Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 6 Edition

Keeping an eye on favorable matchups, let's look on to Week 6 for great streaming options.

After a slight drop-off last week, defensive scoring made a comeback during Week 5 with six teams recording touchdowns.

Two of the recommendations from last week’s column, Atlanta and Kansas City, each notched a defensive score, propelling them both to top-10 fantasy finishes.

Despite being in an optimal spot last week, the Giants failed to live up to streaming expectations, allowing 27 points to a previously abysmal 49ers’ offense. New York failed to cause any turnovers even though Colin Kaepernick had been coming off back-to-back brutal performers in the two weeks prior to Sunday’s game.

The defensive streaming recommendations for Week 6 will again be at or below 50 percent ownership on both ESPN and Yahoo leagues, with an emphasis on Vegas totals and matchups with struggling offenses. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Owned – ESPN: 33.4%, Yahoo: 36%
numberFire Positional Rank: 13th

Cincinnati is coming off a monster win against the Seattle Seahawks, a game that many thought would be a litmus test for the legitimacy of the undefeated Bengals. It appears that Andy Dalton’s hot start to the 2015 season can be sustained and that the Bengals’ defense should continue to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Now tied for fifth in sacks, third in quarterback hits, and fourth in fumble recoveries, the Cincinnati defense is one that has the makings of a consistent fantasy-point producing group. The Bengals also rank 13th against the run, and 14th in overall defense according to our metrics here at numberFire. With their ownership levels hovering around 35 percent on both main sites, now is the time to pounce.

The Week 6 matchup against Buffalo is a road game for the Bengals, who are currently 1.5-point favorites. The Bills have allowed two top-seven fantasy finishes to opposing fantasy defenses this season and are missing almost the entirety of their starting offensive corps at skill positions.

Tyrod Taylor has been sacked 14 times through 5 games with no sign of relief coming this week from a ferocious Bengals’ pass rush. Expect consistent pressure in this one, which could ultimately lead to turnovers. 

Tennessee Titans

Owned – ESPN: 7.7%, Yahoo: 4%
numberFire Positional Rank: 8th

For as bad as the Tennessee Titans were on defense last season -- allowing 27.4 points per game -- this season has been a pleasant surprise. The pass defense has been especially improved, currently ranking 10th when adjusted for strength of schedule according to our metrics.

The Titans have also been getting to opposing quarterbacks, registering 13 sacks through 5 games, ninth-most in the league. The forced turnover total is low -- only five -- but pressure usually leads to turnovers over the long run.

Tennessee faces a Miami Dolphins team that is reeling. It’s possible that their bye week could help straighten things out, but franchises that make mid-season coaching changes do not tend to rally very well.

Pegged as a potential breakout candidate by many, including me, Ryan Tannehill is currently the worst quarterback in the NFL in terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP), which compares players to expectation-level. The head coaching change may give new life to the offense, but this screams of a situation that we as streamers should attack.

Although still susceptible against the run -- ranked 27th according to our metrics -- the Titans are favored by 2.5 points at home, making them a worthwhile streaming option this week. 

Minnesota Vikings

Owned – ESPN: 18.1%, Yahoo: 10%
numberFire Positional Rank: 18th

I normally would not recommend streaming a defense against the Kansas City Chiefs. Alex Smith rarely takes chances downfield, which limits turnovers, and Jamaal Charles is one of the most dynamic, explosive running backs in the NFL.

But with Charles now out for the season with an ACL injury, the Chiefs’ offense (and season) appears to be on the brink of collapse.

Minnesota returns from its bye week with a home game against Kansas City, bringing along with them their ninth-ranked pass defense, according to our metrics. And although the Vikings have struggled against the run this season -- currently ranked 29th -- the combination of Knile Davis and Charcandrick West fails to equal what Charles brought to the table.

The Vikings have been unable to create sustained pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but that could change this week. Smith has been sacked 21 times through 5 games, second-most in the league. If there was ever a "get-right" game for a defensive pass rush, this would be it.

As 3.5-point home favorites, facing a team with an 18.75 implied team total, Minnesota should be on our the streaming radar this week.