It’s been good couple weeks in the defensive streaming business. The Colts dropped a Week 10 Thursday night people’s elbow on the Jaguars just a week after the Chargers dismantled the Chiefs, intercepting everything but Romeo Crennel’s postgame tray of Cinnabons.
Streaming defenses has made your life appreciably better. Don’t let this make you sad. Just embrace your fantasy sickness and keep streaming toward that vaunted title while your risk-averse league members sink to the bottom of the fake football ocean, dragged down by the weight of underperforming units like the Giants and 49ers.
This week’s column will be a little different, offering not just Week 11 dreamy streamers, but also long-term strategy for those looking toward the fantasy playoffs. I’ve done this for three years now – picked up defenses with favorable Week 15 match-ups – and it’s worked better than I could’ve ever hoped. This strategy is a must, especially for those in leagues with crazy deep benches.
Before we get to Week 11’s streaming monsters, let’s review the make-believe football playoff schedules of the three teams we’re going to target down the stretch.
Week 14 – vs. Jets
Week 15 – at Dolphins
Week 16 – vs. Patriots
Week 17 – vs. Titans
Kansas City Chiefs
Week 14 – at Browns
Week 15 – at Raiders
Week 16 – vs. Colts
Week 17 – at Broncos
New York Jets
Week 14 – at Jaguars
Week 15 – at Titans
Week 16 – vs. Chargers
Week 17 – at Bills
It’d be foolish to pretend nothing will change between now and mid-December. The Chiefs could suddenly start using their best players instead of Dexter McCluster and Shaun Draughn. Tebowmania could grip New York and the Jets could turn into a functioning offense for a few magical weeks. Blaine Gabbert could undergo a full body-and-brain transplant and play like a serviceable signal caller during the holiday season – a Christmas miracle, to be sure.
These tasty streaming options, in other words, are subject to change.
Here’s what I’m doing in my various fake football leagues: I’m targeting the Chargers in their Week 16 tilt with the Jets. The Chargers, as we’ve seen, have a legit defense, especially against heinous offensive units. They’re opportunistic, as the talking heads say. I’m also intrigued by the Chiefs’ trip to Mile High in Week 17, if your league plays into the final goofy week of the fantasy/NFL season. I wouldn’t begrudge you snatching the Denver defense this week and holding for their chance to let the devilish duo of Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel wash over them with all their ineptitude.
Now for the two best Week 11 streaming options.
St. Louis Rams vs. New York Jets – First, the facts: Tony Sparano’s steaming garbage pile of an offense has seven turnovers in its last three games, and if you’ve been unlucky enough to have watched five minutes of Jets’ football during that span, you’ll know that number should be well into double digits. Several fumbles have bounced out of the defense’s grasp, myriad tipped passes have miraculously fallen to the turf; the Jets’ offense is somehow, someway, worse than it appears.
The Jets are allowing 10.2 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses, including 48 points in games against the Patriots, Dolphins, and Seahawks. Rex Ryan insists he’s sticking with Mark Sanchez because he gives Gang Green “the best chance to win,” which probably means Tim Tebow hasn’t completed a pass in practice since mid-August.
The Rams, admittedly, have been sieve-like over the past month after a few strong showings in September, including a 23-point outburst against Chicago in Week 3. Their worst efforts came on the road — the “home” game against the Patriots in London comes to mind. They’ve been steady at home in the dome though, racking up 28 fantasy points in their three most recent home contests. St. Louis has 26 sacks this year, ranking sixth in the NFL, tied with the Bears’ vaunted defensive unit, and the Jets have given up 22 sacks as Sanchez’s pass catchers struggle to find consistent separation.
I have St. Louis as my eighth best defense for Week 11, and I think they have the upside of a top-three unit.
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs — Don’t let Matt Cassel’s three and a half quarters of not-horrible play fool you into thinking the Kansas City offense has hit some sort of stride. It hasn’t. Also, Brady Quinn is back this week — good news for anyone not wearing a Chiefs’ jersey on Sunday.
The Bengals sport a middling defense, anchored in large part by an aged secondary susceptible to speedy guys. Thankfully, the Chiefs don’t have many of those outside of Dexter McCluster, who isn’t going to burn anyone deep.
We’ve seen this movie before: An average defense looks spectacular against a Chiefs team scoring a whole 16 points per game, and turning over the pigskin more than anyone. Kansas City was able to avert disaster for most of Monday night’s match-up with the Steelers by going uber conservative and limiting Cassel’s throws. Eventually though, the Chiefs get down big, they throw downfield, and good things magically happen for the opposing defense.
Play your Stripey Bs.
Here are defenses I’d play over the Rams this week: Cowboys, Texans, Broncos, 49ers, Bears, Ravens, Steelers, Falcons. Cincy is my fifth-ranked defense for Week 11.