I whiffed, and I have no regrets.
The Bengals’ defense was the quintessential dreamy streamer Thursday night against the bumbling Eagles, while the Browns’ defense – which I highly recommended if RGIII were declared inactive – tanked like no other.
The Lions messed the bed though, but as the biggest no brainer streaming play of the year, Detroit was a must play, and what happened to them was inexplicable.
Back to the Browns. They were among the hottest defenses entering Week 15, playing fast an aggressive, anchored by an emerging front four that had stifled run games and a greedy secondary anchored by Joe Haden. To think they would be rolled by rookie Kirk Cousins was, in short impossible. We can only make decisions based on statistics and trends that create a sensible matchup-based play. Decision making based on anything else is foolish, at best. Cleveland’s defense made perfect sense in Week 15. They were scorched. It makes no sense, but only through the perfect lens of hindsight. We have to live with that.
We have nothing short of an embarrassment of riches in Week 16 dreaming of streaming options – a regular cornucopia of middling defenses taking on zombie NFL teams trundling their way toward the postseason with nary a pulse. There’s a ton of opportunity to feast on these undead squads playing for nothing but a paycheck for the last couple weeks of the 2012 season, as all of our fevered fantasy dreams come to a frenzied end in Week 16.
Let’s slay some zombies.
New York Jets vs. Chargers – There’s no team with more walking dead players (and coaches) than the Chargers. U-T San Diego columnist Kevin Acee called the team’s Week 15 performance against the Panthers an embarrassment beyond anything he had seen in his many years covering the franchise. They’ve given up. No one plays for Norval Turner these days, and it shows.
You watched the Jets show how vulnerable they’ve become against decent running attacks. Even the late great CJ401K ran roughshod over Gang Green on Monday Night Football, exposing an aged and slow-footed defense well past its expiration date.
The Chargers played a remarkably lifeless brand of football last week against the Panthers. Carolina, a defensive unit that has been ripped more than a few times this season, looked indomitable against Philip Rivers and his dumpster fire of an offense. The Chargers have allowed double digit fantasy points to opposing defenses six times this season while giving up an average of 9.7 points to fake football defenses.
I can’t emphasize this enough: Carolina’s defense is awful. The Jets’ defenders are far superior, and in a Week 16 home game — even with playoff implications no longer on the line — I think they’ll collect their fair share of Chargers’ fumbles and interceptions. The Chargers, after all, are zombies with no bite.
Indianapolis Colts at Chiefs – It appears that Ricky Stanzi could be anointed the next signal caller of the Chiefs’ monstrously terrible offense, which proved so inept in Week 15, that even Jamaal Charles’ rare running ability proved no match for a Raiders’ defense that simply piled guys on the line of scrimmage, unafraid of any semblance of a passing attack from Kansas City (with Dwayne Bowe out for the season).
The Chiefs have looked, at times, like an actual NFL team at home – remember that if you’re rolling with Indy’s defense this week. It doesn’t likely matter though, because no matter who starts behind center for the Chiefs, they’re allowing more than 12 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses.
The Colts will be playing for the postseason existence and the Chiefs are riding out the stretch, waiting for their head coach and his people to get the axe next month. These are real football factors that could determine the very fate of your fake football season. I think Indy is a top-10 defensive play in Week 16.
Washington Redskins at Eagles – Bryce Brown, while looking freakish at times, has proved a real boon for streaming defenses. Carolina’s defense, for example, would have been toast a few weeks back if not for Brown’s back-breaking fumbles.
The guy has a real issue with holding onto the pigskin – one that could cost him a starting gig one day, I think. He has all the short area speed and lateral agility a running back could ask for, but defenses – like our Bengals last week – capitalize on Brown’s unsure grip on the ball. There’s no reason to think the Skins won’t be keenly aware of Brown’s dropsies on Sunday.
Washington’s bottom-of-the-barrel defense scored 16 fantasy points against Philadelphia in Week 11, when the Eagles committed three turnovers and tallied six points against an epically bad pass defense.
The Redskins have made strides in covering their exploitable secondary over the past few weeks while their front seven plays pretty damn well. This is yet another game in which one team – the Skins – have everything on the line, while another squad is auditioning for another coach or another team.
Philly, the fourth most generous team to opposing fantasy defenses, has been a target of ours all season; in the final week of the fantasy season, I can’t think of a reason to back off of them now. The Skins have forced 11 turnovers in their past six contests – I think they add another few to that number on Sunday.