Streaming Defense: Week 7
We have another week in the books, and I’m happy to call this our best finish yet. Hopefully, you missed out on the under-owned teams as both had quiet weeks: Baltimore’s defense put up 5 fantasy points in a close win against the Bengals while Dallas only managed 4 in a close loss to the Jets. In the Baltimore game, we can blame some bad luck as the Bengals returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. The Bengals didn’t end up in the early hole I surely expected. That’s okay…sometimes luck isn’t on our side. In the Cowboys game, we really hoped to target a backup QB. Once Darnold was announced as the starter, this game became less sweet. Either way, both missed the top-12 for the week and both performed worse than all three of our streamers. Here is a look at the top-12 from week 6:
|Rank||Team||% Owned||Opponent||Sacks||INTs||Fum Rec||Fantasy Points|
|1||New England Patriots||99%||New York Giants||1||3||1||27|
|2||Denver Broncos||46%||Tennessee Titans||7||3||0||23|
|3||Carolina Panthers||61%||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7||5||2||21|
|4||Pittsburgh Steelers||30%||Los Angeles Chargers||1||2||1||14|
|5||New York Giants||1%||New England Patriots||3||1||1||12|
|6||New Orleans Saints||61%||Jacksonville Jaguars||2||1||0||11|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||65%||Los Angeles Rams||4||0||1||10|
|8||Washington Redskins||56%||Miami Dolphins||5||2||0||10|
|9||Cincinnati Bengals||1%||Baltimore Ravens||1||0||1||9|
|10||Minnesota Vikings||90%||Philadelphia Eagles||2||2||1||9|
|11||Seattle Seahawks||53%||Cleveland Browns||0||3||1||9|
|12||Los Angeles Rams||82%||San Francisco 49ers||2||1||1||7|
New England continued their dominance with their third #1 finish of the young season and their fifth top-4 finish. Their defense has truly been monstrous, and it is probably the fantasy MVP of the first six weeks. In PPR, they are currently a top-15 scoring player in the league. This is largely thanks to an amazing schedule (Miami, Washington, NY Jets without Sam Darnold, Steelers, NY Giants without Saquon Barkley) and should slow down as the season continues. If I could trade the Patriots defense for an RB2 or WR2 right now, I would in a heartbeat. They are bound to come back to earth and depth heading into the bye weeks would surely help. It just depends on how your league is with trading.
Our streamer of the week was the Carolina Panthers, and they did me proud with 21 points and a third-place finish. Carolina picked off Jameis Winston five times, sacked him seven times, and recovered two fumbles as well. I told you I expected a Jameis Winston implosion game, and the Buccaneers QB didn’t disappoint. I also mentioned the Seattle Seahawks, and they took care of business against the Browns. They picked off Baker Mayfield three times, recovered a fumble, and put up nine points this week, tied for ninth overall. Finally, we had the Washington Redskins in the “toilet bowl” against Miami. The Redskins won, accruing 5 sacks and 2 picks on the way to 10 points and a tie for seventh. Overall, I’m very happy with our week. So, what is there moving forward? Let’s take a look,
Under Owned Teams
Buffalo Bills (vs Mia, 67%)
I’m just going to come right out and say it: you really want one of these two under-owned options this week if you’re lucky enough to find them. Usually, I can find two streamers that I feel good rolling with and I’m not phased at all about better options already being gone. This week? I’m not very confident in ANY of the streamers. Some of our best matchups (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay) are on BYE while others (the Bills, the Giants) are facing terrible opponents unlikely to capitalize. So, try your best to grab one of these first two teams…even if it costs you waiver priority or FAAB bucks.
The Bills defense has given up an average of 14 points per game to opponents, and no one they’ve played has been as bad as the Dolphins. They get to play at home, and the Dolphins are coming off of a close call where they almost accidentally won a game. Surely the coaches will set their players straight and come out much worse this week. In all reality, I expect this to be a big win for the Bills. They are coming off the BYE week and their defense has been strong this year against everyone. How many teams can hold the Patriots to 16 and force a pick from Tom Brady? Let’s throw in that Josh Rosen was benched for some other schmoe at QB, and this is our best option of the week. Grab it if you can find it.
San Francisco 49ers (@Was, 66%)
Now that they’ve played five games, I think it’s time to admit I was wrong about the San Francisco 49ers. They are 5-0 with wins over the Rams, Browns, Steelers, Buccaneers, and Bengals. That’s a tough enough schedule (not a murderer’s row…sure) where I could have seen 2 losses. The biggest thanks goes to the opportunistic defense as it continues to rack up stats. They are averaging 3.4 sacks, 1.4 interceptions, and 1.0 fumble per game. This week, they take on a Washington team that is all too happy to give up sacks and turnovers to anyone not named the Miami Dolphins. It’s a terrible sign when you JUST squeak by the Dolphins. My only hesitation is the 49ers having to travel cross country, but that doesn’t scare me away. Start the 49ers if you can find them out there and don’t think twice.
Tennessee Titans (vs LAC, 50%)
I mentioned this earlier, but hopefully, you found an under-owned team to roll with this week. All three of these streamers have significant drawbacks that I’d like to avoid if I could. Just in case, let’s talk about the Titans. Tennessee has a great defense that holds opponents to about 15 points per game. If we paired them with a decent offense (let’s say the current Carolina offense) I think they’d be winning the AFC South right now. As it is, they have Marcus Mariota. Scratch that: they have Ryan Tannehill this week. This subpar offense makes it hard for the Titans to play the game they want. If they get an early lead, they look great. Derrick Henry runs the ball, the defense gets stops, and they look strong. If they give up an early lead, it all falls on the shoulders of the passing game. If the Chargers make some early mistakes, Tennessee could see a good game script and jump out to a lead. I just don’t necessarily think that’s the most likely outcome. Tread with caution here.
Houston Texans (@Ind, 42%, stream of the week)
The Houston Texans have hit their stride and are now 4-2 and leading the AFC South. They have forced six turnovers in their last three games, and they held the Chiefs to 24 points. I like the look of this team, and I think jumping out to a quick lead could be the end of the Colts. Force Indy to score, and you put them in a bad spot. I think the Texans are heating up and I don’t think a division-matchup with the Colts will slow them down. As long as the Texans avoid stupid mistakes, they should be alright here. On a tight week like this one, I think that’s the best we can hope for.
(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)