Fantasy footballers who sunk a mid-round pick in the Seattle Seahawks ferocious defense will point to this week’s leading fantasy defenses and mistakenly think their strategy has been justified.
It hasn’t, but congrats on a nice Week 2.
Three of our four defensive streamers were top-12 options last week, which is really all we’re looking for. Remember: streamers spent nothing on their defense; they acquired them almost for free at the end of their drafts.
Here’s how Week 2 shook out. Our dreamy streamers are bolded.
|New England Patriots||16||3|
|Tampa Bay Bucs||15||5|
|New Orleans Saints||9||12|
Just like early-round defense advocates might thump their chest for one week, owners who burned a first or second round pick on Aaron Rodgers are preening without apology today, and rightfully so. Their guy had more fantasy points at halftime than all but a few signal callers had this week.
You’re not going to hear much from Rodgers owners when the Packers’ quarterback finishes outside the top-12, just as you won’t hear a peep from Seahawks defense owners when their unit can’t outperform waiver wire options, as happened in Week 1 when Seattle was outscored by 13 defenses.
There are more than a couple Week 3 streaming options, but I’d like to highlight two in this space. My final defensive ranks will be posted by Thursday morning, and feel free to run your various burning questions by me on Twitter @CDCarter13.
Here are mt Week 3 rankings.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns: We thought in the preseason, as Matt Flynn prepared to be devoured behind an offensive line made of cheesecloth and old yarn, that targeting the Raiders would be the lynchpin of our 2013 streaming strategy. It worked so beautifully with the Chiefs as our whipping boys in 2012, after all.
Terrelle Pryor effectively murdered that tidy little strategy, so we must move on. Let’s attack the Browns instead.
UPDATE: Brian Hoyer, he of 96 total attempts during his four-year career, is going to start behind center for the Browns in Minnesota. Cleveland also traded Trent Richardson to the Colts, and could very well start the geriatric Willis McGahee this week.
Cleveland’s offense, after looking downright respectable throughout the preseason, is a pulse-less zombie through two regular season weeks. See below for proof.
|Pass blocking||Run blocking||Overall offense|
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus
Offensive Norval Turner has watched his offense tank under the direction of Brandon Weeden, who – sadly for us – will probably miss Week 3’s matchup in Minnesota.
I don’t think that matters a whole lot though. The reason we’re using the Vikings’ defense – owned in a mere 20 percent of leagues – is because Minnesota’s front seven applies unrelenting pressure on the quarterback, and Cleveland’s offensive line has proved inept in protecting their red-headed passer.
Jason Campbell, who would start in Weeden’s place, doesn’t change that.
|Team||QB hits allowed||QB hurries allowed||Sacks allowed|
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus
The Vikings, meanwhile, have the sixth best pass rush, according to PFF, to go along with the third worst run defense. I don’t think that should keep us up at night; the Browns’ running attack scares precisely no one, as Trent Richardson owners might tell you whilst crying into their alcoholic beverage of choice.
Receiver Josh Gordon returns to the Browns’ starting lineup after a two-game suspension, representing some sort of vertical threat beyond stud tight end Jordan Cameron. I can’t imagine that the Browns will be able to go downfield all that often, thanks to the Vikings’ pass rush.
Minnesota has harassed the quarterback without the risky sell-out blitz, meaning Gordon won’t see much exploitable single coverage against the Vikings’ suspect secondary. Jared Allen and company can get to Campbell with four guys.
The Vikings are a clear-cut top-10 defense this week. Prioritize them in every format.
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers: It’s tough to trust a defense that has tallied a grand whopping total of two fantasy points through two weeks.
A quick mathematical analysis shows that the Giants’ defense is averaging one point per week in 2013. You may shudder now.
Mike Shula’s Carolina offense could very well be the medicine that cures New York’s defensive ills. A miracle remedy, if you will.
The Giants match up well against Carolina because, well, defending the run is the one thing New York’s defense has done well through Week 2, ranking as PFF’s second best run defense. They’ve proved awful against the pass, with a bottom-five pass rush and 24th ranked pass coverage.
Not that that matters against a Panthers’ passing offense that has very little outside Greg Olsen and Steve Smith.
|Team||Average pass yards||Yards per Attempt||Overall rank|
The Panthers’ aerial attack – if you can label it as such – gets worse when pressure is applied to Cam Newton. Newton, through two weeks, is 8-for-11 for 45 yards (4.1 yards per attempt) when under pressure in the pocket, per PFF.
Expect the Giants, now in full-fledged flailing desperation mode, to play like their playoff lives are on the line. New York can neutralize the one thing Carolina does well: run the ball. The Panthers’ can’t move the ball through the air, and I suspect the Giants know as much.
Start the Giants as a top-12 unit this week.