3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming Options for Week 11
Week 10 was a decent week for this column as the Baltimore Ravens completely wrecked the Cincinnati Bengals as the top recommendation of the week, but the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns both had sub-par days against mediocre offenses. If you had the Ravens though, you likely did well in Week 10.
Time to look ahead to Week 11 for streaming defenses. All recommendations are available in over 70% of ESPN fantasy leagues. Quite frankly, this is a brutal week to be streaming defenses, as the mid-range ownership defenses are all in middling-to-bad matchups or on a bye in Week 11. The Jacksonville Jaguars could be out there in some leagues, and they are certainly very appealing if Brian Hoyer is starting again. The Cleveland Browns will be a middling option as they host the underwhelming Pittsburgh Steelers offense in Week 11. Otherwise, it's time to dumpster-dive.
ESPN Ownership: 8.5%
Washington is the top option of the widely-available units for me this week, as they play host to the New York Jets. Not only are they coming off their bye week, but since Week 3, Washington has scored five or more fantasy points (by default settings) in every game except Week 9 against the Buffalo Bills, including matchups with the New England Patriots, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Minnesota Vikings. They have been a quietly decent fantasy D/ST unit for over two months now.
Washington opens as 1-point favorites at home, despite starting rookie Dwayne Haskins at quarterback this week. Washington has allowed teams to score at a high rate on them (over 40% of opposing offensive possessions) but is turning opponents over at an above-average rate as well (12.1% of drives). Washington is getting sacks at just a league-average rate (6.9% of dropbacks), but they are generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks at the seventh-highest rate in the NFL, so that sack rate could even tick up a bit in the coming weeks.
The good news is that the Jets offense has been a dumpster fire this season, to put it nicely. The Jets are scoring on just 16.5% of their possessions (the only team under 20%) and turning the ball over on almost 15% of their drives, good for the 10th-worst number in the league. The Jets are also trailing only the Tennessee Titans in giving up sacks at 12.1% of their dropbacks (only those two teams are above 10%, so it's bad). Even a bad defense, which Washington has quietly not been (bad), should be able to cause trouble for the Jets. Washington's defense, which has been a reasonable fantasy option, should be in for a nice outing.
New York Jets
ESPN Ownership: 21.3%
No need to overthink this one as owners who miss on Washington can just flip to the other side of that matchup -- the New York Jets. The Jets are surprising 1-point underdogs in this game, and playing on the road to boot. However, they should still be able to post a nice fantasy line in a favorable matchup against the rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has struggled in limited action this season.
The Jets are allowing scoring drives at basically the league-average rate but are not generating turnovers frequently -- just 9.2% of drives which ranks eighth-worst in the league. The Jets are also struggling to get pressure and sacks on opposing quarterbacks, so it looks bad on the surface. The bright side is that they have been decent in their last three games, with at least two sacks in each and a turnover in two of three. Jets have allowed under 20 points in just three games this season, with no fewer than 17 in any game (Buffalo Bills, Week 1). Washington's implied total is just under 20, so if the Jets can limit the offense better than the last few weeks, a usable fantasy line is well within reach.
Washington is scoring at the third-worst rate in the league, at just 23.4% of their drives, which bodes well for the Jets allowing fewer points than their norm. Washington is also turning the ball over on almost 15% of their drives, a top-ten rate in the league, which could well tick up unless Haskins gets on track soon. Over 9% of Washington's pass plays end in a sack, and Haskins was notably not mobile at all during his career at Ohio State. The Jets could easily walk away from this game with a handful of sacks. It's not a great feeling but using the Jets as a road underdog is in play this week.
ESPN Ownership: 1.2%
Let's keep it simple here -- if you're desperate, use the underwhelming Oakland Raiders defense against the even-more-underwhelming Cincinnati Bengals offense, featuring rookie Ryan Finley at quarterback in just his second NFL start. The Bengals are allowing sacks at the 11th-highest rate in the NFL, scoring at the sixth-lowest rate, and committing turnovers at the third-highest rate. Even the Raiders could probably bomb in this game, but they have a sack or turnover in all but one game this season. The Raiders also have ten sacks and five turnovers in their last three games, so it could be worse.
At least the Raiders are massive 10.5-point favorites in this game at home, so there is a strong chance that they will at least have opportunities to rack up fantasy points. This is not for the weak, and should only be used in case of emergency, but even the undesirable defenses are mostly in bad matchups this week, so it's a tough spot.