Dreaming of Streaming: Week 1 Update
September 5, 2014 | C.D. Carter
Because nothing is static and the best fantasy football machinations on a Tuesday look like sheer lunacy by Friday, I’m going to provide an end-of-week update on defensive streaming options this season.
Not a whole lot has changed with defenses that posted the highest Streaming Scores of the NFL’s opening week. The Jets’ secondary is the mess we knew it would be, the Lions prepare to face a Giants’ offense that will likely be forced to the air early and often, and the Steelers still get to sink their teeth into an offense that appeared entirely dysfunctional this preseason.
Below are three thoughts on defenses that might face better prospects than first thought, along with one defense that could be an ideal play in daily fantasy for Week 1.
* Tampa Bay’s defense instantly becomes a top-5 play this week if Cam Newton has to sit with his nagging rib injury. Carolina head coach Ron Rivera said Friday that Newton looked “pretty good” during the team’s practice, but added that they would re-evaluate Newton’s ribs this weekend. Tampa’s Streaming Score was mid-range, as they’re at home and favored by Vegas. Derek Anderson at the helm would make the Bucs an elite play. I’m not breaking news here, I know. I wouldn’t argue with streamers deploying the Bucs’ defense over every other option if Newton sits on Sunday.
* The Chargers’ defense, with a Streaming Score near the bottom of the Week 1 barrel, becomes a pretty decent play Monday night if Andre Ellington misses the game. Ellington, who has a history of foot issues, could reportedly miss up to six weeks with a foot injury, pending MRI results. I’m not saying this vaults San Diego into must-play territory, but losing Ellington could very well mean that the Cardinals have to lean on their passing attack, which could produce a few points, sure, but could also lead to turnovers. Bruce Arians’ downfield devil-may-care passing attack can lead to big days for opposing defenses. Remember, it’s turnovers we’re looking for.
* Speaking of targeting offenses that will be forced to throw and throw and throw some more: Denver’s defense at home, favored by Vegas against a Colts’ offense that can’t even pretend to run the football makes for an intriguing play. Vegas says this game will be a high scoring affair — of course it will be — but don’t discount the potential boon for the Broncos’ defense if Andrew Luck is forced to take to the air 50 times — a distinct possibility. Luck’s accuracy improved in 2013, but remained outside the top-20 in Pro Football Focus’s accuracy percentage, which measures what a quarterback’s completion percentage would be without drops, spikes, and throw-aways. Luck has thrown one interception for every 42.7 times he’s thrown the ball over his first two NFL seasons. It’s hardly a sparkling record. I see Denver as a sneaky and potentially profitable play in large daily tournaments this weekend.