We’re eight weeks through the season, and it’s time to take our first big look back. This is the time to see how things are going, what we’ve gotten right, and what we could improve upon. So far this season, our “stream of the week” has scored a total of 66 points, or just over 8 per week. That would make us the tenth best defense of the season and only five points off of a top-6 finish. This is encouraging, and I’m ready to get after the second half. I think we can finish strong and end with a top-4 score by year’s end. We know which defenses are looking good, which know which teams to target, and there are some great matchups ahead. Here’s how things finished in week eight:
|Rank||Team||% Owned||Opponent||Sacks||INTs||Fum Rec||Fantasy Points|
|1||New England Patriots||99%||Cleveland Browns||5||1||2||21|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||91%||Carolina Panthers||7||3||0||17|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||87%||New York Jets||8||3||0||15|
|4||Pittsburgh Steelers||87%||Miami Dolphins||4||2||2||13|
|5||Philadelphia Eagles||39%||Buffalo Bills||4||0||1||12|
|6||Minnesota Vikings||96%||Washington Redskins||4||1||1||12|
|7||Tennessee Titans||47%||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3||2||2||11|
|8||Detroit Lions||14%||New York Giants||3||0||1||11|
|9||Los Angeles Chargers||66%||Chicago Bears||4||1||1||9|
|10||Los Angeles Rams||95%||Cincinnati Bengals||5||0||0||9|
|11||Seattle Seahawks||53%||Atlanta Falcons||2||1||2||9|
|12||New York Giants||4%||Detroit Lions||4||1||1||8|
As we’ve grown accustomed to, the Patriots were again the number one defense. They have been a dominant force in the world of team defenses and they are clearly the best option available if you snagged them early on. They have turned an easy schedule early on into a monster advantage and a so-far undefeated season. They have scored 173 points to this point, or almost 9 points per game more than the number two team. That’s outrageous and an almost-unfair advantage. San Francisco was #2, and that’s their season rank. They have been excellent at stopping opponents, and they are likewise undefeated. The funny thing about team defense is that neither of these teams was considered a must-have in the preseason. Both were scooped up off of waivers and both were projected to finish outside of the top-12. Teams like this are the ultimate dream of a defensive streamer: find a great unit and ride them season long. Still, most of us weren’t so lucky. So who can we start in week nine?
Under Owned Teams
Buffalo Bills (vs Was, 78%)
The Bills defense has been more than serviceable, leading them to a 5-2 record and a great shot at the playoffs this year. They hold opponents to under 18 points per game, they’ve racked up sacks in every game but one (against the Patriots), and they force 1.5 turnovers each week. Sure, the Bills are a useful defense regardless of the matchup. What if they had an amazing matchup though? Case Keenum has been a decent quarterback this year, but he was knocked out of the last game with a concussion. His backup, rookie Dwayne Haskins, looked awful. Some are already calling him a bust, though I think it’s still premature. If Keenum can’t go this week, this is going to be an amazing matchup, and probably our best option of the week. Keep an eye on the injury report and roll with the Bills if Haskins is the starter.
Seattle Seahawks (vs TB, 54%)
The Seattle Seahawks have traditionally relied on a strong defense and an excellent home-field advantage to pummel opponents. They leaned on Marshawn Lynch to control the clock and star-QB Russell Wilson was a luxury. Well, it feels like ages since that time and we are left with a much-less fearsome D. Still, Seattle has been opportunistic in creating almost two turnovers per game. In week nine, they travel to Tampa Bay to take on our old friend Jameis Winston. Winston has been a turnover machine lately, turning it over 12(!) times in just the last two weeks. That’s outstanding. I really don’t even know what to say about twelve turnovers in two weeks. Tampa Bay (2-5) is circling the drain while Seattle (6-2) is readying themselves for a likely playoff run. I expect the Seahawks to win this one and I’d be surprised if they don’t force a turnover or two. If we get lucky, one of them turns into a score and our week is made.
New York Jets (@Mia, 13%)
Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I don’t think the Jets are as bad as their 1-6 record would state. They certainly aren’t “Miami bad”. They have had it rough with Darnold missing time for mono along with a brutal early schedule (Buffalo, Cleveland, New England, Philly, Dallas, New England again, Jacksonville). Luckily, things are about to get a whole lot easier. This week’s opponent, the Dolphins, is putting up the most blatant tanking season I’ve ever seen from the NFL. They clearly wanted to throw away last night’s game against the Steelers, and I know they will come ready to not-play against the Jets. The Dolphins have allowed 3+ sacks in all but one game. They turn the ball over 2.5 times per game. They traded away Kenyan Drake and they are starting Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is responsible for 7 turnovers in the last two weeks. This looks like a get-right game for the Jets, and they are a great week 9 option. I thought hard about making this my stream of the week for week nine.
Dallas Cowboys (@NYG, 33% Stream of the Week)
The Cowboys are a hard team to figure out right now. They started out 3-0 and looked like an NFC favorite behind a potential MVP candidate in quarterback Dak Prescott. However, those wins came over the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins. Next came three straight losses, including one to the Jets, and expectations were definitely tempered. The Cowboys are now 4-3 and are coming off of their bye week. I think they know what this season could be, and they know they can’t lose anymore ‘gimme’ games. You can’t drop this Giants game and still expect to do something in the playoffs this year…right? The Cowboys have put up multiple sacks in five straight games. They’ve forced five turnovers in their last two games. They’ve given up less than 14 points per game in their four wins, including a win over the Giants. The Giants, for their part, have given up an average of three sacks per game. They turn the ball over 2.5 times per game including 8 turnovers in their last three games. I like Dallas here, and they are my stream of the week.
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)