Dreaming of Streaming: Week 1 September 7, 2015  |  Chet


Already drafted? Time to import your team to My Playbook for season-long management and advice.


Quantification shall save your fantasy football soul.

Or at worst, offer up a solid defensive streamer or three using the power of numbers to gauge which defensive units have the best chance of posting top-end weekly point totals. This column, now in its fourth season, doesn’t seek to judge how good or bad a defense might be.

I’m no film maven. All I know are numbers, and that’s what I give you in this space.

Streaming Scores take into account three key factors that have always been essential to playing matchups with the fickle mistress that is a fantasy defense: We seek home teams favored by Vegas facing off against turnover-prone offenses, and projected point totals shouldn’t sway us. Streaming Scores do nothing more than quantify those factors.

Why do you look for fantasy defenses that check those three boxes?

Teams Vegas favors to win on a weekly basis achieved Top 12 status 63.6 percent of the time in 2013. This gives us a clear and potentially critical starting point in selecting weekly streaming options from our local waiver wires.

Even better for you committed streamers: Teams that apply the most pressure to opposing signal callers record far more forced fumbles and interceptions than defenses that record the fewest quarterback pressures. You can explain almost half of NFL interceptions with how often teams pressured the passer.

Defenses that were given top-5 weekly Streaming Scores in 2014 averaged 10.2 fantasy points per week, or 2.7 more fantasy points than the vaunted Seattle Seahawks notched on a weekly basis. Some of the defenses with top Streaming Scores were widely owned, but I made sure to point to widely-available defensive units for those in deeper leagues or leagues with savvy opponents. The highest weekly Streaming Scores had something for everyone.

I think quantification is important for fantasy footballers looking to make decisions made on cold, hard data. It’s not the only way to build title-winning fantasy rosters, of course, but it’s my preferred approach. If you don’t like it, tell me to delete my Twitter account.

And by the bye, it doesn’t matter how much a team is favored by — it only matters that that team is favored to notch the win.

Now let’s jump headlong into Week 1 Streaming Scores.


Defense Opponent Week 1 Streaming Score
Buccaneers Titans 6
Panthers Jaguars 5.5
Dolphins Washington 5.5
Seahawks Rams 5.5
Titans Buccaneers 4.5


  • Tampa’s defense has been a re-draft target of mine for quite a while now. They check every box: They’re favored by Vegas, they’re at home and they’re playing against what should be a pretty bad offense that will be forced to the air. As much as I like Marcus Mariota’s long-term prospect — and I do — I think streaming a home, favored defense against a rookie signal caller in his first NFL game is hardly the worst strategy. Tennessee will likely have to throw a lot this season if only because the team’s running game is sure to be disastrous. I think the Bucs’ defense has a solid floor and a tremendous ceiling in this one.


  • I give Tampa the edge over Carolina and Miami only because the latter two defenses are on the road. They’re both favored and both squaring off against turnover-prone offenses, so I wouldn’t blame anyone for streaming the Dolphins or Panthers over the Bucs. Robert Griffin III might be bad, but Kirk Cousins has been atrocious against good defenses (and the Dolphins’ defense appears to be of the good variety). Cousins averages 0.5 interceptions and a meager 211.2 yards against top-16 pass defenses. He doesn’t exactly light the world on fire against bottom-half secondaries either: Cousins averages two interceptions per game against those units. Miami, which sported the league’s sixth best run defenses in 2014 (per Pro Football Focus) have a good chance of making Cousins throw quite a few passes into the teeth of their secondary. That’s what we look for.


Defense Opponent Week 1 Streaming Score
Packers Bears 4
Vikings 49ers 4
Bengals Raiders 4
Cowboys Giants 4
Jaguars Panthers 3.5
Patriots Steelers 3.5
Cardinals Saints 3.5
49ers Vikings 3.5
Jets Browns 3.5
Bills Colts 3.5


  • Streaming against Jay Cutler, King DGAF, is always a decent place to start with streaming defenses. Cutty, who threw 18 picks and was sacked 39 times in 2014, has proven a reliable turnover machine, tossed four interceptions against Green Bay in 2014. In fact, Cutty has thrown 10 picks against in his past five matchups against the Packers. They appear to have King DGAF’s number. Green Bay would be this week’s premiere streaming play if they were playing at home. They still make for a solid option.


