Streaming Defenses: Week 5

Mike Miklius (@SIRL0INofBEEF) takes a look at the top defenses to stream in week 5

(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

 

Week 4 is over and our run of killer defenses comes to an end as the Seahawks let us down. Seattle wasn’t terrible, but 23 points given up to go along with only one sack just isn’t going to be enough against a bad Miami team. It was a down week for defenses overall, so this one won’t kill us. In fact, the only three teams with double-digit points were the Eagles, Rams, and Chiefs. The Rams were 94% owned and I mentioned them in our under-owned section. As for Philadelphia, you are a braver man than I if you trusted them last night. Then there was Kansas City who feasted on a New England team without Cam Newton. What about our other streamers? Tampa Bay tied for 5th with six points and you should continue to roll with them if you grabbed them while you could. The Broncos/ Jets game (both mentioned) gave us the third and fifth best squads of the week respectively. I already mentioned Seattle at 5 points, and that leaves us with Dallas. If you started Dallas, I sincerely apologize. I don’t know what I was thinking. This defense is atrocious, and I don’t trust it against anyone. You should NEVER start the Cowboys defense. Here’s a look at our top-12 teams from the week:

 

Rank Team Fant. Pts. % Owned Sacks Interceptions Fumbles
1 Kansas City Chiefs 20 68% 2 3 1
2 Philadelphia Eagles 18 31% 5 2 1
3 Los Angeles Rams 11 94% 5 1 0
4 New York Jets 8 25% 0 3 0
5 Indianapolis Colts 7 91% 1 1 0
T-6 Buffalo Bills 6 88% 2 0 2
T-6 Denver Broncos 6 72% 6 0 0
T-6 San Francisco 49ers 6 99% 3 1 0
T-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 90% 2 1 1
T-6 Baltimore Ravens 6 100% 3 0 1
T-11 Seattle Seahawks 5 65% 1 2 0
T-11 Cleveland Browns 5 12% 3 1 2

 

So, what can we take away from week 4? As I mentioned before, this was a slow week for defense. Through the first three weeks, we have averaged just over six teams a week with double-digit fantasy points. This week, there were three. This means that a bad choice didn’t cost us too much. Seattle was two points off being a top-5 squad. I blame the hangover effect of Seattle having played two stronger opponents (at least I still think Dallas is good) and sleepwalking a little bit through this one. Whatever the case, I can live with an eleventh-place finish in our bad week. What are my takeaways from week 4?

  • The Patriots are a great target while their starter is out. Brian Hoyer and Jarret Stidham both looked helpless. Beware New England’s own strong defense and running game–if they can create a good game script, they might avoid the Hoyer/ Stidham issues.
  • We are still full steam ahead against Denver, both New York teams, Philadelphia, Washington, and maybe Chicago as well.
  • Miami has not been a great matchup so far; they allow fewer than two sacks per game and they haven’t lost a fumble yet.
  • Jacksonville, on the other hand, is worth a look. They are averaging 3 sacks and a pick given up per game.

Alright, how do things look in week 5?

 

Under-owned Teams 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (89%, @ Chicago)

 

I’ve mentioned the Tampa Bay defense many times now, and I almost skipped them at 89% owned. Still, this is too good of a matchup to avoid. The Bucs average almost four sacks per game to go along with two forced turnovers each outing. Chicago’s offense clearly wasn’t fixed with Nick Foles, and so it’s back to the drawing board again. On a short week (this is the Thursday night game) I expect minimal scoring and for Tampa Bay to roll. Foles has gotten away with a few mistakes already, and a hungry Buccaneers defense might just expose him. Grab the Bucs if you still can.

 

New England Patriots (77%, vs Denver)

 

This one looks too good to be true. New England is averaging 9 fantasy points per week behind a defense that just shut down did an excellent job bottling up the Chiefs. They have forced eight turnovers and already have two defensive scores. Their week 5 opponent is the lowly Broncos. Denver gives up sacks, interceptions, and fumbles like it’s their job. I love this matchup and the Patriots–assuming they pass as little as possible–should be at the top of the leader board by week’s end. This is my top pickup for week five if you are lucky enough to find it.

 

Arizona Cardinals (50%, vs NY Jets)

 

Another week has passed, and Adam Gase is still the head coach of the Jets. Why? As long as Gase remains in charge, I will target his team. Let’s review the facts: outside of Jamison Crowder, there is nothing on this roster I would call a weapon. Sam Darnold is struggling. He’s completed fewer than 60% of his passed and he has more picks than touchdowns. The team is averaging fewer than 15 points per game. Oh, and they travel across the country to play a Cardinals team that could easily jump out early and force New York to pass. The Cardinals’ defense has been good at getting pressure on opposing QBs, and they could dominate if the trend continues. I would have loved this as a streamer, but the Cardinals are 50% owned–just above the threshold. Grab ’em if you can.

 

Week 4 Streamers

 

Dallas Cowboys (26%, vs NY Giants) Stream of the Week

 

I thought I learned my lesson. I thought I knew better about not picking the Cowboys. I just said never again, right? Well, this is setting up to be the ultimate battle of the ‘stoppable force’ and the ‘moveable object.’ Let’s start with Dallas: the Cowboys are averaging 1 fantasy point per week as a defense. They get two sacks a game, but they are giving up worse than 36 points per game. Woof. This Giants team must be one hell of a matchup. Oh, they are. The Giants are averaging worse than 12 points per game. They give up 3.5 sacks and two turnovers per game as well. So, what breaks first–the Cowboys need to let everyone score 38 or the Giants desire to score fewer than 17? I’m betting on the Cowboys. They are clearly the more talented roster, and I don’t see how this game could possibly go wrong (famous last words). New York has no weapons, and Daniel Jones has been exposed as just another Mitch Trubisky. I say this as a bitter Bears fan. The Cowboys–against my better judgment–are my stream of the week for week 5.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (5%) @ Houston Texans (12%)

 

This matchup being on the list at all tells you just how thin things are this week. Jacksonville gives up close to 30 a game and only averages a sack per week. They have a strong offense, but that’s about it. If you pick the Jaguars, you are betting on the continued disfunction of the Texans. Deshaun Watson has been sacked four times per game, Houston only averages 20 points per game, and the team has given up five turnovers. Not so fast though: Bill O’Brien is gone. The GM/ Coach that traded away Deandre Hopkins for magic beans can’t hurt the Texans anymore. In these situations, I always expect a good show from the team that finally escapes their ineffective coach. Houston averages 2 sacks per game but hasn’t forced a turnover yet. Still, they are at home and I’m sure they are fired up to avoid 0-5. My gut says to go with the Texans, but try to avoid this one if you can grab any previous team on the list.

 

Miami Dolphins (1%, @ San Francisco)

 

Let’s just get the bad out of the way first: Miami gives up 26 per game and they are flying across the country to take on a team that I firmly believe is better than them. They are 1% owned for a reason, and a bet on Miami this week is certainly a bet on lightning in a bottle. So why look at the Dolphins at all? Well, San Francisco is still without Jimmy Garoppolo (amongst a pile of other injured players) and I don’t trust the San Francisco offense. Miami has also been good at pressuring the quarterback as well as forcing turnovers. They will give up points, sure. However, we are one Nick Mullens/ C.J. Beathard pick-six away from this being a nice streamer. It’s the last option I’ll count on, but it’s not crazy if you’re desperate.

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