Streaming Defense: Week 6

Man, we were close this week. Depending on how you followed my advice, you might have had a really good week. I was this close to hitting my first grand slam of the year. How close? I realize now that I accidentally named two “stream of the week” picks last week…Philadelphia (the #1 defense and a 35-point monster) and Tennessee (#14 on the week with 7 points). So do I get credit? Sadly no. In my heart, I picked the Titans and I’ll stick with them. Here’s to hoping someone else already grabbed them and you were stuck “settling” for the Eagles. Here’s how week 5 shook out:

 

Rank Team % Owned Opponent Sacks INTs Fumble Recov. Fantasy Points
1 Philadelphia 85% NY Jets 10 2 1 35
2 San Francisco 40% Cleveland 4 2 2 19
3 New England 98% Washington 6 1 1 14
4 LA Chargers 89% Denver 3 1 1 14
5 Carolina 45% Carolina 2 0 3 14
6 Denver 29% LA Chargers 0 2 1 12
7 Minnesota 96% NY Giants 4 1 0 12
8 Buffalo 68% Tennessee 5 0 0 11
9 Pittsburgh 27% Baltimore 5 3 0 11
10 Indianapolis 13% Kansas City 4 0 1 10
11 Green Bay 30% Dallas 3 3 0 9
12 Houston 58% Atlanta 2 1 0 9

 

Looking at it, our under-owned team (Houston) put up a solid 9 points and tied for 11th. They did what was needed to keep you in it this week, and they played well against a collapsing Falcons team that looks like a good matchup for most defenses. Our streamers were the Saints (6 points, 15th overall), Eagles (39 points, 1st overall), 49ers (19 points, 2nd overall), and the Titans (7 points, 14th overall). I take this as a great sign moving forward…the four streamers I thought worth mentioning averaged out to almost 18 points each. Even if we cut the Eagles loose (that was certainly an outlier) we still averaged almost 11 points per streamer…an 8th place finish. It’s becoming easier to find targets when we stream as we now have five weeks of data. Here are my favorite teams to targets thus far in no particular order

  1. Miami Dolphins
  2. Washington Redskins
  3. New York Jets*
  4. Cincinnati Bengals
  5. Cleveland Browns*
  6. Atlanta Falcons
  7. Buffalo Bills
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
  9. Arizona Cardinals
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers*

Miami and Washington look terrible, and this is not exactly breaking news. As I mentioned before, Miami is tanking as obviously as possible without literally putting it on a flag outside their stadium. Washington just fired their coach and can’t decide who to start at QB. Both teams are excellent matchups until further notice. The Jets are a great matchup for now…as long as Sam Darnold sits. They cannot muster anything, but this will likely change with a new QB behind center. Still, for now, we can take advantage. The Bengals appear to be another safe season-long choice. They haven’t won a game, they give up plenty of sacks (four per game), and they have given up 10 turnovers in five games. I would love a matchup against a team that allows 4 sacks and 2 turnovers per game. The Browns, a team I defended last year, are another asterisk-ed matchup. They have the talent to find their way and turn the corner at some point on offense. They are a mess right now though. Take advantage of Baker Mayfield’s woes (16 sacks, 8 interceptions, 3 fumbles) until Cleveland can fix them.

Of the remaining teams, those with an asterisk are situational: the Buccaneers play Jeckyl and Hyde better than anyone. You could be running into good Jameis Winston or bad Jameis Winston. The Steelers look like a great matchup as long as they are starting a third-stringer. The rest have been generally weak on defense (Arizona and Atlanta) or have a turnover-prone element to them (Josh Allen) that can be exploited. How does this all come together for week 6? Let’s take a look.

