3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming Options for Week 15
We will continue to look ahead for playoff stashes as we have been the last few weeks. For those in the semifinals for Week 15, you just need to survive two weeks, so think ahead with waiver claims if you didn't already prepare. If your playoffs end in Week 17, that's inadvisable, but look back to last week's piece for thoughts on how to handle waivers based on whether you have a first-round bye.
All recommendations are available in over two-thirds of ESPN fantasy leagues. The Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles are both in great spots against anemic offenses and are high-priority options if available for the week. There will be no third option this week as the fantasy playoffs are all or nothing, and now is not the time to be dumpster diving or getting cute with lineups.
If no seemingly viable options are available, take to Twitter, where I will do my best to assist.
ESPN Ownership: 23.8%
After the Kansas City Chiefs had a big week against the New England Patriots, creating a lot of pressure on Tom Brady, look no further than them this week as the top option of the defenses available in at least two-thirds of ESPN leagues. The Chiefs will be a flop if it turns out that Drew Lock is the next coming of John Elway, but that seems unlikely despite an impressive start to Lock's rookie campaign. Week 15 should make for a nice day from the Chiefs against the Denver Broncos with hopes of a first-round bye mounting for Andy Reid and company.
The Chiefs have multiple sacks in six of their last seven games as well as nine turnovers in their last four games. They also have a blocked kick in two straight games, but it's probably best not to bet on that. On the season, the Chiefs are surrendering points at an average rate, just over one-third of their defensive drives. However, they are turning over opponents at a high rate, with almost 14% (T-8th) of their defensive drives ending in a takeaway. KC is racking up a sack on 7.4% of their opponents' pass plays this season, though they started slow and have been much more disruptive of late. Expect the pressure to continue in this week's contest.
Denver has not been an offensive juggernaut this season, ranking bottom-10 in the league in points per drive and sixth-worst in yards per drive. Denver is also bottom-10 in sack rate allowed with a touch more than 8% of their passing plays resulting in a sack allowed. Through two games, Lock has recorded 443 yards (8.1 yards per attempt), five touchdowns, and two interceptions. The touchdown rate is at 9.1% and clearly unsustainable over a larger sample. Lock has taken just one sack so far, which figures likely to tick up given the struggles of the Broncos to protect their passers this season and the ability of the Chiefs to get home with the pass rush.
There's a chance that Lock is the real deal, but the Chiefs are a strong process play and much more likely than not to deliver a strong fantasy outing for Week 15.
New York Giants
ESPN Ownership: 4.4%
This is not for the faint of heart, but the reeling New York Giants get the pleasure of hosting the Miami Dolphins in Week 15 (oh, and they play Washington on the road in Week 16, which isn't half bad). The Dolphins are allowing the most points to opposing defenses on the season (may vary slightly based on scoring settings), so even against the lowly Giants, there is potential for a nice outing. A mild incentive to keep them in Week 16 with no more waiver claims needed gives them just enough juice to consider, but only in deeper leagues or for those who are desperate due to playing with defense hoarders.
The Giants are fifth-worst in the league at preventing scores, with opponents scoring on them at over a 40% clip on their possessions. They fare a bit better in turnovers, with 10.4% of drives ending in a change of possession, ranking 20th in the league. The Giants will likely make their money this week by pressuring Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is a known "DGAF" quarterback willing to make risky throws. The Giants are pressuring opposing quarterbacks on just over 22% of dropbacks, an above-average rate in the league. Fitzpatrick ranks top-10 in the league this season with an 8.2% sack rate and fourth-worst with a 3.3% interception rate.
The clearest path to a big fantasy day for the Giants is by generating pressure and a Fitzpatrick meltdown. Even without that, there is a chance for the Giants to simply stifle the Dolphins on offense. Miami ranks fourth-worst with 25.2 yards of offense gained per drive as well as fourth-worst with 1.48 points scored per drive. Even though the Dolphins have been better of late, they are still one of the best matchups to target, and the Giants have a clear path to a usable fantasy outing.
There are really no other obvious spots for low-owned defenses, so those in a pinch should consider the G-Men for Week 15.
The unexciting Detroit Lions get plus matchups with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos in Week 15 and Week 16, respectively. The Lions are not a strong defense in many regards, so this is only for those with limited options.
For the dumpster divers out there in deep leagues, the Miami Dolphins line up against the Giants this week and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16.