That worked out.
Our Week 7 dreamy streamers, the Carolina Panthers and San Diego Chargers, were first and third in defensive scoring, respectively. The Rams and Jaguars were who we thought they were, as one former Arizona Cardinals coach might say, and we reaped the benefits.
I won’t often write this, but I think Carolina’s 17-point Week 7 output was just as much a product of their defensive prowess as it was the Ram’s offensive ineptitude. The Panthers have shut down opposing pass games for most of 2013. The Carolina secondary was salivating in a matchup with the hapless Rams’ “attack.”
Here’s a quick look at the offenses that have given up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses over the past four weeks. It’s always more important to keep our focus trained on recent trends rather than season-long numbers. It’s the more recent outputs that offer us a better sense of which teams to target, as things change — teams make adjustments and injuries ravage offensive lines and backfields alike.
|Team||Fantasy points allowed to D/STs||Rank|
|New York Jets||13||4|
|New York Giants||12.8||5|
Streaming any position gets markedly easier as we move further into the season, and defenses are no different. Defenses, in fact, become the easiest streaming position with a couple months of stats under our collective belts, as the worst offenses show themselves and injuries create irresistible targets for waiver wire defensive units.
That leads me directly back to St. Louis.
Sam Bradford, you might have heard, shredded his ACL last week against our Panthers, leaving Kellen Clemens to quarterback the Rams for the remainder of 2013. This marks an important shift in our streaming strategy: I’m going to prioritize streaming against the wasteland that is St. Louis’ offense for the rest of the season as much as we’ve kept our cross hairs on the Jaguars since early September.
The Rams, after playing the Seahawks in what should be the among the most lopsided prime time games in recent history, face off against the Titans in Week 9, Colts in Week 10, and the Bears in Week 11 (Chicago is owned in 95 percent of leagues — a percentage that’ll drop this week).
St. Louis, most importantly, plays Tampa Bay Week 16 — fantasy championship week. Stash any of these defenses if your bench allows for it. The Rams are going to give away fantasy points to defenses like candy on Halloween for the rest of 2013.
New Orleans Saints vs. Buffalo Bills
Give Thad Lewis credit: he’s not the streaming target he appeared to be after taking the Bills’ starting gig following a week of practice with the team. Buffalo, however, has allowed seven points to defenses in each of Lewis’s two starts. They’re traveling to New Orleans this week and will face a vastly improve Saints’ defense coming off a bye week. Toss it all in a pot and stir and — wouldn’t you know — it looks like a pretty good streamer.
The Saints, according to Pro Football Focus, have the league’s ninth ranked pass defense, having forced 12 turnovers in the team’s first six games.
New Orleans has ratcheted up quarterback pressure of late, as seen against the Patriots, when Rob Ryan’s crew blitzed Tom Brady 18 times. They sacked Brady five times. It wasn’t until Brady’s late-game heroics that that New Orleans defense gave up anything in the air, allowing just 199 yards, no touchdowns, and intercepting a Brady pass before the Pats’ game winning drive.
Buffalo is the 10th most generous team to opposing defenses over the past month. I have New Orleans pegged as a top-5 Week 8 defense.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
The Packers’ defense, available in 30 percent of leagues — a shockingly low number — get their crack at the Josh Freeman Experiment this Sunday, a week after Freeman looked as bad as a professional signal caller can possibly look against the Giants.
It doesn’t matter that the Packers’ defense has been decimated by injuries, or that they allowed an average of 27.3 points in the first three weeks of the season. They’ve somehow righted their defensive ship, giving up just 13 points per game over their last three.
Minnesota, meanwhile, gave up 12 fantasy points to a Giants’ defense that had scored a combined six fantasy points over their first six games. That may very well be the most jaw-dropping stat of the year. Freeman was offensively bad, completing 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards, Vikings pass catchers couldn’t get open, and Adrian Peterson was swallowed by nonstop eight and nine-man fronts.
Probably I won’t have Green Bay ranked as high as some this week, mostly because I think it’s terribly unfair to assume Freeman will play this badly with more preparation and familiarity with Minnesota’s offense. The Packers-Vikings tilt also has the makings of a blowout, and despite the likelihood of a few turnovers from Freeman and company, Green Bay’s vulnerable secondary (they’re eighth worst against the pass) knocks them down a peg or two.
Green Bay is still a locked-and-loaded top-10 option this week. Like we’ve always done with Blaine Gabbert, let Freeman wash over you.