Streaming Defense: Week 11
Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire
After 10 weeks of the season, it’s fun to look back at some preseason projections and see how they’ve held up. If I was picking division winners before the year began, certainly Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Minnesota, and Green Bay would have been on my playoff list. Each seems like a no-brainer choice to succeed and possibly win the Super Bowl. Well, things could still turn around, but right now none of these teams are winning their divisions. Instead, Washington, Houston, and Chicago would be playoff bound. Houston has to be the most shocking story, considering where they were after week 3. Three weeks in, the Texans were 0-3 including an ugly loss to the Giants. However, they responded by winning their next 6 and taking the division lead as everyone else lost. Each season seems to have its own crazy story, and I wonder if a Houston run to the big game could be the one this year. Sure, the NFC powerhouses (LA Rams, New Orleans Saints) feel kind of unbeatable. However, anything can happen in one game. A broken Peyton Manning mustered enough to knock off the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl. Eli Manning and the Giants took down the undefeated Patriots. Hell, the Patriots dynasty under Tom Brady began with a miracle win over a Rams team that couldn’t be stopped. Whoever plays in it, I can’t wait to see what happens in this year’s Super Bowl, and as the old adage says…defense wins championships. With that in mind, let’s take a look at last week’s top-12 performers.
|Team||Opponent||Fantasy Points||Percent Owned||Interceptions||Sacks|
Looking at Week 10’s results, there were once again plenty of streaming options available, though they weren’t all predictable for success this week. We had Washington on our list (the top team), but there was no way I was touching Buffalo…who somehow put up 40+ on the Jets. Then, we had New Orleans–a mediocre offense that managed to shut down Cincinnati this week. The Saints defense could be heating up, so we may stop trying to “pick on them” when looking for streaming quarterbacks. After the Saints came the Titans and Browns. Both of these defenses scored well despite matching up with top-tier offenses. Finally, we finish up with Dallas and Miami, both of whom were playing what I thought were better teams that would take care of business. Dallas won and Miami did lose but managed to score some points anyway. Our streamers this week were the Colts (stream of the week) with 4 points, the Redskins with 17 points, and the 49ers with 1 point. Even though we slumped a bit, we were still just 1 point off the top 12 and we did have an option finish first overall. Still, I’m always hoping for more than 4 from my best bet. So, let’s move on to week 11 and see what’s waiting for us.
Arizona Cardinals (69%)
We start our list this week with an under-owned team in the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals defense has looked good these last 5 weeks, averaging nearly 4 sacks and an interception per game. Their offense is lousy, but it did look better last week under new OC Byron Leftwich. Plus, they held the red-hot Chiefs offense to only 26 points. That’s a good showing. So, why lean on the Cardinals this week? They are playing Oakland. The Raiders continue to stumble through the season, and at this point, they might purposely be aiming for that top draft slot. They have no interest in succeeding this year, as made clear by the teams moves before the trade deadline. So, I’m picking the Cardinals as a good bet to shut down the Raiders and score some points of their own in a win. Grab the Cardinals if they are out there.
New Orleans Saints (31%, stream of the week)
The highlight of the Saints is most certainly their offense. Drew Brees is putting up an MVP caliber year, and he could be looking at a dream scenario of riding off into the sunset with his first MVP win, another Super Bowl, and then retirement. The Saints matchup this week is not a pushover in Philly, but it’s one I still expect the Saints to win. Their defense has looked better lately (still not great, but a step in the right direction) and scoring early and often could make the Eagles one dimensional. I wouldn’t call this one a slam dunk, but I like the Saints defense as long as their offense is humming along. It doesn’t hurt that Philadelphia has only put up 30+ points in one game this year and the Saints live in that territory. While they don’t feel as strong as streamers from past weeks, the Saints are my stream of the week against the Eagles.
Seattle Seahawks (24%)
Seattle, like New Orleans, has a big matchup this week against the Green Bay Packers. If both just had better records, this one would contend for game of the week. Green Bay vs Seattle feels like a rivalry game, and that’s great for football. Both are desperate for a win right now, and both need this one to stay in the playoff hunt. Since the game is in Seattle, I have to give the edge to the Seahawks. I could see this one staying lower (in the 20s) and Russell Wilson doing enough to knock off the Packers. The Seahawks have been good at getting after the quarterback in their own right, and this could cause issues for Aaron Rodgers. Once again, this isn’t my favorite matchup of the week. To be honest, it was a tough week for streaming options all around. Still, you could do worse than Seattle this week if you are desperate.
Oakland Raiders (2%)
We finish off with the lowly Raiders. I’ve made enough jokes about them, so let’s move right into why you would consider this one. Simply put, the Raiders have fallen so low that they no longer have any expectations. They traded away their #1 receiver (Amari Cooper) and their #2 (Jordy Nelson) has had retirement rumors floating over him. They can’t stop anything, and they have only 1 game all year with multiple sacks. Still, they face a Cardinals offense that can’t score much on anyone, and sometimes teams as beat up as the Raiders find a little spark. Sometimes they get pushed so much that they finally snap. Do the Raiders have anything like that left in them? Probably not, but if they do it could make for a last-gasp start this week. If you are a gambler, roll with the Raiders this week.