Dreaming of Streaming: Week 5 October 6, 2015  |  Chet


Week 4 was a prime example of fairly awful defenses with flush defensive matchups, while better defensive units had slightly worse matchups but maintained respectable streaming scores.

Neither the Colts nor the Eagles were particularly appealing outside of playing against teams — Jacksonville and Washington, respectively — that have been among the most turnover prone over the past season and a quarter. If you eschewed Indy and Philly for an option like Carolina or Atlanta, you did well.

It’s just another reminder that in this space, we’re measuring matchups, not the prowess of a particular defense.

Here’s how our top-5 streaming scores fared in Week 4. It wasn’t what we’d call awesome. Through four weeks, our top streaming scores are averaging 8.95 fantasy points per game. Thanks, Cardinals.

UPDATE: A slew of readers asked about the Bengals’ streaming score, which registered below a 2 and was therefore kept out of this analysis. Seattle, the Bengals’ Week 5 opponent, simply doesn’t commit many turnovers outside of its three catastrophic turnovers against Detroit in Week 4. The Seahawks’ offensive line, however, is the central reason for why Cincinnati makes for a rock-solid streaming play this week.

The Bengals, who force 1.5 turnovers per contest, will face off against a Seattle offensive line that has given up 18 sacks — more than any team but the Chiefs. Opposing defenses have recorded 33 quarterback hits against the Seahawks through four games. Marshawn Lynch’s absence only serves to worsen the problem for Seattle, as front sevens — like the Lions last week — can tee off on Russell Wilson without the threat of Lynch in the backfield. Cincinnati is pretty good at pressuring the passer too. The Bengals have recorded 22 quarterback hits through four weeks, 10th most in the NFL. At home and favorited by Vegas, I think the Bengals have a hefty floor in this one, to go along with a considerable ceiling.


Defense Streaming Score Week 5 fantasy points Week 5 D/ST rank
Cardinals 6 1 25th
Broncos 5.5 10 5th
Colts 5.5 5 10th
Eagles 5 3 12th
Packers 4 15 4rd

Now let’s get to Week 5’s top streaming scores, as accumulating data gives us a much clearer picture of which offenses are most likely to give up sacks and turnovers — the only two stats we care about in selecting a defense.

Defense Opponent Week 5 Streaming Score
Falcons Washington 5
Broncos Raiders 5
Jaguars Buccaneers 4.5
Giants 49ers 4.5
Packers Rams 4.5

* The Falcons’ defense isn’t all that good. Only four defenses allow more total yards per game, as the Falcons give up a hefty seven yards per pass attempt. Atlanta’s nuclear Week 4 performance is a reminder that yardage and points don’t correlate strongly with defensive fantasy points. We want turnovers and sacks. That’s precisely what the Falcons could get this week in a home game against Kirk Cousin — an inaccurate thrower who gets even less accurate when he’s pressured. Vegas projections say that Washington will be playing from behind in this one, unable to hide behind their sometimes-solid running attack. We saw what happened last week when the Falcons got to feast on Ryan Mallett as he faced negative game script. It could very easily happen again against Washington, as Jay Gruden’s team is committing 1.9 turnovers per contest in 2015.

*The Broncos’ defense is a no-brainer defensive starter going forward. I think it’s a small miracle that Denver didn’t post a ridiculous number against Minnesota. They almost certainly will against Derek Carr and company. Denver is forcing 2.8 turnovers per game.

*There’s no reason to think the 49ers’ offense will right the proverbial ship and become a legitimate unit in 2015. Their offensive line is a debacle, their quarterback is somewhere between lost and flustered and they rarely face a neutral game script, taking away the running game. Colin Kaepernick has been sacked 17 times through four games, completing 65.3 percent of his passes with an average depth of target standing at a minuscule 7.9 yards. It all spells good news for any defense that faces the 49ers, and especially for defenses playing at home and favored by Vegas. That’s what we have here with the Giants, who should be considered a locked-in top-5 option in Week 5. New York is forcing an average of two turnovers a game in 2015. I’m not too worried about the Giants only recording two sacks through four games.


Defense Opponent Week 5 Streaming Score
Buccaneers Jaguars 4
Chiefs Bears 4
Eagles Saints 3.5
Patriots Cowboys 3.5
Cardinals Lions 3
Chargers Steelers 3

*San Diego makes for a sneaky play in DFS tournaments and a reasonable option in deeper re-draft leagues. Mike Vick’s sub-60 percent career completion rate bodes well for any defense that seizes a a lead against Vick’s team. The Chargers are a home favorite, so there’s hope that Pittsburgh will be forced to abandon its ultra-conservative offensive approach and let Vick do his thing. That often includes errant throws into tight coverage. There’s reason to believe that Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ passing attack will put up points against a Swiss cheese Steelers’ secondary. That could quickly transform Pittsburgh’s offense into a one-dimensional unit. That’s a mouthwatering prospect with Vick behind center.

*It’s a tough call this week: do we roll the dice on the Jacksonville defense against the turnover machine called Jameis Winston, or do we deploy the Bucs against what used to be the league’s most turnover and sack-prone offense? The Jags have been anything but a juicy streaming target over the past few weeks. After giving up 22 fantasy points to the Carolina defense in Week 1, Blake Bortles and company has allowed a total of seven fantasy points to opposing defenses. Bortles isn’t throwing picks at his 2014 rate and the team has cut down on sacks by a huge margin. And while the Bucs have become a preeminent streaming target through four weeks, the Jags are forcing just 0.7 turnovers per contest — among the fewest in the league. It makes Tampa a very low-ceiling streaming option, even if you think there’s reason to believe the Bucs have a decent ceiling. I’d rather fade both of these defenses in what I believe could be a high-scoring affair. If I had to choose one, I would go with the home team — Tampa — and hope Bortles will Bortle.


Defense Opponent Week 5 Streaming Score
Ravens Browns 2.5
Colts Texans 2.5
Steelers Chargers 2.5
Browns Ravens 2
Saints Eagles 2
Texans Colts 2
Seahawks Bengals 2
Titans Bills 2
Washington Falcons 2
Bills Titans 2

2 Responses

  1. Peakfloyd says:

    Would you start the G-men over the cardinals this week?

  2. Jeppe says:

    Am I blind, or did you not mention Bengals in your top 21? Did you watch the game yesterday?

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