Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 9 Edition
With just two teams scoring either a defensive or special teams touchdown in Week 8, D/ST scoring was down all the way across the board. Three defenses registered negative fantasy points, none of which came from the 52-49 shootout between the Saints and Giants.
Luckily one of my picks from last week secured one of those elusive scores, with Minnesota finishing as the 11th best fantasy defense on the week. Neither Atlanta nor Tennessee was nearly as productive, scoring just 4 and 2 points, respectively.
Moving on to Week 9, with most of the top defensive options already owned in 50 percent or more of fantasy leagues, we’re required to dig a little deeper and use sub-par defenses that find themselves in advantageous situations.
Owned – ESPN: 38.8%, Yahoo: 33%
numberFire Positional Rank: 9th
In what was supposed to be one of the highest scoring games of Week 8, the Bengals/Steelers matchup totaled just 26 points with both defenses spoiling the hopes of many fantasy football owners. The loss of Le’Veon Bell cannot be understated, but what the Bengals did against a Steelers offense that finally had all of its pieces in place was encouraging.
Through seven games, this group has just two double-digit fantasy point outings, but the matchup this week against the Cleveland Browns sets up as an excellent spot.
The Bengals have notched the 8th most sacks this season and should be facing Josh McCown who has absorbed 22 sacks through 7 games himself. McCown has completed 65 percent of his throws with just 4 interceptions thus far, but his career averages (59.6 completion percentage) indicate that regression could be on its way. If McCown doesn't suit up, Johnny Manziel presents an even better matchup for the Bengals.
The Browns have the 29th ranked rush offense according to our metrics, making it likely that Cleveland will be forced to throw late in the game, meaning more opportunities for turnovers in negative game script.
New Orleans Saints
Owned – ESPN: 5.3%, Yahoo: 4%
numberFire Positional Rank: 11th
Don’t get me wrong, the New Orleans Saints have not been good on defense so far this season. Even though they eked out a win last week against the Giants, they allowed 49 points, causing viewers to do double takes to make sure they weren’t watching a Big 12 college football game.
The Saints defense ranks 15th against the run according to our metrics but has struggled against the pass, ranking near the bottom of the league (27th). The good news is, facing the Tennessee Titans this week presents an opportunity for improvement in both areas.
The Titans have a revolving door at the running back position, lacking continuity and productivity, and if Marcus Mariota cannot return this week, the matchup gets better. Zach Mettenberger has been sacked nine times and thrown three interceptions in his two starts this season. If Mettenberger starts again, it could be just what this beleaguered Saints secondary needs to get back on track.
Although the over/under is high for this game (47.5), the Saints are eight-point home favorites, and assuming their offense continues to click, this game could get out of hand earlier, meaning a lot of low-percentage passes aimed into the Saints’ defensive backfield.
Owned – ESPN: 5.8%, Yahoo: 2%
numberFire Positional Rank: 18th
Jacksonville is another streaming option for this week that has not played particularly well so far this season. They have allowed 29.6 points per game, second-most in the league. They have also forced just seven turnovers thus far, ranking near the bottom in that category as well.
This defensive group did post a 22-point outing against Buffalo in Week 7 and, now fresh off a bye week, travel to the Meadowlands to face the Jets on Sunday.
Normally, a defense ranking 29th against the pass according to our metrics facing an offense with both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker would be an automatic avoid. However, with both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith questionable for this game, the Jets may turn to Bryce Petty, who has yet to attempt a regular season pass.
Chris Ivory has been solid this season and should be the Jets' offensive focal point should Petty get the nod, but he will be facing a Jaguars run defense ranked 12th according to our numbers.
If both Fitzpatrick and Smith are out, the Jags become a much more appealing option, one that fantasy owners with the tolerance for a certain element of risk can deploy this week.