Should have left them on the bench: Last week might have been the week many fantasy owners should have just left their defenses on the bench. A third of the defenses that played scored negative points, and that includes two of the toughest defenses in the league (Jaguars and Bears). Also, two backup quarterbacks put on a show, creating some questions as to why they were backups in the first place (C.J. Beathard and Brock Osweiler).
To make matters worse, the previous week was just as unpredictable. Almost all defenses left on free agency scored double digits. So at some point, if this trend of unpredictability keeps happening, you might as well buy a dartboard, fill it with free agency teams, and throw a dart. But until we resort to that, here are some good options for streaming in Week 7.
Week 7 Streaming Defenses
Feeling Fresh: Detroit Lions
Coming off a bye, the Detroit Lions have the Miami Dolphins up next. The Dolphins just came off a thrilling overtime win against one of the stingiest defenses in the league. Putting up a whopping 31 points against the Chicago Bears is no small tasks, particularly for a backup quarterback. But even with the success against the Bears defense, the Miami Dolphins are exploitable, especially if the coach knows their weaknesses.
The Detroit Lions have had two weeks to prepare for this game: mending injuries, cleaning up their defensive schemes, and preparing for both options at quarterback. So far, this defense has stepped up for the big games, limiting both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady to under 24 points. These are two of the best quarterbacks in the history of NFL and two potential Super Bowl contenders.
But they have also lost to some less impressive teams. This game is crucial for Detroit to catch the Packers and keep pace with Minnesota and Chicago. Matt Patricia knows he still has a great chance to pull out a divisional title his first year, especially with the injury prone Packers and the inconsistent Vikings, but he needs to win these types of games. Although Miami won a tough game against a stingy defense, I believe Miami is worse than its record suggests and I also think Patricia’s past resume will give him the upper hand defensively.
Being a former Patriots defensive coordinator, Patricia has a good idea about the strengths and weakness of the Dolphins offense. Although it has usually been a tough game for the Patriots, I believe Patricia has more than enough intel on the Dolphins to create the right defensive schemes to produce big plays on his new team.
The only thing that might limit the production of this defense is the choice at quarterback for the Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill is the better option for this defense, as he is more prone to turnovers (at least this year). The coaching staff has already indicated that Tannehill is the starter, but that is dependent on Tannehill’s recovery. Brock Osweiler could very well get the start if Tannehill cannot play. This would make this defense a more risky play, especially after what he did against the Bears last week. But he is still a backup quarterback who has thrown almost as many interceptions as touchdowns in his career, so last week might be a hiccup.
Verdict: The Lions are going to be fresh from their bye week and the Dolphins are still catching their breath after that grueling battle with the Bears. Miami will be more prone to making mistakes and not playing their best while the Lions have had two weeks to prepare. The Lions are poised to make a run for the NFC North title and in order for that to happen, the defense is going to need to step up against mediocre quarterbacks. If Tannehill plays, it should be a solid outing for the defense, but if Osweiler plays, it could be a boom or bust. Either way, this might be one of the best streaming options available for the week.
Prediction: PA: 21-24, Total Yards: 250-300, Sacks: 3, Fumbles: 1, Interceptions: 1, TD: 0, Fantasy Points: 8-12
The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Indianapolis Colts
Last week, I told you to stream the Colts. They were playing the Jets, who were prone to making mistakes early and I believed that Andrew Luck would put his team ahead, putting more pressure on the Jets’ young quarterback. Even though the Jets were coming off of a dominating win over the Broncos, the idea that they would play that good again was slim.
But I guess I was wrong. The Jets and their young quarterback Sam Darnold have been putting up serious points this season in three of their wins (48, 34, 42) and have become a dangerous offense at times. Although they are still mistake prone, their defense and big play making ability on both sides of the ball have kept them in games and made them a boom-or-bust opponent for opposing defenses.
So for those who streamed the Colts, you didn’t get the points you wanted, but at least you’re not a Jaguars or Bears owner who took a negative point total on a seemingly good matchup. This week should give the Colts defense a chance to rebound from their loss and give their owners a nice return for their investment.
Buffalo is the next opponent and this is a matchup you cannot resist. They are not the Jets and do not have the capability of putting up high scores or consistently driving the ball down the field. They are the friendliest opponent to fantasy defenses this year, giving up double-digit points all but two games. They have also only given up one defensive touchdown, which means all the points come from turnovers (average 2 per game), sacks (averaging 4 sacks per game), and low yard/score totals, not unpredictable touchdowns. If Andrew Luck stops putting his defense in terrible positions, they should be able to produce a good outing.
Verdict: As long as the offense is putting up points (which they usually do) and limits the amount of mistakes Luck makes, the Bills will be once again chasing points. This has been shown to be their Achilles heel over the past six weeks. They are not capable of making a comeback when they are behind, or even when they are tied and the game is on the line. Just last week, with the game tied in the last two minutes, the offense gave up two interceptions and a defensive touchdown to lose the game. They are the opposite of clutch. If Luck can put his team ahead, the Colt’s defense will capitalize.
Prediction: PA: 10-20, Total Yards: 200-250, Sacks: 4, Fumbles: 0, Interceptions: 2, TD: 1, Fantasy Points: 10-15
Here are two potential stash options for next week.
- Arizona Cardinals: If you are going to win games and your offense is terrible, better have a great defense. This is exactly what is happening with the Cardinals this season. Their offense is terrible, unable to sustain drives, and it usually struggles to score over 20 points. Fortunately, their defense has played outstanding the past two weeks, creating big plays leading to back to back touchdown outings. This week they have Denver who is known to control the ball and not make mistakes, but the week after is the same team that they just put up 17 points on (San Francisco). If you have space or need a two-week streamer, this is your team.
- Washington Redskins: Week 8, the Redskins are facing the mess that is known as the New York Giants. Being a stingy defense that has averaged close to 7 points per game over the season, I believe Week 8 might be their best outing of the season (defensively). There are some in-house problems going on between Eli Manning and his receivers, which might cause the already struggling Giants to fall apart even more. Pick up the Redskins and watch how the Giants do against the decimated secondary of the Falcons. If they still cannot produce against that weak defense, Washington will be the top streaming option next week.