Streaming Defense: Week 15

Mike takes a look at the top defenses to stream for week 15.

We’re nearing the end of the 2019 fantasy season. Most of you reading this are in the playoffs and probably just won your opening-round matchup. There were some big defensive outputs, but most of the outcomes fit into two categories: shocking outcomes that came out of nowhere (Denver, Atlanta, Washington, Kansas City) or highly-owned teams (Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Baltimore). Of those remaining, we nailed two: Cleveland and Green Bay. Cleveland was one of our two under-owned teams and they put up 11 points thanks to a defensive score. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. Green Bay seems like they should have had an easier time against Washington, but they still put up seven and a 12th place finish. Both defenses gave you a chance to win this week. Really, that’s all we can ask for. Here is how the whole top-12 looked.


Rank Team % Owned Opponent Sacks INTs Fum Rec Fantasy Points
1 Pittsburgh Steelers 89% Arizona Cardinals 5 3 0 18
2 Denver Broncos 21% Houston Texans 3 2 1 15
3-t Atlanta Falcons 8% Carolina Panthers 5 2 2 14
3-t Los Angeles Rams 74% Seattle Seahawks 5 1 0 14
5 Minnesota Vikings 87% Detroit Lions 5 2 0 13
6-t Cleveland Browns 70% Cincinnati Bengals 2 1 0 11
6-t Seattle Seahawks 41% Los Angeles Rams 0 2 0 11
6-t Indianapolis Colts 31% Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 3 1 11
9 Tennessee Titans 34% Oakland Raiders 2 0 1 10
10 Baltimore Ravens 95% Buffalo Bills 6 0 1 9
11 Kansas City Chiefs 31% New England Patriots 3 1 0 8
12 Green Bay Packers 76% Washington Redskins 4 1 0 7


Wrapping up our choices for week 14, we had Philadelphia (3 points), Cleveland (11 points), Green Bay (7 points, stream of the week), and Houston (2 points). It was 50-50 if you wound up with a stud or a dud. I am still shocked at how uninspired the Eagles are playing. Dallas is doing everything they can to give away the division, and Philadelphia responds by barely squeaking past the 2-11 Giants. I don’t think I can trust the Eagles anymore–no matter how great the matchup looks. Speaking of disappointments, there was Houston. I know a lot of people were riding the Texans this week, and I can’t blame you. This looked like an easy win after the Texans defeated the Patriots, but it turned into a classic trap-game. Denver jumped out fast and the Texans were buried before they knew what was happening. This week, we are looking for one good option to get us through one more week. Take it a week at a time and worry about week 16 if we are lucky enough to get there. Let’s see what’s out there.


Under-Owned Teams


Philadelphia Eagles (vs Wash, 79%)


Wait–didn’t I just say something about not trusting Philly? Last week I mentioned the Eagles as a possibility, but hopefully, you avoided them like I said I was. The Eagles laid an egg against the lowly Giants and barely snuck out a win. I will also say that personally I won’t be starting the Eagles this week either; I just don’t trust them not to self-destruct. That being said, they have another juicy matchup against the Redskins. Philly has averaged close to four sacks per game in their last three outings. Washington, for their part, has given up 4+ sacks in five of their last six outings. Based on sacks alone, this one should have a safe floor. Throw in any mistakes by Dwayne Haskins and you should hit your mark. Good luck though–don’t be upset if Philly comes out flat and Washington somehow sneaks away with a win. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.


Los Angeles Rams (@Dal, 74%)


A big part of my selection process at this point in the season is looking at who I trust and who I don’t. Who is riding strong into the playoffs (or at least staying in contention) and who is falling apart? The NFC West, for example, is looking strong right now. They have a real chance at getting three teams into the playoffs. The NFC East, on the other hand, is falling apart. Nobody can buy a win outside of the division except for the Redskins, and they are 3-10. By this measure, I have to take a look at Los Angeles. The Rams are averaging almost 12 fantasy points per game in their last five against Seattle (10-3), Arizona (3-9-1), Baltimore (11-2), Chicago (7-6), and Pittsburgh (8-5). They rack up the sacks (3+ in seven straight games) along with turnovers (four of the last five games). Dallas, for their part, hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record yet. They aren’t a vulnerable offense, but this Rams defense is good enough to hurt anyone when they’re playing well. Consider this one if you don’t believe in the Cowboys or if you do believe in the Rams. I’d be happy to roll with this matchup.


Buffalo Bills (@Pit, 65%)


The Bills have been a capable defense this year and I’m confident they would be more recognized if they were called “Chicago” or “Jacksonville”. Buffalo is good at keeping the score low (they give up an average of 15 points per game over their last six outings) and getting to the opposing quarterback (averaging four sacks per game over their last four). It’s lead them to a 9-4 record and a likely playoff berth. At the same time, their offense has been careful with the ball. They have only given up two turnovers in their last six games. They just don’t beat themselves like they did last year and their record reflects it. The Bills face off against another hot team in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s weakness is allowing too much pressure on their quarterback–forcing mistakes. I don’t love betting on someone beating a hot Steelers team in Pittsburgh, but I think it’s worth a look. Buffalo has hung with better squads (New England, Baltimore) and they easily have the talent to take this one. They just have to execute. Need more convincing? The Bills are 5-1 on the road this year including wins over the Titans and Cowboys.


Streaming Options


Seattle Seahawks (@Car, 41%) Stream of the Week


As I mentioned before, I believe in the NFC West this year. They may not have the best team in the league, but they are the strongest division top to bottom. Seattle was fresh off a five-game winning streak–which included wins over Minnesota and San Francisco–before being manhandled at home by the division-rival Rams. I’m guessing that put a bad taste in their mouths. Seattle has yet to lose to a team with a losing record, beating such teams by over a touchdown on average. They have also been strong on the road. Here’s my favorite stat: they average close to three forced turnovers per game over their last six outings. How is Carolina as a matchup? The Panthers have averaged almost three turnovers lost per game in their last four outings and close to two per game on the season. They’ve also given up 4+ sacks in four straight games. Did I mention they’ve allowed multiple sacks in all fourteen of their games? Yeah, this looks like a great get-right game for Seattle. It’s easily my stream of the week.


Detroit Lions (vs TB, 14%)


I can’t say much to make you feel good about Detroit’s defense. The team has lost six straight games, including one to Washington. They manage roughly two sacks and one forced turnover per game over their last four contests. Why bother with the Lions then? Jameis Winston. I’m partially convinced Jameis Winston is a terminator sent back from the future with one mission: lead the league in turnovers. Winston is a machine at giving away the football, but he still throws enough touchdowns to keep himself viable as a starter. It’s a careful balancing act and impressive to watch. Winston has 23 interceptions and 12 fumbles this season. That means he is personally responsible for 2.5 turnovers a game on average. Only Deshone Kizer and Philip Rivers have managed 20+ interception seasons in the last five years, and neither was on a pace quite like Winston. He has an outside shot to join the unheralded 30-30 club. The Buccaneers will also be an interesting matchup for a defense as long as Winston is their leader, and this makes Detroit a viable streaming choice. Keep an eye in the injury report though: this is a rare case where we want the starter to play.



(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

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