Streaming Defenses: Week 3

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

Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

So, how did we do in week 2? Well, defenses as a whole took a backseat this week. We only needed 7 points to secure a top-12 finish while last week it would have taken 12. Our streamers were the Jets, Giants, Cowboys, and Falcons. They scored 9, 1, 12, and 4 points respectively for an average of 6.5 points. So, hopefully you listened about the streamers but NOT about my stream of the week. The Cowboys/ Giants game was a defensive battle as expected, but the Giants just couldn’t manage any sacks or interceptions. If you were fortunate enough to find the Bears or Chargers out there on your waivers, you turned in the #1 and #6 defenses respectively. Here is a wrap-up of last weeks top-12 scoring defenses:

Team Opponent Fantasy Points Interceptions Sacks
Chicago Bears Seattle Seahawks 17 1 6
Miami Dolphins NY Jets 13 2 3
LA Rams Arizona Cardinals 13 1 1
Dallas Cowboys NY Giants 12 0 6
Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings 11 1 2
Cincinnati Bengals Baltimore Ravens 10 2 4
LA Chargers Buffalo Bills 10 2 5
Indianapolis Colts Washington Redskins 9 0 3
NY Jets Miami Dolphins 9 0 4
Cleveland Browns New Orleans Saints 7 0 3
Tennessee Titans Houston Texans 7 1 4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Philadelphia Eagles 7 0 3

So, with two weeks in the books we are starting to see some patterns. Chicago is a beast defense, and this is probably your last chance to grab them. Also, keep an eye on the Cleveland Browns. They now have two top-finishes despite facing off against what should be strong offenses in the Steelers and Saints. Other teams to finish in the top-12 each of the first 2 weeks are the Bengals, Jets, and Dolphins. I’m not sold on all of them season long, but they are all starting fast after low expectations which means we should have some good streaming choices in week 3. Without further ado, let’s get into it. As a quick reminder, all streaming options must be under 50% owned in standard Yahoo leagues. The idea is you are finding a freebie…not picking between them and an elite unit like the Jaguars. I will also list surprisingly under-owned defenses just to bring attention to them.

Chicago Bears (89%)

If you are in a serious league, I don’t see how the Bears defense isn’t already owned. It would be unforgivable to see them out there today and say “meh” given their two huge games, as well as the sensational play of Khalil Mack. Nevertheless, they are out there in more than 10% of leagues. If you are lucky enough to grab them, do so and immediately start them. They have an excellent matchup against an inept Cardinals offense that has only six points on the season. The Bears defense is easily my start of the week if you can find it. I would probably start them against any team in the league right now…regardless of the offensive firepower.

Cleveland Browns (37%, stream of the week)

Who would have guessed before the season that the Browns would be valuable in any way? They have been a laughingstock for years now, and it looks like things are finally turning around. The offense has put up some points. The defense has held back great offenses behind a strong pass rush (welcome Myles Garrett). Now, they get their first matchup against a non-playoff team from last year. This is the first game that someone would have given them a chance in before the season started. Sure, the Jets do look good so far. However, they are a far cry from the Steelers and Saints. Let’s not forget that the Browns have 3 interceptions and 7 sacks after the first two weeks. I like the Browns this week against the Jets, and it’s nice that we can find a back-to-back top-12 defense out there for free. Throw in that the Browns are at home and the fans are probably at their highest excitement level in years. I wouldn’t have guessed this 2 weeks ago, but the Browns are my choice for stream of the week.

New York Jets (34%)

You can tell what I’m expecting this Thursday night. I have both the Browns and Jets on my short list, and I probably would have picked whichever one was at home. Like the Giants and Cowboys, I could have gone either way with this decision. Maybe both succeed. Maybe we are left holding the bag again. It’s hard to predict game script. Either way, the Jets have 5 interceptions and 4 sacks through the first 2 weeks, and they look to be more capable than first imagined. No, I don’t see them dethroning the Patriots in the AFC East. However, I do think they will at least put up a fight. Let’s add in that Tyrod Taylor hasn’t looked that good yet, and I could find a sure path to success here. Still, be aware that they are on the road and playing on a short week.

Seattle Seahawks (18%)

I don’t think the Seattle defense is necessarily elite anymore. In fact, I think they are a shell of their former selves. Throw in a bad offensive line, a damaged receiving corps, and there generally isn’t much to get excited about. Still, they have accumulated 3 sacks and 5 interceptions through the first two weeks. Let’s add in that the Seahawks are desperate as they face a potential 0-3 start if they cannot beat the Dallas Cowboys this week. Most importantly, I see the Cowboys offense and must mention they are a bottom 3 unit after the first 2 weeks. Dak Prescott’s greatest strength (scrambling) is something Seattle is used to in their own QB–they will be ready. Oh, and the Cowboys are traveling to Seattle which has a pretty good home field advantage. You could call this a matchup of a stoppable force and a movable object. It just so happens that the force is more stoppable than the object is movable. You could also say this game won’t affect playoff standings in any way come season’s end. Still, I’m willing to roll with the Seahawks for this week in a great matchup.

Miami Dolphins (12%)

We finish up with another defense that has finished top-12 in both of the first two weeks. They get to play at home, they face off against a winless Raiders team, and their opponent has to fly across the country for an early game. I love picking on offenses that have to make the long trip, especially if it is West to East. It just seems like they can’t get going in those early noon matchups. Let’s also not forget that the Miami offense has looked capable with Ryan Tannehill playing efficiently behind center. If Miami can build an early lead, the Raiders will be left chasing points. Miami, to their credit, already has 2 sacks and 5 interceptions. I trust them to keep Jon Gruden and the Raiders winless for one more week. If not, I still expect a competent defensive showing at the very least.

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