In the immortal words of pop icon Kenny Loggins, “This is it.” I might have dated myself a bit with that particular reference, but you get the picture.
It’s Week 16 and that means fantasy championship time in most leagues. Fret not though as there will be a streaming DST article next week for those leagues still sorting out their champions.
Back to this week. There is a common theme running through this week’s selections as we want to stream defenses not only with positive matchups but also those with something to play for.
Give me a defense/special teams struggling to make the playoffs or improve their seeding over a team playing out the season every day of the week.
Let’s take a look at the all-important Week 16 streaming DST selections.
Washington Redskins (vs. Denver)
The season-ending shoulder injury suffered by Trevor Siemian seems to have given the reins of the Denver offense back to Brock Osweiler (at least temporarily until they insert Paxton Lynch) and he performed well last week. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Colts secondary was without some key players and Osweiler is … well, Osweiler. On the season Osweiler is completing just 55 percent of his passes with six total touchdowns and five turnovers to his credit. Over the last four games the Broncos have allowed 13 sacks while turning the ball over seven times and giving up a defensive touchdown. Look for a rough outing against a Washington defense that has racked up 12 sacks, three interceptions, and a defensive score in the last four weeks. Should Denver decide to start the aforementioned Lynch it changes nothing, as Washington should still be streamed.
Chicago Bears (vs. Cleveland)
Despite the loss to Detroit last week the Bears defense has been trending upward for fantasy purposes. Much of their success has to do with bringing consistent pressure on the quarterback as they managed to get to Matthew Stafford four times last week adding a fumble recovery. The Browns offense continues to be a turnover machine with rookie QB DeShone Kizer at the helm. Kizer threw two more interceptions last week and lost a strip sack fumble in the end zone allowing a defensive touchdown for the Ravens. In the past three games Kizer has thrown five interceptions and lost a pair of fumbles. That is the type of quarterback play that we love to stream defense/special team units against.
Baltimore Ravens (vs. Indianapolis)
The Colts offense has actually shored things up a bit of late, allowing just two sacks and zero turnovers in their last two losses. That was against the Bills in a blizzard and a Denver defense that has not been the same force since losing defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. This week they face a top-five fantasy defense/special team that is firing on all cylinders. Baltimore took full advantage of their nice matchup with the Browns last week posting two sacks, two fumble recoveries with two interceptions and a defensive touchdown. The Ravens rely on a consistent pass rush led by veteran Terrell Suggs (11 sacks) and youngster Matt Judon (7) to get to the quarterback and an opportunistic secondary. The Ravens lead the league with 22 interceptions and are second in defensive touchdowns scored with five for the season.
Detroit Lions (at Cincinnati)
The Bengals offense has really struggled over the last two weeks and with the news head coach Marvin Lewis is reportedly planning to move on after the season it’s no wonder. In the last two games Cincinnati has given up six sacks along with a fumble recovery as well as three interceptions. They have also allowed a defensive score as Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks took back an Andy Dalton pick for a score. The Lions defense continued to flash their early-season form last week against the Bears, racking up a pair of sacks and hauling in three interceptions. Along with the two sacks the defense was credited with 13 quarterback hurries and two hits. Let’s ride the hot defense that’s still in contention for a Wild Card spot against an offense finishing out the string playing for a coaching staff that will not be around in 2018.
There is not a hotter defense/special team unit than the Rams over the past three weeks as they continue to put up fantasy points in multiple ways. Last week Los Angeles manhandled the Seahawks sacking Russell Wilson seven times while posting a pair of fumble recoveries as well as a safety. Over the past three games the Rams’ pass rush has been relentless as they have posted 15 sacks and more impressively been credited with 61 quarterback hurries and 12 hits. The Rams have also shown big-play ability beyond just getting to the quarterback as they have five turnovers along with both a defensive and special teams score. The match up with Tennessee isn’t ideal but the Rams defense is too hot to not play as they look to cement their playoff position.
Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Miami)
This is a tale of teams headed in the opposite direction despite Miami pulling off the upset against New England two weeks ago. Miami’s offense turned back into a pumpkin last week as Jay Cutler threw three interceptions and was sacked three times. The Chiefs on the other hand took control of the AFC West with a resounding victory over the Chargers. Their defense stepped up, picking off Philip Rivers three times, giving Kansas City five in the past two games. At this crucial point in the season there aren’t many nicer matchups than a Cutler-led offense traveling to Kansas City. Look for Justin Houston and company to harass the Dolphins quarterback into some untimely turnovers.
The Chargers are coming off one of their poorest outings from both a fantasy as well as actual NFL perspective. In their loss to the Chiefs they managed just a single sack and failed to post any other big plays. The loss hurt their playoff chances but did not end them. Los Angeles will still have something to play for when they travel to New York to face the Bryce Petty led Jets offense. Petty completed less than 50 percent of his passes last week finishing with just 179 yards while throwing a pair of interceptions against one touchdown. In their last two games New York has allowed five sacks and will not be able to contain Joey Bosa or Melvin Ingram this week.