Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 4 Edition

So far in 2015, we have seen a flurry of defensive and special teams touchdowns. Here are some waiver-wire options worth considering for Week 4.

In Week 3 we saw another defensive scoring bonanza, this time with nine individual units notching a touchdown. It’s difficult to know for sure if this is something we will continue to see moving forward or just the result of early-season difficulties by several NFL offenses.

Two of the defensive streaming options mentioned last week, Minnesota and Indianapolis, both finished as top four fantasy options in large part to their respective touchdowns. Cleveland on the other hand could only muster two points at home against the Oakland Raiders, finishing 26th on the week.

While defensive and special teams touchdowns are literally fantasy football gold, they are by no means predictive. Looking for turnover-prone offenses however, is a good place to start.

Moving ahead to Week 4, a few lower-owned options are available for us to stream. 

Indianapolis Colts

Owned – ESPN: 19.5%, Yahoo: 30%
numberFire Positional Rank: 6th

Although the Colts did finish as the fourth-best D/ST in Week 3, the same disclaimer I gave prior to their match-up against Tennessee still remains: the Colts are not a good defense.

Their fantasy performance was largely salvaged by a Dwight Lowery second quarter interception return for a touchdown. The Colts did sack Marcus Mariota twice, but also allowed 433 total yards, 367 of which coming through the air. Still without Greg Toler and Darius Butler, this secondary has struggled, ranking 22nd in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP).

This week Indy travels home to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, fresh off their embarrassing loss to New England last week. Although Blake Bortles has limited his turnovers so far this season, this game sets up as one where he will have to throw a lot in catchup mode, generally a time when mistakes are made. Bortles has been 7 seven times so far this season despite being under pressure on just 28.2 percent of his drop backs according to Pro Football Focus.

The Jags have an implied Vegas total of just 15 points and have yet to get a real run game established to balance out their offense. It’s easy to see Andrew Luck and company getting up early and forcing the Jaguars offense into predictable play calling situations.

Green Bay Packers

Owned – ESPN: 40.4%, Yahoo: 64%
numberFire Positional Rank: 23rd

Before Monday Night’s win against the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay had recorded just four sacks in their first two games. But after getting to Alex Smith seven times, it seems they have re-discovered the ability to get to the passer.

It helps that Aaron Rodgers and the entire Packers’ offense is rolling at the moment, appearing capable of blowing out any and every opponent they face. This should lead to positive game scripts for their defense as we move forward this season, and Week 4 against the 49ers should be no different.

We saw the San Francisco offense in full meltdown mode last week against Arizona, and with just a 15-point implied Vegas total, we could easily see a repeat this week. Colin Kaepernick has thrown four interceptions and has been sacked eight times. Green Bay ranks eighth in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.

Turnovers and sacks are what we look for when streaming, and Green Bay is in a great spot to get both in Week 4. We normally like to target home defenses, but even on the road against San Francisco, Green Bay makes for a solid streaming option for Week 4. 

San Diego Chargers

Owned – ESPN: 1.5%, Yahoo: 2%
numberFire Positional Rank: 11th

San Diego is not what we normally think of as a streaming option. They have a relative lack of talent and have registered just five forced turnovers and one sack through the first three weeks, but sometimes the matchup supersedes what a team has done collectively up to that point.

Assuming Josh McCown remains the starting quarterback when the Cleveland Browns travel westward to face the Chargers on Sunday, all signs point to San Diego being able to remedy their lack of turnover production.

As I discussed last week, McCown is just as turnover-prone as Johnny Manziel, and McCown has amassed 116 turnovers to just 70 touchdowns over the course his career, making him the definition of a quarterback we as streamers should be targeting. San Diego has been decently efficient on defense so far as well, ranking 19th in Adjusted Defensive NEP.

This has the feel of another “close your eyes and click submit” streaming option, but as 7.5-point home favorites against a quarterback who leaks turnovers, the Chargers fit the majority of our streaming qualifications this week.