3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streamer Options for Week 11
Week 11’s slate features teams with good defenses playing teams with good offenses and bad ones against bad; the outlook for streaming is definitely more dire here than most weeks. That said, we have the information that can help you piece together a best-case scenario in a tough situation.
Think of this column like a bar of 90% dark chocolate: is it ideal to eat something this bitter as a delicacy? No, but it’s still chocolate. Also, the darker the chocolate is, the more it has antioxidants and good stuff in it, right? It’s basically a health food for dessert, I think! (Editor’s note: Joe’s claim has not been verified by the FDA and does not reflect the views of numberFire.)
So -- in lieu of something tastier -- give yourself a little bitter brick of streaming defenses as a treat.
Which defenses under 40% rostership should you look to stream in Week 11?
New York Giants D/ST vs. HOU: 8 points, t-7th
Tennessee D/ST vs. DEN: 11 points, 4th
Las Vegas D/ST at IND: 0 points, 27th
It’s nice to know that our only failure of the week was because we got tricked by sneaky new Indianapolis Colts head coach Jeff Saturday. We were expecting the listless but young and still fairly unknown Sam Ehlinger to be under center for the Fightin’ Horseshoes. Instead, the 4-5-1 Colts decided to start the washed-up (but apparently less incompetent) veteran Matt Ryan in what remains a largely lost season. For just the second time this season, Ryan wasn’t responsible for a single turnover. Boo.
We won’t dwell on that much longer, though. Both of our other recommendations landed squarely in the top-10. The Denver Broncos got rocked for six sacks and a pick, and they only posted 10 points against Tennessee. To that, I say, "Let’s ride."
Finally, the Houston Texans were less consistently bad than their peers, absorbing just four sacks and putting 16 points on the board. That said, they made themselves more accident-prone and gave away both ground and air turnovers. Thanks, Texans!
at Pittsburgh Steelers
Spread: CIN -4.5
Roster Percentage: 28%
If Week 11’s defensive streamer options are desserts, the Cincinnati Bengals are the sole scoop of ice cream left in the barren freezer. The Bengals have put up solid performances over their last three games against bad offenses, averaging 6.0 fantasy points (23.3 points allowed, 1.7 takeaways, and 1.7 sacks per game) against the likes of Atlanta, Cleveland, and Carolina.
They are in the strange position of being a better real-life defensive unit than fantasy one at the moment, though. Cincinnati ranks squarely league-average in pressure rate and top-quarter in adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A); the downside comes in a bottom-four pressure-to-sack conversion rate.
Essentially, what this means is that the Bengals get a solid amount of pressure on the opposing quarterback and hold him to very inefficient marks in the pass game, but they need to play more statue-esque passers and bad offensive lines in order to collect those sweet sack points.
Boy, do I have good news for you, dear reader. Cincy comes off its Week 10 bye to play their loathed rivals, the (admittedly improving) Pittsburgh Steelers.
For the season, Pittsburgh allows the third-most average fantasy points per game to opposing defenses in fantasy (9.2 points per game). Their last four games have seen the Steelers drop that mark by 0.6 points per game, but the last two defenses to play them have racked up a whopping six sacks apiece. The early-season turnovers are abating for quarterback Kenny Pickett and crew, but the rookie passer still ranks 17th among 38 quarterbacks (minimum 100 drop backs) as a streaming target due to his ninth-lowest big-time throw rate (per PFF).
Our model projects the Cincinnati D/ST for 7.9 fantasy points, the eighth-most in Week 11. The Steelers’ offensive line has been slipping lately, and Pickett still can’t do much damage to defenses through the air. That makes this an opportune matchup for the Bengals’ ferocious front seven.
at Houston Texans
Spread: WAS -3
Roster Percentage: 6%
This is where things get a bit more dicey for you defensive stream-heads. I try to not find myself in the situation of recommending the league’s sixth-worst secondary by ANY/A, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Those measures include the Washington Commanders in Week 11.
Think of the Commanders here like a licorice grab bag: we might end up with a classic cherry flavor, maybe a green apple to spice things up, or even a sneaky strawberry licorice bite that really makes your day. That's the upshot for Washington, who has the sixth-highest pressure rate in the league heading into this week. A lot of pressures mean a theoretical potential for a lot of sacks.
The downside, the anise-flavored black licorice in the bag, is that Washington also has the 11th-lowest sack conversion rate and the aforementioned ANY/A. This black licorice just might get its flavor on every other piece. Bye-bye, appetite for sweets.
What helps to assure us, however, is we know who makes this product: the lowly Houston Texans. This mouthwatering matchup has afforded 9.0 fantasy points per game (averaging 14.1 points scored, 3.3 sacks allowed, and 1.7 giveaways) over their last three to their opposition. Quarterback Davis Mills isn’t a highlighted target for streaming, but he does absorb pressure at the fourth-highest rate among qualifying quarterbacks.
Our model projects the Washington D/ST for 7.9 fantasy points, the seventh-highest fantasy projection. Despite being on the road, they are favored and look to have the third-lowest projected total of the week; that’s a good environment for defensive streaming.
vs. Washington Commanders
Spread: WAS -3
Roster Percentage: 1%
Well, well, well. If you thought we were done with the previous game, you were quite wrong. Perhaps the highest-risk streamer option in our column on this slate, the Texans should also be fine options against the Commanders in Week 11.
Houston is more widely available than any of the other options, but that’s because they have averaged a paltry 2.6 fantasy points per game since their bye a month ago. Their 25.5 points allowed per game in that span belies their rate of nearly three sacks per game, although they have accrued just three total takeaways in that span of time. The Texans do have strong rates this year still, ranking no lower than 18th in any of our categories of pressure rate, sack conversion rate, and ANY/A, so maybe there is a floor for this team.
Washington would be the matchup to find it, considering quarterback Taylor Heinicke is easily the best streaming target through 10 weeks of NFL action. With both the highest turnover-worthy play rate and the highest allowed pressure rate, Heinicke even provides some semblance of upside for these Texans in spite of his clear potential to throw devastating bombs to an impressive group of skill position players.
Our model projects the Houston D/ST for 7.2 fantasy points this week, which is the 11th-highest in our defense rankings. They have an incredibly low floor based both on their own quality and the Washington offense’s potential, but they provide the most bang for your availability buck if you’re desperate for a streamer option.