Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 3 Edition

After an impressive performance against one of the league's best offenses, don't sleep on the Browns this week.

Week 2 was not one for the record books as far as my defensive streaming recommendations are considered.

Jacksonville was about as bad a defensive play as you could find last week, as I obviously underestimated the Washington offense, especially with Kirk Cousins under center. And maybe the Jacksonville defense just isn’t that good. Consider it a lesson learned.

My other two suggestions, Detroit and Miami, finished as the 16th and 28th best fantasy defenses respectively last week.

My “deeper streamers” suggestions, on the other hand (Houston and Tampa Bay), fared okay, finishing Week 2 as the 12th and 21st best fantasy defenses. Tampa Bay underachieved against an undermanned St. Louis offense with Austin Davis under center, but that’s how the NFL goes sometimes.

With another week of actionable information to process, let’s look at the best defensive streaming matchups for Week 3.

Indianapolis Colts

Owned - ESPN: 3.9%, Yahoo: 28%
Week 3 numberFire Rank: 5th

The Colts’ defense played decent on Monday Night against the Philadelphia Eagles, despite allowing 30 points. They intercepted Nick Foles once, but failed to register a sack against an injury-riddled Eagles’ offensive line.

But if there was anything on earth more suited to remedy a lackluster pass rush, it would be the Jacksonville offensive line which surrendered an embarrassing 10 sacks on Sunday to the Washington Redskins. And while a repeat of that gaudy sack total is highly unlikely this week for the Colts’ defense, don’t expect the Jags line to miraculously turn the corner to being a respectable unit.

Vegas has the over/under for this game set at 45.5 with Indianapolis at 7-point favorites. Expect the Colts to be in position to grind the clock late in the game, and force Chad Henne to air it out which should lead to fantasy points galore.

While the Colts aren’t very good as a defensive unit, this matchup is too good to pass up.

Cleveland Browns

Owned - ESPN: 6.6%, Yahoo: 12%
Week 3 numberFire Rank: 11th

Not only did the Cleveland Browns pull out an upset win against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but they did it by largely limiting Drew Brees and the Saints’ powerful passing game. Brees’ 237-yard, 2-touchdown and 1-interception line is modest in comparison to his normal production. The Browns did allow 174 yards rushing, but balanced it out by forcing two turnovers.

Cleveland finished Week 2 tied for seventh-best in fantasy scoring for defenses, an even more impressive feat considering their opponent.

Few teams have faced a tougher first two weeks in regards to opposing offenses than Cleveland. With Pittsburgh and New Orleans out of the way, the next two opponents, Baltimore and Tennessee, appear much more manageable.

History has shown us that AFC North games are generally low scoring, and Vegas sees a similar situation playing out in this week’s Cleveland/Baltimore tilt setting the over/under at 41.5. The Browns are a high-end defensive streaming option this week due to the low over/under and the fact the game is being played in Cleveland.

Chicago Bears

Owned - ESPN: 6.8%, Yahoo: 51%
Week 3 numberFire Rank: 10th

It feels strange telling anyone to stream Chicago’s defense considering how atrocious they were just last season. But so far in 2014, the Bears’ defense ranks 14th in Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP), a metric which places a positive or negative point value on a team’s overall defensive performance adjusted for schedule.

Last Sunday night against San Francisco, the Bears’ defense was the driving force for the second-half comeback that ultimately led to the team spoiling the 49ers’ first game in their new stadium.

The Bears’ defense forced four turnovers and sacked Colin Kaepernick four times in a spirited effort. How much credit can be given to the defense or how much blame should be placed on Kaepernick is up for debate, but the fact is the Bears should no longer be considered the punching bag that they were in 2013.

Chicago travels to New York to face the Jets on Monday night, in a game that figures to be relatively low scoring (45.5 over/under). The Bears will be without Charles Tillman due to injury, but they face Geno Smith, who only completed 50% of his throws last week against Green Bay and may be without his best pass-catcher Eric Decker.

Deeper Streamers

New York Giants (vs. Houston Texans), Dallas Cowboys (vs. St. Louis Rams)