: Rodgers will have a great game, Davante Adams will score multiple touchdowns, and we might finally see a star running back emerge from Green Bay. While this is all happening, the Bills will be struggling to move the ball, make mistakes trying to keep up, and ultimately lose by 15+ points. Although Buffalo did a great job against Minnesota last week, it wasn’t the offense that caused that win. And, unfortunately, this week they will have to face one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.
Prediction: PA: 10-20, Total Yards: 200-250, Sacks: 2, Fumbles: 0, Interceptions: 2, TD: 0, Fantasy Points: 8-13
Gamblin’ Man’s Defense: Kansas City Chiefs
If there is one thing I hate about fantasy, it is having all my players done for the week and at the mercy of the other team’s player’s production. I like to have someone going in the Monday night game, just in case I have to play from behind or hold a team off for a win. This may not matter technically, but we all have our preferences and superstitions. I also like to have a play on Thursday so I have something to do that night. So this week, I believe I’ll be picking up the Chiefs defense and playing them with full(ish) confidence in one of my leagues. The reason behind it, besides wanting a point-scorer on Monday night, is I actually think this unit could produce this week.
Kansas City might get Eric Berry back this week, which will solidify the Chiefs’ pass defense. This will be vital given Chiefs’ offensive production so far. With one of the deepest rosters at the skill positions, the Chiefs are going to score, and score a lot. So it will be up to Denver to keep up by throwing a ton. Statistically, that is not good for the Broncos. Case Keenum has a TD:INT ratio of 3:5, with all of his TDs coming in the first week. If Keenum doesn’t figure out a way to keep the ball out of the defenders’ hands, this game could get out of control quickly. Besides that, you always have that possibility of a special team’s touchdown with Tyreek Hill in the backfield. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes a punt all the way this week, after Denver is forced to punt for the fifth time.
Verdict: I would like to think the Chiefs will have at least 2 turnovers in this one, with one resulting in a touchdown, and a special team’s touchdown. Will this happen? Probably not, but it is fantasy and sometimes you have to dream big. However, this is a relatively safe high-upside matchup where a defense/special team’s touchdown is certainly possible. So for those who like to have something to root for on Monday night, or need a big game by your defense, this could be the pick for you.
Prediction: PA: 20-24, Total Yards: 250-300, Sacks: 2, Fumbles: 0, Interceptions: 2, TD: 2, Fantasy Points: 10-15