Yes, this column is called Dreaming of Streaming. It tested through the roof with The Fakegroups: third-graders with a penchant for rhyming.
I’ll be your Fake Football guy for streaming defenses in 2012, the defensive strategy intended by the fantasy deities and derided by fantasy heretics.
If you’re unfamiliar with the streaming and dreaming I speak of, here’s the idea: Instead of burning a mid-round draft pick on one of last season’s top fantasy defense/special teams, streamers use their second-to-last draft pick to snag a defense with a statistically favorable Week 1 matchup. If that defense has a decidedly nightmarish matchup in Week 2, a seasoned streamer would simply drop the unit to waivers and claim another defense slated to face an offense made of cow feces and Tim Tebow.
Cheating on your fantasy defenses with sweet little honeys dangling on the waiver wire has attracted a slightly more loyal following since the mid-2000s as even elite defensive units are dismembered like a buxom blonde in a slasher flick for stretches of the fake football season.
In 2006, The Ravens defense/special teams scored 236 fantasy points, a total that permanently boggled minds and caused existential crises among make-believe football pros. Many beards were grown in the wake of those 236 points, many long walks taken in the woods, many angst-ridden poems penned. Madness was no longer madness. Everything we knew about fantasy defenses was wrong, everything we had established as…
Oh wait, we were right.
The next year, Ray Ray’s crew scored a whopping 90 points, worse than 23 NFL team defenses. The Ravens, in 2007, were taken in the fifth round of 12-team leagues, proving an albatross for defense-crazy owners. Beards were shaven. Walks stopped. Poetry ended. Everything we knew about fantasy defenses was right again.
And so it is with streaming: Identify, sometimes weeks in advance, the best matchups, targeting the most putrid offenses pigskin has to offer. In case you have been enjoying the weather and living life the way it was meant to be lived, here are the offenses you’ll be picking on early this season: The Jets, Dolphins, 49ers, Cardinals, Bengals, Rams, and Browns. The Jaguars might make that list very soon. For now, Rashad Jennings and Justin Blackmon scare me just enough to wait and see.
This first batch of streaming suggestions will be much different than future recommendations because these defenses should be drafted if available in the final rounds of your draft. Most of these teams won’t be around after Week 1.
Without further blathering, here are your Week 1 dreaming streamers, or streaming dreamers (Dammit Chet, call the focus groups).
Eagles D/ST at Cleveland: You know how I know the Eagles are going to harass Browns elderly rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden? Because they already have. Take a look at highlights from last week’s Eagles-Browns preseason tilt. The Philly front-seven frazzled Weeden on nearly every pass play in the first quarter, forcing two fumbles. The Eagles sacked the Browns signal callers five times. The additions of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker DeMeco Ryans makes the Eagles defense a formidable unit that likely won’t be available for streaming purposes after doing things to the Browns offense that could land defensive coordinator Juan Castillo in prison.
Texans D/ST vs. Miami: Another rookie quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) here, this time throwing to the worst crop of wide receivers in recent memory. Dolphins left tackle Jake Long tweaked his knee this week, and his status is unknown. The Fins’ offense offers nothing to fear for Wade Phillips’ aggressive defensive unit. This, in short, is as tasty as it gets. Just don’t drool when you draft the Texans D/ST. It’s embarrassing.
Seahawks D/ST at Arizona: 2011’s surprise fantasy defense, the Seabiscuits, will be a prime play against the Cardinals’ feckless offense led by a quarterback yet to be determined. Seattle, somehow, is the 13th defense off the draft board this summer, despite holding opponents to less than 20 points a game in 2o11, and recording 31 takeaways, ninth best in the league. Red Bryant & Co. should bulldoze Zona’s iffy offensive line, which looked downright anemic against Tennessee last week.
Bill D/ST at New York Jets: There’s no need to recite the myriad problems with the Jets’ hideous offense. They’ve been historically bad this preseason. Mario Williams, who thanks Buffalo for its cash money this offseason, should make various kinds of meat – minced and otherwise — out of the New York offensive line. The Buffalo secondary will be a straight jacket on the mental patient that is the Jets passing game. Our national Tebow schadenfreude will continue unabated. Just plug in the Bills and enjoy.
Ravens D/ST vs. Cincinnati: Andy Dalton followed up his horrid 8-for-14 preseason game against the Falcons with an impossibly worse effort against the Packers last week, going 5-for-17 against the Cheese Heads. The Bengals pass blocking has looked less than stellar. It’s a good formula for us streamers. The Baltimore secondary, which has looked frighteningly awful at times this month, might bite you here, but this unit is still a solid play.
Other considerations: Vikings D/ST vs. Jaguars, Lions D/ST vs. Rams, Bears D/ST vs. Colts. I like Detroit’s front seven to tear the Rams’ offensive line to shreds. Cover your eyes.
Like my picks? Think I’m a fake football ignoramus who should be summarily dismissed from all the Internets? Either way, talk to me on Twitter.