Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 12 Edition
In a week where not a lot went according to plan across the fantasy football community, Week 11 turned out to be a solid defensive streaming slate of games. All three of the options described in last week’s article finished as top-nine fantasy defenses, making it one of the most consistent weeks for streaming purposes.
The Ravens' defense feasted on the Case Keenum-led Rams’ offense, recovering four fumbles on the day, notching the fifth best fantasy score last week. And in what seemed to me to be a pretty obvious game to target for streaming defenses, both Tennessee and Jacksonville came through for their owners, combining for eight sacks and three forced turnovers, finishing as the eighth and ninth best fantasy defenses on the week.
As we move onto Week 12 it is important to note that two of the defenses that I will be breaking down in this article may not be available in your particular league due to their ownership percentages. If this is the case, you could dip down to the Raiders' defense facing Tennessee or Baltimore against Cleveland.
On to Week 12:
Owned – ESPN: 56.6%, Yahoo: 58%
numberFire Positional Rank: 14th
The Bengals are coming off a 34-31 loss to Arizona last Monday Night but have an infinitely more favorable matchup this week against St. Louis.
Case Keenum got the start last week in place of Nick Foles, but things didn’t get much better for the Rams' offense. While Keenum was sacked just once against Baltimore, he fumbled three times, losing two. He completed just 46 percent of his throws in that game and should continue to be a target for streamers as long as he holds on to the starting gig.
The Rams rank dead-least in total offensive efficiency according to our numbers with no real chance of improvement lurking on the horizon.
Todd Gurley's immense talent always makes him a threat to gash a defense, and the Bengals have been middling against the run, ranking 15th according to our metrics, which is a bit of a concern. But as 8.5-point favorites at home with the Rams holding a paltry 12.5-point implied team total, all signs point to things getting mighty ugly in this game with Keenum under center.
Feel confident streaming the Bengals this week.
Owned – ESPN: 3.3%, Yahoo: 6%
numberFire Positional Rank: 8th
The Browns have been horrendous on defense all season, especially against the run, where they rank 32nd in the league according to our metrics here at numberFire. Under normal circumstances, their matchup against Baltimore on Monday Night would be one to avoid for streaming defensive purposes. Injuries, however, have completely derailed the Ravens' offensive outlook.
After losing both Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett for the rest of the season in last week’s game, Matt Schaub and Javorius Allen will now be starting at their respective positions of quarterback and running back. I actually like Allen’s skill-set and believe he does fit in this offense, but Schaub, on the other hand, has meltdown potential written all over him.
In his last eight games played in 2013 and 2014 with the Texans and Raiders, Schaub tossed 18 interceptions and was sacked 24 times. While Marc Trestman's offensive system could help smooth over the faults in Schaub’s game, it’s hard to imagine his first action in nearly a year going very well.
Finishing with negative fantasy points four times this season, Cleveland’s defense is not without risk, but taking advantage of a mortally-wounded Ravens’ offense appears to be a very wise move this week.
Kansas City Chiefs
Owned – ESPN: 41.4%, Yahoo: 65%
numberFire Positional Rank: 27th
Kansas City has slowly but surely morphed itself into a quality defense in both real and fantasy football terms. Since Week 5, the Chiefs have failed to hit double-digit fantasy points just once, averaging 19.5 fantasy points over the last two weeks.
This improvement in fantasy production has coincided with a massive improvement in efficiency, with both facets of the defense (pass and rush defense) now ranking in the top-10 according to our metrics when adjusted for strength of schedule.
Kansas City welcomes Buffalo to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday with the Bills coming off a short-week. Tyrod Taylor has been very efficient so far this season completing 67.9 percent of his throws but has been sacked on 9.8 percent of his drop backs.
The Bills have a minuscule 15.5-point implied team total, making the Chiefs one of the better defensive streaming options this week, as well as a priority stash for the fantasy football playoffs due to their Charmin-soft schedule.