3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streamer Options for Week 7
As I get older, and more responsibilities in my daily life pile up, I have less and less time available for hobbies. I can barely look at my queues in multiple streaming services now, because the number of TV shows and movies I hoped to someday get to is grotesque. So many video games reside in storage, waiting for the day that a few straight hours of availability fall into my lap, and I can embark on a new digital journey. The number of unread books on my shelf that are yearning to have their pages turned is absurd.
The paradox of this is that, when I do find myself with free time, there are so many filmic, electronic, and literary options for what I could fill it with that I get paralyzed. The tyranny of choice: where your greatest enemy is no longer the clock, it’s your own brain.
When it comes to fantasy football, however, I choose to actively reject this paralysis by overanalysis. I refuse to let myself (or you, dear reader) stare slack-jawed at the defensive streamers available on the waiver wire. No, when it comes to that, I have a process to follow and a plan on my mind, and I hope that sharing it with you helps you cut through the fog of option-incited confusion as well.
Which defenses under 40% rostership should you look to stream in Week 7?
Washington D/ST at CHI: 13 points, t-4th
Cincinnati D/ST at NO: 1 point, 26th
Cleveland D/ST vs. NE: 0 points, t-27th
Defensive streaming has been frustratingly swingy this season. Yet again, we nailed a top-four, double-digit recommendation in the Washington Commanders. Washington's D absolutely rolled the desperate Chicago Bears with five sacks and two takeaways, as Chicago remains the best streaming target for the D/ST position.
Unfortunately, we also identified two defenses in the bottom seven of the league this week -- and four of those seven were on bye. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars (who we didn’t recommend but are eighth in fantasy points per game) scored -1 point against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6; the Colts are giving up the second-most fantasy points to defenses, even after this showing. Basically, you’re looking to get the team playing the Bears or Commanders each week, and then rolling the dice elsewhere.
vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Spread: MIA -7
Roster Percentage: 18%
Maybe you got burned by our Miami Dolphins recommendation from two weeks ago, but we all clearly underestimated the New York Jets’ offense. In Week 6, Miami's D put up three sacks and allowed only 24 points to a Minnesota Vikings offense perceived as better than the Jets' attack, and they get an even better matchup now going into Sunday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Dolphins are still possibly the worst defense in the league by their peripheral numbers, coming in bottom-three in both pressure rate and adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A). Still, they are opportunistic, getting home at the seventh-highest pressure-to-sack conversion rate.
Would I depend on them for the long haul in the 2022 NFL season? Absolutely not. Do they make for a fine matchup play when the context is just right? Yes, indeed they do, and Week 7 provides the perfect context to make them a top streaming option.
The Steelers have been an offensive mess this year, allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to the D/ST position. They haven’t yet scored more than 20 points in a game, allow just over two sacks per game, and have given away the ball a whopping nine times in six weeks, including six since rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett took over in Week 4.
Pickett is banged-up heading into this contest, so Pittsburgh may turn back to Mitchell Trubisky under center. Either way, things should turn out fine for Miami's defense -- if Pickett plays he provides a higher ceiling for turnovers, but Trubisky’s scrambling ways offer more potential for sacks and less damaging passing upside.
Our model projects the Miami D/ST for 8.0 fantasy points, the fifth-most among defenses in Week 7. With Miami a home favorite by a full touchdown, we can overlook the relatively high total (44.5) and instead focus on the potential for a negative game script that should force either Pittsburgh quarterback into turning the ball over.
vs. Indianapolis Colts
Spread: TEN -2.5
Roster Percentage: 9%
For all of their injury issues and personnel problems in the secondary, the Tennessee Titans have been surprisingly usable as a fantasy football defensive unit. They are buoyed by having an interception in four of their five games to date, as well as averaging nearly three sacks per game, but this is no fluke.
Tennessee ranks 16th in pressure rate on the season and has begun to pick up momentum on sack conversion, ranking 19th in that metric through six weeks. The only thing keeping them as matchup-dependent right now are those aforementioned secondary woes; the Titans allow the third-most ANY/A among NFL defenses.
Perhaps the Indianapolis Colts' offense is finally on the right track, but -- given their track record this year -- I’ll believe it when they can do it more than once. Even after a breakout performance with his new team, Matt Ryan still presents the fourth-best passer matchup for a fantasy defense this season. Ryan has the fourth-lowest big-time throw rate (per PFF) among the 38 passers to drop back at least 50 times in 2022, as well as the 12th-highest turnover-worthy play rate and 14th-highest allowed pressure rate.
Our model projects the Tennessee D/ST for 8.0 fantasy points, the sixth-highest of the week. The Titans are about a field-goal favorite at home in a low-scoring environment (42.5-point total) while coming off a restful bye week, while the Colts will be coming off a draining divisional slugfest and still have their top two running backs on the mend (as of Tuesday). Tennessee gets riskier if Jonathan Taylor and/or Nyheim Hines play, but even in that scenario, this defense is still worth a go as a deep streamer.
New York Giants
at Jacksonville Jaguars
Spread: JAX -3
Roster Percentage: 6%
Our model has a few other widely available defenses projected ahead of the New York Giants, but this call is based on some compelling trends that have been showing up both for them and their opposing offense.
The G-Men have made a few appearances in this column this season. They posted 9 against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2 and 15 versus the Bears in Week 4. With the Giants a top-10 team by pressure rate with a middling ANY/A allowed, they are very usable against bad offenses. In spite of having a bottom-10 sack conversion rate, when New York plays a bad offensive line, they can capitalize on their mistakes. In addition, the Giants have been improving: 10 of their 13 sacks this year have come over the last three weeks of the season.
Now, they get a Jacksonville Jaguars offense that’s currently on a bit of a skid, averaging just 18.0 points, 2.7 turnovers, and 2.7 sacks per game over their last three contests (versus 28.0 points, 0.3 turnovers, and 0.7 sacks per game over their first three). For the year, Trevor Lawrence is still a below-average quarterback matchup for fantasy defenses, but his turnover-worthy play rate and big-time throw rate are still hovering around the league average.
Our model projects the New York Giants D/ST for just 6.4 fantasy points this week, 16th in our rankings for defenses. That said, their improvement coincides with Jacksonville’s slump and -- in a low-projected scoring environment (42.5-point total) -- there is some room for error given their recent outcomes against crumpling offenses. Give the Giants a look in your deep desperation-mode leagues.