Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 16 Edition
Targeting plus matchups worked out well for our streaming defenses last week, with all three recommendations scoring six or more fantasy points.
Even the horrendous Tennessee Titans defense finished as a top-20 options and certainly didn’t sink any owners' fantasy playoff hopes. Both the Panthers' and Giants' defenses finished with double-digit fantasy points, and in doing so gave owners a much needed boost.
If you’re still alive in your season-long leagues, chances are this week’s matchup is for all the glory (and money). The defenses listed below all have favorable matchups and can be an important piece in your championship-winning lineup.
Owned - ESPN: 17.9%, Yahoo: 35% Week 16 numberFire Rank: 10th
Over the last month, the Browns defense has become a trust-able fantasy option, a result of the defense's improving as a whole. That is, until the Johnny Manziel-led, Week 15 debacle.
The defense got man-handled by the Bengals’ run game but certainly wasn't helped by the Browns’ offense sheer inability to sustain offensive drives. Not only was Manziel’s performance horrendous from an individual standpoint, but also, it had ramifications on both sides of the ball.
The hope is that, this week, Manziel’s play will improve -- even if the improvement is marginal. Because despite struggling against the run –- 24th according to our metrics -- Cleveland is decent on defense, bolstered by the fourth-best pass defense.
Cleveland’s defense has scored at least eight fantasy points in six of its last nine games and faces a Carolina Panthers squad that ranks 22nd in offensive efficiency.
The Browns are road underdogs this week, which can be difficult for streaming purposes, but in a game in which the over/under has dropped to 39.5 points, that should give us some added comfort.
Owned - ESPN: 1.3%, Yahoo: 3% Week 16 numberFire Rank: 5th
Jacksonville is another example of a defensive group that has shown marked improvement over the course of the season.
After surrendering 38 points per game during the first four weeks, the Jags’ defense has only allowed more than 30 points twice since then and has posted double-digit fantasy points three times. They currently sit 15th in overall defensive efficiency according to our metrics and have a phenomenal matchup heading into Week 16.
With their top-two quarterbacks on the shelf due to injury, the Tennessee Titans will turn to Charlie Whitehurst this week, casting immense doubt on the Titans' ability to move the football on offense. Whitehurst has a 55.2 percent career completion rate and should scare no one.
Jacksonville is a three-point, home favorite in a game with a 40-point over/under. They’re a solid option.
Owned - ESPN: 22.1%, Yahoo: 45% Week 16 numberFire Rank: 20th
Continuing the “late-season defensive resurgence” theme, the Carolina Panthers have begun to shore up a unit that was porous for long stretches this season.
Over the last two weeks, Carolina’s defense has allowed just 13.5 points per game and has forced five turnovers during the same span. As a result, the Panthers have finished as the 11th- and 10th-best fantasy defense, respectively, during the last two weeks.
Ranking 20th in overall defensive efficiency, Carolina gets the next shot at Johnny Manziel. It’s hard to imagine Manziel’s playing much worse than he did last week, but it’s also equally difficult to expect a 180-degree turnaround. His willingness to make poor, low-percentage throws will do nothing but boost the Panthers opportunities for turnovers.
On the season, Cleveland ranks 28th in offensive efficiency according to our metrics, and as a four-point, home favorite, Carolina is in a great spot. The 39.5-point over/under doesn’t hurt, either.
New York Giants (vs. St. Louis), Green Bay Packers (vs. Tampa Bay)