Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 5 Edition
Even with the influx of youth in the form of Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense looked ripe for the picking in an away matchup against the San Diego Chargers in Week 4. And although Bortles showed encouraging signs of things to come in the future, the Chargers forced three turnovers, finishing the week as the eighth-ranked fantasy defense.
While Bortles does give the Jags’ offense more explosive potential than does Chad Henne, until he can begin to eliminate turnovers and sacks, Jacksonville can be targeted by defensive streamers on a weekly basis.
The Lions’ defense was serviceable against the rudderless New York Jets, forcing two turnovers and sacking Geno Smith four times en route to finishing as the 10th best defense on the week. While the Jets were surprisingly productive on the ground, gaining 132 yards, the Detroit secondary continues to improve only allowing 209 yards on the day.
Without registering a single sack on Derek Carr, the Dolphins’ defense finished as the third best fantasy defense last week, propelled by four forced turnovers. The Raiders only managed 53 yards rushing, and are a team in free fall. As heartless and cold as it may seem, Oakland is another prime target for streaming purposes.
Let’s get Week 5 started.
Owned - ESPN: 8.2%, Yahoo: 20% Week 4 numberFire Rank: 6th
What the Eagles’ defense pulled off this past Sunday is most certainly an outlier. Expecting a fantasy defense to score three touchdowns in three different ways on a given week is borderline insanity. And even though that’s exactly what this defense did against San Francisco, it isn’t going to happen again anytime soon.
With that being said, Philadelphia currently ranks fourth in Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP), a measure of defensive efficiency adjusted for strength of schedule. According to this metric, they have been better than both Seattle and Detroit, mostly thanks to their aggressive play.
Philadelphia returns home in Week 5 to face the St. Louis Rams who rank 26th in Adjusted Offensive NEP so far this season. And even though Austin Davis has played well in his last two starts, head coach Jeff Fisher has alluded to Shaun Hill becoming the starter once he returns from injury, causing some ambiguity which makes the Eagles' match up even more enticing.
Vegas has Philadelphia as seven-point favorites in a game with a 47 point over/under. The point spread and the game being played in Philly makes the Eagles a good bet to finish as a top-12 defense in fantasy for Week 5.
Owned - ESPN: 4.9%, Yahoo: 9% Week 4 numberFire Rank: 10th
I’ve been burned by this defensive unit before (Week 3 vs. Baltimore), but I’m going back to the well one more time.
Coming off their bye week, the Browns should be fully rested, and fully enraged at the way they let the game slip away in Week 3 against their rival, the Baltimore Ravens.
Cleveland has been middling in terms of Adjusted Defensive NEP (ranking 23rd), but this week’s opponent could be just the remedy they need.
Cleveland travels to Tennessee on Sunday, who will most likely be without their starting quarterback Jake Locker, who is recovering from a wrist injury. His replacement, Charlie Whitehurst, didn’t do much to instill confidence in the Titans’ fan base last week as he completed just 52% of his throws in Week 4.
The Titans are favored by 1.5 points at home, but aren’t a very good team. Look for Cleveland to come out angry and aggressive.
New Orleans Saints
Owned - ESPN: 79.2%, Yahoo: 14% Week 4 numberFire Rank: 11th
The Saints’ ownership number in ESPN leagues makes them a borderline inclusion on this list, but I’m assuming that some owners may drop New Orleans following their sub-par performance last Sunday night against Dallas.
The Saints allowed 190 yards rushing and failed to force a turnover against the Cowboys in their embarrassing 38-17 defeat. And while none of this brews much optimism, the Saints return home this week to face Tampa Bay, a place where New Orleans typically thrives.
Despite currently ranking 31st in Adjusted Defensive NEP, the Saints are 10.5-point favorites against a Tampa Bay team who could fall victim to a letdown following their come-from-behind upset in Pittsburgh last Sunday. It also bodes well that Tampa Bay ranks 29th offensively so far this season.
New Orleans is heading home, and should be looking for redemption and to avoid going 1-4 to start the season. And while this is by no means a “guaranteed home-run play,” in a week where promising streaming options are limited, a home team favored by 10-plus points is the closest thing you will get to a sure-thing.
Green Bay (vs. Minnesota Vikings), Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)