Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 13 Edition
It’s tough to name another NFL offense currently struggling as badly as the St. Louis Rams. Heading into last week, we targeted the Cincinnati Bengals’ D/ST under the assumption Case Keenum would be starting at quarterback. Nick Foles was ultimately forced back into action due to injury, but it didn’t make much difference.
While recording just one sack, the Bengals’ defense intercepted Foles three times. They returned one for a score and finished as the second-best fantasy defense on the week. Unfortunately for us, the Rams face Arizona this week, a defense owned in 95 percent of fantasy leagues.
Just like death and taxes, Matt Schaub threw another pick-six, boosting the Cleveland Browns defense to nine fantasy points and a top-10 finish on the week. Kansas City was the lone disappointment as they were shredded by Tyrod Taylor, scoring just five fantasy points.
As is the case every week, I will be profiling defenses in positive situations (home favorites facing turnover-prone offenses).
Owned – ESPN: 24.4%, Yahoo: 13%
numberFire Positional Rank: 4th
Although they haven’t displayed a very high fantasy-point ceiling this season, the Tennessee Titans continue to be a solid option for streaming purposes. Last week against Oakland was the first time they failed to register at least five fantasy points since Week 7, but they are in a very good position to get back on track this week.
Our metrics really like the Tennessee defense, ranking them 12th in overall defensive efficiency when adjusted for strength of schedule according to our numbers. They also face the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, featuring one of the most sacked and turnover-prone quarterbacks in the league.
Blake Bortles has been sacked 34 times this season (tied for second-most in the NFL) and has thrown 13 interceptions (second-most in the league). Despite being decent for fantasy purposes, Bortles is the epitome of what we look to target against for defensive streaming.
The Titans are 2.5-point home favorites in a terrific position to flex their under-the-radar defensive muscle this week.
Owned – ESPN: 3.4%, Yahoo: 3%
numberFire Positional Rank: 7th
It’s a bit difficult to explain how in the world Washington is currently tied for first in the NFC East considering all of their early-season turmoil, but here we are. The defense has especially been improved, ranking 18th in overall defensive efficiency according to our metrics here at numberFire.
With five interceptions and two defensive touchdowns (however fluky they may be) over the last three games, the Washington D/ST has finished as a top-10 fantasy option twice during that span. This week's showdown against the Dallas Cowboys sets up as another fruitful opportunity
With Tony Romo out for the rest of the season with another collarbone injury, Matt Cassel will be called back into action. In five games this season, Cassel has thrown 5 interceptions and has been sacked 10 times. At 3-7 with nothing much to play for, it's possible we see a lethargic performance from the Cowboys on the road.
As 4-point home favorites, Washington could easily force multiple turnovers against Cassel, who has completed just 59.2 percent of his throws during his career.
Stream with confidence.
Owned – ESPN: 46.8%, Yahoo: 35%
numberFire Positional Rank: 20th
It may seem counter-intuitive to target a Russell Wilson-led Seahawks' offense that has been on fire the last two weeks. Wilson tossed 8 touchdowns and no interceptions during that span while completing 76 percent of his throws. But considering the opponents in those games, it’s easy to see why Wilson had so much success.
San Francisco and Pittsburgh rank 28th and 30th in passing yards allowed and have given up 39 combined touchdown passes this season. Minnesota, on the other hand, has given up the fourth-fewest passing yards per game (223.5) and just 14 touchdowns.
Despite Wilson’s recent hyper-efficient play, he has sustained 37 sacks this season, most in the NFL. The Vikings have consistently pressured opposing quarterbacks and have registered the third-most quarterback hits this season. It’s easy to see a situation where Wilson is under constant pressure behind a crumbling offensive line this Sunday.
This game is currently listed as a pick 'em with a 41.5-point over/under, but at home facing an offense devoid of any real playmakers, the Vikings could tee off in this one.