Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 2 Edition

With one week in the books, we have a small sample of data to use in pinpointing defenses with juicy Week 2 matchups.

During the course of the NFL off-season, offensive and defensive units can go through massive transformations. As players and coaches come and go, data from the previous season can’t always be counted upon to be a reliable predictor of future events.

Trying to forecast how a defense will perform in Week 1 is nothing more than assuming what a team looks like on paper will translate onto the football field.

In Week 1, both Philadelphia and Houston were top-12 fantasy defenses, Oakland finished 16th, while the NY Jets were very disappointing at 23rd overall considering their plus-matchup on paper versus the Raiders.

Now, looking at Week 2, we'll use what we learned last week, and focus on defenses who figure to feast on struggling offenses.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Owned: ESPN - 0.5%, Yahoo - 1%
Week 2 numberFire Rank: 14th

Raise your hand if you saw the Jaguars holding the Eagles scoreless through 30 minutes of football last week. The Jaguars’ current ownership rate shows that most people believe their Week 1 performance was a fluke.

The Jaguars were the fourth-best fantasy defense in Week 1, boosted by five sacks and two forced turnovers. The Eagles offensive firepower eventually emerged by scoring 34 unanswered points, but the foundation of a solid defense appears to be in place in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville also finished as the 12th best defense in terms of Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP), an impressive feat considering the dangerous offense they faced. In Week 2, Jacksonville travels to Washington to take on a seriously-dysfunctional looking Redskins’ offense in a game Vegas sees as relatively low-scoring (43.5 O/U). Unless Washington can dramatically rebound at home, Jacksonville is a solid streaming play.

Detroit Lions

Owned: ESPN - 10%, Yahoo - 46%
Week 2 numberFire Rank: 17th

The New York Giants offense looked shaky through the preseason, and the Detriot Lions’ defense took full advantage on Monday Night. They finished the week as the seventh best fantasy defense according to ESPN, intercepting Eli Manning twice along the way.

Picking up right where they left off last season, the Lions were especially stingy against the run, limiting the Giants to just 53 yards on 22 attempts.

Detroit was also phenomenal according to our metrics, ranking sixth in overall Defensive NEP and fourth against the pass. If Detroit can continue to play tough against the pass, combined with their stout run defense, they could become an every-week fantasy start sooner rather than later.

Detroit travels to Carolina in Week 2, and may or may not see Cam Newton (they probably will) under center. Even though Panthers' backup Derek Anderson was serviceable last Week against Tampa Bay, the Lions defensive unit is much more formidable and should make it difficult on Anderson or Newton and the Panthers’ offense.

Miami Dolphins

Owned: ESPN - 6.6%, Yahoo - 9%
Week 2 numberFire Rank: 14th

One of the bigger upsets in Week 1 was Miami over New England. A large reason why the Dolphins pulled out the win was the play of their defense, a unit that finished seventh in fantasy scoring in Week 1.

Facing New England and holding Tom Brady to just 62 passing yards in the second half speaks volumes about the Dolphins' defense.

Miami finished third in overall Defensive NEP and second against the pass last week, in what was a very efficient performance. If they can effectively suffocate one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, E.J Manuel should pose no real threat.

Vegas sees this matchup as a typical, low-scoring AFC East clash, with the over/under set at 43. And even though Manuel led his team to a big win last Week against Chicago, he ranked 17th in Passing NEP, just slightly above replacement-level.

If Miami keeps the Bills’ running game in check, Manuel will likely revert to the quarterback we've known him to be in the past. Stream Miami.

Other Streamers

Houston Texans (vs. Oakland Raiders), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. St. Louis Rams)