Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire
Welcome back to another week of streaming defenses. I find it interesting how punting the defensive position can almost give you more freedom around this time of the season. Say you have one of the big defenses and they go on a BYE week. What do you do? Do you outright drop them and let someone else pick them up? Do you hold them and pick up another while dropping an RB or WR? Year after year, I find that I hate holding two defenses at the same time. As a result, I usually just drop my typical starter…no matter how good they are. I’d rather hold that 5th or 6th running back instead of a slightly better defense. Either way, let’s take a look back at last week. We streamed Cincinnati (22 points), New York Jets (7 points), San Francisco (1 point), Dallas (6 points), and Arizona (21 points) for an average of 11.4 points per unit, or good for an average of 10th on the week. If you rolled with our streamer of the week (Cincinnati at 22% owned) you scored the #1 overall unit. For two weeks in a row, we found the top overall defense on waivers. While this certainly can’t keep up all season long, I’ll take it while it lasts. Let’s look at the overall top-10.
|Team||Opponent||Fantasy Points||% Owned||Interceptions||Sacks|
Looking over the top 12, we see a LOT of streamers making the list, including 3 huge performances (20+ points). Eight of the top 12 teams were less than 50% owned and half of the top 12 were less than one third owned. Also, some big-time defenses missed the list altogether…like Jacksonville and the LA Rams. I also notice some defensive match-ups that played well for both sides: Cleveland-Baltimore and Miami-Cincinnati, for example. This tells me that we can chase a low scoring game (keep an eye on Vegas lines) as well as streaming in general to good results. So, who are we looking at for week 6? Let’s see…
Pittsburgh Steelers (47%)
The Steelers had a lousy start to the season with a tie to Cleveland, a loss to Kansas City, and no LeVeon Bell in sight. However, we would soon learn the Browns were a capable team, the Chiefs were excellent, and the Steelers would win two of their next three. The Steelers are good at getting to the opposing quarterback, and I think this will show up against Cincinnati in a big divisional matchup. Having just lost to Baltimore a couple weeks ago, I’m sure this is being looked at as a must-win in the locker room. T.J. Watt also seems fired up right now, and I expect him to reach Andy Dalton at least once this week. I’m looking for the Steelers to start fast, to force the Bengals to chase, and for Dalton to make some mistakes once things fall squarely on his shoulders. Feel confident with the Steelers if you can find them.
Tennessee Titans (46%)
As we saw in week 5, we can chase low scoring matchups. Two different games produced a pair of top-12 defenses and both were somewhat predictable. I think the Tennessee-Baltimore game will be one of those old-fashioned defensive slugs, and I would happily start either defense this week. While the Titans have not filled up the stat sheet to this point (2.6 sacks per game, .8 interceptions per game), they have proven they can play with anyone–and stop their offense. I think Tennessee would be happy to slug it out for 60 minutes, and I think they will attempt to take away the deep threat of John Brown as their top priority. The Titans give up just over 17 points per game, and I can start this in week 6 if I don’t have another option.
Cleveland Browns (33%)
The Cleveland Browns have been good this year, though they sit at only 2-2-1. Still, last year they won no games…so it’s a huge step forward. Defensively, they have put up 14 sacks as well as 8 interceptions, though they still lack a defensive touchdown. Philip Rivers has been careful with the ball and has thrown multiple touchdowns in every game. I think the only way the Browns find success is if they can force mistakes and pull down a defensive score. Denzel Ward has been huge in the secondary, and I think he could cause issues for the Chargers passing game. Finally, the Browns are at home. So, I could see enough here to roll with the Browns if other options are already taken.
Seattle Seahawks (32%, stream of the week)
The Seattle defense has given up 22+ points per game through their first 5 games, and they have only managed 10 sacks to this point. They have yet to score a defensive touchdown, and they have only put up double-digit fantasy points once this season–in week 3. So, what do I see in this matchup? First, the game is being played in London. I always love chasing the London games in terms of defense. It seems like offenses are most hit with these long trips, and so I jump on the favorite’s defense in these cases. Also, the Seahawks defense has already pulled in 9 interceptions while Derek Carr has thrown 8. This is a good combo for Seattle. Look for a couple picks, and hopefully one of them to be returned for a touchdown. Finally, the Oakland offense has proven so far to be a good matchup for opposing defenses. They have looked bad the last few weeks, and we can take advantage of this–along with the long travel–to boost the Seahawks ceiling this week. All of this combined makes the Seahawks defense a great choice for week 6, and they are my streamer of the week.