Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 15 Edition

After a decisive victory over the Saints, the Panthers get a promising matchup against the Buccaneers this weekend.

So last week, my streaming recommendations featured two colossal misses, paired with one excellent play. I’m hoping for your sake you deployed the Vikings defense everywhere possible and missed on both the Packers and Saints.

Minnesota did what most teams do against the Jets – they took advantage of an offense that has shown no real cohesion during any point of the season, finishing as the fifth-best fantasy defense for the week with 13 points.

Green Bay and New Orleans, on the other hand, laid eggs, except for the fact that they were even worse than that. Both recorded negative fantasy points, something that will make any owner shudder. Despite two favorable, home matchups, these defenses struggled and hurt the owners who used them.

Looking ahead to week 15, for most owners still alive in re-draft, this is crunch time. Finding a stream-worthy defense can help you advance in your playoff matchups, and I’ll do my best to give you options to do just that.

Carolina Panthers

Owned - ESPN: 16.2%, Yahoo: 39%
Week 15 numberFire Rank: 12th

Fresh off of one of the most surprising wins of the 2014 season, the Panthers represent the best streaming option for Week 15. If you predicted the 41-10 drubbing Carolina put on New Orleans last week, you may be the second coming of Nostradamus.

It’s difficult to know just how much of Carolina’s 10th-best finish last week is due to their defense and how much is due to the dysfunctional Saints’ offense. But either way, the Panthers get another very positive matchup this week against Tampa Bay.

The Bucs rank 30th in offensive efficiency according to our metrics and have two or more turnovers in five of their last seven contests. Josh McCown ranks 32nd in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP), and the Bucs rushing game has been an exercise in futility for the majority of the season.

Carolina is at home and favored by three points in a game Vegas doesn’t expect to have many points scored (it has a 41.5-point over/under). Double-digit fantasy points are in well within the realm of possibility for the Panthers’ defense this week.

New York Giants

Owned - ESPN: 40.4%, Yahoo: 38%
Week 15 numberFire Rank: 18th

The Giants’ defensive unit absolutely feasted on a floundering Titans’ offense last week, en route to a second-best fantasy finish for the week. While beating up on Tennessee is no real accomplishment at this point, much like Carolina above, the Giants are blessed with another plus matchup this week.

Washington is in the running for most unstable franchise in the league at this point, featuring a weekly quarterback carousel that no one wants any part of, seemingly not even the quarterbacks. Regardless of who the starter is this week, the Giants have a great opportunity for a strong performance.

While Washington ranks 17th in rushing efficiency, they come in at 26th in terms of passing efficiency. The Giants rank 19th in defensive efficiency according to our metrics but have recorded 15 sacks in their last two games.

Vegas has New York as 6.5-point favorites at home, which should give us comfort in deploying them this week. There’s no shame in taking advantage of a team (Washington) that has lost five in a row and has nothing to play for.

Tennessee Titans

Owned - ESPN: 4.4%, Yahoo: 19%
Week 15 numberFire Rank: 23rd

Tennessee is another team that literally has nothing to play for. This season has been an unmitigated train-wreck for first-year head coach Ken Whsienhunt, and players and coaches are probably counting down the days till Week 17 concludes.

But even with the doom and gloom surrounding the Music City, the Titans give us a very nice streaming option this week. As is the case almost every week, it’s wise to at least consider the defense playing the New York Jets, and this week, Tennessee draws that card.

The Jets rank 26th in offensive efficiency according to our metrics, and have 2 or more turnovers in 7 of their 13 games this season. It appears that Geno Smith is worried about fans' wanting the team to tank for draft position, which is never a good sign heading into a matchup with any NFL team.

Even though the Titans are two-point underdogs, they are at home, and the over/under is very friendly for streaming purposes: 42 points. As scary as it may be, you could do a lot worse that Tennessee this week.

Deeper Streamers

New York Jets (vs. Tennessee), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Carolina)