3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming Options for Week 6
Week 5 saw mixed results for us with the San Francisco 49ers lighting up the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football to the tune of 19 fantasy points, and the Oakland Raiders posted a strong outing in London against the Chicago Bears with two picks and four sacks, but the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who have actually been strong this year defensively) got lit up by Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints.
Time to look ahead to Week 6 for streaming defenses. All recommendations are available in over 70% of ESPN fantasy leagues. Caution: this is a tough week for defensive streamers, as almost all of the widely available defenses are both 1) not good and 2) playing against a decent/good offense. On the plus side, that means there should be a viable option already on your roster or a higher-owned defense slipped through the cracks, so look that direction if possible.
The Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, and Tennessee Titans are available in enough leagues that they could be on the waiver wire. Those would be significantly better options if any are available. That said, let's dig through the dumpster for possible gems. The Buccaneers also have a decent enough matchup that they could be considered ahead of door number-three, but if the Dolphins don't make the article this week, they never will!
ESPN Ownership: 19.8%
After a slow start to 2019 for what remains a talented defensive unit, the Denver Broncos finally had an impact game on the defensive side of the ball, limiting the dangerous Los Angeles Chargers' offense to just 13 points and recording two interceptions. Heading into Week 6, they get a nominally easier matchup as they host the Tennessee Titans in Denver.
The Titans are no pushover offensively, but they rank a handful of slots below average in terms of points scored and yards gained (21st and 25th, respectively, pending Monday Night Football). Their calling card this season on offense has been to limit turnovers, as they have just one through five games (no other team has fewer than four turnovers). The good news is that the Titans rank just 28th in the league in terms of percentage of drives that result in a score, so while they may not be giving the ball away, they're not doing much damage.
What's more is that the Titans are truly elite at giving up sacks to opposing defenses thus far in 2019, surrendering 22 sacks through five games, which is only one behind the league-leading New York Jets (who have played just four games, I might add). The Broncos have been sluggish in getting to the quarterback in 2019, but they did record five sacks in their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Look for Denver to get to Marcus Mariota in this game. Even without turnovers, they offer a decent floor and could return value with a few sacks.
The Broncos are slight 2.5-point favorites in this game, but the low over/under of 39.0 is very appealing for a streaming defense.
ESPN Ownership: 4.3%
Picking on the hapless Miami Dolphins is a theme of the 2019 fantasy football season, as they're a good matchup across the board, really. That said, Washington is also mostly abysmal and may seem like an interesting choice. I confess, it's largely due to lack of decent matchups for defensive streamers this week, but Washington does have seven turnovers and nine sacks to their name though five games in 2019, and they are coming off decent performances against the Chicago Bears and New York Giants before their respectable-but-not-great outing against the New England Patriots last week.
The Dolphins practically let opposing teams live in their backfield, allowing 18 sacks through four games (tied for fifth-most in the league, though mostly behind teams who have played an extra game). They are also extremely susceptible to turnovers, surrendering the ball to the opposing defense on over 20% of their drives (the second-highest rate in the league). Even better, they score at just a 14% rate on their offensive possessions, better than only the Jets.
Washington is a 3.5-point favorite on the road in this game, and while their defense is far from one of the league's better units, almost any defense will be able to create opportunities and fantasy points against the Dolphins, so don't worry too much if this is your desperation selection.
ESPN Ownership: 0.4%
Let's collectively *really* hope it doesn't come to this, but if every other viable option is unavailable (which seems highly unlikely), you could perhaps do worse than using the aforementioned Dolphins, who play host to Washington in Week 6 (duh). While the Dolphins are slight underdogs in this game, the over/under is very low (shocking, I know) at just 41.0 total points.
On the plus side, Washington is hardly better offensively than the Dolphins are, so just re-read the section above basically. Washington scores at the third-lowest rate in the league on their offensive possessions, turn the ball over at the fourth-highest rate, and have allowed 15 sacks through five games (tied for eighth-most in the league).
On the minus side, the Dolphins have recorded just two takeaways and five sacks through four games, which are both poor marks, and they are the lowest-scoring fantasy defense in the league by most formats. That said, part of the problem is that the Dolphins have surrendered 30 points in all four of their games, and that seems like an unlikely proposition for the Washington offense no matter who they are playing.
Let's still agree that we hope this situation can be avoided, but the Fins could provide a usable fantasy line by the end of this contest. And I'd still rather use the Dolphins this week than several other options including the New York Giants (at NE), the Cincinnati Bengals (at BAL), or the Kansas City Chiefs (vs. HOU).