3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streamer Options for Week 14
I have an amazing life hack for all of you out there that absolutely no one is talking about. Have you ever wanted a comfy outfit for pajamas, but don’t want to find a place in your closet for oversized t-shirts? What if you wanted full-body coziness, but putting on a sweatshirt and sweatpants was too obnoxious?
I’ve re-discovered for myself the joy and simplicity of the snuggly adult onesie: footie PJs in larger-than-child-size. Why should I have to dress in multiple, time-consuming layers in my own house, when I could just jump right into a onesie? When I’m looking to relax, I basically want a wearable sleeping bag, and adult onesies do that for me.
No one ever told me that we were still allowed to wear onesies as adults, though. I thought that level of ease and relaxation was a thing of my childhood only.
The same goes for knowing which fantasy football defenses to start each week. You don’t have to find an every-week starting option at a position like defense; you just have to know how to assess scoring environments in order to take the easy, cozy route of defensive streamers. This column makes it even simpler for you, as I do all the research to help you find the D/ST longjohns that fit you best, so you can sleep easy heading into Week 14.
Which defenses under 40% rostered should you look to stream in Week 14?
Seattle D/ST at LAR: 8 points, T-7th
Cleveland D/ST at HOU: 31 points, 1st
Green Bay D/ST at CHI: 5 points, T-14th
Back-to-back weeks of hitting the DST1 feels really, really good; I can’t lie about that.
That said, I’m not too surprised since both of those performances came against the abominably down-bad Texans. Houston has now allowed an average of 24 fantasy points and three consecutive DST1 performances to opposing defenses over the last three weeks. Only the Commanders could creditably be called a “good” defensive unit that faced them in that span, which makes Houston a foolproof target until further notice.
The Seahawks were also not a surprise, considering the Rams’ health issues coming into this past week. Two interceptions, four sacks, and just 23 points allowed is a very credible performance for the ‘Hawks, especially coming off a performance in Week 12 allowing 40 points and a basketful of yardage. Remember: defensive quality doesn’t matter nearly as much as the quality of the offensive matchup (and specifically the quarterback) they’re facing.
Even our desperation option of the week didn’t do terribly. You weren’t probably thrilled with the Packers allowing over 400 yards to the rehabilitated Justin Fields, but they kept the Bears under 20 points, forced three turnovers, and even blocked a kick. You could’ve done way worse, and so could I.
Spread: PIT -2.5
Roster Percentage: 28%
With quarterback Lamar Jackson's PCL sprain expected to force him to miss one to three weeks, the Baltimore Ravens are coming into this divisional matchup in rough shape. Not only is their star passer out for Week 14, but their phenomenal left tackle Ronnie Stanley also missed last game and hasn’t yet been cleared for this upcoming one. In addition, running back J.K. Dobbins remains out despite potentially optimistic reports for the coming weeks.
Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley will have to try to keep this offense together, but he doesn’t present a major threat to the Ravens’ upcoming opponents – the Pittsburgh Steelers. Among the 51 quarterbacks to drop back at least 40 times this year, Huntley is tied for the lowest big-time throw rate (per PFF), though he also has the 15th-lowest turnover-worthy play rate. What should have the Steelers licking their lips is Huntley’s 16th-highest pressure rate allowed. He absorbed pressure on 30% of his 40 drop backs last week – a mark consistent with the 32% he took on in last season’s spot starts.
The Steelers' secondary has been tremendous, too, with the team allowing the sixth-lowest passing adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A) in the league. With tighter throwing windows forcing him to hold the ball and work to later reads or scramble, Huntley could provide a ton of sack points in this low-projected scoring environment.
Our model projects the Pittsburgh D/ST for 9.2 fantasy points, the second-most among defensive options in Week 14. With their defense having all of their stars healthy and Baltimore forced to turn to backup signal-caller Huntley, this game has all the hallmarks of a low-scoring slugfest. Pittsburgh is the clear top streamable option (and among the best options overall) for this week.
Las Vegas Raiders
at Los Angeles Rams
Spread: LV -6
Roster Percentage: 12%
If the Steelers are off the table for you in your leagues, you could do a lot worse than targeting one of our new favorite offenses to stream against. Ladies and gentlemen -- the Los Angeles Rams.
The downside to this is it means you have to trust your fantasy week to the whims of the Las Vegas Raiders, but we’ve seen how mediocre defenses can thrive against subpar offenses. Since their bye, the Rams have played six games; the three teams in the top half of adjusted quarterback pass defense rankings averaged just over six fantasy points per game against L.A. but the bottom-half teams just over 10. Matchups dictate success for fantasy defensive streamers.
Thankfully, we still have a great matchup to exploit here due to the ongoing struggles of one John Wolford under center. Wolford, the second-string passer for Los Angeles, has the 7th-highest turnover-worthy play rate and 17th-highest allowed pressure rate among qualifying passers through Week 14. He also has the 18th-lowest big-time throw rate, so he’s not likely to punish you for trusting the lackluster Vegas secondary against him if he plays.
His backup, Bryce Perkins, provides a higher sack floor to the opposition (fifth-highest allowed pressure rate) but a lower turnover upside (eighth-lowest turnover-worthy play rate). Should Wolford’s Monday “DNP” practice estimation hold up through the week, the Raiders will still be a strong startable option; Perkins’ appearances in Weeks 11 and 12 saw him attempt just 33 passes for 5.0 yards per attempt, getting sacked a combined six times and giving up two interceptions.
Our model projects the Las Vegas D/ST for 7.7 fantasy points, the fifth-highest fantasy projection of the week. Another week without Matthew Stafford or Cooper Kupp makes the Rams an exploitable offense, and the surging Raiders should keep them in a negative script all game.
vs. New England Patriots
Spread: NE -1.5
Roster Percentage: 10%
I'll admit -- this game doesn’t make any sense at all for the process. Arizona is an underdog with a non-minuscule projected game total in a dome (where weather can’t dampen scoring). The only positive that we usually look for is Arizona is at home -- though not being favored in your own building is a tough look.
In a week with very few bad offenses playing low-rostered D/STs, however, we have to take what we can get. What we get with the Cardinals is a team racking up pressures at an incredible 24.6% rate (fifth-highest in the league) and a top-10 ANY/A. Forcing their opponents to hold the ball helps the pass rush get home, while a potent pass rush can also force the opposition to get the ball out fast – eliminating big plays. The Cardinals look to be much more of a floor play than a ceiling one this week due to their projected circumstances, but strong defensive profile.
That said, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is no sure thing to move the ball well in this game either. Jones has a solidly average 27.3% allowed pressure rate coming into Week 14, but he’s a sitting duck when he does get pressured; Jones goes down at the 17th-highest pressure-to-sack conversion rate among qualifying passers (around 25%). He’s also bottom-half of the 51 passers mentioned in big-time throw rate and top-half among the same in turnover-worthy play rate.
Our model projects the Arizona D/ST for 6.7 fantasy points this week, which is the 15th-highest in our rankings for defenses. While Jones and New England don’t necessarily make for the most high-profile offense to target, they have quietly allowed 8.8 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses over their past six games.
Arizona makes for a fine high-floor, deep-league option in Week 14.