Dreaming of Streaming: Week 5
September 30, 2014 | C.D. Carter
For as much thinking as this little game requires, it’s good to know that refusing to over-think a decision still has its place in fantasy football.
Targeting the teams most generous to opposing defenses — those that give up sacks and turnovers as if their watches were set to the various errors — has paid off nicely for defensive streamers through a quarter of the NFL season.
The Jaguars, who have now faced four streamable defenses, have yet to allow less than 10 fantasy points to opposing defensive units. The Raiders, Dolphins, and Titans have also been something close to reliable targets for streamers, and about half of our Streaming Score all-stars have notched top-12 performances over the season’s first four weeks.
Here’s how defenses with Week 4’s best Streaming Scores fared this week.
|Defense||Streaming Score||Fantasy points||Rank|
I’ve mentioned that Streaming Scores are indicative of a team’s matchup more than their defensive strength. That’s why Seattle’s defense isn’t automatically placed atop the weekly Streaming Score rankings in this space. The scores, put simply, evaluate matchups — showing us which ones are favorable and unfavorable, according to myriad factors like sack and turnover rate, quarterback completion percentage, Vegas favorites, total point projections, and home field advantage.
The Falcons were the only real disaster in Week 4, and if you played them over other waiver wire options, you were likely desperate. Teddy Bridgewater told me where I can put my Streaming Scores. You’ve been heard, Teddy. You’ve been heard.
See below for Week 5’s highest Streaming Scores, with analysis after each grouping.
* San Diego’s defense has been a pleasant surprise for defensive streamers, and that surprise will certainly lead into Week 5, when they get their crack a Geno Smith and his boneheaded decisions and off-target throws to a sub-par receiving cast and crew. Only eight teams give up fewer total yards per game than the Chargers. San Diego is seventh among all defenses in fantasy points through the first month of the season. The Jets have given up 10 sacks this year, giving opponents a fairly high floor even if Geno doesn’t turn the ball over a couple times. The Chargers are a very safe play this week.
* I see Kyle Orton as a marked upgrade over EJ Manuel, so take Detroit’s Streaming Score with a grain of salt. Still, the Lions are a heavy favorite at home, and Orton’s career completion rate of 58.5 is exactly the kind of thing we look for in streaming defense targets. It’s hard to say if Orton will be forced to throw the ball a lot against Detroit — the Bills are the league’s third run-heaviest team — but he could be ripe for the picking in his first start in Buffalo.
* The Broncos’ Streaming Score might be the shock of the week. The Cardinals, after all, are giving up a meager 4.3 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses. I’m not sure if I’m buying this score, but it’s worth noting that the Cardinals will likely have to take to the air in this one, and Denver is allowing a very meager 6.6 yards per pass attempt; only 10 defenses have been better through the first month of the NFL season. I doubt the turnover upside is there for Denver, however.
* The Patriots’ total and complete Monday night meltdown makes them a seemingly juicy target for streamers, and if the Bengals’ defense is somehow available on your waiver wire — bye weeks have that effect — then I wouldn’t blame you for plugging and playing them against New England’s disastrous offensive line and skeleton crew of pass catchers. The Patriots are the worst pass blocking team in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Cincinnati, or what it’s worth, has by far the league’s worst pass rush, per PFF. They’re still a solid play.
* We saw last week that these aren’t Josh McCown’s Bucs. McCown, in my estimation, was a bottom-3 starting quarterback, and Mike Glennon in a giant upgrade over the erratic journeyman who just happened to have some success in Marc Trestman’s offense last season. New Orleans’ defense is, well, bad, and I think this one has the chance to be a very high scoring affair. I’d fade the Saints’ defense.
* The Giants’ defense has collected five sacks and nine turnovers over the past two weeks, thanks in large part of Kirk Cousins’ complete collapse last Thursday night. Atlanta’s offense isn’t the most inviting streaming target, but Big Blue is a favorite playing at home. That’s exactly what we look for in s streaming option.