NFL

3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming Options for Week 1

Nothing signals the start of a new fantasy season quite like a set of streaming options, and it's time to introduce Week 1's defensive streaming rotation.

Luckily, I'm one of the 10 or so weirdos on the planet who has a passion for D/STs. In truth, it's a difficult passion to explain to people. Fantasy football is already a niche within a niche, and defensive streaming adds a couple layers of obscure on top of that. Indeed, even a certain chunk of the fantasy football community is vehemently opposed to defensive streaming. Whether you share my passion for the D/ST position or you're gritting your teeth and bearing with your league's decision to keep the spot in spite of your repeated requests to the contrary, I'm here to help.

A few housekeeping matters: lines are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook, and roster percentages and scores are according to Yahoo's fantasy platform. Assume that the listed order is the preferred order. I'll try for defenses on 40% or fewer of Yahoo rosters.

Jacksonville Jaguars

At Houston Texans
Spread: Jaguars -2.5
Roster Percentage: 3%

One pillar of D/ST streaming: it's more about the offense they're going against than the defense themselves. Sure, the Jacksonville Jaguars have some reason for optimism with promising sophomores like C.J. Henderson and K'Lavon Chaisson in addition to some degree of talent throughout the defense, but this has much more to do with the offense of the Houston Texans.

Tyrod Taylor will be under center in Week 1 for a Texans team with a talent deficient roster. While Taylor once played respectable football, that really hasn't happened since 2016 at the absolute most recent. Taylor takes his career 9.4% sack rate into a situation where he'll likely have to play catch-up and pass with Houston a home 'dog. Sacks are a staple of D/ST production as they not only give fantasy points but are the most likely plays to result in fumbles. And on top of that, pressure on the passer can also lead to picks.

Get ready for "Texans Opponent" to be a centerpiece of this article.

Atlanta Falcons

Vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Spread: Falcons -3.5
Roster Percentage: 1%

One thing to know about streaming is that some weeks provide limited options. This is without a doubt one of those weeks as the bad teams are either playing each other or are facing a highly rostered D/ST. I have some enthusiasm for the Jaguars, but beyond them is firm "do your best" territory.

The Atlanta Falcons were a little better than you'd think as a defense last year at 0.14 Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, but that's still just 23rd in the league and certainly nothing to write home about.

Again, it's about the other team. The Philadelphia Eagles went all in on a few years worth of championship runs, and it appears to have caught up to them as demonstrated by their win total over/under of just 6.5 wins. The Eagles have an implied point total of 22.25 and should have to throw a fair amount. The book is still out a little bit on Jalen Hurts. Hurts had fairly high rates of both sacks (8.1%) and interceptions (2.7%) as a rookie.

Carolina Panthers

Vs. New York Jets
Spread: Panthers -5.0
Roster Percentage: 30%

To be perfectly honest -- this matchup strikes me as fool's gold to some extent. The "Sam Darnold revenge game" could just as easily be the Zach Wilson coming out party. Wilson's been good in preseason and took no sacks on 20 attempts. That's in line with the lack of sacks Wilson took with BYU in college.

Still, the Carolina Panthers are significant favorites, and the New York Jets have an implied point total of just 20.25. For this week, that's probably a bet worth making.