 

Under-Owned Teams

 

Baltimore Ravens (vs Cin, 69%)

 

The Ravens started red hot in their first two weeks as Lamar Jackson looked like he might be the greatest quarterback since Patrick Mahomes. Everything was going right, and the Ravens were being counted amongst the elite few. Since then, the Ravens lost to the Chiefs (no shame in that), the Browns (okay, not great), and snuck away from the Steelers in OT (hmm). Maybe the Ravens are a good team–not an elite one. Their defense has had some moments, but overall I haven’t been impressed. Still, Cincinnati makes for a great matchup this week. They give up plenty of sacks, they have trouble stopping the run (Baltimore’s calling card), and they have trouble maintaining drives. I could see the Ravens holding the ball for 40+ minutes in this one, and that doesn’t bode well for Andy Dalton and crew. This feels like a nice safe matchup if the Ravens’ defense is available and it’s only made better by this being a home game for the Ravens. Still, it may not have the highest upside given how Baltimore likes to dominate the time of possession.

 

Dallas Cowboys (@NYJ, 54%)

 

The Cowboys, like the Ravens, started strong (3-0) and were quickly being called elite. Fast forward to today, and they are now 3-2 following losses to the Saints and Packers. Still, the Cowboys formula works against inferior opponents: run the ball with Zeke, slow down opposing offenses, and minimize mistakes from Dak Prescott. Since Sam Darnold has been out, the Jets have averaged fewer than 8 points per game. That alone makes the Cowboys a great defense. Now let’s look at Luke Falk. He has thrown three interceptions, been fumbled twice, and been sacked 16(!) times in the last 3 games. Even if I knew the Cowboys wouldn’t force a fumble or interception, this one would still be hard to pass. Grab the Cowboys if they are available. They are might top team of the week assuming Sam Darnold is still out.

 

Streamers

 

Seattle Seahawks (@Cle, 49%)

 

When the Seahawks lost to a “Drew Breesless” Saints team at home, I lost a lot of faith in them. I figured the Saints should have been beatable in their cross country game. I was premature to declare Seattle as dead and buried. Sure, the Seahawks have feasted on weak opponents (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Arizona). However, they beat the Rams and played the Saints hard to the end. This looks like a good team. The Seahawks defense, for its part, has had its ups and downs. They dominated the Bengals and Cardinals. They were kind of mediocre against everyone else. It looks like they feast on bad offensive lines. Well, Cleveland isn’t exactly strong upfront. If the Seahawks pass-rush can get to Baker Mayfield early, they could have a very good day. If they can’t, I could even see Cleveland winning this one. If this one was in Seattle, I’d buy-in. As it’s in Cleveland, I’ll keep looking. Still, you could do much worse. I balked at the Browns as a profitable matchup last week, so maybe I’m repeating my mistake. I just have to go with my gut. I don’t blame you for picking this one though.

 

Carolina Panthers (@TB, 45%, Stream of the Week)

 

The Carolina Panthers have been terrorizing opposing quarterbacks this year, averaging five sacks per game. Jameis Winston has been sacked at almost the same rate (18 sacks in five games). That’s a good start. Jameis Winston has turned the ball over eight times this season, and Carolina has historically been good at forcing Winston into mistakes. The Panthers also have Christian McCaffrey to help run the ball and control the clock. It’s been a few weeks since the last Jameis Winston disaster game, and I think it’s coming. He’ll take a couple big shots, the Panthers will take advantage, and suddenly it’s a 14-point Panthers’ lead and Tampa Bay has to throw even more. The Carolina Panthers are my stream of the week for week 6.

 

Washington Redskins (4%) @ Miami Dolphins (0%)

 

Ready for some options that make you feel just a little bit sick to your stomach? I mentioned that Miami and Washington were my two favorite targets, so what do we do when they are playing each other? Personally, I think there’s a difference between these two squads. Miami actively wants to lose while Washington seems embarrassed by their plight. To use a Simpsons reference, the Miami Dolphins are the Crazy Cat Lady–without a care in the world what anyone thinks about their madness–while the Washington Redskins are more like Old Gill…downtrodden by every bad turn that finds them. I prefer the Redskins in this one because Miami knows this is a must-lose game. I expect them to pull out all the stops to make sure this one goes “the right way”. This means Washington is at least worth a look. For their part, the Redskins are averaging 2 sacks and an interception per game. That should be enough to get this done. Just don’t watch the game.

 

(Photo by Rich Graessle/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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