Dreaming of Streaming: Week 3
September 16, 2014 | C.D. Carter
I think we’re starting to get a feel for how bad some NFL defenses are going to be in 2014.
The Packers, who notched Week 2’s highest Streaming Score at home against a turnover-prone Jets’ offense, were abysmal. They were picked apart by Geno Smith, who finished the week as a top-7 quarterback. I wrote that Geno and Green Bay’s defense could put up nice numbers — I was only right on one count.
It’s good to know that the Packers’ secondary — the defense as a whole — might be unplayable for most of this season. Even at home. Even as a heavy favorite.
At least we spotted a defensive contrarian play for daily fantasy purposes and a high-floor option against an inaccurate quarterback.
Let’s see how our top-5 Streaming Score defenses fared last week.
|Defense||Streaming score||Fantasy points||Week 2 rank|
Through two weeks of this young NFL season, our top-5 Streaming Score defenses have finished, on average, as the 12th best defense of the week. Not terrible, though I think it’ll improve as the season wears on.
Let’s get into Week 3’s highest Streaming Scores.
* Houston’s run of ultra-friendly opponents continues as they face off against Eli and the Turnover Machines — an 80s cover band performing for our delight every Sunday afternoon. Ben McAdoo’s offense hasn’t exactly cut down on Eli’s turnovers, and as Rotoworld’s Evan Silva pointed out on Twitter this week, it’s hard to imagine a worse No. 1 wide receiver than Victor Cruz through two games. There’s no reason to believe the Giants’ porous offensive line will be able to contain the Texans’ front seven. Keep them going.
* Let’s not overthink things. The Jaguars remain a preeminent streaming target for anyone who doesn’t hate fantasy points. The Colts’ defense, which shut down the Eagles for the better part of three quarters on Monday night, should be picked up anywhere they’re available. The Colts will likely jump out to a nice lead in this one, once again forcing the inaccurate Chad Henne to throw and throw and throw some more.
* The Saints’ defense hasn’t looked all that hot to start the year, but getting Matt Cassel and a suddenly flailing Minnesota offense in the dome is decidedly a good thing for New Orleans. I see the Saints’ defense as the highest upside play of Week 3. We saw last week what happens when defenses apply consistent pressure on Cassel.
* The Browns are among the safest Week 3 plays in a game with one of the week’s lowest projected point totals (41.5). Gary Kubiak’s offense has looked pedestrian at best with Joe Flacco at the helm, and I think we got a taste of how ferocious that Cleveland defense can be last week against New Orleans. I’ll have the Browns among my top-10 defensive plays.
* The Eagles’ defense makes me a tad nervous, even though they’re at home and favored by Vegas to beat Washington (Remember: we target favorites when we can). Kirk Cousins has shown that he can be wild at times, completing just 56 percent of his throws in 2013. That’s exactly what we’re looking for: an inaccurate signal caller who will likely be forced to throw the ball quite a bit. Philly’s defense is a fine Week 3 option, but not one I’d pursue in 10 and 12-team leagues.
* Neither Carolina nor Pittsburgh makes for an incredibly appealing Week 3 streamer, since neither squad turns the ball over very often and Vegas projects this one to be a predictable slug-fest. There are better options out there.
* Don’t shy away from the 49ers if Drew Stanton starts again for the Cardinals (it appears Carson Palmer could be out indefinitely with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder). San Francisco is a Vegas favorite and Arizona’s offense — thanks to Bruce Arians — isn’t exactly a safe unit that avoids turnovers.
* If you feel the strange desire to start Tampa Bay’s defense against Atlanta on Thursday Night Football, do yourself a solid and back away from the computer. Remind yourself that the Bucs’ defense wasn’t able to put up solid numbers against a Cam Newton-less Panthers offense and a Rams’ offense headed by their third-string quarterback. I see the Bucs as unplayable against all but the most pathetic NFL offenses — and even then, they’re just barely useable.