3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming Options for Week 4
The San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns defenses are both over 33.3% ownership but under 50% ownership on ESPN, but as San Francisco has a bye week and the Browns match up with the dynamic Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson, both can be faded this week. So, all suggested streamers are owned in less than one-third of ESPN leagues and are likely available for pickup.
ESPN Ownership: 27.6%
The Broncos have not been as fearsome as in some of the previous seasons, but they are off to a decent enough start and though the Jaguars have a lot of hype surrounding Gardner Minshew, he is still a rookie playing on an offense without a ton of weapons. Denver ranks about middle of the league in points allowed (17th-fewest) and above average in yardage allowed (9th-fewest). Denver does not yet have a sack or a turnover, but this should be the week they get on the board.
The Jaguars rank just 22nd in yards and points on offense and could well have run the fewest plays in the league. The Jaguars have given up five sacks through three games at a rate just below league-average and have committed three turnovers in three games. This isn't the matchup of the year, but the Broncos look to have an underperforming defense so far, and the Jaguars offense still has a wide range of outcomes.
ESPN Ownership: 20.9%
The Indianapolis Colts currently sit as 7-point favorites over the underwhelming Oakland Raiders, who have come well back to earth since their Week 1 explosion. With no Antonio Brown as initially expected, the Raiders have been relying on rookie Josh Jacobs, field-stretcher Tyrell Williams, and converted tight end Darren Waller as their primary playmakers. Their offense is underwhelming and not intimidating, to put it mildly, though each player has had their moments.
Oakland ranks just 25th in yards and 28th in points scored offensively through three games of 2019, while the Colts have allowed marginally more than league-average amounts in both categories. The Colts also rank below average in terms of turnovers (three) but are above average in sacks with seven thus far. Much like the first recommendation, this isn't a bet as much on the Colts defensively as against the Raiders offensively. While neither unit is world-beating, the Colts defense should be stronger than the Raiders offense, and the game script should favor the Colts.
Through three games in 2019, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is above his career rate in interceptions, below his career rate in touchdowns, and well above his career rate in sacks taken (6.7% so far this year). If there's a game for the Colts to disrupt the passing game, this looks like a good bet.
ESPN Ownership: 15.7%
The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting picked apart thus far in 2019, allowing the fourth-most yards and points in the NFL through three games (not great, Bob). However, they have played the New England Patriots, the Seattle Seahawks, and the San Francisco 49ers -- all good offensive teams with solid, franchise quarterbacks at the helm.
The Steelers sit as 4.5-point home favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals as of this writing, even with Mason Rudolph leading the offense, and the game's Over/Under total is set to 43.5, which is a low mark. It's okay even if the Steelers give up yards and touchdowns galore (well, not that extreme) on Sunday because fantasy scoring is driven primarily by sacks and turnovers (and touchdowns).
Through three games, the Steelers have had a massive 19.4% of their opponents' drives ending in turnovers, which is good for third-best in the league. That accounts for two interceptions and five fumbles so far. While the Steelers are below league-average with a 5.5% sack rate, they certainly have the playmakers to turn that around in a flash, and turnovers are the plays that provide scoring chances. The Bengals are currently tied for a league-high eight turnovers in 2019. What's better -- they have allowed a 7.9% sack rate, good for 9th-highest in the league. It's a good bet that the Steelers will get into the backfield and improve their sack totals this week, and the turnovers could well be a result of that disruption.