I know you’ve been dreaming of streaming defenses because, like me, you’re a very sick person who thinks of little else but fake football. Seek therapy, but first, read about which defenses will bring you pretend football happiness this week.
You’ll notice a theme in this week’s best streamers: Four of my five favorites come from two Sunday contests. Streaming defenses, as I wrote last week, is more about targeting offenses composed of fecal matter than it is about finding dominant defensive units on your waiver wire.
So here are my five dreamy defenses that will have you dreaming of more streaming.
Forget that line and just read.
Cleveland Browns at Bengals – A raft of pigskin prognosticators called it: The Bengals will be a truly awful team in 2012. Quarterback Andy Dalton hasn’t had a decent game since before midseason last year. His physical shortcomings are becoming more apparent with every dropback. And guess what? The Browns defense isn’t horrid. They’ll be without Joe Haden for the next month after the league busted the shutdown cornerback for taking Adderall. Cleveland made the supposedly potent Eagles attack look downright silly at times Sunday, picking off Mike Vick four times, sacking him twice, and recovering a fumble. Oh, they scored a defensive touchdown too. They’re at home again, this time against one of the NFL’s lowliest offenses. Let the Brownies run amok for your make-believe football team.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Browns – We’re going all guns blazing at the Brownies this year. Brandon Weeden had an almost-historically bad debut against Philadelphia on Sunday. His penchant for drifting back into the pocket, no matter the defensive pressure, and his frenetic footwork show the 47-year-old rookie has a lot of work to do before he’s crowned the next Colt McCoy. The Bengals defense is a little banged up, and yes, their aged secondary was brutalized by the Ravens’ suddenly magical offensive attack, but the league’s worst offense will cure a lot of ills.
Miami Dolphins vs. Raiders – Don’t be fooled by the 30 points the Texans unceremoniously dumped on their heads Sunday afternoon. The Dolphins front-four played wicked tough in the trenches for much of the game, pushing back against Houston’s run blocking machine. It took Arian Foster 26 carries to gain a measly 79 yards. The Dolphins’ offense gave up the ball four times in the season opener, twice near their own goal line. The poor defense never had a chance. Don’t forget that the Dolphins were among the Scrooge McDuckiest run defenses in 2011, ranking third behind the 49ers and Ravens. Miami gave up a paltry 3.7 yards per carry on the ground last year. I haven’t forgotten about that McFadden guy, but I think the Raiders’ heinous passing attack will let the Fishies crowd the line and keep Run DMC somewhat in check. Carson Palmer looks out of place in the Raiders’ offense – that’s not hard to see – and the Dolphins will expose Palmer for what he is: Chad Pennington’s father.
Oakland Raiders at Dolphins – Don’t feel bad about picking on the Fins. Everyone likes a bully, and pretty much any defense facing off against Ryan Tannehill and his gang of Arena League all-stars will look something like the ’85 Bears. Oakland has festering secondary issues, but when you’re playing a team with no real pass catching threats, that doesn’t matter. Remember folks, Brian Hartline is Miami’s No. 1 receiver. He would be the emergency eighth receiver on the Packers’ practice squad. Plug in the Raiders and trust Tannehill to fill up the wrong part of the stat sheet.
Washington Redskins at Rams – Sam Bradford appears comfortable throwing the pigskin to Danny Amendola and only Danny Amendola. St. Louis has no real downfield threat, and even if they did, Bradford’s porous offensive line wouldn’t give him time to sit back in the pocket and let one loose. The Lions defense – which I expect to be roasted in upcoming weeks – looked like worldbeaters against the Rams Sunday. The Skins’ defense is a vastly underrated unit that should soon be owned in every league, but for now, they’re available in many fake football leagues, especially 10-teamers. Washington gave up 32 points to the Saints in the Superdome, which somehow feels like a dominant defensive performance. They held Drew Brees to 24-of-56 passing – a 46 percent completion percentage. His lowest single-game completion percentage was 59 percent in 2011, as Bossman Chet pointed out on the Twitter yesterday. I fully expect Washington to dominate the Rams’ amateur-hour offense from start to finish, so you should go ahead and play them with unwavering confidence. Don’t waver. Stop wavering.