Week 6 was a rude reminder of the ever-present volatility of fantasy defenses.
Deploying the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week against the Broncos and Peyton’s Perfect Machine would’ve been akin to a “Fear Factor” challenge for all but the most hardcore Jags fanatics. And like a “Fear Factor” challenge that involves the ingestion of live, crunchy insects, you might’ve gagged and dry heaved when you saw the Jacksonville defense plugged into your lineup.
The Broncos’ defense, by all expert accounts, were an elite Week 6 play, getting a home game against one of the most generous offenses in recent memory. Denver was supposed to get up big, pin their ears back and pile up the fantasy points against Chad Henne’s kooky crew. Jacksonville might’ve scored a few points, sure, but the turnover potential made Denver’s defense the premiere defensive play of 2013.
The Broncos’ defense outscored the Jags’ defense by a grand total of two points.
This is the nature of the beast with which we dance in streaming circles. She is a fickle, and predictably volatile, mistress, and we’d do well to remember that. None of our Week 6 streaming options finished as to-12 Week 6 defenses, with the Jets and Browns falling victim to sputtering offenses that repeatedly put defenders’ backs against the proverbial wall.
I hope you snagged Kansas City’s defense while you could, and while they were clearly more than a one-week streaming option, but rather a plug-and-play fantasy savior of sorts. The Chiefs’ defense now has 39 more points than the next closest defense, the Seahawks.
San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars: I worried about pushing the Chargers as a must-stream Week 7 option, thanks to their epically awful secondary that had given up an average of 28 points per game to opposing receivers. Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, the thinking went, could torment San Diego’s cover guys.
Two things have changed, and quelled by fretting: Shorts hurt his shoulder or rib or sternum — no one quite knows — and seems unlikely to play this week, and the Chargers seemed to make defensive adjustments Monday night against Indianapolis and held Andrew Luck to a mere 202 yards passing (and one interception).
I don’t think you can pass up a game against an offense that, despite a respectable Week 6 showing, is still allowing 14.2 fantasy points to opposing defenses. San Diego is firmly in my top-5 Week 7 defenses.
Carolina Panthers vs. St. Louis Rams: Kudos to those who rolled with the Carolina defense against Minnesota. The Panthers finished as last week’s No. 9 defense thanks to three sacks and two turnovers. Their front seven, except for a single 31-yard run from Adrian Peterson, looked as impenetrable as ever.
The Panthers, fantasy’s No. 14 defense, take on the formerly hapless Rams, who happily ran into a much more hapless team in Houston last week.
Don’t be fooled by the Ram’s Week 6 offensive output — this team has struggled mightily to move the ball in chunks, or run it at all. Zac Stacy is indeed a major improvement over Daryl Richardson, but against Carolina’s fearsome run defense — allowing just 88.8 rushing yards per game — Stacy will struggle to find daylight. Only four teams have worse running games than St. Louis.
Carolina, owned in 30 percent of leagues, allow the seventh fewest passing yards per contest (210). Expect Sam Bradford to air it out against one of the NFL’s best secondaries. Yes, please. More, please.
Panthers coaches said in interviews with the team’s website that the defense’s solid play is hardly a happy accident.
“When you have the continuity that we do right now in our third year, the players as a whole start to understand the big picture of how the defense is supposed to work,” said defensive coordinator Sean McDermott . “They’ve seen it enough that they know what it’s supposed to look like and who is supposed to do what, and if they end up at that position, they can do the job.”
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants: Streaming defenses against Big Blue should be part of our streaming Bible by now, right? The Giants, after all, have given away the pigskin 23 times — or 3.8 times every week — through the season’s first month and a half.
That, dear streamer, is incredible.
Probably I won’t be as bullish on the Vikings’ defense this week for one simple and undeniable reason: the team’s secondary could be designated as a federal disaster area. Minnesota has allowed 300 passing yards or multiple touchdown throws every week, including Cam Newton’s efficient demolition of the Vikings’ secondary.
Eli Manning has been horrendous, but one thing he’s done in his team’s constant chasing of points is piled up passing yards. He’s thrown for 273 yards per game, and the Minnesota secondary is allowing 308 yards through the air every week. Their prospects, therefore, are a bit dicier than you might imagine. I won’t have the Vikings in my top-10 defenses this week.
You’re banking on a bunch of turnovers and a flukey defensive score if you roll with Minnesota’s sorry defense this week.