Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 9 Edition
Hopefully you all checked out Sam Hauss’s streaming defenses article from last week, because the man did not lead you astray. Out of the three recommendations he gave, two finished as top-five scoring defenses, with the third finishing a respectable 15th.
Miami’s D/ST scored 26 points, and was an actual week winner for some fantasy owners, thanks to four sacks, three forced turnovers, and two defensive touchdowns. Jacksonville remains the top target for streaming defensive purposes.
Cleveland tallied three sacks and forced three turnovers, scoring 13 fantasy points. And despite facing the Colt McCoy-led Washington Redskins, the Cowboys registered three sacks but only one forced turnover, scoring six fantasy points.
With eight weeks in the books, we now have a substantial amount of data at our disposal. Using this information, let’s take a look at some Week 9 defensive streaming options.
Note: If Kansas City or Cincinnati are somehow available on your waiver wire, they are automatic starts this week given their respective matchups.
Owned - ESPN: 22.1%, Yahoo: 56% Week 9 numberFire Rank: 3rd
For real football purposes, Cleveland’s defense has been fairly inconsistent. Injuries have devastated their defensive line, and the secondary has been exploitable this season. From an efficiency standpoint, the Browns rank just 22nd in Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP).
But despite all of that, Cleveland has finished as a top-11 fantasy D/ST in each of the past three weeks.
A lot of their success can be attributed to their strength of schedule during that stretch – including Jacksonville and Oakland – which will continue to be favorable this week as they face Tampa Bay. The Bucs have given up an average of 10.6 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses, making them a prime target for streaming.
Cleveland is at home, favored by 6.5 points. Get them in your lineups.
Owned - ESPN: 9.9%, Yahoo: 34% Week 9 numberFire Rank: 8th
The Vikings’ defense rewarded owners who played them last week, winning the game in overtime on an Anthony Barr fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. They sacked Mike Glennon five times, and forced two turnovers.
Over the last three games, the Vikings’ D has accumulated 15 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries, and has allowed just 15.7 points per game. It looks like Mike Zimmer’s message is finally getting through to his players. Minnesota ranks ninth in Adjusted Defensive NEP through the first eight weeks, and has been especially stingy against the pass (fifth).
The Vikings welcome Washington on Sunday as a 2.5-point favorite. It’s undetermined who will be Washington’s starting quarterback, but either way, I would expect the Vikings to force Alfred Morris to carry the Redskins on his back.
Along with the good matchup, there’s always the threat of Cordarrelle Patterson in the return game, which could give a serious boost to your fantasy score.
Owned - ESPN: 19.7%, Yahoo: 13% Week 9 numberFire Rank: 5th
A large reason why Washington beat Dallas this past Monday night was the play of their defense. They sacked Tony Romo five times, forced two turnovers and held Dallas to just 17 points.
Although Washington still ranks in the bottom half of the league in terms of Adjusted Defensive NEP, they have turned in two consecutive top-16 fantasy finishes the last two weeks, and have another solid matchup against Minnesota in Week 9.
Since Week 5, Teddy Bridgewater has struggled, averaging just 195 passing yards per game, throwing 5 interceptions to just 2 touchdowns over that same span. Bridgewater ranks 32nd in Passing NEP among 34 quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts – only Geno Smith and Blake Bortles have been worse.
Despite being road underdogs, if Washington can remain strong against the run and force Bridgewater into a large volume day, turnovers could result.
Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Houston Texans), New Orleans Saints (vs. Carolina Panthers)