Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming: Week 16 Edition
For those of us that play fantasy football, Week 16 is what we dream about.
Assuming of course you’re still alive in your playoff bracket, the culmination of all your hard work, research and loss of sanity will soon be realized.
Last week was a tough one for defensive streaming with just eight defenses notching double-digit fantasy points -- with all but two at extremely high ownership levels.
Scraping the bottom of the barrel is always difficult, but with Pittsburgh as the only top-12 option from this article last week, it was especially disappointing.
Both Jacksonville and Tampa Bay struggled to stop their opposing offenses, combining for just three sacks and one forced turnover while finishing with just three and one fantasy point each, respectively.
The heavy line movement we saw in the Tampa Bay-St. Louis game last week towards the Rams ended up being a massive indicator, and one that we need to take into consideration as we move forward.
Here are a few defensive streaming options for your Week 16 championship-round matchups.
Owned – ESPN: 15.9%, Yahoo: 22%
numberFire Positional Rank: 7th
Allowing the 28th most points per game (25.9) to opposing offenses, the Detroit Lions' defense has not be very good over the whole of the 2015 season.
Despite a recent resurgence stopping the run, they’ve still allowed the 19th most rush yards per game and have surrendered 18 rushing touchdowns this season (tied for most in the league).
Even with all of that said, they still make for a decent fantasy option due to the amount of pressure they have been able to place on opposing quarterbacks as well as a peach matchup this week.
The Lions face San Francisco, led by Blaine Gabbert, this week.
While Gabbert has not gone into complete meltdown-mode as many of us thought he would after taking over the starting gig from Colin Kaepernick, he is still completing just 62.4 percent of his throws with nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns (7 touchdowns to 6 interceptions).
He’s also been sacked 21 times in just six games which plays right into one of Detroit’s defensive strengths -- 14th in sacks and 8th in quarterback hits.
As 8.5-point home favorites, Detroit checks nearly every box we look for in a weekly defensive streaming option.
Owned – ESPN: 4.2%, Yahoo: 5%
numberFire Positional Rank: 8th
The Oakland Raiders are another team with a defense that has not lit the world on fire this season but that should still be in the streaming discussion for Week 16.
Ranking 25th in overall defensive efficiency when adjusted for strength of schedule according to our metrics here at numberFire, no one will mistake this unit for an elite, shutdown group. But what they have lacked in overall efficiency during the course of the 2015 season, they have made up for in getting to opposing quarterbacks over the last six games.
With 21 sacks during that span -- highlighted by Khalil Mack's 11 -- the Raiders have become a weekly nuisance to opposing signal-callers. And while Philip Rivers has had a very nice season statistically, he has taken 36 sacks through 14 games, eighth most among all quarterbacks.
There has been some notable line movement on this game with the over/under increasing and the line moving towards San Diego, but as five-point home favorites sporting a ferocious pass rush as of late, the Raiders remain in the streaming conversation this week.
Owned – ESPN: 42.3%, Yahoo: 33%
numberFire Positional Rank: 20th
The Vikings have been a picture of mediocrity on defense this season, ranking 15th in both rushing and passing defensive efficiency according to our metrics. Much like the Raiders, however, the Vikings have become a useful group in fantasy football due to their penchant for harassing opposing quarterbacks.
Recording two or more sacks in each of their last six games -- including five last week -- the Vikings rank 15th in sacks and 7th in quarterback hits this season. Their Week 16 matchup is another reason not to hate this defensive unit.
While Eli Manning has played well this season, the loss of one of the best wide receivers in football will no doubt be felt. Beckham has accounted for 27.7 percent of Manning’s targets, 35.8 percent of his passing yards and 40.6 percent of his passing touchdowns.
The Vikings are currently 5.5-point home favorites and are facing a team without its best offensive threat. As far as lower-owned streaming options go, Minnesota certainly qualifies.