3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming Options for Week 3
After solid outings from all three recommendations for Week 2, it's already time to consider defenses to stream for Week 3.
Now that most of the non-plug-and-play defenses from Week 1 that were drafted are likely on the waiver wire, there are lots of options to consider. So, with that noted, who are the optimal streaming defenses for Week 3?
There are no defenses between 40% and 50% owned in ESPN leagues, so I'll be considering any defense below the 40% mark to be a viable streamer this week.
ESPN Ownership: 37.5%
The ideal spot for a streaming defense is as a home favorite, and it's hard to be more of a home favorite than the Dallas Cowboys are in Week 3. "America's Team" will host the hapless Miami Dolphins, and they open as a 21-point favorite in the contest.
The Cowboys are likely owned in enough leagues that readers will hit me up on Twitter and let me know, but if they are available, they are the cream of the crop for Week 3 streaming defenses. This game has a modest 47.5-point over/under, giving the Fins an implied total of only 13.25 points (which is abysmal). The Dolphins are stuck with either interception machine Ryan Fitzpatrick or deer-in-the-headlights Josh Rosen at quarterback, and they have a laughably weak skill position group (featuring undrafted Preston Williams as arguably their go-to "playmaker" so far in 2019). To be fair, Fitzpatrick and Rosen have both impressed at times in their respective careers, but neither can put this offense on his shoulders.
The Dolphins managed to score no points and total fewer than than 200 yards of offense against the New England Patriots in Week 2 -- all while allowing sacks galore and two pick-sixes. The Cowboys can have about half of the field day that New England had in Week 2 and be a very fine fantasy asset in Week 3.
The Cowboys rank about league-average in points and yards allowed through two weeks as well as percentage of opponents' drives ending in a turnover. While they are near the bottom of the league with just two sacks so far, this will be a get-right game for a Dallas defense that has not yet hit its stride in 2019 but has a lot of strong playmakers.
Green Bay Packers
ESPN Ownership: 7.1%
It's easy to bag on Joe Flacco, and I love doing it as much as anyone, but he's looked pretty decent to start 2019 all things considered. The Denver Broncos, however, are still far from an intimidating offense, and the Green Bay Packers have been putting on a show defensively in 2019 against two division rivals with offenses that were expected to be strong.
The Packers have allowed just 19 points through two games, which puts them second-best in the league behind only the New England Patriots, who have allowed only one field goal. The Packers are tied for the league-high with five takeaways, though, which is a better indicator of fantasy output. They also have racked up six sacks through two games, tied for seventh-best in the league.
As 7.5-point home favorites, the Packers should be playing with a lead in this game, forcing Flacco and company to lean on the passing game. Flacco's marks of 6.7 yards per attempt and a 3.7% touchdown rate are no cause for concern when that happens. While Flacco doesn't throw a ton of interceptions (0.83 per game for his career), he has taken about two sacks per game over his career, so the Packers should have a chance to cause some trouble if they get out to an early lead.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ESPN Ownership: 0.6%
It probably won't be a good feeling to use the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' D in fantasy football, but they have done surprisingly well so far in 2019 and get the obvious benefit of facing the lackluster New York Giants and the ever-confused Eli Manning.
On the plus side, Tampa Bay opens as 6.5-point home favorites, making them the home favorite we crave. They have also recorded three takeaways thus far in 2019, good for a 13.0% mark in percentage of opponents' drives ending in a turnover (tied for 10th-best in the NFL). Manning has thrown two interceptions so far, which isn't horrible but is not good either. The Bucs rank near enough to league-average in points allowed, yards allowed, and sack rate. On the minus side, Manning has been sacked just twice this year, and the Giants have the ability to deliver long touchdown plays courtesy of Saquon Barkley.
There's also a chance the G-Men turn to Daniel Jones in this game, which doesn't change this recommendation much at all.
The Bucs are, at best, a mid-tier defense, so they shouldn't be a priority for streaming, but they can definitely be considered an upside play for either deep leagues or leagues that hoard defenses if there are fewer options than usual available. They shouldn't be totally overlooked in Week 3.