Streaming Defense: Week 14

Mike Miklius takes a look at some defenses worth streaming this week in fantasy.

Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire

As we wrap up week 13, it’s getting awfully close to playoff time. Most leagues will start things off this week, if they haven’t already, in order to avoid the week 17 lull that most of the good teams face. Week 17 tends to be a rest week, and I hate the idea of having to somehow factor that in to my draft that happens 3-4 months earlier. End your fantasy season in week 16 to avoid most of this issue, and simply watch week 17 without a care in the world. Looking back at our under-owned defenses, we were 1 for 3 with them being worthwhile options. Seattle came through at fourth on the board, and I trust them through the season’s end. They are fired up to chase down a playoff spot, and I think Russell Wilson gets Seattle in. Seattle is 7-5 and tied for the fourth best record in the NFC. They are used to being in the playoffs, and I imagine a lot of the defense is tired of hearing about how the “Legion of Boom” is dead. They have something to prove. The Packers were our second choice, and they are moving in the opposite direction of Seattle. They looked like a potential Super Bowl contender this year, and I’m sure most had them in the playoffs. However, the rise of the Bears, an early season Aaron Rodgers injury, and a total free fall has left them at 4-7-1. Even if they win out, the best they can do is 8 wins. I thought a Cardinals game would cure what ailed them, but boy was I wrong. Things got worse and head coach Mike McCarthy was fired. Now, it seems like Green Bay is in need of a reboot. Finally, we have the Kansas City Chiefs who played the Raiders. To be fair, I could have seen this one going two ways: a KC blowout (what I most expected) or some kind of shootout as the Chiefs raced to score more points. We got the shootout and the Chiefs defense fizzled big time. Let’s take a look at the whole top-12 for this week.

Team Opponent Fantasy Points Percent Owned Interceptions Sacks
Houston Cleveland 18 94% 3 0
NY Giants Chicago 17 9% 2 5
Jacksonville Indianapolis 17 57% 1 3
Seattle San Francisco 16 82% 1 3
New Orleans Dallas 15 46% 0 7
NY Jets Tennessee 15 10% 1 3
Baltimore Atlanta 15 72% 0 3
Denver Cincinnati 14 81% 1 4
Tampa Bay Carolina 13 3% 4 4
Indianapolis Jacksonville 12 39% 0 3
Atlanta Baltimore 11 15% 0 2
New England Minnesota 10 74% 2 2

So we had a bit of a mixed bag this week with our first group, but what about our streamers? Carolina was our stream of the week and they scored 6 points. It seems pretty clear that the Panthers have entered the ranks of “zombie” teams as their 4 game losing streak continues. Indianapolis was up next, and they showed well with 12 points–good enough to make tenth on the list. Our last choice was the Miami Dolphins who faced the Buffalo Bills. Miami played well and scored 9 points, and they just missed inclusion on the list. So, we conclude that our choices were about 50-50 this week overall. Other teams that surprised were the Giants, who managed to knock off the Bears and backup QB Chase Daniel, the Saints, the Jets, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta. I am pretty surprised by the list as a whole, but thus is the nature of team defense scoring…anyone can throw down a pick-6 and nearly guarantee themselves a spot in the top-12. Either way, we keep moving forward into the playoffs. Who can get us that first round win? Will we wilt under the pressure? I’m up for the challenge, so let’s get to it.

Denver (87%)

We talked a lot about teams who have gotten cold in the intro (Carolina, Green Bay) and these teams should be avoided as the season winds down. They are a mess, and once a team gives up it’s hard for them to come back. The Denver Broncos are a nice respite form the disappointment as they have won 3 in a row and are building their case for the playoffs. After starting 2-4 and then 3-6, Denver has fought back to 6-6 with three winnable games approaching (San Francisco, Cleveland, Oakland) and I think this week is a no-brainer pick for them. They have recorded multiple sacks in their last 7 games in a row, and four of those game had 4+. They have also forced 9 turnovers in their last 3 games. This is a winning formula, and one I’d love to use in week 14. Grab them if you can.

Pittsburgh (77%)

The Steelers have now lost back-to-back games against the Broncos and Chargers, and they need to stop the bleeding. They could still catch the Patriots, but they will likely need to win out. Luckily, they face a hapless Raiders team and should have an easy time of it. I expect the Steelers defense to show up big and crush the Raiders. Like the Broncos, grab this defense if you can. Consider dropping them after that, though, as the Patriots loom largely next week. Just don’t skip watching that one: it’s sure to be an instant classic.

New Orleans (54%)

The Saints, like the Steelers, are a really good team coming off a loss. The Saints had won 10 in a row before dropping a surprising one to the Cowboys, and now they look to bounce back against Tampa Bay. We know what Tampa Bay can do offensively (they put up 48 on the Saints in week 1), and we know how low they can fall (QB switches, offensive ineptitude, interceptions). The question is which Tampa Bay do we get this week? I think the Saints want revenge, and I expect them to put this one away by halftime. Start the Saints if the last two options aren’t there, but see how Carolina plays this week before you decide on next week.

Buffalo (39%)

And we finally make it to our streamers. The Buffalo Bills were my pick before the season as the worst team in the league, but clearly I owe them some apology. They have won 4 games, including one over the Vikings, and they have looked competitive in many games. They aren’t great, and I doubt the playoffs are waiting next year, but they are capable when they have Josh Allen at the helm. I think Buffalo or New York is going to have a good week in their matchup, but the question is which one? I pick Buffalo over the Jets, though I could see this one going either way.

Detroit (13%, stream of the week)

The Lions are sitting at only 4-8, and have not had the season they hoped for, but I love the potential of their offense. Matthew Stafford can sling it, and Kenny Golladay has proven ready for prime time. Losing Kerryon Johnson to injury hurts, but he could be back against a porous Cardinals run defense. If Detroit can score, then I love their defenses chances to feast off of a lousy Arizona offense. I don’t think the Cardinals can find lightning in a bottle two weeks in a row, and I will roll with the Lions as my streamer of the week.

NY Jets (11%)

Remember those nice things we had to say about the Bills and Josh Allen? Well, here comes the counterpoint. The Bills have only hit 20+ points four times this year. In seven of their games, they have failed to put up 14. They released Kelvin Benjamin, and they haven’t been a threat to do anything since week 1. The Jets get Sam Darnold back, and I imagine there will be an emotional boost to push them to a win. I would choose the Jets over the Bills, though these are definitely my last two choices on the list this week. Good luck in your playoffs, and I’ll see you next week.

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