Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 2 Edition

Last week was a great example of the profit potential available for defensive streamers. Let's keep riding that wave as we enter Week 2.

Now that Week 1 is officially in the books, our task becomes choosing which developments to act upon, which to wait upon, and which to take with an extremely large grain of salt. After waiting so long for actual games, it can be difficult to keep a level head moving forward.

As far as defensive units go, last week provided a plethora of fantasy football scoring. And two of our options from last week finished as top-six options (Carolina and the New York Jets). My third tout, Tampa Bay, got shredded by Marcus Mariota and amounted to nothing more than an unmitigated disaster. My apologies if you streamed them.

Week 2 is shaping up to be an interesting and perhaps difficult slate of games for streaming defenses. If either Miami or Carolina is still around on your league’s waiver wire, they are priority options.

We will still follow our preset qualifications (lower ownership rates, home favorites, etc.) and hopefully improve our hit rate to 100 percent.

Let’s get it.

Minnesota Vikings

Owned – ESPN: 31.9%, Yahoo: 15%
numberFire Positional Rank: 19th

As a whole, the Vikings laid an egg on Monday Night Football. Teddy Bridgewater looked uncomfortable, mostly due to a leaky offensive line, and on his return from suspension, Adrian Peterson racked up just 31 yards on 10 carries.

The way the 49ers gashed Minnesota on the ground is a bit concerning, but it’s entirely possible that we simply underestimated San Francisco's offense following the massive offseason turmoil they endured. Carlos Hyde looking explosive behind their rebuilt offensive line was another interesting development.

The Vikings opened up on Monday as 3-point favorites over the visiting Detroit Lions in a game with a fairly low over/under (42.5). Since then, the total has grown to 44 points, but Minnesota remains favored by 3.

Minnesota's Week 2 opponent, Detroit, found themselves in a shootout with San Diego last week but came out on the wrong end of the final score losing 33-28. Matthew Stafford turned in a typical "Staffordian" stat line, throwing for 246 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. The Chargers also limited the Lions to just 69 rushing yards on 16 carries. And while San Diego’s defense may end up being improved from a year ago, it seems clear that Minnesota’s defensive unit is miles ahead talent-wise. 

Expect the Vikings to make a concerted effort to re-commit to the run game, providing Peterson with a larger workload. As long as the offensive line can create push for Peterson, the Vikings should be able to control the clock, and make a solid streaming D/ST option. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Owned – ESPN: 31.5%, Yahoo: 15%
numberFire Positional Rank: 15

The Bengals absolutely trounced the hapless Oakland Raiders in Week 1. Held scoreless until the 8:00 minute-mark of the fourth quarter, Oakland was held to just 246 yards of total offense.

This performance can be attributed to a lack of offense talent and Derek Carr going down to injury in the second quarter, but credit is also due to the Bengals’ defensive unit. Not only did they shut down backup quarterback Matthew McGloin, but they also contained Latavius Murray, limiting the talented running back to just 44 yards on 11 carries.

This week presents a much stiffer, though not insurmountable test as the San Diego Chargers come to town.

The Chargers looked dynamic on offense last week, amassing nearly 500 yards of total offense with Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead looking particularly dangerous.

Even though Philip Rivers was the fifth-most efficient quarterback last week according to our metrics, he still tossed two interceptions and was sacked twice. He also faces a step up in competition this week as the Chargers travel cross-country for a 1:00 pm kickoff on Sunday.

The Bengals are currently 3.5-point home favorites, in a game in which the Chargers are projected to score just 19 points. Assuming the Bengals can contain the San Diego run game, we could see multiple turnovers and sacks again this week. 

New Orleans Saints

Owned – ESPN: 1.2%, Yahoo: 1%
numberFire Positional Rank: 17th

Even mentioning the Saints in this article makes me nervous. But of all the low-owned, waiver wire options in Week 2, the Saints appear to be one of the better punt options available.

Last week against Arizona, the Saints defense surrendered 31 points, failed to register a sack, and forced just one turnover en route to finishing as the 24th best fantasy D/ST. The loss of Keenan Lewis was especially evident as the Saints finished 29th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) on the week.

The good news for the Saints is that they get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.

Jameis Winston's NFL debut was basically a dud, throwing an interception for a touchdown on his first NFL pass attempt. He completed just 48 percent of his passes and threw 2 interceptions. His -8.52 Passing NEP ranked 31st among the 35 quarterbacks that attempted a pass last week.

With Mike Evans’s status still unclear for Sunday, the Saints’ secondary looks to be in line for a better day against the likes of Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy, especially if New Orleans jumps out to an early lead, as is the indication according to Vegas.

New Orleans won’t find their way into my streaming articles very often, but as massive home favorites (10.5 points) against an offense that is still finding its identity, they get a pass.