I felt your pain, heard your cries of agony, felt the sting of your varied and lewd curses. From my humble home in suburban Maryland, where I sat with a mouthful of sunflower seeds and watched the Jaguars dismantle the Raiders’ defense, I cried with you.
Oakland’s offense and special teams kept the team’s defense with their backs plastered to the proverbial wall. Even Jacksonville – sans Maurice Jones-Drew – can put up points when you hand them the pigskin inside your own thirty yard line.
So yeah, the Raiders’ defense as your dreamy Week 7 streamers didn’t work out. It’s the first true streaming debacle of 2012, and I attribute it – at least in part – to forgetting to pay my monthly fee to the Dark Lord himself, who informs my fake football decisions.
Let’s try again, this time with someone – anyone – but Oakland. And yes, this team is owned in quite a few leagues, but after being mowed over by the Vikings last week, I expect a lot of owners to ditch them with great haste in the next couple days.
Arizona Cardinals vs. 49ers – Images of Frank Gore gashing the vaunted Seabeagles’ defense last Thursday night are still dancing in your sick little head, I know. If the Niners ran wild for 175 yards against Seattle, the league’s sixth ranked run defense, what will they do to the Cardinals, who are giving up 120 yards on the ground per contest? That’s part of the risk we take when we stream defenses instead of rolling with elite yardage repellants every week from September through December
The Seabags, however, didn’t concede big chunks of wide open green space to Gore until late in the second half. Seattle’s fearsome front seven appeared gassed after so much time on the field, and San Francisco took advantage. Good for them. Seattle also largely refused to crowd the line of scrimmage and force Alex Smith to beat them – a worthwhile recipe to anyone who has watched Smith struggle for two weeks. On Monday Night Football, on their home field, with emerging shutdown cornerback Patrick Peterson taking away half the field against the 49ers’ recently lackluster receiving corpse, I expect Arizona to force the issue – to sell out and at least limit the 49ers’ run game.
With streaming defenses though, we look for more than just three and outs (although I would’ve taken a few of those from the Raiders last week). The Cardinals defense is what we like to call opportunistic, meaning, of course, they intercept passes and recover fumbles and such. Arizona has forced seven fumbles and eight picks this season, including one returned for a score. The Cardinals’ fat guys have sacked opposing quarterbacks 22 times, just two fewer than league leader Green Bay.
The Cards sport the fourth best scoring defense, allowing less than 17 points a game.
The 49ers, under their current ultra conservative play-calling regime, won’t give up the pigskin all that often, but I still see the Cardinals as a fine and/or dandy Week 8 streaming play.
Arizona is owned in about half of NFL.com leagues and 85 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
I realize that’s quite a few ESPN leagues, so here are some fine streaming alternatives if the Cardinals are owned in your league: The Dolphins, coming off a bye and playing the Jets, and the Patriots, who racked up fake football points last week and could continue the fantasy goodness against the offensively challenged Rams.
And finally, here are no brainer fantasy defense starts for Week 8: Giants, Cowboys, Bears, 49ers, Falcons, and Packers.