Every week in this space, we take a trip through the week of games to come to identify some top streaming defense options for fantasy.
With Week 10 of the NFL season on the horizon, the push for the fantasy football playoffs is officially in full swing. Sure, there are those teams at 8-1 or 7-2 sitting pretty, but the real fun lies with the 6-3, 5-4, or even 4-5 fantasy squads scratching and clawing for those precious victories.
It’s this time of the season that the streaming defenses/special team strategies get very interesting. For instance, outside of the Jacksonville Jaguars, is there a defense that one can trust to just roll out on a weekly basis despite the matchup?
Does one bad week eliminate a team from future streaming down the stretch? In this week’s edition, there are some teams that may surprise some readers, but this is the time of year for bold choices — especially if your team happens to be in a fight for that final playoff spot.
Let’s take a look at the Week 10 streaming D/ST options.
New York Jets (at Tampa Bay)
Led by a resurgent Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets defense is coming off one of its best games of the season. Wilkerson has posted a sack in back-to-back games and New York racked up seven in total last week in the victory over the Bills. The Jets also recovered three fumbles for a double-digit big-play performance. The Buccaneers offense has really struggled of late, allowing seven sacks in the past two weeks as well as four turnovers. Let’s ride the hot hand this week in a matchup with a Tampa Bay offense that is going to be without Jameis Winston (shoulder) and lacks consistency.
Los Angeles Rams (vs. Houston)
The season-ending injury suffered by quarterback Deshaun Watson once again puts the Texans squarely on the map as an offense we want to stream defenses against. Tom Savage was underwhelming last week, completing just 43 percent of his passes while tossing one touchdown and losing a game-ending fumble. The Rams defense is a top-five fantasy unit on the season and continue to get it done in all facets of the game. Los Angeles has 25 sacks and 15 turnovers along with a pair of both defensive and special team touchdowns. In the last two games, Aaron Donald has racked up five solo tackles along with two sacks along with a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Look for another big week from the Rams’ dominant defensive tackle.
Seattle Seahawks (at Arizona)
Since starting the season slowly, the Seattle defense has been among the top-scoring fantasy options over the past month. Over that time, the unit has put up 12 sacks (six last week in the loss to Washington) with five turnovers and a defensive score. Veteran edge rusher Dwight Freeney was recently signed and promptly posted a two-sack game last week. The Cardinals managed to beat the 49ers last week with backup quarterback Drew Stanton at the helm but will face a much tougher test this week. Look for Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, and Freeney to harass Stanton into multiple mistakes Thursday night.
The Saints defense got back on track last week in the team’s sixth straight win racking up four sacks and returning a blocked punt for a score against Tampa Bay. New Orleans has been a top-10 fantasy defense/special team since Week 6 and has a nice matchup this week to continue their roll. The Bills offense was manhandled by the Jets last week, giving up seven sacks while turning the ball over three times. Heading into this matchup we have two units moving in opposite directions and the smart money is on New Orleans continuing to create big plays via consistent pressure on Tyrod Taylor.
The Patriots have been one of the least productive fantasy defenses through the first nine weeks of the season. They’ve lacked a pass rush and have managed just nine total turnovers while failing to post a defensive or special teams touchdown to date. Luckily for New England this is just the matchup to jump start their defense down the stretch. Denver’s offense has had a very hard time protecting the football lately and in particular their quarterback play has been very shaky. Trevor Siemian was benched after turning the ball over seven times in Weeks 6-8 in favor of Brock Osweiler. Last week, Osweiler tossed a pair of interceptions in a blowout loss to Philadelphia. Denver is also allowing an average of four sacks per game over the past month.
Detroit Lions (vs. Cleveland)
This will be short and sweet. Always stream the defense playing against the Browns and their league-leading (tied with Denver) 21 turnovers. That is all.
It’s not often that a team having just given up 51 points will make the streaming list. Especially when that defense is among the bottom dwellers when it comes to fantasy scoring. The Giants season has been a huge disappointment and their defense has woefully under performed. So why should owners take a chance at streaming this struggling unit? They are lining up against the 49ers and an offense that has been giving up big fantasy totals over the last three weeks. For three weeks in a row the defense that has played San Francisco has finished in the top-10 for fantasy purposes. San Francisco struggles to protect the quarterback (likely to be C.J. Beathard again this week) having allowed 14 sacks along an alarming 51 quarterback hurries and 24 hits in Weeks 7-9.
The Colts did manage to squeak out a win last week against the Texans, but their offense continues to be generous to opposing defenses. The Colts gave up their 17th sack in the past three games as well as a defensive touchdown for the second week in a row. Indianapolis has now allowed a league-high six defensive scores on the season. Those are the type of numbers that deserve to be streamed against. The Steelers defense has yet to score but the unit does have 26 sacks on the season as well as seven interceptions. Look for Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt both to have very big days against the porous Colts offensive line. This is the week that the Steelers defense finds the end zone.