Your defensive streaming assignment last week was to let Brady Quinn wash over you, and despite the best efforts of Kansas City coaches to limit Muscle ’s throws to four-yard out routes, he tossed a pick for a score, and your Buccaneers defense piled on the fake football points.
You trusted me with the Bucs. Now trust me with another brand of pirate.
Oakland Raiders vs. Jaguars – Let’s continue to allow the league’s worst signal callers to do the work for us, as we all flock to our various waiver wires and pick up the Raiders’ defense while they prepare for Blaine Gabbert, who is still, somehow, an NFL starter.
The Oakland defense is what we in the fantasy business like to call less than good – a lot less, actually. They’re ranked 18th against the run and 25th against the pass, a slight bump up the rankings after intercepting Matt Ryan thrice on Sunday. Remember though, streaming defenses has so precious little to do with the caliber of defense. Our weekly dreamy streamers have almost everything to do with the NFL’s most putrid offenses in hostile work environments. Oakland’s Black Hole is among those unfriendly places.
While you and the best 10 players on your Saturday morning flag football team could exploit the Raiders’ pass coverage, Gabbert won’t. The Jaguars are the worst passing team in the league, and it’s not close: The Seahawks are 31st in passing, averaging 169 yards through the air per contest. Jacksonville is one spot lower at an astounding 142 yard per game. Gabbert has five touchdown throws this year, third worst in the league (only Dolphins’ rookie Ryan Tannehill and that guy in Carolina have fewer). The Jags have eight pass plays of more than 20 yards, less than a third of the Ravens’ 20-yard tosses. Jacksonville has a single pass play of more than 40 yards this year. Gabbert has been sacked 15 times. The list goes on, and gets sadder.
Maurice Jones-Drew has faced eight-man fronts for the better part of three decades in Jacksonville, and Oakland won’t treat him any differently. Expect interceptions and fumbles and rainbows when you fire up the Raiders’ defense this week. Oakland is owned in 2.2 percent of ESPN.com leagues, 2 percent of NFL.com leagues, and 7 percent of CBS.com leagues.
Defensive streaming options are a tad on the slim side this week, so the Raiders – and I can’t really believe I’m writing these words – are my only full-throated endorsement for Week 7.
Other decent options, if you can’t land the Raiders in your league of savvy assassins, include the Vikings (available in 29 percent of ESPN leagues) against the always-sackable Cardinals, and the Packers (available in 32 percent of leagues) against Sam Bradford and his crew of practice squad pass catchers.
Streaming defenses doesn’t require us to get cute and bench the league’s most dominant defenses. Here are defenses I’d play over the Oakland defense in Week 7: Green Bay, Seattle, and San Francisco. It’s a short list, but one you should mind.