Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 7 Edition

Week 6's streaming defenses were an underwhelming group, but with Week 7 on the horizon, here are a few defenses in plus matchups ready for us to exploit.

We are now six full weeks into the 2015 regular season, and the identities of all 32 NFL teams are slowly coming into focus. For fantasy football defensive streaming purposes, we now know which offenses we should avoid (New England, Arizona, Cincinnati, etc.) and which we can feel good about targeting (San Francisco, St. Louis, Jacksonville, etc.).

There are always exceptions, of course, such as using a struggling defense unit like Baltimore’s against the 49ers last week. Even though San Francisco has been poor on offense so far, the Ravens’ defensive grouping is simply too bad to trust.

Last week’s recommendations disappointed a bit, with just one streaming option -- Minnesota -- finishing as a top-10 defense on the week. Both Tennessee and Cincinnati failed to really take advantage of seemingly great matchups, finishing as the 16th and 22nd fantasy defenses, respectively.

Let’s look ahead to what we can expect in Week 7.

Washington Redskins

Owned – ESPN: 6.4%, Yahoo: 3%
numberFire Positional Rank: 9th

Despite allowing 23 points per game so far in 2015, the Washington D/ST has scored four or more fantasy points in every game, with three games of eight or more fantasy points. They’ve done this while registering just 12 sacks, 3 interceptions, and zero defensive touchdowns.

The Redskins’ defense has also been very good efficiency-wise, ranking in the top-13 in both rush defense and overall defense when adjusted for strength of schedule according to our metrics.

Washington welcomes Tampa Bay to our nation’s capital on Sunday and do so as 3.5-point favorites, according to Vegas. The Buccaneers have the 29th-ranked offense, according to numberFire’s rankings, and Jameis Winston is currently completing just 56.6 percent of his throws. He has also tossed seven interceptions in 2015 to go along with seven touchdowns.

We saw Washington get gashed by Chris Ivory last week, but the Bucs' offensive line is an inferior group compared to the Jets', making a similar performance from Doug Martin unlikely. At home, favored, and playing against a mistake-prone rookie quarterback, Washington is worth a look for those in need of a streaming option this week. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Owned – ESPN: 12.2%, Yahoo: 16%
numberFire Positional Rank: 1st

Despite having what was widely considered the worst secondary in football prior to the start of the regular season, the Steelers' defense has quietly morphed into an above-average unit through the first six weeks of 2015.

If you remove the Week 1 loss to New England, Pittsburgh has averaged eight fantasy points per game and forced seven turnovers during that four-game span. They currently rank sixth in the league in sacks (17). The run defense has been especially impressive, ranking third-best in the league according to our metrics.

Pittsburgh’s Week 7 matchup against Kansas City does come with some risk -- Kansas City has a low turnover rate and the game is in Kansas City -- but as we saw last week against Minnesota, the Chiefs’ offense is going to struggle without the services of its centerpiece: Jamaal Charles. If Jeremy Maclin can’t go on Sunday either due to a concussion sustained last week, the offensive prospects for Kansas City become even uglier.

I generally don’t advise streaming defenses on the road, but as two-point favorites against a team missing the majority of its offensive playmakers, the Steelers make for a suitable candidate for the defensive streaming faithful. 

Miami Dolphins

Owned – ESPN: 28.8%, Yahoo: 21%
numberFire Positional Rank: 14th

Prior to last week’s game against Tennessee, I was hesitant to believe that a mid-season coaching change could jump start the struggling Miami Dolphins. And while one game neither proves nor disproves that theory, Miami certainly did appear renewed on both sides of the ball.

After finishing with negative fantasy points in each of their last three games, the Dolphins exploded for a 25-point outing, tops in Week 6.

Miami forced four turnovers and sacked Marcus Mariota six times, displaying the ability that we all thought we’d see on a more consistent basis before the season started. The Dolphins still rank in the bottom-third of the league in both pass and overall defense, but this week’s matchup should help the group build on their Week 6 showing.

Despite having top-end talents at the running back and wide receiver positions -- Arian Foster and DeAndre Hopkins -- the Houston Texans rank 28th in overall offensive efficiency according to our metrics. As 4.5=point home favorites on Sunday, the Dolphins are in a nice spot and should be in streaming consideration.