Streaming Defense: Week 14

Here are some things I thought would happen in week 13:

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars would defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while causing Jameis Winston to make some mistakes.
  • The Cleveland Browns would beat the Steelers and continue their three-game winning streak.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles, desperate for a win, would beat the 2-9 Miami Dolphins.
  • The New York Jets, 3-0 in their last three games, would defeat the 0-11 Cincinnati Bengals.
  • The Carolina Panthers–playing at home–would defeat the 2-9 Washington Redskins.
  • The Green Bay Packers would easily handle the New York Giants.

I don’t think any of these was far fetched. Sure, I wouldn’t rely on the first two. They weren’t our top plays of the week anyway. Also, the last item on the list did happen: the Packers did dominate the Giants. However, I sit here shocked that the Eagles, Jets, and Panthers all blew it this week. A win for the Eagles would have meant a tie for the NFC East lead. The Jets have been playing well and I thought pride would pull them through this one. I thought the same pride would carry the Panthers to a win at home. Shows what I know. As a result, our stream of the week (Philadelphia) finished with one point, the Jets (our second choice) finished with two points, the Panthers had six points, and the Packers had ten. Here’s how the top-12 looked this week.

 

Rank Team % Owned Opponent Sacks INTs Fum Rec Fantasy Points
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2% Jacksonville Jaguars 5 2 2 23
2 Kansas City Chiefs 25% Oakland Raiders 2 2 1 22
3 Tennessee Titans 30% Indianapolis Colts 3 2 1 20
4 Los Angeles Rams 78% Arizona Cardinals 6 1 0 18
5 New Orleans Saints 82% Atlanta Falcons 9 2 1 16
6-t Cincinnati Bengals 1% New York Jets 4 0 0 13
6-t Pittsburgh Steelers 87% Cleveland Browns 5 1 1 13
8-t Buffalo Bills 68% Dallas Cowboys 4 1 1 11
8-t Washington Redskins 5% Carolina Panthers 7 1 1 11
10-t Green Bay Packers 48% New York Giants 0 3 0 10
10-t Indianapolis Colts 27% Tennessee Titans 6 0 2 10
12 Denver Broncos 22% Los Angeles Chargers 3 1 1 8

 

Interestingly, a lot of our best matchups for week 14 (on paper at least) come from the same teams that we relied on in week 13. Here are some of the teams that interest me. Opponents are ranked based on fantasy points they give up on average.

 

  • Philadelphia Eagles vs New York Giants (#3)
  • Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (#7)
  • New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins (#1)
  • Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals (#4)
  • Green Bay Packers vs Washington Redskins (#6)
  • Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#5)
  • Houston Texans vs Denver Broncos (#8)

 

This should make you at least slightly queasy. Four of these teams just let us down and now we plan to rely on them again? On paper, each of these should still be a strong choice. Each team has proven themself on defense at some point. I’ll leave it up to you how you personally rank them, though I will, of course, give you my top dog. Let’s take a look at the best options for week 14:

 

Under-Owned Teams

 

Philadelphia Eagles (vs NYG, 83%)

 

So, how strong is your stomach? In a dream matchup with their own division lead on the line, the Eagles laid an egg last week against the Dolphins. The Dolphins are supposed to be the easiest matchup in football–right? Well…not so fast. Lately, the Dolphins have been a capable offense. They’ve averaged 27 points per game over their last three. Perhaps I overrated the matchup. So how about the Giants? They have lost eight in a row, including to the Jets (4-8), Lions (3-8-1) and Cardinals (3-8-1). The Giants have only put up 20 points in one of their last four games, and they have to travel to Philadelphia. If the Eagles have ANY life left in them, they should come out strong in this one. The Giants, for their part, average more than two turnovers per game and Saquon Barkley hasn’t been looking 100%. If you still believe in the Eagles, this looks like a good matchup. I’ll keep looking though…

 

Cleveland Browns (vs Cin, 65%)

 

Out of the oven and into the frying pan. The Browns let a game against the Steelers slip through their fingers. They had a chance to take second place in their division, but they instead fall two games behind and likely out of the playoff race altogether. So why bet on the Browns? The Bengals. The Bengals have only scored 20+ points once in their last seven games. They give up almost 2 turnovers per game, and they’ve been sacked in every single game this year–averaging more than three per game. Cincinnati has a strong claim to worst team in the league, and they play like it. As I said with the Eagles, this looks like a great matchup on paper if you are willing to bet on Cleveland. Still, I’ll keep looking–I’m actually more interested in our sleepers this week. Speaking of…

 

Streaming Options

 

Green Bay Packers (vs Was, 48%) Stream of the Week

 

I had a good feeling about the Packers last week. They had a solid matchup and they are on the shortlist of Super Bowl contenders. The cherry on top was the good matchup waiting this week against the Redskins. Green Bay is playing at home where they are 5-1. They have put up multiple sacks in four of their last five games. They picked off Daniel Jones three times last week. The Redskins have given up an average of 4+ sacks in their last six games. They also start Dwayne Haskins who is a favorite target of mine in the defense-streaming world. Don’t overthink it: start the Packers against a lousy opponent and enjoy the carefree week. This one is my stream of the week.

 

Houston Texans (vs Den, 26%)

 

The Houston Texans–needing a win to keep their division lead–came through in a big way against the New England Patriots. They owned them. Sure, New England put up some late points to make the box score seem close, but the simple fact is that the Texans stifled the Patriots offense. Outside of a huge loss to the Ravens, the Texans have been playing well against capable opponents (Patriots, Colts, Jaguars, Raiders). I expect them to maintain this against a Denver Broncos team starting a rookie quarterback in only his second start. The Texans should be a heavy favorite here and they should be a safe choice for streaming this week. Good luck in the playoffs!

 

(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

Michael Miklius

Mike is a lifelong Bears fan who is just about ready to give up on Mitch Trubisky for good... Twitter: @SIRL0INofBEEF

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