Dreaming of Streaming Week 5: Advice From Vegas
October 4, 2013 | C.D. Carter
The big, flaming red flags waved by Vegas odds makers in the lead up to Week 4 were certainly warranted, with one exception.
I warned last week that the Broncos’ defense was an overtly risky play in a game with a 58-point over-under. My argument was based mostly on the spate of superior waiver wire options, and Denver’s likely reliance on a flukey defensive or special teams touchdown to keep them afloat.
Well, it happened: Denver returned a punt for a score against the Eagles and finished as fantasy’s No. 11 Week 4 defense. The Broncos, without that score, would’ve finished just inside the top-20.
I’ve harped on the looming dangers of using the Denver defense as a plug-and-play defensive option because they’re owned in 98 percent of fantasy leagues — a mind-boggling percentage — and Vegas continually preaches caution with its astronomically high over-unders for Denver games.
I understand that’s mostly due to Peyton’s Perfect Machine and its flawless mutilation of opposing defenses, but over the long haul, I’m convinced that opponents’ need to score and keep pace will hurt the Broncos’ fantasy defense, making it a top-15 play at best in most weeks.
Let’s take a look at Week 5’s over-unders, and how they should impact our streaming decisions.
|Ravens at Dolphins||43.5|
|Chiefs at Titans||39|
|Jaguars at Rams||41.5|
|Seahawks at Colts||43.5|
|Patriots at Bengals||45|
|Lions at Packers||53.5|
|Saints at Bears||48.5|
|Eagles at Giants||54|
|Panther at Cardinals||42.5|
|Broncos at Cowboys||57|
|Chargers at Raiders||45|
|Texans at 49ers||42.5|
|Jets at Falcons||43.5|
* I don’t think there’s a contingency of fantasy owners clamoring to use the Giants against the turnover-prone Eagles this week. I have, however, seen some entertainment of the thought of Big Blue as a sneaky option. Just stop. The Giants’ defense has scored a single fantasy point through four weeks. The Eagles’ offense is no joke, no matter how awful it looked in Denver. And that big, ugly over-under of 54 should slap you on the wrist for considering New York as a streamer.
* I may have overlooked the Titans as a legitimate top-12 Week 5 option. They play the ultra-conservative Chiefs, so Tennessee is anything but a high-upside play (like the Falcons). They could be one of the safer plays, however. The Titans’ defense is borderline elite through four weeks, allowing the ninth fewest total yards per game (313.3) and shutting down opposing passing attacks. Vegas likes the Chiefs-Titans game to be Week 5’s lowest scoring. Listen to Vegas here.
* The Cardinals, after scoring 49 points in their first two games — and looking like a legit offense — have scored an underwhelming 20 points since. They couldn’t manage more than a touchdown against the Saints in Week 2, despite two full quarters of garbage time. Defenses know Arizona can’t even pretend to run the pigskin, and as I mentioned in Dreaming of Streaming, the Panthers are likely to feast on Carson Palmer and company when the Cardinals are forced to the air this Sunday. I think Vegas’ 42.5 over-under is on the high side. Whatever you think of the Vegas projection, Carolina is an easy top-10 option against a sputtering offense plagued by a porous offensive line.