It’s now Week 13, which means one thing: the fantasy playoffs are on the horizon! Thus, every decision you make could be the difference between being a playoff team, and being left on the outside looking in.
Defenses aren’t discussed much in fantasy football, but they are still a critical part of a weekly matchup. With one “boom” game, a defense can be the deciding factor for you coming out on top. That’s what we’re all striving to find, which brings us to the focus of this article. Today, let us take a look at four defenses that you should look to stream. All of them come at affordable prices in daily fantasy leagues, and could be available for you to pick up on the waiver wire. Who are these four matchup winners? Let us get right into it!
Opponent: vs New York Giants
By now, it’s likely the Dolphins are rostered in your respective fantasy league. Yet, despite them scoring at least 17 fantasy points in three of their past four matchups, they are still available in roughly 40% of ESPN leagues.
Currently, the Giants have the fourth-lowest implied total; they are projected to score just 18.25 points. Meanwhile, they have the second-worst offensive line based on PFF pass-block grade, which doesn’t void well against a blitz-happy defense that has had much more success pressuring the quarterback as of late. It’s unclear if Daniel Jones will start at quarterback this week due to a neck injury, but if he does, it could be a long day for him; his 53 PFF grade and 0.9% big-time throw rate against the blitz are amongst the league’s worst. If it’s not Jones, then it will be Mike Glennon, whose 4.8% turnover-worthy play rate should excite those who start this defense this week.
The Dolphins are the obvious defense to stream this week, and if you want to splurge slightly on a defense on this week’s slate, their $3,300 DraftKings salary is reasonable. There is plenty of “boom” potential here between an ascending unit facing an injured, ineffective offense, and I’d want in on that. If they’re somehow available on your waiver wire, act now before it’s too late!
Opponent: at Detroit Lions
To be fair, is it THAT difficult to fade the Lions? The league’s sole winless team is averaging the third-fewest points/game (15.8) this season, and they’re currently scoring under two touchdowns per game.
That should be music to the Vikings defense’s ears, who can be picked up in 65% of ESPN leagues. Their pass rush, which has the league’s third-highest sack rate, has been lethal this season, but they’ve been susceptible in their secondary. Luckily for them, they’ll be facing a receiving corps consisting of Josh Reynolds, Amon-Ra St.Brown, and Khalif Raymond. Worried about them facing tight end TJ Hockenson? Well, thanks to their linebackers and safeties, they have been one of the most effective teams this season defending tight ends. It’s a great fit for them going up against a struggling offense with little big-play potential, making them a high-floor option this week. If that sounds ideal, make sure to pick them up now!
Las Vegas Raiders
Opponent: vs Washington Football Team
These next two defenses are rostered in 10% of ESPN leagues or under, making them great options to stream in deeper formats. With a 23.5 implied total, the Washington Football Team isn’t projected to be limited by the Raiders’ defense. However, as I’ve written about in this week’s betting preview, I’m not sure I’m aligned with the betting markets here.
Taylor Heinicke is Pro Football Focus’ 29th-graded quarterback, while his turnover-worthy play rate (3.4%) is higher than his big-time throw rate (3.1%). Washington has gotten by relying on a run-heavy attack, but game script could throw them out of that if the Raiders offense produces at the level they are capable of (26 implied points). Currently, Las Vegas has the second highest PFF pass-rush grade, which could be problematic for Heinicke; he has a 4.7% turnover-worthy play rate and 52.9 PFF grade when under pressure this season.
This isn’t a sexy option, but one with a decent floor and ceiling based on Heincike’s turnover potential. I know Las Vegas has allowed 30+ points in three straight games, but that came against the Chiefs, Bengals, and Cowboys. Washington, who is averaging barely 20 points per game this season, doesn’t quite match up with those offenses. For a lower-cost option in daily fantasy or a streaming option in deeper leagues, the Raiders certainly fit the bill this week.
New York Giants
Opponent: at Miami Dolphins
Oh, you thought we were done with the Giants/Dolphins game? That’s not going to be the case when the over/under is a paltry 40.5 points. The Dolphins have been a top-ten offense to start an opposing defense against this season, and although that includes games with Jacoby Brissett, Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t been careful with the football with a 3.6% turnover-worthy play rate. This is more of an option in deeper formats, as New York is available in 95% of ESPN leagues, but there’s some value to be had here. Despite Miami’s recent success, I wouldn’t classify them as a productive offense, and the betting markets would agree here. If you’re desperate or want to save money in your daily fantasy lineup, consider the Giants here.
Previous Week: Panthers, Bengals, Texans, Lions
Photos by Zach Bolinger & Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)