Dreaming of Streaming: Week 11
November 11, 2014 | C.D. Carter
We saw in Week 10 that Streaming Score require context. They don’t exist in a vacuum. They can — and are — impacted by sometimes unquantifiable factors that must be explored before we go all in on a particular defense.
That was the case with the Eagles’ defense, which sported a lowly Streaming Score of 2.5 headed into their Monday night matchup with the Panthers. I mentioned in my Week 10 Dreaming of Streaming update that Philly quietly represented a high upside play, as their top-5 pass rush was primed to decimate the Panthers’ Swiss cheese offensive line — the worst in the NFL.
The Eagles were also playing against Cam Newton, one of the league’s most inaccurate quarterbacks who would likely have to throw quite a bit as Carolina’s defense was predictably trampled underfoot. Darren Sproles’ punt return touchdown was just icing on our degenerate cake. It was critically important to look deeper into the Eagles’ Streaming Score, and those who trusted that process undoubtedly broke the will of their Week 10 fantasy opponents.
The Steelers’ defense in Week 10 required some context as well. Pittsburgh’s defense is officially riddled with injuries, they’ve been mostly awful in road games, and they were playing a Jets’ offense that is not the juicy streaming target they were a few short weeks ago. The Steelers’ Streaming Score of five — the third highest of Week 10 — was dishonest, at best, and a lie at worst.
Here’s how Week 10’s best Streaming Score defenses fared. After 10 weeks, defenses with top-5 Streaming Scores are averaging D/ST6 numbers.
|Defense||Streaming Score||Week 10 points||Week 10 rank|
Let’s get into Week 11’s Streaming Scores and have a context party. Bring your O’Douls.
* I wouldn’t read too much into Tampa’s offensive output against the unit formerly known as the Falcons’ defense. The Bucs were at home against a defense not all that interested in stopping the run or the pass. They now go on the road against an somewhat-improved Washington defense that has committed to constant blitzing to compensate for their awful secondary. Washington’s defense checks a lot of our main boxes this week, as they’re at home, they’re favored, and they’re playing against the reliably inaccurate Josh McCown. I’ll have Washington ranked as a top-10 Week 11 play.
* Fire up your Denver defense. We saw in Week 10 what happens when the Rams are forced to the air, and it was glorious.
* Streaming Scores don’t account for locker room turmoil and total team collapses like the one underway in Chicago. Yes, the Bears are at home against a toothless Vikings’ offense averaging a meager 316.3 total yards per game. That’s total. Total. Only three teams score fewer touchdowns per game than Minnesota. I still see the Bears’ defense as a risky play as the team crumbles from the inside out — a disaster that has sucked the fantasy value out of the team’s once-reliable offensive performers. The best thing I can say about Chicago’s Week 11 prospects: They have a decent ceiling and a scary floor.
* I’m bullish on the Dolphins’ defense as they get ready to face Buffalo on Thursday night. Vegas projects this one as the week’s lowest scoring affair, and for good reason. Both offenses have been rather dismal when facing legit defenses while taking full advantage of favorable matchups. We saw that last week when the Bills couldn’t get much going against Kansas City and the Dolphins struggled mightily against Detroit. Both teams sport top-7 run defenses, according to Pro Football Focus, and Miami has the league’s second best pass rush. Buffalo, meanwhile, has a bottom-10 pass-blocking unit. That’s a recipe for plenty of hurried throws against a top-end Miami secondary anchored by Brent Grimes and his Megagrimes ways. Miami, in my estimation, has one of the week’s highest fantasy floors.
* The Vikings’ Streaming Score requires context here. I deployed the Packers’ defense in a couple leagues last week simply because Chicago’s offense is a mess and King of DGAF Jay Cutler is back to his pre-Trestman form. Then there’s this: Minnesota, in five road games, has averaged 11.8 fantasy points — and that includes thrashings at the hands of the Saints and Packers. Taking full advantage of dysfunction is one of the most underrated skills of a successful fantasy footballer. I think the Vikings and their top-12 defense — per PFF — represent that opportunity in Week 11.
* I would avoid the Steelers’ and Panthers’ defenses in Week 11. Both matchups seem ripe until you consider the ineffectiveness of Pittsburgh’s injury-ravaged defense and Carolina’s shreddable secondary and squishy soft front seven. Neither team really produces turnovers. The Steelers force just 1.2 turnovers per game. If forced to choose, I’d go with Pittsburgh and hope Zach Mettenberger continues his statuesque ways in the pocket.
* Streaming Scores are largely based on turnover potential, which explains why the Lions’ Week 10 Streaming Score is so low. Arizona, through 10 weeks, is allowing 0.7 turnovers per contest. Only the Patriots give up fewer fumbles and interceptions. You may have heard that the Cardinals lost their fearless elderly leader, Carson Palmer, pushing Drew Stanton into the starting lineup as the captain of Bruce Arians’ potent offense. The Myth of Drew Stanton is that Arians is more than comfortable with him — he even thinks Stanton can win a Super Bowl — because he brought in the journeyman signal caller as the Cards’ starter before Palmer became available. The truth about Stanton is that he’s terribly inaccurate, completing just 54 percent of his 2014 passes. Stanton is actually much more accurate with less than 2.5 seconds to throw (58 percent) than he is with more than 2.6 seconds (38 percent). That’s bad news for Arizona, and it’s fantastic news for anyone who has the Lions’ defense this week. I don’t think the Cardinals have any prayer of establishing a running game against Detroit, meaning Stanton will be forced to the air. The Lions will be my top-ranked unit in Week 11.