Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 5 Edition

Rolling with the Packers against the 49ers was a good move for streamers last week. Should we target the 49ers again this week?

The defensive scoring smorgasbord we enjoyed over the first three weeks of the 2015 season was greatly reduced in Week 4. Just three teams scored defensive touchdowns -- Atlanta, Detroit and Carolina -- with all three ending the week as top-three fantasy options.

Of my three streaming recommendations from last week, only Green Bay finished as a top-four option, with San Diego and Indianapolis finishing 16th and 18th, respectively. While those performances didn’t necessarily nuke your seasonal or daily fantasy squads, they certainly were underwhelming.

Much the same way we target the Oakland Raiders when streaming tight ends, defenses facing San Francisco seem to be something that we need to pay attention to every single week. Over the last two games, defenses opposing the 49ers have finished as the first and fourth best defensive unit in fantasy formats.

Until Colin Kaepernick and company can steady the ship, feel good about targeting them weekly for fantasy purposes.

Let’s get on to the Week 5 picks:

New York Giants

Owned – ESPN: 4.7%, Yahoo: 9%
numberFire Positional Rank: 4th

Our projections here at numberFire also believe that the 49ers are a worthy streaming target, pegging the Giants as the fourth-best DST option for Week 5.

San Francisco’s offense has looked downright putrid thus far in 2015, ranking 30th in Adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. Colin Kaepernick has thrown five interceptions to just two touchdowns, the worst ratio in the league among starting quarterbacks.

As bad as the passing game has been, the run game has tanked as well. If you remove his Week 1 outburst against the Vikings, Carlos Hyde has averaged just 38 yards rushing per game with no touchdowns over the last three weeks.

And despite their struggles against the run, the Giants have been the 12th most efficient team defense when adjusted for strength of schedule according to our metrics.

Add in that the Giants are favored by 7 points at home in a game with a 43-point over/under and they become an elite lower-owned streaming option for Week 5.  

Kansas City Chiefs

Owned – ESPN: 18.9%, Yahoo: 53%
numberFire Positional Rank: 8th

It’s completely normal to feel a bit apprehensive about this selection.

The Chiefs have allowed 296 passing yards and 2.8 passing touchdowns per game through the first 4 weeks. While they have been a bit tougher against the run, they’ve still given up over 100 yards rushing and 1 touchdown on the ground per game.

It’s clear that Kansas City has some real issues on defense, but that still doesn’t exclude them from the Week 5 streaming conversation.

Facing the Broncos, Packers and Bengals over the last three weeks has skewed their raw statistics, as they rank 18th in Defensive NEP per play when adjusted for strength of schedule. This week’s matchup against Chicago should provide some relief.

Jay Cutler did play well last week against Oakland but is always susceptible to multi-turnover, meltdown games. As 9.5-point home favorites, the Chiefs should be privy to positive game script in this one, meaning lots of low-percentage, predictable throws from Cutler.

Some caution should be given with this pick, but signs point to Kansas City being a strong streaming option this week. 

Atlanta Falcons

Owned – ESPN: 3.6%, Yahoo: 5%
numberFire Positional Rank: 17th

As much as this may seem like chasing last week’s points, there are reasons to believe that Atlanta’s defensive could serve up another gem in Week 5 against Washington.

Credit needs to be given to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn for turning around the Falcons’ defense this season. Atlanta currently ranks 19th in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play, which may not sound very impressive, but considering how bad they were last season, it’s a welcome improvement.

They have also allowed just 85 yards rushing per game in 2015, fifth-best in the league. Although the defensive secondary still has holes, this is a group on the rise.

The strength of Washington’s offense is the run game, which plays directly into the strength of the Atlanta defense. If the Falcons can contain Alfred Morris and Matt Jones, Kirk Cousins and the Washington passing game will be forced into difficult situations.

Atlanta is a 7.5-point home favorite facing a quarterback with a proven track record of turnovers. This is a great spot for the Falcons.