  • I think the Bills’ defense is a sneaky play this week. Yes, the Colts will be an offensive juggernaut, and yes, the Bills likely won’t be fantastic this year. But Rex Ryan’s defense is expected to be much improved, they’re at home and they’re playing against a quarterback in Andrew Luck who isn’t exactly immune from turnovers. Luck threw 16 picks in 2014. He’s never been incredibly accurate either, as Luck completed 66.7 percent of his aimed throws last season — the same percentage as Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick. While streaming against the Colts is not advised as a long-term strategy, I think Buffalo’s defense makes for a worthwhile option in deeper leagues.


  • Cleveland’s offense should be putrid this season, and they start the season on the road against a Jets’ defense that is widely expected to be solid in 2015. The Browns sport the league’s worst wide receiver grouping, leaving little reason for the Jets — or any opposing defense — to respect the aerial game headed by the horrendous Josh McCown, who averaged 1.28 interceptions per contest in 2014. Looks for New York to shut down any semblance of a rushing attack and force McCown to throw quite a few passes in this one. Gang Green is at home, favored, and playing against a turnover prone quarterback. They’re a locked-in Week 1 top-three play.


Defense Opponent Week 1 Streaming Score
Falcons Eagles 3
Browns Jets 3
Colts Bills 3
Eagles Falcons 3
Chargers Lions 3
Broncos Ravens 3
Washington Dolphins 2.5
Texans Chiefs 2
Chiefs Texans 2


  • I would avoid Indy’s defense in what, on the surface, might look like a solid matchup against Tyrod Taylor and the Bills’ less-than-stellar offensive attack. Taylor, like great Konami Code quarterback options before him, doesn’t fling it into triple coverage when he’s in trouble. He runs, and runs well. Buffalo’s offense is expected to be of the conservative variety — not what we look for in streaming targets. Beware the Colts’ defense in Week 1.


  • Streaming scores for the Falcons and Eagles are shockingly high, though I wouldn’t dare stream either option in a game Vegas expects to be the week’s highest scoring affair.


  • I don’t see Houston’s defense as a legitimate Week 1 option because Andy Reid’s offense simply doesn’t turn the ball over (KC gave up the ninth fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing defenses in 2014). Brian Hoyer is bad, however, making the Chiefs’ defense a somewhat intriguing play. The game is in Houston though, so Kansas City’s defense is not preferred over plays like the Jets, Bucs, Dolphins, Panthers, Patriots, and Bengals.





12 Responses

  1. bill slu says:

    CD All your tops were good except for the top one, TB.

    CAR killed it and TN killed it, MIA looked good

    SEA was good too.

    my TX call sucked and almost cost me my match up. They got me 6 pts. 3 for each sack . and if KC would have scored 1 more point, i would have had -4.
    I had Denver on my bench, which scored +35. I live in a strange D scoring league.

    Im liking Denver now that they are on the field a lot less with the new kubiak “ball control” scheme.

    looking fwd to week 2!

  2. Mark says:

    Love dreaming streaming. What day of the week do you usually post?

  3. Andy says:

    In C.D. we trust!

  4. Glenn says:

    Drafted Indy for the ealry matchups, but Jets are free to pick up. Worth making a move?

  5. Drew says:

    Which defense should I stream week 1: Bucs, Jets or Bengals?

  6. bill slu says:

    I have TX over KC as a thing because KC’s o-line is weak and TX has Wilfork to help out JJ. also, Clowney is back and Cushing is back.

    I am tempted to pick up the bucs tho

    I wish I had Miami

  7. tadow jonew says:

    i expect to see miami at the top of this list for the first 7 or 8 weeks, actually…

  8. Whitten says:

    When is week 1 cheat sheet coming out??

  9. Shachar says:

    Denny, Buffalo are like 99% owned

  10. Tom says:

    When you say Rex Ryan’s defense is expected to be much improved, are you saying that relative to the Jets defense last year or the Bills from last year? Bills ranked 2 or 3 and were outstanding last year as I recall

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