Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire
The goal with streaming defenses each week is to find that elusive #1 unit just waiting out there. Most of the time, it’s a highly-owned team like the Jaguars or Bears. Other times, it’s a total fluke that almost no one could guess, like week 3 with Buffalo. However, sometimes we nail it. I’m happy to say that this week, we nailed it! Our streaming option of the week was the Green Bay Packers, and they finished first on the week with 23 points. They were one of only 3 teams with double digits this week, and the Packers surely correlated to a lot of wins. Let’s take a look at week 4’s top-12 defenses:
|New Orleans||NY Giants||8||0||3|
|San Francisco||LA Chargers||8||1||1|
As you can see, the whole week was pretty ugly. There were only 5 good defenses (10+ points) and only one of those was excellent. Looking at our streaming options, we had Cleveland (3 points), Green Bay (23 points), New Orleans (8 points), Detroit (3 points), and Arizona (3 points). Even with a couple options failing, we still averaged 8 points on the week, or good enough for a finish of 7th. I’ll take that any week, especially when the top option turns out to be a home run. What I also like to look at after 4 games are the trends we are seeing. Which teams give up a lot of sacks? Which quarterbacks are careless with the ball? Which teams are struggling offensively? Each of these equates to easy points, and they make our decisions all the easier. As we jump into this week’s streaming options, remember that each team must be 50%, or less, owned according to Yahoo leagues. The idea is we are finding freebies that anyone, or most anyone, could get. I will also say that this has been the toughest week so far to find good streamers. A lot of the best matchups are pretty chalky (the Rams get to play Seattle, the Titans get Buffalo, the Ravens take on Cleveland) so we have to dig deep this week. Without further ado, let’s look at week 5.
Cincinnati (25%, stream of the week)
The Cincinnati Bengals are 3-1 this season against some tough competition (Carolina, Baltimore, Atlanta), and this week they host the Dolphins. Miami has also looked good, but they lost starting center Daniel Kilgore last week in addition to losing guard Josh Sitton after week 2. I wonder how well the Dolphins O-line will adjust to losing their leader, and I think the Bengals have enough defensive firepower to make it a long day for Miami. Not only that, but Cincy’s offensive should force Miami to chase points. I am happy to start the Bengals defense against a banged up Miami O-line, hoping for at least a few sacks and maybe an interception or two as well. Cincinnati is my defensive stream of the week.
NY Jets (20%)
The Jets defense has been consistently serviceable this year. They average 2.5 sacks per week, 1.5 interceptions per week, and a fumble as well. They’ve done all of this against Miami (3-1), Jacksonville (3-1), Cleveland, and Detroit. I like their chances this week at home against a Denver offense that is prone to mistakes. Case Keenum has 6 interceptions and only 3 touchdowns so far, and he has been sacked 9 times as well. I could see things breaking well for New York and an early interception turning into a touchdown. I also think this will be a low scoring game…always helpful when picking a defense.
San Francisco (14%)
The 49ers defense has not looked great so far this season. They have 1 interception and 8 sacks on the year. Meanwhile, their offense has given up 14 sacks and 5 interceptions to opposing defenses. This already puts us in the red and gives me cause for concern. Even if the opposing offense isn’t good, they might not have to be. They can simply wait for San Francisco to mess up. That being said, the opponent this week is a lowly Cardinals team. The Cardinals are only tallying about 150 passing yards per week. That’s way beyond awful. Even the run game, behind David Johnson, is sputtering. I think this one ends up low scoring, and I think both defenses turn out to be useful. I am okay with starting San Francisco this week if there aren’t better options on waivers.
The Dallas Cowboys offense has been pretty pathetic this year. Dak Prescott average less than 200 yards per game, and their new receivers (Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup) haven’t really stepped up. Luckily for the Cowboys, they have Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke is a beast, and he is the saving grace–as well as the reason they are 2-2. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the defense though. The Cowboys already have 14 sacks on the year, or nearly 4 per game. They host a Houston team that does one thing especially poorly on offense: give up sacks. Deshaun Watson has been sacked 17 times already this year including 7 sacks last week. While Houston is capable of putting up points, I think they make enough mistakes to make Dallas viable this week. I would guess the Texans win the game, but there should be enough in the way of sacks and interceptions to give us the points we need. I would confidently start the Dallas defense this week, and they were my second choice for streamer of the week.
I mentioned San Francisco already, so it’s time to come full circle: I also like Arizona this week. Let’s go through a list of traits we like to see in our streamers: at home? Check. Playing a backup or rookie quarterback? Check. Opposing offense is low powered? Sort-of check. At times, the San Francisco offense has looked pretty good. However, I wouldn’t say last week fit the description. Matt Breida led the team with 39 rushing yards. C.J. Beathard threw 2 interceptions. Overall, there is plenty to take advantage of. If I had to guess, I would imagine both Arizona and San Francisco play ball control, hoping to keep their respective defenses off the field. The question will be who does it better. I actually prefer the Arizona defense this week. I think they are hungry for a win, and I think Josh Rosen has shown some promise. While they aren’t my top choice, I would be okay starting the Cardinals this week as my defense.