Week 6 Streaming Defenses: Don’t Chase Touchdowns — It seemed like every defense that was a free agent last week scored a touchdown. Multiple defenses that have been playing poorly for most of the year, or at least not producing many points, came up with great numbers in Week 5. But those numbers will not last, and are almost impossible to predict. Because of that, don’t go chasing defensive touchdowns (or waterfalls, for that matter). Sometimes you can predict the greater likelihood of one, but to be certain is impossible. And, unfortunately, a lot of times the overlooked defenses seem to be getting all the touchdowns while your defense can’t even get a sack.
I know it is tempting to pick up those teams for streaming, but be careful. It is much more effective to pick defenses based on mismatches and higher caliber offenses who will force the opposing offense to match them. Doing this usually leads to more turnovers and sacks, which hopefully will lead to a defensive touchdown. Choosing teams based on the previous week’s defensive scores can land you with a subpar defensive streaming option.
Week 6 Streaming Defenses
Don’t Overthink: Indianapolis Colts
Last week, the Colts were mentioned as one of the best stash options in Week 5. That was because they would be playing the Jets in Week 6 and Buffalo in Week 7. If you took my advice, you would have a great option this week. But if you didn’t have roster spots to use up on a second defense, the good news is the Colts are probably still available.
Still, some might be weary to use them this week after they scored -2 points (ESPN) last week and are playing a Jets team that took an early-season top 5 defense (Denver) and shredded them. To everyone’s surprise, the Jets were rolling last Sunday and put up huge numbers, especially with the ground game. So why should you feel confident in streaming the Colts?
Looking at the previous four games, the Colts were averaging more than 1 turnover per game and over 4 sacks per game. Although they were giving up over 20 points per game, they were producing fairly good numbers on defense (6 points per game). Overall, they were a midlevel defense that had an excellent pass rush. With the right matchup, they could certainly reach double-digit points.
That matchup was not last week. New England and all its firepower were present and firing on all cylinders. The Colts defense didn’t stand a chance. Tom Brady had Julian Edelman back, a semi-healthy Rob Gronkowski, and the explosive Josh Gordon. With all those weapons, it was impossible to cover them all. I doubt there is a team in the NFL that will be able to stop that offense from scoring over 25 points per game. So of course, the Colts defense did not do well. That’s to be expected though (from now on), especially against the Patriots. Fortunately, this week they play the Jets.
The Jets just came off a game where they looked more like the Patriots than the Jets we are used to seeing. It was big play after big play, which put the Broncos in catch0up mode. After the third quarter, the Broncos had to take risks, which gave the Jets good field position and allowed them to put the game out of reach. Although they did a great job, once you break down the statistics, it was not as dominating as it would seem. The Jets relied too much on the big plays. Three of the touchdowns scored by the Jets were on plays of over 30 yards. Two of them were off of 75+ yard plays. That is not going to happen often.
Big plays are great, but they are not sustainable in this league, especially with a rookie quarterback. Sam Darnold might have thrown for 3 touchdowns, but he only had 198 passing yards. Around 70 percent of those yards came from 3 passes. Eliminate those and he ends up with 60 total yards. He also completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Expect him to regress this week. The Jets running game was great, too, but that had more to do with another long run for a touchdown (77 yards) for Isiah Crowell and the Jets trying to run out the clock.
Verdict: The Jets are living by the big plays. In two of their big wins (Detroit and Denver), they relied on big plays by either the offense or defense. Without those, they struggle moving the ball and at times give up big plays themselves. Unless their lucky streak continues, I wager they will come back down to Earth and resume being one of the friendliest defensive opponents for fantasy this week. Also, next up is Buffalo, which should produce another great outing for the Colts.
Prediction: PA: 20-24, Total Yards: 250-300, Sacks: 4, Fumbles: 0, Interceptions: 2, TD: 0, Fantasy Points: 10-15
Recipe for Success: Green Bay Packers
This week, the Packers have a chance to rebound from their loss against Detroit and pick up an easy win against the 49ers. I say easy win because the 49ers just lost to the Arizona Cardinals, who have no idea how to use David Johnson and might have the worst offense in the league. Aaron Rodgers will not have too much difficulty putting his team ahead, and Aaron Jones will finally get his opportunity to see more touches and put the game out of reach.
Although the Green Bay Packers defense is not a major threat to any team, it does play much better when opposing teams are playing from behind, which will definitely happen this week. Over the last three games, the Packers have fallen behind against the Redskins and Detroit. Once that happened, the teams reverted to running the ball as much as possible to keep the ball away from Rodgers. Once the teams started running, very little could be done by the defense except force three and outs. But the one team that did fall behind (Bills), were forced to throw the ball, leading to more fantasy points for the Packers. Looking at the actual stats, in the two games where they were playing from behind, the defense managed 1 turnover and 3 sacks over the course of both games. In the one game they were ahead, they had 7 sacks and 3 turnovers. Expect similar results this week.
Verdict: The 49ers have C.J. Beathard leading the offense, who is prone to turnovers, as shown last week against the Cardinals. They will be playing from behind, so he will need to take some risks and make plays to keep up with the Packers. I do believe he will keep the 49ers within a score or two for most of the game, but in the process he will most likely turn the ball over several times and get sacked frequently.
Prediction: PA: 10-20, Total Yards: 200-250, Sacks: 4, Fumbles: 1, Interceptions: 2, TD: 0, Fantasy Points: 5-10
Here are two potential stash options for next week.
- Detroit Lions: Two things that make this a good stash option is they are starting to come around, beating both the Packers and the Patriots, two of the top teams in football. They have made some errors and lost a few they shouldn’t have, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they won the NFC North division. Also, Miami has been giving up a lot of big plays to opposing defenses, and Detroit’s defense is certainly capable of creating those plays. The Lions will be looking to come off the bye with a strong performance and get back in the running for that NFC North title.
- New Orleans Saints: Same as the Lions, the Saints will be coming off a bye and face a team that is mostly friendly to opposing defenses: the Baltimore Ravens. Drew Brees just got done decimating the Washington Redskins, and the defense has had back to back good showings. The defensive backs are starting to play better coverages, and the pass rush is steadily getting three sacks a game. Although not a great option, if you are in a deep league where defenses are scarce and you seem to always lose out on the waiver wire, think about picking this defense up a week early.