Dreaming Of Streaming: Week 14
December 2, 2014 | C.D. Carter
There’s a reason our Streaming Scores weigh home field advantage so heavily, as anyone who relied on the Dolphins’ defense learned Monday night.
There is no formula that accurately reflects the decided advantage of home teams, but as I wrote about in last week’s column, it wouldn’t be absurd to always go with a home defense over the visiting team.
Here’s how Week 13’s top Streaming Scores fared. Through 13 weeks, defenses with top-5 scores are averaging a D/ST5 finish. That average has climbed as more data has helped create more reliable predictions of which teams are most likely to commit turnovers, give up sacks, and allow touchdowns to opposing defenses and special teams.
|Defense||Week 13 Streaming Score||Week 13 fantasy points||Week 13 D/ST rank|
We’re headed into the brush fire that is the fantasy playoffs, where decisions are magnified a thousand times and emphasis of process over fickle results matters more than ever. Context is critical in evaluating the below Streaming Scores, as we’ve discussed in this space time and again, so read the blurbs and check out Friday’s streaming update before you commit to a Week 14 defense.
Let’s get into Week 14’s top streaming plays.
|Defense||Opponent||Week 14 Streaming Score|
* And right away, we get two mouthwatering streaming options playing on the road: Houston and St. Louis. I would be all in on the Rams if Robert Griffin III were still taking snaps for Washington, but as I wrote last week, Colt McCoy is a giant upgrade over the ghost of RGIII. While McCoy scorched the Colts’ defense for almost 400 yards last week, he also fumbled twice and was sacked seven times, often appearing to have no idea that the pocket was collapsing around him. The Rams, fantasy’s No. 7 defense through 13 weeks, has been unstoppable over the past month, averaging 15.8 fantasy points since Week 11. St. Louis has managed 11 sacks over that span — bad news for a Washington offensive line that has been brutalized by opposing front sevens in recent weeks. I think Houston has a higher floor than the Rams, but no defense has a higher ceiling than St. Louis in Week 14.
* The Saints and Vikings are your home field specials of the week. I think fantasy footballers have had trouble acknowledging how god awful the Panthers’ offense is, and that Cam Newton poses no threat in that stinking dumpster fire of an offense. Carolina’s offensive line, per Pro Football Focus, is the worst in the NFL, and they’re set to face a blitz happy New Orleans defense that collected 16 sacks in a recent four game stretch. Your hesitation to deploy the Saints’ defense might be warranted: Only the Raiders and Jets defenses have scored fewer fantasy points than the Saints through 13 weeks. Rob Ryan’s defense stinks. That might not matter against a Carolina offense bleeding fantasy points to opposing offenses. The Panthers, after last week’s debacle in Minnesota, are allowing 12.3 schedule-adjusted fantasy points to defenses.
* There is no safer Week 14 option than the Vikings. They’re at home against Geno Smith and company, they’re favored, and they’re playing in a game with the week’s lowest Vegas point total. The Dolphins, for reasons unknown, seemed content with New York running the ball again and again in Week 13, never making adjustments to force Smith to beat them with his arm. Minnesota sports a top-7 run defense, per PFF, to go along with a top-10 coverage unit. The Vikings’ defense is available in 92 percent of leagues. They’ll be my No. 1 defense for Week 14.
|Defense||Opponent||Week 14 Streaming Score|
* Green Bay’s Streaming Score needs a little context. They’re at home, they’re huge favorites, and they’re taking on a Falcons offensive line that has allowed pressure on Matt Ryan on 35.6 percent of his 2014 snaps. Only four quarterbacks have faced more frequent pressure. Against a Green Bay front seven that has eight multi-sack games in 2014 — and has been dominant in home tilts — I think the Falcons are a prime streaming target. The Packers’ Streaming Score is so low mostly because the Falcons are stingy with turnovers. No matter. Green Bay’s defense is a top-4 play this week.
* Denver’s defense has been pretty awful — for fantasy purposes — in 2014 home games, failing to crack the five-point mark in four of those contests. They have a very safe floor this week against a Bills’ offense projected by Vegas to score the second-fewest points of Week 14. I suppose a big Denver lead that forces Kyle Orton to the air early and often could mean good things for the Broncos’ defense, making them a fine play if you can’t nab one of the week’s best defensive options.
* I would’ve begged off the Giants’ defense if Zach Mettenberger was healthy and ready to go. Instead, we have Jake Locker — he of many interceptions, fumbles, and generally awful quarterback play. Locker threw a pick on his first play from scrimmage after JJ Watt secured his sweet revenge for Mettenberger taking selfies. He’s a reliably inaccurate quarterback who might be forced to throw it plenty if Big Blue can exploit the Titans’ defense like so many offenses have over the past few weeks.